Bastard New Mexico Backroads Discovery Ride (NMBDR) Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by surferbum, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    This report is more like a diary for me to enjoy in the future. I hope you find it entertaining and informative.

    Here's the New Mexico Backroad Discovery Ride website.

    Who Went
    Originally there were going to be 3 of us on the ride but for various reasons, I ended up doing the ride solo. There are advantages and disadvantages to solo but I had a great time. Going solo is much more time efficient since you’re not waiting for anyone which allows you to ride slower (AKA safer). Also the only debate you have about where to go or what to do is with yourself! I like to take lots of pics along the way. Here’s the Google Photos link to the album I travel with a DeLorme InReach SE and it works great. Two-way satellite texting is superb as is their solid Bluetooth to iPhone interface. I would never travel on these trips (especially solo) without my InReach SE and Glock. The planned route (and actual) was to do a minor-abbreviated version of the NMBDR originally to accommodate the group’s work schedules. I camped off the bike the entire trip and would typically eat one meal at a restaurant at the same place which I would be gassing up for the day.

    Timeframe and Route
    I did the NMBDR from south-to-north. I slabbed it from Scottsdale to Carrizozo, NM (440 miles) and back from the north end (580 miles). I started the trip at the end of May (25th) and planned for it to last about 1 week. These dates were originally chosen for accommodating work-related schedules (Memorial Day long weekend) and time it so that the snow was gone and all roads were passable. The BDR guys recommend that you starting no earlier than end-of-May. The trip was an odd one because a couple days in, my battery shit-the-bed with a dead short. My wife came and rescued me (more on that later). My 2014 KTM 690 Enduro R and I went home with our tail between our legs. I restarted the NMBDR after nearly a month (June 21st) and finished on Sunday 25th. I think of this as the Bastard NMBDR because of the abbreviated version and disjoint riding schedule. The good news is that there was no snow on the routes but the bad news was that it was hot riding on sections 4-7.

    Sections:
    • Section 1 - Skipped due to time constraints plus I ride in this terrain around where I live already.
    • Section 2 & 3 – Started at Carrizozo and ended just outside of Reserve.
    • Section 4 & 5 – Bastardized by replacing the Indian Reservation portion of the ride with a spectacular ride through the West Malpais Wilderness.
    • Section 6 – As is in NMBDR plan.
    • Section 7 – Ran into a forest fire so I had to improvise.

    [​IMG]
    My sleeping gear is a 1-person 3-season tent (Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1), inflatable mattress (Exped SynMat 7 Air Pad with Pump & Schnozzel Pumpbag), sleeping bag (Kelty Coromell 25 Degree Long), pillow (SHO Self Inflating) and camping chair (G4Free Portable Ultralight). I pack everything except the chair in a 35L Sea to Summit dry bag.

    Riding gear is sunglasses, Klim Adventure Rally 2 Jacket (1.5L water bladder)/pants, gloves, Alpinestars Tech 1 Boots and Shoei Hornet X2 Helmet with Sena SMH-10 Bluetooth Headset.

    Camping gear is Jet Boil, 3 1-liter stainless steel water bottles, 7” folding camping saw, collapsible glass/bowl/spork, plastic hammer, lighter/matches, survival blanket, TP and wipes, nylon rope, insect repellent wipes, Tylenol/Advil, external power bank battery, various flashlight & lantern, misc. charging cables, spare reading glasses, misc. toiletries, misc. Band-Aids/tape, protein bars, various Mountain House meals, flask of favorite libation, coffee and hard candy. Camping shoes, spare socks, shirt/shorts, sweat pants/long sleeve shirt, water-proof jacket and hat.

    Bike gear includes Garmin Oregon 600, 1 gallon Rotopax gas container, misc. tools, spare 21” tube, compressor, Al wire, 6 22” Spare Cuff Disposable Restraints, tire repair kit, spare oil, spare ROK straps, SAE/alligator jumper cable and Adventure-Spec Magadan Panniers MK2. Here’s a link to my bike setup

    Campgrounds:
    Valley of Fire BLM
    Dipping Vat Campgrounds USDA Forest Service
    Pueblo Park Campground USDA Forest Service
    Coal Mine Campground USDA Forest Service
    Resumidero Campground USDA Forest Service

    Day log will follow as comments while I get the time.
    [​IMG]
    #1
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  2. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    Day One - Thursday (May 25)
    7 1/2 hours & 440 miles

    I slabbed from Scottsdale to Carrizozo, NM (BLM Valley of Fires Recreation Area) for the night. There are 19 campsites with picnic shelters, tables, grills, and potable water at each site. Here’s the route (at least it wasn’t any interstate highways):[​IMG]



    Stopped at the pie restaurant, Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town (on US 60) and enjoyed a piece of chocolate-crème pie.

    [​IMG]

    I arrived near closing time and they were out on my favorite cherry pie à la mode. Still can taste the pie.

    You end up crossing the Contential Divide many times on this BDR.

    [​IMG]

    The Valley of Fires campground was one of the best of the trip. The setting was out of the Kona, Hawaii with various types of lava including a'a (ah ah). There’s a short video (see my Google Photos link) showing the wonderful night and site. The wind was strong that night and partially helped keep the flying bugs at bay. Time for bed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is one of the few campsites I used that had water. Most of the campsites were dry.
    #2
  3. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Day Two – Friday (May 26)

    ~ 280 miles & 9 hours (Sections 2 & 3)

    This was supposed to be Section 2 of the NMBDR but it became super-sized. I packed up my gear and loaded the bike and drove into Carrizozo for gas (Carrizozo Valero). Dinner the night before consisted of protein bar and beef jerky (and a couple of pulls on the Evan Williams Fire Kentucky Bourbon) so I was ready for a great breakfast at the Carrizozo Café. I wasn’t disappointed.
    [​IMG]

    The ride started with a short slab then you turned onto ranch lands for 40ish miles. The roads went up and down small hills with some twists and turns. Here's a Lonely Highway pic of one of the more open portion.

    [​IMG]

    One thing which was consistent throughout this BDR was cows, cows and more cows. There was a tragic tale of a young motorcycle rider who hit a cow in Mexico with an ultimate tragic ending for him. I always respect the cows and slow down to a crawl. The BDR route slabs for a few miles and I topped the tank off at San Antonio. I also filled my 1 gallon Rotopax gas container just in case. I never needed to use the spare gas during this BDR but came close at the very end.

    [​IMG]

    The next section went along the Jornada del Muerto is translated loosely from Spanish, historically referring to it as the Journey of the Dead Man (this is also part of the White Sands Missile Range). Some people have reported GPS craziness in this area but I had no issues. The roads are your first encounter with miles filled with fine dust powder and sand. My KTM handles pretty well in these conditions but a few times were sphincter–tightening especially since there was strong wind during much of this portion of the ride. The only soul I saw on this 60 mile section was a road grader early. Saw evidence where some inmate came into a turn too fast and paid the piper.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    How could you miss the cow?
    [​IMG]

    Here's another Lonely Highway pic.

    [​IMG]

    You come in from the east side to Elephant Butte and its neighbor town of Truth or Consequences. I was going at a pretty fast clip and arrived in less than 5 hours but boy I was in for a surprise.

    I paid my $8 to camp around Elephant Butte Lake and it seemed crowded. I was told that there will be 100,000 people come for camping and boating for this Memorial Day weekend. I drove around a portion of the lake where I would pitch my tent and there were RV’s parking perpendicular to the lake with 5 feet between them. RV’s were everywhere. I knew that there would be partying throughout the night so I decided to continue on and start Section 3. I wouldn't ever plan on camping here in the future.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Gassed up at TorC and then at Winston. The Winston General Store is a step back in time, buy a gallon of gas and an AR15.
    [​IMG]
    These sections were partly paved and mostly gravel so you could go quickly. After Winston then you started forest service roads and many stream crossings. One of the water crossings was unexpectedly up to my axles but made it through with no problem. I was on a mission to make it to Snow Lake/Dipping Vat Campground for the night. I saw quite a bit of wildlife (deer, antelopes, turkeys) and of course cows/bulls. I came across 3 vehicles towing travel trailers and they stopped me to ask questions about what was ahead of them. I told them that I wouldn’t drive there with what they had. Maybe they made the newspaper?
    [​IMG]

    It was getting very late in the day and the sun was in my eyes for the last hour as I went directly west up/down hills.
    [​IMG]

    I was just about to stop on the side of the road and camp but I came across some horseback riders. They told me Snow Lake was up a couple of miles. Yeah. Now I was worried that it would be full like Elephant Butte but it was only ¼ full (remember that it’s in the middle of nowhere). This campground was fantastic too. Setup my tent and had a delicious Mountain House lasagna. Dead tired and went to sleep.
    [​IMG]
    Snow Lake is in the background.
    #3
  4. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    Days 3 & 4 - Saturday & Sunday (May 26-27)
    0 miles - 2 days

    Had a good night's sleep followed by a Jetboil breakfast. It got down to freezing during the night with ½" of ice in the top of my 1L water bottles. Packed up the camping gear and headed to the toilet prior to starting the day's ride. The KTM started roughly but made it the ¼ mile. Came out and pushed the starter button - nothing Nada - not even a engine turnover. A couple of riders (BMW800 & KawiVersys; inmate ???) were in a nearby campsite and we did our best to jump start it but to no avail. Initially tried using the SAE trickle cable but it blew the fuse. Went directly to the battery terminals and the cables started getting warm and an electrical burnt smell started. Abandoned the effort midmorning! Another 3 motorcycle riders (one being inmate Plawa) offered help to but nothing we'd not already tried. The campground manager, Kerry, bent over backwards to help me. He couldn't get me back to Reserve but helped talk to my wife about the rescue effort.
    I have subsequently confirmed my battery had a short and I replaced it with the OEM battery (Yuasa High Performance Maintenance Free Battery YTZ10S). BTW my main fuse got blown too. Battery is 3+ years old.

    Snow Lake is pretty isolated so my only recourse was call for a wife-rescue. inReach worked great and she was going to leave immediately to pick me up. I had to wave her off for that day because it would take her 8-9 hours to arrive and another 1-2 hours to load the bike/make it back to pavement. Unpacked everything and set the tent up again. A father-son duo (Cody & Dakota) invited me over for a first-class thick pork chops, potatoes, salad and cold beer.

    [​IMG]

    A lot of music and drinking subsequently happened. On top of that, they invited me for breakfast bacon/eggs tortilla wraps plus coffee the next morning. Spent the AM watching people fish while the rescue team was coming.

    Wife fetched me from Scottsdale the next day and we VersaHaul'ed it back on her SUV with the KTMs tail between its legs. She unknowingly drove her RX350 SUV on the BDR route from Reserve to Snow Lake. She was shaking when she arrived. I loaded the bike and went back to Reserve via a much tamer gravel road. NMBDR was put on hold.

    [​IMG]

    To make amends to my wife, I washed the car and saw this rock hammed into the car's undercarriage. She said we'll pay $500+ the next time rather than her retrieving me.

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    Day 5 - Wednesday (June 21) and
    Day 6 - Thursday (June 22)

    210 miles & 7-ish hours (Sections 4 & 5)

    My plan was to start at the start-point for Section 4 and finish a couple miles past Section 5 endpoint. I would be cutting out the Indian reservation areas in 4&5 and replacing it with riding through the West Malpais Wilderness (National Monument and Conservation Area).
    [​IMG]

    The window for completing the NMBDR was closing due to the start of the monsoon season which officially is between June 15th through September 30th. New battery installed and bike passes a test ride so let's get-r-done.

    Versahauled the bike back to Reserve; gassed up and headed back on the route. It rained alot on Wednesday so I was worried that the monsoons were going to cancel this restart even though the weather forecast showed < 30% chance of rain (And then only starting late afternoon).

    I rode 25ish miles along section 4 and made camp for the night. Can't recommend this primitive site, Pueblo Park Campground, even though I knew it had no water, no tables or toilets.
    [​IMG]
    It did have a fire pit but due to restrictions, you couldn't have a .

    Started early the next AM. This part of Section 4 is really fun riding and striking mountain outcroppings with Indian cliff dwellings.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The roads were damp but fun to ride. 18 hours earlier - no way.

    I was cruising along enjoying the ride when out of nowhere a herd of elk raced across right in front of me. A moment or two earlier, I would have collided. They stopped and posed for me.

    [​IMG]

    Topped off the gas in Luna - friendly folk.

    Another Lonely Highway pic.

    [​IMG]

    Continued my bastardization of the NMBDR by shooting up US60/NM36/NM117 to enter the West Malpais Wilderness.
    Topped off the gas and ate lunch at Largo Cafe in Quemado. It had good food plus I took a mini-shower in restroom. Charged up devices too. There were prominent framed photos of a few men with cowboy hats adorning the walls. I asked who they were. Apparently these are big ranchers who supplement the restaurant's costs in order to have a restaurant in Quemado.
    [​IMG]

    Into the Mutara Nebula (I mean West Malpais Wilderness).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I saw no one for the next 50 miles. There was plenty of evidence supporting the warning sign at the start-point. If you like fine NM dust roads then you'll ❤️ these. [​IMG]

    Rejoined Section 5 and the riding prior to Grants will keep your attention. Wandered off the route in a couple of confusing intersections but some fun rocky ascents and descents. Gassed up in Grants and watered-up plus splurged and bought a diet Coke. Camped out in Coal Mine campground which is a few miles north on Section 6. No water but plenty of flying bugs.
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    Day 7 - Friday (June 23)
    120 miles - 6ish hours (Section 6)

    Woke up early and wanted to get on the road to minimize the heat (90+°) for this section. It has a reputation for moderate-to-deep sand. Well the info was accurate. There was plenty of moderate sands and plenty of gates to open/close. Saw plenty of evidence where other inmates got sideways on the sand. Here's a couple of Lonely Highway pics. The second one shows what happens when you add a little water. The third is just a classic.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Too many pics to choose from which show the rock features and terrain for this section but here are a few. All the roads seemed to ultimately go right by these spectacular mountains.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Came across a Desert Rose
    [​IMG]
    Then it started to get greener.
    [​IMG]
    Came across some funky lava flow. Reminded me of the first night's location. [​IMG]
    Ate a late lunch in Cuban Cafe. Highly recommend it. Two police cars were parked next to the restaurant and they took turns giving speeding tickets with full pomp and circumstance incl. lights with sirens.
    Decided to knock off ~40ish miles into Section 7 since I made it through Section 6 quicker than I expected. I camped at Resumidero Campground off of FS103. It's dry camping with porta potties. I did not have a good experience due to a campsite full of yahoos who were very loud until midnight. Was glad to leave the next day. I see a strong correlation between the goodness (lack of yahoos) of a campground and availability of water. Will try to only camp where there's water in the future.
    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    Day 8 - Saturday (June 24)
    290 miles -11ish hours (Section 7)

    This day almost had me confused . It started out early (for me) 7AM and finished in Chama, NM. My intent was to ride Section 7 and instead to going to Antonito CO, I would head west to Chama, NM. Well the best laid plans got sideways because of a forest fire around the Canon Plaza area.

    [​IMG]

    The roads between the Resumidero Campground and NM96 are fun and fast. At that hour of the morning, I only saw one pickup and a few cattle. There's a neat couple miles of gravel road (county road 162) which follows the Rio Chama River past the dam. Lots of fun but don't forget to go off route and into Abiquiu for gas. I ate at a great breakfast at Abiquiu Cafe (part of the Abiquiu Inn) which is just down the road from the gas. A couple who were riding a Can-Am Spyder were next to me at breakfast called Antonito, CO the pot capital for New Mexico.

    Since I am riding solo, I didn't take the "Alternate Difficult Route" but I bet it would have been fun. Then the first church came into view.
    [​IMG]
    Followed by huh
    [​IMG]
    Riding out of El Rito was fun until I came across the forest fire related road closure of FS45. Looked at the map and thought FS42 at Canon Plaza would work but ranger stopped me. He told me there was no access but told me north of US64 was open.
    [​IMG]
    Detour time.
    [​IMG]
    Now the gas problem rears its ugly head. No gas in Tres Piedras. A person in Tres Piedras said there's gas 60 miles west or 30 miles east or 30 miles north (Antonito, CO). I decided to gas up in Antonito and do the last segment of this section North-to-South. Get to Antonito - no gas. One station is permanently closed while the second only opens when the owner buys gas which according to a local, isn't very often. She suggested going to (closer 9 miles away) Manassa or further (14 miles away) La Jara. I went to Manassa but there was a sign up saying closed today. I drove to La Jara which had a real, modern series of pumps and convenience store (ate some junk food and calmed down). Now to do the last 50ish miles North-to-South.

    This portion of Section 7 is spectacular. You start out with challenging steep, loose rock up and down hills. That was followed by hugging the Rio del los Pinos River but on the way to the river was this:
    [​IMG]
    The river was fun
    [​IMG]
    There were all kind of neat campsites with modern solar-out houses. Saw a few people camping and likely fishing.
    Riding was sometimes challenging
    [​IMG]
    And of course another Lonely Highway pic
    [​IMG]
    Riding through this never gets old.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Must have the trademark pic for mountain rides.
    [​IMG]
    These roads had evidence that they could get real ugly.
    [​IMG]
    Hit the US64 and sprinted to my hotel, shower and meal in Chama. [​IMG]
    Steak dinner, tall draft of beer and a hot shower. The food was great (Elk Horn Cafe). Motel was clean and quiet (Chama Trail Inn).
    #7
  8. MATTJH

    MATTJH AARG Pirate

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    45
    Location:
    Gilbert, Arizona
    Wished I'd went with you. Next time.
    #8
  9. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    Day 9 - Sunday (June 24)

    500 miles - 9 hours+

    Got to have a breakfast for the long ride and after 1 hour riding I stopped to eat. (A+ at the Road Side Restaurant in Bloomfield, NM.) They almost pay you to eat.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Then the majority of the dreaded slab back home
    [​IMG]
    The portion of the ride before I40 was fun and that portion of New Mexico has some sights. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This was kind of funky. [​IMG]

    I40 was winddddy plus dark clouds in the direction I'm going. Gassed up and at my I40 exit, zippered up the jacket and pants. I was going to get wet. . For the next hour it monsoon rained hard plus cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lighting. ⚡️Was wondering how many motorcyclists have been struck. Remembered a year old news story about a horse rider who got hit with him and the horse killed.
    Obviously made it home. The 100*+ heat dried me off before I got off the bike.

    Hope you enjoyed the diary/ride report. Now start planning to ride the NMBDR.
    #9
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  10. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
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    Location:
    Peoria, AZ
    Cool stuff
    #10
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  11. powderzone

    powderzone Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
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    728
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    Calgary
    Enjoyed your RR.
    Yet another example that there are so many fantastic rides to do.
    #11
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  12. worncog

    worncog YBNormal Supporter

    Joined:
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    965
    Location:
    Florida Panhandle
    Great RR. Glad you were able to return and finish the bulk of it. We were on it the month prior and need to return to finish the remainder of seven. We bailed due to high winds, and ran out of time. Great ride.
    #12
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  13. ZiaThunder

    ZiaThunder Go big or go home

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
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    2,467
    Location:
    NM
    Very nice RR!!
    #13
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  14. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
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    3,500
    Location:
    Seattle and Las Cruces, NM
    thanks for this. I plan to do it next year with my teenage son after he gets his license. Seems very doable for him on a DR250.
    #14
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  15. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    782
    Location:
    Relocated to Scottsdale, AZ from SF Bay area
    Thanks for the many suggestions and corrections.
    #15
  16. steved57

    steved57 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
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    Location:
    East Texas
    Thanks for the great pics and ride report

    I've ridden lots of New Mexico and it's an awesome place to ride on and off road
    #16
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  17. CalGSer

    CalGSer Traveling dude

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
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    Location:
    Left Coast
    Good RR Matt. Attention to detail and maps is excellent.
    Wish I could have made the trip. Will have to do it next sprint.
    #17
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  18. sceep

    sceep Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
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    Location:
    Edgewood NM
    Loved it! Thanks for the writeup.
    #18
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  19. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    Great story Matthew,
    Although it would be nice------I'm still not brave enough to do stuff like that alone.
    Glad you got er' done.
    Mark

    I'm going to do the Nevada BDR in September hopefully.
    Man that's a long way from my house.
    #19
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  20. TRGunner

    TRGunner Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Looks like you had a blast (less the battery failing)
    What map are you using with the great campsite locations and details?
    #20
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