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Old 02-05-2013, 01:09 PM   #1
Mr_Gone OP
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Talking The Great Southwest Tour of 2013

So I'm planning a long-ish trip in May to see some sights in the American Southwest I haven't seen before. I'm trying to work it out logistically to see as much as I can squeeze into 10 days, yet with enough time to actually enjoy myself at each stop.

My biggest hurdle is the long boring rides from Mountain Home, Arkansas (where I live) until I see anything of interest in Colorado and New Mexico.

So my question is: looking at my map/route below, what am I missing in Oklahoma and/or north Texas that will break up the monotony of those miles without taking me too far off my route? Any advice would be appreciated. Any suggestions for sites I've omitted would be welcomed.

I am primarily interested in natural wonders. I have 10 days to make the trip. I've done a couple long trips before and I'm most comfortable covering 350-400 miles per day.

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Old 02-05-2013, 06:35 PM   #2
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Mr Gone, while you probably already know the southwest, do have one of these from the Auto Club???....

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Old 02-05-2013, 07:39 PM   #3
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There is no relief from boring TX & OK. Just turn up the radar detector and twist the throttle. Then use the time you save to see the rest.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:50 PM   #4
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That looks like a lot of mile especially if you really want to see the sites. Many places you listed you can easily spend a day or more. A few examples, Near Durango, CO there is Mesa Verde National Park, great ride into the park Expect to spend at least 3 hours in the park and it takes time to get to the park. Capulin Volcano, worth the ride to the top, 1 hour up and back at least. At the Grand Canyon are you going to look of the rim for a second and then leave? That is a destination in itself.

Also ride the Enchanted Circle that goes through Taos, NM and Red River. Eagle's Nest pass to Cimarron, NM is worth riding and if the timing is right check out the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, NM for lunch or dinner.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally quoted by sorebutt:

There is no relief from boring TX & OK. Just turn up the radar detector and twist the throttle. Then use the time you save to see the rest.
You can do this: http://goo.gl/maps/tzpRj

Or you can do this: http://goo.gl/maps/3nfXe

The Panhandle of Texas offers a unique beauty that can be breath-taking... especially at sunset, through the glow of a full moon night followed by a spectacular sunrise.

Or you can miss it entirely...

NFE
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:00 PM   #6
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Here's a route from Shiprock, NM to Los Alamos then Taos to and through the Texas Panhandle....

The Valles Caldera rim is not to be missed.

http://goo.gl/maps/kw7KJ

NFE
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:15 AM   #7
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There is no relief from boring TX & OK. Just turn up the radar detector and twist the throttle. Then use the time you save to see the rest.
This is what I was fearing. Of course, on those days I can chew up more miles, leaving me more time to spend at my other destinations.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:19 AM   #8
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All great responses!!!

I know I'm rushing through this trip, but I'm at a point in my life right now where I have the money to tour, and my work is flexible with me regarding time off.

Next year, the year after... who knows? I might be flipping burgers at McDonald's.

So, unfortunately, I'm trying to see everything I can right now. If I find that I have time later in life, I'll slow down and smell the roses and spend more time at each destination.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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When in May are you planning to do this trip? Some mountain passes and areas may not be open in early May, but will be open later. For example, Grand Canyon North Rim is generally open starting in mid-May.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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When in May are you planning to do this trip? Some mountain passes and areas may not be open in early May, but will be open later. For example, Grand Canyon North Rim is generally open starting in mid-May.
I'm leaving Mountain Home on 17 May, which means I'll be hitting 550 a couple days later, and the Grand Canyon sometime mid-week. So, maybe the 23rd for the Grand Canyon north rim.

Cold temps I can handle. Snow and ice... not so much.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
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We did almost the same loop starting in OK city. We spent a day in Page, AZ, a day in North Rim, 2 days in Zion. Mesa Verde was nice but didn't get to see much since it started to rain. They don't tell you that is 20+ MILES just to get to the parking lot after you pay to get in. Don't get me wrong, it's a really nice drive, but we were in a time crunch.

Also don't miss Great Sand Dunes national park. amazing stuff. I would also suggest you stay in North NM. and heat towards your Waypoint #2 again. It's a nice road.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by eddie98 View Post
We did almost the same loop starting in OK city. We spent a day in Page, AZ, a day in North Rim, 2 days in Zion. Mesa Verde was nice but didn't get to see much since it started to rain. They don't tell you that is 20+ MILES just to get to the parking lot after you pay to get in. Don't get me wrong, it's a really nice drive, but we were in a time crunch.

Also don't miss Great Sand Dunes national park. amazing stuff. I would also suggest you stay in North NM. and heat towards your Waypoint #2 again. It's a nice road.
Great Sand Dunes NP is definitely on my list.

I'm in a time crunch, too, if I want to see everything. I don't know if I'll ever have the time & money to do this again, so I'm trying to visit all these places just in case.

I would love to be able to spend a day or two at each location, but that's just not in the cards. This trip. Maybe next trip....

Anyway, I do very much enjoy just riding through the great scenery. I can take great pleasure in that, even if I don't get off the bike often enough.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by eddie98 View Post
We did almost the same loop starting in OK city. We spent a day in Page, AZ, a day in North Rim, 2 days in Zion. Mesa Verde was nice but didn't get to see much since it started to rain. They don't tell you that is 20+ MILES just to get to the parking lot after you pay to get in. Don't get me wrong, it's a really nice drive, but we were in a time crunch.

Also don't miss Great Sand Dunes national park. amazing stuff. I would also suggest you stay in North NM. and heat towards your Waypoint #2 again. It's a nice road.
Clarification: by "stay in North NM" do you mean, avoid Interstate 40 on the way home?
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:20 PM   #14
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I wouldn't worry to much. With 10 days you'll only scratch the surface of the desert southwest. Just look at it as a recon tour with blurry scenery. When you're older like me you can get a golden eagle pass and go back for a closer look.

With 10 days, out and back on freeways is the ticket to more time at the national parks. Mid May is a great time to ride the southwest. Less crowds. The north rim of the Grand Canyon should be open by then. If not, hit the South rim.

Have fun!

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:26 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mr_Gone View Post
Clarification: by "stay in North NM" do you mean, avoid Interstate 40 on the way home?
I think you are taking Hwy 64 heading east once you enter NM right? If you are, stay on hwy 64 all the way. It goes thru Taos and other really nice towns and very scenic road.
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