Border Road 100

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by RuggedExposure, May 22, 2011.

  1. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    With the weather and schedules and clearing up, Bullitman281 and I decided to it was time to take a trip on the bikes. Since I am fairly new to the offroad motorcycle world, and him being a seasoned rider, we thought a trip along the US/MX border would be an awesome adventure in terrain that I am familiar with. We chose 100 miles of some of the most desolate and dangerous stretches In the United States. Our journey would begin in Columbus, NM and and bring us from the Columbus Port of Entry to Antelope Wells Port of Entry and end in Hatchita, NM.
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    Bulletman281 drove down from a cold and rainy Colorado on Tuesday, and we spent Wednesday wrenching on the bikes. After tearing apart my carb and backing the pre-load off the suspension of my bike, we were ready to hit the border.

    Loading the bikes into Bullitman281's Powerstroke:
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    Friday morning we began our journey in Columbus, NM, fueling up at the only gas station within 30 miles.

    Bullitman281 begins his first battle with riding gear:
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    taking off from the gas station
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    From Columbus, we headed East on Highway 9 for several miles until we reached a set of double cattleguards and followed a sandy path south. This brought us to our first windmill and water trough of the trip. Soto Mill:
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    From here we continued south and caught our first glimpse of the border:
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    Monument 20 is where we hit the border road. There is a post/rail type of border fence that seems to carry on forever at this point:
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    From here we will head West for another 100 miles, experiencing all the NM bootheel has to offer us.
    #1
  2. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    After proceeding a few miles to the West, the fence made an abrupt change from the post/rail to a hybrid pedestrian fence:
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    Bullitman281 opening a wire gap fence along the road. These things can sneak up on you quickly when travelling at a good speed
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    Soon after passing the gate, the Columbus Port of Entry came into view
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    Looking south through the port into Mexico
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    Looking west from the Port
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    The fence changed from a hybrid to a bollard style
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    Bullitman281 standing next to the bollard style fence to give a size reference
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    After passing the Palomas, MX populated area the bollard style fence fades away into the post/rail fence again
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    Here we spiked the interest of an ever curious Border Patrol agent
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    #2
  3. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Continuing west we passed some Mexicans hauling horses along the road
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    Here is the small village of Palmas. It mostly looks abandoned other than the livestock wandering through fallen buildings, but a few residents still hang on. You can see the Mexican electrical code leaves a lot to be desired:
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    Around this point the post/rail fence blends into an odd style of aluminum posts buried into the ground.
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    A person could simply walk through this area of fence. Its main intention seems to be to deter vehicles from crossing the border. These grey colored posts vanish off into the horizon at Radar Hills.
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    After passing through the Radar Hills and into the farmlands a Normandy style barrier appears
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    Out of no where a water crossing hinders our progress. Here is Bullitman281 sizing up the situation
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    He wanted to find a way around the flooded ditch, but I assured him it couldn't be any deeper than 4ft. After some reluctance, he decided to cross.
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    Soon after the flooded ditch, the border road disappeared all together and turned into a mud pit. Once again Bullitman281 wanted to find an alternate route, and I assured him the ground was drier than it looked.
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    Here is a patch job performed on the border fence. Here a Mexican vehicle either loaded with drugs or aliens cut through the fence and attempted to make it through the border illegally.
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    #3
  4. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    I thought that was a Texas bump gate.
    Damn, it's hard to drive w/o lights on a KLR.
    #4
  5. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    To the south of us some Mexican ranchers loaded their horses into the back of a small truck. Common for down there.
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    The farms on the US side vary greatly in crops... Here is a field of onions
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    Just past the farms lies the village of Chepas, MX
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    Chepas is sparsely populated as well, and mainly serves as a staging point for illegals crossing the border
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    Beyond Chepas you can see the border road no longer follows the line but ends abruptly at the foot of a hill
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    So far my gear has been holding on pretty good and no problems from the bike
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    Here the road turns at the base of the hill
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    And the road winds into the canyon. This road is currently under construction by the National Guard
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    Just as we entered the canyon, we spotted an abandoned car in a ditch. This vehicle was driven through the border illegally and left in the ditch after it got stuck years ago
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    I couldn't pass up the photo op
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    #5
  6. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Upon entering the canyon there is a large rock the National Guard unearthed and painted their Engineer ensignia on
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    The road they are building is good quality and encourages you to fly through it. But the corners are incredibly slick
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    If you build up to much speed on that last downhill curve, you will end up in Mexico after crashing through this barbed wire fence. At this stretch there is no border fence other than this.
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    We climbed through the canyon to the top of the pass. Here you can see a pitcuresque view of the borderland. In the distance of this pic you can spot the border road running as a tan stripe across the desert floor.
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    After riding down the West side of the canyon we spotted an old rock structure that served as a mining house from the 1800's
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    Looking to the West
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    At this point we came across a newer style of Normandy barrier that deters vehicles from crossing the border but does not phase people from crossing. The Big Hachet Mnt in the background beckons us to carry on.
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    A sign on the Mexican side of the border warns people not to cross due to the area being so remote and desolate
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    #6
  7. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Passing several more border monuments we came across a recently replaced gate. The old one was thrown on the border fence, mangled from a vehicle that drove through the border and tried to make it back to Mexico after being chased.
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    Approaching the bootheel there is an old mining camp. The landscape is completely filled with mine shafts
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    Its hard to imagine living in a one room rock house this small
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    Just passing the mining area, the border road transitions from a nice all-weather road with a sturdy barrier to a rough 4x4 trail with a barbed wire fence.
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    Bullitman281 finds this an opportune area to fight with his gear. Again.
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    The Sierra Rica hills surrounded the area and are covered with sharp unforgiving rocks.
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    #7
  8. lakota

    lakota Geeser

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    looking forward to the rest
    #8
  9. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Looking back to the east- this would be our last glimpse at anything remotely resembling a well maintained road or fence along the border. It all went to $hit from here, and the adventure began.
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    I followed Bulltiman281 up a steep and rocky trail to the top of a hill
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    After the top of the hill the trail got ridiculously steep progressively worse with rocks. Being that this is my first offroad trip on a motorcycle it was a good idea for me to pick an alternate route around the hill.
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    I found a tamer arroyo to follow to meet up on the other side
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    After meeting back up with Bullitman281 he had to try and turn his bike around in the narrow arroyo. And the bike got tired.
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    After getting the bike back up, and crossing some pretty rough country, we finally arrived at the corner of the bootheel, monument 40.
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    Here you can see two previous locations for the monument back in the day. They were only 20-30 yards away... Obviously surveying equipment got better at some point during the 1800's.
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    #9
  10. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    Love it. Looks like a great ride!
    #10
  11. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Monument 40 was the turning point of our journey. From here the border would turn left and head north/south. This stopping point allowed Bullitman281 yet another opportunity to fight with his riding gear.
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    Looking south from the corner
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    Here I spotted some buried rations from illegals
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    The border road to monument 41 was full of hills and loose rock, but provided a picturesque area.
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    Looking back north to monument 40
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    A yucca plant comes into view while looking south. Our destination seems to vanish into the horizon
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    Soon after coming down from all the hills we reached the desert floor. The road turned to hell with sand, gravel and silt beds. Here is a section of the border that is cut and frequently driven through enough to make a road appear out of no where
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    Looking back north to the hills
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    A hitchhiker from crashing through the brush
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    #11
  12. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    At this point the road changed from a fairly straight and tangible path to a zig zag that raced through thick brush, mesquite thorns and silt beds.
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    Here Bullitman281 tries his hand at the silt
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    In the bottom of the arroyos the terrain changed to badlands
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    Pretty much in the middle of no where an unusual monument appears. We had found the beginning of the continental divide trail.
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    There was a pathway in the fence that looked well used. Obviously the Mexicans are into hiking the Continental Divide trail as well?
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    As we stood around checking out the area a fire arose on the other side of the border. It appeared to be a controlled burn on one of the farms.
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    A hundred yards to the south a random block of concrete emerges on the road
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    Its a headstone for Frank Evans, a member of a crew building the border fence in 1907. Frank smarted off to the crew chief (Crazy Cook) one morning and ended up getting an ax buried in his head. Here lies Frank Evans.
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    #12
  13. colin

    colin Adventurer

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    fascinating look into the border area....keep it coming:clap
    #13
  14. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    Please please please get a smugmug account so we can see your pictures. John
    #14
  15. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Sorry about that guys, I upgraded the account. I should have more pics up this evening.
    #15
  16. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Yet another spot in the fence that is frequented by illegal incursions
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    Since it is a rather hostile and potentially deady area even to traverse, we decided that the area we camped at would be several miles away from the border. On the way to our destination for the night we passed by an old ranch house, long forgotten
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    This patch of greenery next to a rugged rock outcropping provided a spot for water and camping
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    I observed an odd looking stick with a piece of cord tied to it laying on the ground...
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    Pulling on the cord unearthed a 5gal fuel can full of unleaded. How fortunate :wink:
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    This site appears to be a homestead from the 1800's, abandoned and levelled a long time ago. A few bits and pieces of metal indicated what existed before lay around the area. Here is an old stove
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    The mill provided a source for clean water. I wouldn't recommend drinking the water from the tank, but right out of the spout is ok
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    #16
  17. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    We hiked up the hillside to check out some caves
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    Inside the first cave there were a few petroglyphs and a large carving of a bison
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    Another set of caves
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    These were covered from floor to ceiling with petroglyphs
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    This was painted on the 20' ceiling. Looks like some sort of Mayan temple or zia symbol
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    #17
  18. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Wow!

    That's not what I expected that to turn into.

    I just came back from that area. Probably rode some of the same border and passed through some of the same towns. I thought you'd just have miles and miles of straight, level, well-maintained gravel along the border like I saw.

    Very cool. Glad to see you stopped to see things. The fuel can, that's something. I guess you left it as is? And the grave marker, wow. I bet lots of people have passed by it without ever knowing. I didn't really notice anything of interest along the border.

    I was riding a V-Strom, so I didn't get into the off-road part of the border, but I did run along the fence for some miles.

    Nice ride.

    Jamie
    #18
  19. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    :clap
    #19
  20. RuggedExposure

    RuggedExposure Now with more rugged

    Joined:
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    Na, the fuel got used. Bullitman281's DR650 is good for about 100 miles before its empty. He needed a splash of fuel to get to Antelope Wells and then Hachita. With my 19L tank I maybe could have done the trip without filling up along the way but it would have been close.
    #20