Spring Trip 2017, NM, AZ (AZBDR), UT, CO Loop

Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - Rockies' started by wbbnm, May 30, 2017.

  1. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Grand Caynon overlook north of Cameron near Nanoweap Falls

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    Attached are GPS tracks from our spring trip. The ride was a ~1900 mile 9 day loop starting and ending in Albuquerque. We had 9 guys and 1 woman for nearly all of the ride.

    We spent 3 of the days riding the northern half of the AZBDR.

    The color code in the tracks is red for odd numbered days actual tracks, blue for even day actual tracks, cyan for sections planned but not ridden. There is a waypoint with a cryptic description of why we skipped each such section. I marked the fun primitive roads with blue triangle waypoints.

    My pictures from the ride are here:

    https://wbbnm.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Spring-2017-NM-AZ-AZBDR-UT-CO/

    I tended to only take pictures of places we hadn’t been before, thus none the first two days and later lots in Utah.

    This ride was similar to the spring rides we have done for the past several years. Here are tracks from last year’s ride and links to tracks and ride reports from previous rides.

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/albuquerque-tombstone-grand-canyon-loop.1150793/

    Day by Day Summary:

    Day 1 Albuquerque to Alpine AZ. We did about 80 miles of pavement to Grants NM. We had intended to ride thru the Zuni Mountains, but chickened out due to heavy rain clouds. As it was we got hit by a nasty blinding sleet storm on our paved bypass. This was the 4th year in a row we got rained out of the Zunis. We then rode the NMBDR nearly all the way to Alpine.

    Day 2 Alpine to Heber AZ. Nearly all dirt thru the mountains. We stopped for gas in Show Low. Highlights were the Maverick OHV trail near Show Low and several primitive sections between Show and Heber.

    Day 3 Heber to Flagstaff. We picked up the AZBDR near where it enters the Mogollon Rim road and went all the way to Winona for gas. Highlights were the embedded rock section near Long Lake and the primitive road just south of Winona.

    Day 4 Flagstaff to Marble Canyon. We skipped the part of the AZBDR east of 89 and picked it up where it crosses 89. We got about an inch of snow overnight in Flag. We ran into some bad packing red mud about 20 miles west of 89. Most of us made it thru, but two guys did turn back. We took a tough road, FR 310 that paralells 64 on the north side of the Gray Mountain plateau. It wore us out and we skipped south side of Gray Mtn.

    We got gas in Cameron and headed for the part of the AZBDR on the Navajo Rez east of 89. We detoured from the BDR to go to a scenic Grand Canyon overlook. This took a while so we skipped the northern dirt part of the BDR and took 89 and 89A up to Marble.

    Day 5 Marble Canyon to Escalante. Headed east on 89A over to House Rock springs canyon road and took it north to 89, a nice easy scenic ride. Then got gas at Big Water and headed up Smokey Mountain road. We had done this a couple of times, but never the Kelly grade at the south end. It was an awsome ride.

    Day 6 Escalante to Hanksville UT. We went up to Hells Backbone on nice easy roads. We then took 12 north and ran into some snow showere at the summit. Then the back road into Capitol Reef NP. This was a really fun road. It had deteriorated a lot since we last did it about 6 years ago. We had planned to do Cathedral Valley, but it started raining hard off and on, so we just took 24 over to Hanksville.

    Day 7 Hanksville to Blanding. Took the Henry Mountain access dirt road south out of town and then cut over to 95. We went down Poison Spring Wash hoping to cross the Dirty Devil river and continue into the Maze District of Canyonlands NP. But the river was too high from the rains and probably spring runoff. So we went back to 95. This was such a spectacular ride, it really didn’t both me doubling back. Went down 95 to get gas at Hite Marina. Then after a few miles on 95 we took Blue Notch road over to Lake Powell. We had intended to meet up with Red Canyon road and come out near Natural Bridges. We got to the lake, but the the road over to Red Canyon was Closed and blocked by two large boulders. So another retrace. Again the ride was so good, it didn’t bother me doing it twice. We had planned to go up to the Bears Ears and head into Blanding on dirt. But it was nearly 5 and just one guy did the dirt ride.

    All in all I don’t think this ride was doable in a day as planned. Too much hard stuff.

    Day 8 Blanding to Durango. Took off southeast from town on a good road to Montezuma Creek canyon. Then another good road down the canyon to Squaw Creek canyon. Then a fun road thru Squaw to Cross Canyon. We then got to deal with a long steep rock road getting up to the top of the mesa. Really fun ride. We stopped at a nice rest stop along the Do;ores river. Next was a unpleasant rocky road thru the national forest. This trip we found a dirt road into Dolores that included a couple of fun primitive sections. We tried to do a mountain loop between Dolores and Mancos, but ran into snow at 9300 ft and had to turn back. Finally we rode some nice rural residential dirt roads south of 160 into Durango.

    Day 9 Durango to Albuquerque. We took pavement down past Navajo Lake and then made our way thru the oil fields to the Carson National forest. All the roads in this area were badly rutted. We finished off the dirt part of the trip with a nice long stretch thru the Santa Fe NF.

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. Tag Alder

    Tag Alder Adventurer

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    It's a bit of a haul for me to get that far to make the ride, but I may seriously consider it next year if you do similar. Perhaps others here might jump on board.
    #2
  3. condor-machinist

    condor-machinist el dirt hombre

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    Thanks for the tracks and waypoints. Will check out the report.
    #3
  4. Ruined One

    Ruined One Been here awhile

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    Great pictures and description of trails. Noticed most of the bikes were more dirt oriented. How would a loaded GSA fare on some of the roads?
    #4
  5. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    It would depend a lot on the rider. An average rider would be fine on about 90% of the ride. You might have trouble on some of the roads denoted by triangles in the track file, especially Cross Canyon between Blanding and Dolores. That was long, steep, and rocky and very remote.

    Much of what we did on days 3-5 were on the AZBDR. We saw several loaded big bikes there.
    #5
  6. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    Thanks for the report Bill, good stuff. I'm planning a much less adventurous trip that will incorporate some of this, mostly the SE Utah sections. Poison Springs is on my list, I've hear that section of trail is pretty nice. I wanted a loop between Bluff/Blanding an hite and Blue Notch rd might do that for us. Thanks for the info.
    #6
  7. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    So you would be going up Red Canyon and trying to get thru to Blue Notch. You might not run into any Road Closed signs that way. I will be interested in hearing what happens. Some of the guys were talking about tackling that on dirt bikes on a dedicated day ride this fall. But I won't be coming back out west for that.

    Trailwerks has done it in a jeep, but I don't know how recently.
    #7
  8. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Bookmark
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  9. darkstarmoto

    darkstarmoto Am I evil? Yes I am

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    Would this section have been better if the route was reversed (i.e. going down Cross Canyon)?
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  10. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    It is "easier" since you would be going downhill. Some people prefer difficult uphills to downhills. I like the uphills better as long as I can make it. Otherwise downhill since I can get down harder stuff than I can get up. We had a group of 10, and although there were a few hard spots, everybody made it up and enjoyed it. We were all average riders with maybe a couple of experts, but not me.

    We had no bikes bigger than 690/701 and a couple of smaller ones.

    Hope this helps, but it's pretty wishy-washy.
    #10
    darkstarmoto likes this.
  11. LApilot

    LApilot Been here awhile

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    I remember seeing an email about this ride early in the year. I was planning on riding with Longmire but I couldn't make it and I'm not sure if he did either. His back is getting better but he spends all his time fishing now instead of riding. I just put a 5 gallon tank on my bike along with a small windscreen so now my range is more than 100 miles and my comfort on long open sections will be greater. We are doing our annual Mount Taylor ride Sunday (250 miles) and I will get to see how my new "adventure" setup on my 500 is going to work.

    If you guys do another Spring ride next year from Albuquerque I will make every effort to join in. Great reports. Thanks.
    #11
  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I have you on my mailing list for trips. Jon couldn't go last spring. His new business might have been the issue.

    I really miss riding in the Mt Taylor/Zuni mtns area. You might have noted in my summary that our Zuni mountain leg got rained out for the 4th year in a row.

    There is a lot of riding up here in MN this time of year. So my enthusiasm for heading back out west is a bit low right now. I imagine that will change as winter sets in.
    #12