|05-31-2014, 04:25 PM||#1|
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Dead Elk in CC, tasty with gravy...
So, me and my buddy Portero71 are took off on a Spring adventure from RDS headquarters on the border of Texas and New Mexico! Part of this ride is to scout out some adventure rides out of RDS HQ, and see what its all about in the "Burmuda Triangle" of dual sport. What I mean is, basically, from the border of Texas to Weed NM is a no-mans land of rutted rocky moonscape, with no civilization between!
Follow us on SPOT starting Saturday, 24th! http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...adcypGzXgyP0sZ
We have about five days of riding planned, with day one scouting out the Rim Road, and a few side loops. After a day ride on the Rim Road,
we head north again, this time to the westerly side and go around the Cornudas mountains, up to Weed for gas. *We are not too far from Cloudcroft, which will serve as base camp for futher loops around the area. While CC has a lot of camping availble, closer to town, I am trying to find a few "hidden gem" campground *hidden of the side of dirt roads. One section of the ride includes a portion of the Gun Slinger's Divide Ride (GSDR) me and Ulybrad could not make, due to getting side tracked in Roswell. We had to ride through Hope to get to the Rim Road, and missed a small section I planned to ride.
At the far north of the map below, I have a new track drawn....we shall see if it ends at locked gates!
Here is an overview of our route.
Here is more detail on the Rim Road, showing a couple of side loops I hope to explore. One of these loops was bodged together from a combination of MapQuest, National Forest map, and Google Earth, so it should be interesting!
This map shows the route around the Cornudas mountains, to the far left and heading north to Weed.
My buddy Portero and all 5 foot and 90lbs of his ADV partner had an epic TAT ride planned, but factoring in the usual bail-rate of 50% left him solo, without back up, and hankering to taste some durt. News of the bail prompted a frantic text from Portero to me “Dude, I got this itch I can’t scratch, can you help?” I was like, “Err were good friends and all, but I got’s my limits, bro…” Comes to pass Portero really lusts for the feel of dust in his crack and needs to scare up a back up ride.
Sooooo…..being the nimble, fleet footed, and quick thinking global traveler that I am, I figure making tracks out of RDS World HQ is a great idea. Extra special, cause RDS founder Kosmic and his buddy are on the tail end of a big bike epic, and will be landing at HQ just as me and Portero roll in, with a ice-cold cooler of Modelos in tow.
Me and Portero load up the Hondas and hit I-10 rolling a steady 80 MPH the whole way. Austin is receding in the back mirror, and the inexplicable nervousness of laying knob to fresh conquests starts to set in. One thing I learned is that after 8 hours in a truck with another dude, I can lay out a lifetime of sexual escapades, full of good laughs, a few regrets, then more laughs. Wow, so took me all of 8 hours to sum it up, sounds like sad testimony to my own over inflated ego. Top that off with a summary thrashing of our ex-wives, with an obligatory “but she was a good person” to make us feel less like cavemen.
We start off the first night with a quartet of grilled rib-eyes, red potatoes, and asparagus. Topped off with some laughs so hard, we are falling off our chairs. Kosmic is talking about the subtle, understated introduction he got from a guy during a stop for an ice cream cone on his road trip. “So, I see your wearing yellow” was the line, as Kosmic was sporting his full-on yellow Areostitch suit while man-handling a sagging soft serve. A 30 minute discussion of France and art ensued, so never discount the power of bonding over a soft serve.
Off to explore the Rim Road, and epic out and back in some low lying desert, which then climbs up in to the clouds. Greeted by cool temps, a light smattering of rain, and some fun offshoots. For sure this is two-day territory, with more time needed to fully explore.
You got to love a man that love’s his machine. That bike needs some lovin, including liberal use of WD-40. Good luck ever getting that rusted blob of an exhaust pipe off, better to ride it into the ground wet, then start over. Me and Portero kept trying to come up with the perfect dual sport bike for him: more power, better suspension, and reliable? No use dumping more cash into the 650L. Just ride her till she pukes her guts out, and start over Orange!
A tad soggy and cool out, as the night before surprised us with some hail and rain. But, just enough to damp down the dust! All that would change, as on the way back, the sky opened up blue, with nary a cloud, and the desert floor started heating up like an anvil in a coal fire.
More lush and green than expected…
I wonder how far you can ride on the Texas/New Mexico border? Was this line drawn in the sand over the dead bodies of heroes on both sides? I wonder who was the first to stand under a tent in the blistering heat, lick his thumb, and stab it on the map, saying “That’s where Texas is going to start!” Now go get the horses and guns, cause this wont be easy! On the NM side, I guess it was some “socialist” that said “Er, lets just take whatever Texas does not think is worth fighting for, and give it to all the people to enjoy (like you could enjoy a barren moonscape heated to 120 degrees). You know your not in Texas, Dorothy, when you keep seeing yellow BLM signs and no gates. I want to straddle that border line with my knobbies and ride it out to infinity, or a gate, which ever appears first!
We set out on a far-west and north bound route, with clear skies, perfect temperatures, and nothing but wide open gravel! Funny enough, signs to RDS World HQ keep popping up….like who in the world would ever go there? This road was leading to our own ominous demise, while easy-breezy, as the mountains grew close so did a sense of impeding dread.
But, like a beacon from above, or beamed down from the mother ship was the most perfect NM rest stop! Portero had been battling a turtle head for miles, and was about ready to drop his bike and find the nearest tall cactus….then this beauty appeared in the horizon and it was on like Donkey-Kong!
That feeling of relief was short lived as the track started to take some evil looking turns, as though we fell from heaven into the gaping maw of hell. From the soft comfort of graded gravel, the road turned, snaked, and dipped. From gravel, to golf balls, to base balls, to “ do I have the balls?” the road started to vanish. We held on to faint glimpses of a 4X4 tire print, giving a slight relief. I thought if a jeep can make it, so can we (or die trying!)…
Portero starts muttering in his helmet “Where in the hell is Doc taking us!” He demonstrates the calm demeanor of a seasoned pro, able to fight down the gnawing waves of panic that set in as you realized, were on the brink of being screwed. Anyone for back tracking 100 miles, yeah what a party!
We come up on a bizarre site, I thought ancient ruins! We stumbled on to our own little pre-Cambrian man-cave village! Surely we will find the bleached remains of a wooly mammoth here, and cart out a big tusk on our bikes! Then, something looks odd….I spot a turbaned head ducking down a window, a woman in he jab runs away with a small child…..a couple AR 15 crackle behind us!
Ah, so I thought as I realized this village is made of fiber glass and paint! Nary a Stone Age bone in sight. Yet, some how, I thought some kind of odd planetary elder was going to step out and offer to beam us up to the mother ship. Yeah, free probing!
As we meander along, we face several massive wash outs. On one, the jeep tracks take a sharp left to a work around. Ok, whew, we got around it. On the second, its like holy-mother of god we are screwed. Anyone want to jump a fully laden dual sport across a 3 foot wide, 10 foot deep trench? It takes us 20 minutes of tromping around, scratching our heads to find the least dangerous alternative. Lets hit the river bed!
A short reprieve as the scenery opens up, and we hit more climbs. Elation soon exits like King Kong breaking down your door and stomping all your cats to death. Its torture, because after doing 20 miles in 2 hours, we see Nirvana, the main road just ahead. Er, but we cant get to it. Fenced off. Gated. No access. This stinks.
We opt for the only realistic alternative: I spy a patch in the fence, which is poorly done. Surely, we can patch that up much better from the other side! Not ideal, but I make the call for me and Portero. He goes first, to take the first bullet should it come…On the fence post a worn out sign says there is an exit one mile down….but we cant find it!
So, if next time rolls around, we can try and find this work around that lets out across the river bed a mile down from our location.
Now the open road awaits. Freedom. A big meal is in order. Portero is pooped. I am weak kneed. Hit the road! We land in some big plates of awesomeness. These are some real dual sport gut busters. Tasty and reasonable in price. I am floored that everyone in Cloudcroft is friendly, folksy and sincere. I guess we left the jaded bad attitudes back home, and they did not trail us like ghosts to Cloudcroft. How refreshing!
Welcome to a gut-busting, carb pounding, meat packing, gullet pleasing breakfast! A hardy Mountain Man’s start to the day! This will keep you going for hours and hours of dual sporting, with only a little nibble on a stale power bar for lunch!
Our abode was out on an island, to itself. Except for some critters that roamed in the night. In the distance, wolfs howled, turkeys gobbles, and owls hooted! What a mix in the night. During a blissful sleep, I am awakened by a fearsome shout from Portero’s tent! “Dude wake up there’s a critter in the camp!” Portero bursts out waving a flashlight around, jumping around like he’s doin a rain dance! My god, a huge raccoon was stalking us, laughing and point at us like a bunch of city slickers! That coon managed to crawl all around my XRR , but no nibbling.
A quick stop at the CC thrift store for an extra blanky, sweat shirt, and beanie….all for $3.50…..now that’s travel on the cheap! But, I bet grandma died in that blanket in some rotten nursing home….so I hope all the juju is out of it….
A welcome shower in the campsite, after a hard day’s slog! Just my luck, as I start to peel off my undies, a couple of grandmas actually start turning the bend on the trail ahead. Thanks to my quick reflexes, no embarrassment due to the cold water occurred.
Lots of gravely goodness awaits. Miles and miles of climbs up the hillsides. I have the XRR moaning with lots of revs in a low gear, and the climbing does not let up. Turn one bend, and you see 10 others heading up forever! Thanks to my oversize rads, the XRR handles it in stride….I am convinced it would have over heated. Legs wobbling, hands getting thick sausage fingers from vibration…..we keep on truckin!
At several points, the GPS shows our location, but no road! Portero’s navigation is better than mine. Give him a Nat Forest map and he works wonders! We peck our way to Mayhill, and make our lunch stop there. Does not hurt that the waitress is super cute, and apparently came there from Dallas area because of her husband. She said “That’s it, end of story.” Maybe waiting tables in Mayhill does not have the allure of Dallas. All the folks we ran into were super, nice, and friendly. Big tips always!
Cloudcroft is awesome! Full of surprises like the 10 ft tall, 1000 lbs elk we found dead on the side of a forest road. Some guy driving a 20 year old beat up Toyota Celica was out poking around on the elk, so I figured best not to stop. Highly recommend Cloudcroft to escape the Texas heat. Do it!
My XR650R Build:
|06-02-2014, 01:46 PM||#2|
Joined: Jul 2012
|06-02-2014, 07:56 PM||#3|
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Austin, TX
RDS HQ to CC
Thanks Blixa, glad you enjoyed it! I'm looking forward to more excellent exploring the "Burmuda Triangle" of dual sport.
I was playing around with my mini tripod and the "mirror" effect on my new camera. Fun stuff!
My XR650R Build:
|06-03-2014, 02:05 PM||#5|
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: N Phx
Great stuff! Rode that area years ago on a moto and mountain bike - great riding terrain and fantastic people in Cloudcroft!!!
Enjoying your RR and Tejas humor for sure. Keep it coming!
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