Gallup to Chaco Canyon a dirty Dual Sport Adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Buddy_Holly, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. Buddy_Holly

    Buddy_Holly Imminent Train Wreck

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    Veterans day being a day I had off, I checked with a colleague of mine at work and discovered that indeed there is a way to get from Gallup to Chaco Canyon (a world historic site info here) by taking just dirt roads.

    I have tried before and been turned back by the confusing maze of roads that should exist but run into locked fences and worse houses that are right next to the road with a fence in front. Typical for the Navajo Nation where the occupant of that house has the grazing rights to the land you want to ride through. The roads I would want to take would take me through a lot of grazing lands in the Navajo Nation so my source came in handy to clue me into roads that wouldn't be locked.

    With this info in hand and a .gpx track of what I thought would work I headed off into the cool New Mexico air on my XR650R. By the time I hit dirt I was getting cold hands from the cool weather (highs were 46 deg F), but I was already enjoying the dirt not 5 miles from my front door.

    Heading toward Coyote Canyon from Gallup I roll through some great roads, and then head east. From there I meandered east until I hit what is known as the pipe line road, this road let me keep a pace of no less than 30 mph easily and it heads north to Standing Rock. Upon reaching Standing Rock and heading past the Chapter House (the Navajo Nation is organized into Chapters instead of states or counties) my hands were numb and another layer went under my riding jacket- this time a down jacket. This layer made all the difference in keeping warm for the rest of the day.

    True to the information I was given this area did turn into grazing lands and soon I was slowing to let cattle get out of my way, I was heading north and east but not on what my GPS said was the route- oh well, adventure.....the riding must have been good because it seemed like in no time I was to the only highway I knew would have to be ridden for a bit NM 371.

    Looking to the GPS I knew the road I wanted to find would be just a mile or two north of where I connected with 371.

    Soon I was riding east on a road I thought would connect to 57 which would take me right into Chaco. While doing a little route finding I discovered an impressive Chaco Canyon outlier- Kin Bineola.

    Kin Bineola is an impressive site because so much of it is standing and so little visited. I enjoy visiting Pueblo Pindato, and have seen Pueblo Bonito and the other major buildings of Cahco Canyon several times, but this site was very impressive not only for its size but its lack of visitors.

    After stopping for some photos I knew I must hurry if I was to make the rest of the trip. Heading down the road I found that the views were open and excellent. The rest of the ride included a washed out road, several gaes and a gated yard with on one home but the dogs.

    By nearly sunset I had reached the park and instead of going to Bonito I made my way to another outlier Kin Klizhin. It was less spectacular than Kin Bineola, but still worth the trip.

    Knowing that folks were studying the stars and living a complex way of life in 900 AD makes New Mexico and these sites worth every trip.

    Enjoy the video:

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    #1
  2. Wannabeeuro

    Wannabeeuro Tuner chic

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    Very nice, quality video!
    thanks for sharing
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Looks like a great ride! Thanks for sharing it :thumb
    #3
  4. el tortuga

    el tortuga Been here awhile

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    Good stuff, thanks :clap

    BTW, how do you get such a smooth pan on those shots?

    jeff
    #4
  5. abqcookie

    abqcookie Serow Siren

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    Loved the video! I'd like to do this route, too.
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  6. mundobravo

    mundobravo Long timer

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    very cool video ... what software did you use ?
    #6
  7. NMDesertRider

    NMDesertRider Banned

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    I'm everywhere man!!
    just did a great ride through the El Malpais, El Morro and the Back Cuntry Scenic Byway, great riding out there.
    #7
  8. MrBob

    MrBob Knee-jerk liberal

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    Dang, that looked like fun. I've been to Chaco several times and last Wednesday attended a lecture given by an Astronomer on the astronomical knowledge demonstrated by the people of Chaco and Chimney Rock in Colorado. Visiting CR would add to your picture of what these people were up to. Archaeology has proven that there was regular travel between the two places.
    #8
  9. Buddy_Holly

    Buddy_Holly Imminent Train Wreck

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    Thanks to al for the compliments on the Video!

    I to get the pan shot I used photoshop to make a panoramic still photo, then used the "Ken Burns" effect in iMovie to pan across the still shot.

    Knowing that the ancient ones here had such an established system of travel always blows me away. Seeing other smaller settlements that are littered all over this part of NM, just makes those folks seem all that more impressive.
    #9
  10. Redhed

    Redhed Lost on the Island

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    Great video. I visited your area last summer and was blown away by the vistas. Nothing like it here on the West Coast. I really wanted to get off road but was intimidated by the fences and my lack of local knowledge. I did venture into a ranch? south of Shiprock but the locals did not appear to be welcoming, and I wanted to be respectful of the Nation. Really appreciate your documentation of an amazing culture, and perhaps next time I will be more adventurous...
    #10
  11. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

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    Great video! Professional quality. Didn't know about those old cities... neat.

    More questions I guess...
    What camera and mount (etc) are you using? (I think you should probably should put that as a post, lots of folks will want to know.)
    #11
  12. Flaco

    Flaco Zombie Holocaust

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    Great vid.

    I just visited Chaco for the first time last weekend. My wife and I have been fascinated after visiting Chimney Rock last summer on a trip to Pagosa.

    I was super disappointed (and maybe it was silly) to find that Fajata Butte is totally closed.

    I think the ruins are cool but the astronomical stuff is what really gets me.

    I wanted to see the sun dagger, etc.

    I want to go back on my bike (maybe w/o my wife and son) to really spend some time connecting Chaco, and Salmon Ruin and other outlying ruins.

    Thanks!
    #12
  13. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    all the above!thanks for sharing.:clap
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  14. Mil T

    Mil T Been here awhile

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    Great report. Great Video.
    With all the cultural history and archeo history and interst, I was thinking that an Adventure ride would really be neat organized from this site to make a tour of all the Ancient ones ruins and parks that we can access. I know there would be alot of interest in this and a tour could be set up pretty easy with all the adventurers that are versed in the locations and routes to get there.
    We have many here in AZ and NM is full of them. A loop tour could be set up pretty easy for a 3 or 4 day adventure.
    Anyone interested in this type of thing.
    Sorry did not mean to hijack your thread but it just seemed that those that might be interested in this type of thing would be looking at your thread.
    By the way. Can you give a route track for how you got there so some of us won't make the same mistakes on hitting fences etc.
    Mil T
    #14
  15. Buddy_Holly

    Buddy_Holly Imminent Train Wreck

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    So here's a rundown of how I shoot and more importantly edit my video:

    For equipment I use a VHolder Contour HD video camera mounted to my helmet.

    For stills I use a Canon G9- its a great camera that lets me shoot in raw format. (I also like the G10 and G11)

    While riding of course I use the video camera, but while walking around the G9 comes out and the best way to communicate the wide openness is through a panoramic photo. So I will shoot overlapping photos. Those overlapping photos will later be stitched together using the photomerge automate function in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

    I have Apple Mac Pros that come with several software programs that make pulling together all of the video and photos easy. iMovie lets me import the video and stills. Raw footage is trimmed down with iMovie, you can add transitions and a theme is automatically applied. For this reason the added cost of a mac is offset by iMovie and the other programs that come with it. Especially one of those used to make the soundtrack- Garageband.

    With Garageband I was able to piece up some bits of sound that come with the program into a song that runs in the background- after making it it goes into iTunes and then it can be seen in iMovie for import into the video.

    I hope that helps with some answers. I am sure if you have a PC similar programs are out there- maybe someone else can give a rundown of these programs for a PC.
    #15
  16. Buddy_Holly

    Buddy_Holly Imminent Train Wreck

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    The astro archeology of the area is fascinating. I wish there was a way to to see the sun dagger too- I would like to see it on the equinox. In the future a trip to stay at the campgrounds is in order.

    I think many of us that adventure travel on motorcycles enjoy the thought that the people who built those structures were a lot like us.
    #16
  17. Buddy_Holly

    Buddy_Holly Imminent Train Wreck

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    Making this happen would be cool. The only problem might be figuring out how to get as many cool places into a ride as possible. There are many outliers in this area, and figuring out the best ones to see would be a bit of work. Chaco Canyon and Kin Bineola are for sure- i would say Pueblo Pintado too. Shiprock and Monument Valley could be on the list. Chaco has the advantage of camping.

    The Navajo Nation is a trick to navigate. On this trip, after passing the washed out road and many mile later, I ran into a house with fences on both sides, this isn't uncommon, and it is a difficult situation- undid the gate on my side, wen to the door and knocked- no one was home. So I pushed my bike through after finding the other gate secured by a chain but no lock. Because of this Iwouldn't want to provide a .gpx track with this part of the trip on it.

    All BIA roads on the Nation are open for travel- locked gates of course should be left as is. Knowing what is BIA road is a little more complicated. I would be able to help where I can. There are some great roads in the Chuskas Mountains that could lead to Shiprock (still more for me to explore).

    I think the best thing to do would be to start a new thread and start dome planning on this for the early spring?
    #17
  18. Mil T

    Mil T Been here awhile

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    I agree on a seperate thread but I would like to get some mapping done first to give an idea of where it would maybe start and the places we would see. I will take the lead on this if you would be willing to add the areas you know about and maybe some mapping help.

    I have used the Indian Country roads maps for alot of stuff and it is really helpful. I just need to know where some of thease locations are at. I can start looking at the Arizona stuff if you could point out the New Mexico stuff.
    Once we get an idea of where this would go, we can make the date plans. I was also thinking that it could also be a camp or hotel thing. I can check out the hotels in different areas etc. as well that would be convenient to use on a trip like this. If we can make it easier about not haveing to carry stuff on the bikes it might be easier. Of course there is the chance that we would have someone drive a truck that could carry camp gear as well.
    These are just thoughts going through my head right now. If your on board then I'll send a PM and exchange emails if that's ok.

    Mil T
    #18
  19. merickk

    merickk Living Folk Tale

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    :clap

    :thumb
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  20. jjustj

    jjustj cum petris et choris

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    :bow
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