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Old 07-01-2013, 10:33 PM   #31
DocAxeYarYar OP
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Austin, TX
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Gunslinger's Divide Ride

Day 6 has us heading out from our motel in Taos to start the day on forest road to make our way out east towards White Peak. But, this is not happening, because the access point I drew to get on to forest roads just outside of Taos has a massive locked gate! I see a big water tower, and inquire of some city water system workers in a truck if it’s a public road, they say only for walking or mountain biking. So, after looking for an alternate route in, this was not panning out. We jump on 64 to get to Angel Fire and then White Peak. This actually turned out for the better, because we were poised for a butt whoppin in White Peak and the extra time was needed!

I still want to go back and use and alternate route to access the forest roads outside of Taos. Looks like incredible riding in some excellent mountains.

This section of the report is dedicated to LOSTRIDER who suffered an untimely get-off on his BMW just before our trip and could not make it. Lostrider is the one that turned us on to White Peak and its possibility.

White Peak was a total unknown to me, and mired in controversy. While I don’t know all the details, a previous Land Commissioner in New Mexico made some dubious land swaps, trading some public lands for some private lands, which upset numerous folks that hunted on these lands, and accessed them for recreation. These deals were not well publicized and done somewhat under cover which caused political problems and accusations of self-dealing by the Land Commissioner.

Also, several public parcels around White Peak were slated for sale for oil/gas exploration after promises White Peak would be spared. Some how, these deals were almost “inadvertently” done, and halted at the last minute. In the end, a couple years ago the NM Supreme Court reversed several of the public/private land swap deals because they violated certain public trust provisions.

So in the end, I am sure there were a lot of pissed off ranchers, hunters, oil/gas companies, and the public. As a result…..its not really clear if your on public roads all the time or not in White Peak! This would take extensive research and getting maps from the NM Land Commission to determine.
With this dubious history, UlyBrad and I wander into White Peak! The holy grail of Gunslinger Divide Ride!

After topping up on gas in Angel Fire, we hit 120, the main road to access the White Peak area. I did not have my track log on, and White Peak has a lot of tricky navigation, so best I can tell we made a smaller loop which dumped us out on White Peak road and the route back down towards Las Vegas.

We first come up on Sawmill Lake and the riding is excellent, smooth nice double track going long the scenic lake and pine trees. Note the fence, likely denoting some private property…

Wow this is starting off great!

The clear double tracks around the lake look well used, and even have signs of recent grading as if being prepared for hunting or an event. The road starts to get more faint, and in some areas more rocky. But overall, it’s a beautiful and idyllic area, I remember thinking no wonder parts of it came into dispute, who would ever want to give this up?

The roads meander around several old adobe houses, on more of a high plains area. Several of the roads you can see meander off into the fields, where they become very faint. We stop at this old place for some pics…

Maybe an omen of what is to come?

The tracks I am on start to narrow up, and the trees begin to envelop you more, becomes more rocky, and we go up and down over a few streams. We have NO idea to what extent we are on actual public or private road. We pass several private property signs on fences, but no locked gates.
As we ride on it gets hotter as we hit high noon, and are confronted with some sudden, sharp curving, and steep rocky climbs…hmm this is getting interesting! We meander over rougher, tighter roads…..UlyBrad hits a few at good speed, ends up with a couple of get offs. As I come up on rockier sections, I just have to punch the gas, hang on and concentrate!

UlyBrad comes up over a rocky climb and hits the gas hard over the rocks!

Then, we hit a monster 45 degree rocky climb with a sharp turn at the top….and no idea what it leads to! Gulp!

UlyBrad clears it, and comes back down to catch some carnage. I’m at the bottom trying not to talk myself into falling, and get focused for my run up.

Half way!

Er, I guess not! I loose my MO on the climb, have a brain fart and there goes the front end, opps! Catch a bit of rock on the side of my helmet, but my bell is not rung thankfully. So, its your classic, stuck mid-way on a steep climb with a bike I have to kick start! This was the only time my XRR, a bit flooded, needed about 8 kicks to get it going.

I have to put all my weight up front, to control the front end because if I don’t, I know the bike will loop with all the gear on the back.

Note the fully extended front fork!

Off we go!

From here it gets more interesting. Up top, we hit several massive rock garden roads… turkey sized rocks all back to back….we blitz several sections, but UlyBrad takes a couple of falls and I nearly do. There is no looking back for your riding buddy because you have to focus on what’s up front. We come up to one section, 30 feet that is impassible. We have to walk the bikes over. We have NO IDEA how long this will continue!
Now we are feeling some exhaustion, UlyBrad has to kick start his bike, and that is taking a toll also. Here I slow it way down and take stock.

Time: its 2 PM, so we have lots of day light left. Good.

Water: Concern about dehydration at 8,000 ft, and about 85 degrees. I have an extra bottle, so refill my 100 oz. Good.

Fatigue: We are both tired and getting worn out. Both have fallen a few times. We need good long breaks to recover, so we take time and keep our heads about us.

White Peak is serving up a royal butt whopping, were feeling it! But loving it!

I start to get concerned……how long could these rock gardens get? Could they become impassible or will we suffer an injury now that we are tired? I hike up a ways and find that it clears out for a bit….so we carry on, eventually getting to more passable roads.

But, I have a decision to make, and am TOTALLY dependent on a functional GPS to navigate. We need to try and access something familiar to get out, and back to the main road. Late in the day its too risky to try and hit more tracks that will take us further out…so fortunately I am able to get us back on a more accessible track.

I make a critical, and good decision….we come up on a gate that says no trespassing, and no vehicles…..but the gate is not locked. I consider turning back, which would put us on a farther loop out and more time to get out…but I go for it, we open the gate and drive on through. Were we on a private road? Not sure…..

We finally dump back out on White Peak road and the main southern road to Ocate, and find a small tiny store, for a cold drink. Inside is one guy, sitting in an arm chair, with a fridge and some candy bars in a cabinet. That’s the store. He’s about 85 and lived there, in and out, since he was 15.
Finally, out of White Peak, exhausted, but feeling great! The toughest most challenging part of the whole ride!

Its awesome, but enter at your own risk! I think the better approach is to camp at Coyote Lake campground close by, and spend a day exploring without carrying all the gear. I would also get good maps from the Land Commission and get a better handle on private vs public lands.

Sitting there, in the shade of a 100 year old building, I reflect to UlyBrad how odd it is, that we seek out the most remote, rugged corner of New Mexico, where nary a soul is….all for FUN! Are we crazy? Yeah!

Not shy about how some of the locals feel about fracking…lingering resentments against previous Land Commissioner attempts to sell of White Peak parcels to the oil and gas industry? Conflicts over use of what little water there is for fracking? Maybe some things you just cannot escape from, no matter how far out you are!

We make the final run into Las Vegas and a state campground just outside of town. Not super pretty, but I am sure when the water was up in the lake it was nicer. We are greeted by high blustering winds, but thankfully they die down. A cold refreshing shower awaits! The night was so nice, we just lay out our bed rolls in the shelter for the night.

After this night, its our last day on Gunslinger Divide Ride to roll back to HQ!

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DocAxeYarYar screwed with this post 07-02-2013 at 07:09 AM
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:44 PM   #32
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Well done Hombres! Nothing like throwing yourselves into the middle of some awesome riding where you have to test your riding and navigational skills!
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:46 PM   #33
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Nice job!
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:27 AM   #34
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Gunslinger's Divide Ride

On the next day we head out of Las Vegas, and try to get back on the dirt road in national forests….but one route I have does not pan out. Looks like the road is washed out, and we have to do some back tracking. Later UlyBrad mentioned he may have seen the faint road on other side of the wash out, but was not clear to me.

From here we take a detour, hoping on I-25 for a bit, then on to highway 3, which is a beautiful scenic drive that includes part of the original Route 66. This works out for the better, because I end up with what I think is my BEST photo of the whole adventure!

This old church in Ribera holds many surprises and I wish I stopped to explore a bit more! We also saw this old Risa Café, and did not stop but next time we will, its got great reviews for awesome local food.

Did not see these in person but would have loved to find them…

Be sure to check out the Risa Café if you get the chance!

We end up riding Hyway3 all the way down south, and drop back into Capitan, the point where Gunslinger’s Divide Ride splits off on the out bound, and in bound routes.

Part of our return routes has on FR 433, but as we go off the forest, looks like it turns to private roads that are gated….so we have to do some backtracking off this section. The riding was fun, so that was OK! But, next time need to find some alternative routes.

Exploring, looking to try and hook back up on the forest roads, after hitting a couple of locked gates.

Ultimately, because of the back tracking, and its getting later in the day, we decide to make our night’s stop in Roswell……not a first choice, but really our only option. I have a section of dirt that heads south, but its too risky given it could peter out like the other one. Later, reviewing GPS in the hotel in Roswell I see this route is all named county roads so it looks good for next time!

So, for our last day’s ride through the Guadalupe Rim, I find myself awake at 4 AM, sitting on the toilet, with my GPS and smart phone on Google maps! I’m calculating the distances for GAS! Because from Artesia, 40 miles south of Roswell, there is none till we get to RDS world HQ! Hope is our turn off point, and I carefully check that the marked roads out of Hope will get us to the Rim Road.

Here is our last day!

Hope is our turn off and we make it to Russell Gap road!

On the ride in from Hope, I am nervous about the distance, and if we both have the gas range. From Artesia we burn 20 miles in gas, and I set our pace at 50 MPH to conserve fuel. Sitting on the toilet in the hotel, I calculated 50 miles to the Rim Road….and we hit it at 51 miles! From here I estimate we need a solid 120 further of fuel, for a total of 170 to 180!

Here is the turn were looking for!

The Rim Road turns into a real gem…..riding high along the edge of the mountains, is a nice graded road, with some cattle and ranchers on it. Several side roads noodle around, and offer chances for more exploration! Some areas have a few minor washouts, likely from the big rains that hit us in the very beginning, as we started this adventure.

From here we ride the Rim Road all the way back to HQ, and as we drop down, the heat ramps up! We drop into some rougher dirt roads in Dog Canyon, and hit HQ in a 103-degree heat! I plowed through 200 ounces of water in my camel bak!

We arrive at HQ after about 180 miles, UlyBrad added his extra quart of fuel he carried the whole trip, and did not hit reserve!

Were hot, thirsty, dusty, tired and saddle sore, just how you should feel after a big adventure! Will post up some closing thoughts on our 2,060 mile adventure!

Rim Road - - YouTube

Guadalupe Rim Road on - YouTube
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:41 AM   #35
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Gunslinger's Divide Ride

Final thoughts and reflections, or “I’m OK, Your OK – now get off your butt and pack up your crap on the bike!”

It took me till our last night in Roswell to finally beat UlyBrad at packing all my crap on the bike and getting ready….still, he was at a disadvantage because we stayed in a motel…..UlyBrad is the master at setting up and breaking down camp I was always lagging behind. Maybe because I had to clean my goggles with my lens cleaner and adjust the GPS at just the right angle…..

Here’s a few lessons I learned along the way if its of any help…..most likely its all been said before!


Pack extra bungees or Roc Straps! I loaned UlyBrad a spare Roc Strap before we set off, and packed a couple extra bungees. We needed them to tie down extra water, and two of my bungees the hooks stretched out and got week due to relentless pounding!

I got too creative adding in extra sections of dirt roads around the major sections of my GPS tracks. In trying to avoid pavement at all costs, I built in too many smaller dirt sections that were time wasters. Write your tracks so you get into, and out of, your major dirt routes quickly and easily. When your hot and tired at the end of the day, you don’t want to noodle needlessly on little dirt roads just to avoid a few miles of pavement into a town.

On this ride me and UlyBrad did great, with just two people decisions were quick and easy. But, when you get into the rough stuff, and generally for safety, I think 3 riders are best. More support, muscle, and brains for when it gets rough. If someone gets hurt, one can seek help if needed, and another can stay with injured person. But, FOUR is good too and provides good coverage for your buddies, and wont slow you down too much. For larger groups, I recommend splitting up into groups based on riding style and expectations.

I packed two freeze-dried meals ($8 each) I did not end up using. We ate very well on sardines, smoked oysters, chips, crackers, ect. These are easy to pack, make a great meal or snack and not too expensive. All we needed in the AM was some good coffee and oatmeal, that hit the spot! When we got motels we hit a couple restaurants, or better yet just got some grub in a Wal-Mart for cheap.


Courtesy of:

I confess, me and UlyBrad looked like we fit right in, grubby, smelly, dirty, so we were no fine examples of civilized man. But I felt conflicted. Love it or hate it, Wal-Mart came in handy – we picked up a cheap camping mat for UlyBrad and a couple of cheap, bland, dinners which was fine.

But, Wal-Mart was really depressing, a magnet that sucks in a lot of poor rural folk, regaled in baggy shorts, tattoos, blue hair, muffin tops, and obese rug rats. Most everyone we saw was tremendously overweight, and the kids on the way to diabetes. Too much high calorie cheap food.

If towns could be left alone, little local mom and pop stores I would be fine with that…..maybe Wal-Mart took that option away, sucking the life out of small mom and pops.

No doubt, ALWAYS PACK EXTRA WATER! Its your friend. Drink lots. Bring more. If your stuck, hot, tired, you will need it, or someone in your group will!
Overall, the ride was excellent. The route is a work in progress.

I want to ride it several more times, and tweak it. Go back and ride sections we had to by-pass, find new entrance points, and continue to evolve the route. New Mexico offers great opportunities, take advantage!
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:57 AM   #36
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Gunslinger's Divide Ride

Working on developing a few alternate tracks, and/or routes with input from regional NM experts!

I want to do this ride several more times, but fine tune it.

Stay tuned for post-adventure updates!!
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:51 AM   #37
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Gdsr trees, gates and go arounds!

Post script to GSDR report! So made the GSDR route from a combination of tracks provided by others, CDT tracks, and those I drew myself. So, of course it’s a work in progress, and subject to variations! Half the fun is exploring to see where these tracks go, and along the way we found several obstacles.

On the loop to Pie Town, we got derailed, as a small FR off of the main FR was impassible due to downed trees. We had to bail out and find Old Highway 52 to Datil. This turned out for better, since we lost time the day before to repairs, and managed to roll into Datil just in time to snag dinner and a room.

As we headed north, I drew tracks across national forest that would dump us out on Highway 54. But, no luck as the track petered out at locked gates. On my GPS I could see the road continuing, through the forest, but clearly the gates were locked. Also, “county maintenance ends” signs were a pointer also. So, we took the northern route up, and cut across to 54. Along the way I spotted “old 54” on the GPS but this was all-private and we had to take the paved road.

When we hit Taos, I wanted to cut across forest roads towards Angel Fire and White Peak. But the track I drew landed us at a huge locked gate to the road, which goes up to a water tower. We bailed and took 64 north to Angel Fire, which was fine because it was a great ride, and White Peak would later kick our butt!


Doing this again, I would drop our gear at the camp ground just outside White Peak, and spend a full day noodling around in White Peak without gear.

Finally, a small side loop I drew going up forest road turned into locked gates again, as we went off the forest. But was not always clear we were on private land. We were not able to take the southern route and had to ride into Roswell (ugg), and make good and sure you have plenty of fuel, because your heading into no-mans land after Hope!

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