Blue Highways NM to Canada east of Cont Divide

Discussion in 'Americas' started by dirtmarine, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    I am considering an XMAX 300 scooter route from New Mexico/Mexico border to Canadian border in Montana generally following a route east of the Continental Divide up through CO/WY/MT. I know I could look at highway maps and figure this out but maybe someone here has specific knowledge, routes or maps pertaining to this? I'm aware of the many off road ADV maps out there but most routes not suitable for a scooter type. I want to consider only the "blue highways" primarily. Would consider a few dirt/gravel hard pack roads as necessary to link the tarmac.
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  2. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    A quick search shows HWY 191 pretty much covers you up to Jellystone. From there I would jump on HWY 89 staying away from the flatter areas of WYO & MT.
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  3. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    Yeah I see that now, thanks. I was mainly looking east of the Divide but 191 would be more interesting and I've been on some of those roads via car over the years. East of Rockies would be closer to home turf if I trailered to and from to cut some scooter miles and involve the Admiral and dog but you've given food for thought . . . . .
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  4. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Where are you planning to hit the NM/Mexico border? You don't have that many options east of the continental divide. You have the mountains west of I-25 and the White Sands Missile Range on the east of it. The roads south-north west of I-25 aren't all paved, so if you stick to paved roads (I would too on a scooter, you never know what the conditions are like) it's either I-25 or US-54 until you get to central NM, then you can start zigzagging on paved back roads toward CO.

    Gustavo
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  5. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    Highway 83 runs from Laredo all the way to Canadian border so was looking at that. Have not been on it but familiar with the terrain and country north of OK. All paved. It is actually called the the Road to Nowhere but you can google it and see pics. Some very nice country if you like the plains. It's not all flat. I have found out there is some amount of truck traffic on parts of it but guess that is true just about anywhere.
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  6. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Maybe my reading comprehension is worse than I thought. US-83 is certainly a way to do it, but doesn't go anywhere near NM, CO, WY or MT... :hmmmmm

    Gustavo
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  7. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    No it does not. TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND. I find the front range of CO to be increasingly busy/congested unless you get farther east. A book and number of articles written about 83. Of course there are routes west of Continental divide to include CO, WY, etc. states you mention.
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  8. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    You might want to look into Sam Carero's? Shadow of the Rockies ride. (He is the guy who created the original TAT.)

    It fits your requirement for being east of the divide and going thru NM and at least CO.

    On the other hand I believe it is heavy on dirt roads, but I think relatively easy ones. It might make sense to combine this with secondary paved roads.
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  9. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    Based on this link below I don't think the scooter would be the bike for this. I do love those open gravel roads farther south but then it gets gnarly. Having done half of the TAT to CO I do know how those seemingly good roads can go bad when you least expect. It would beat the scooter to a pulp I'm afraid.

    I did read of someone doing paved farther west of Continental Divide south to north but I lived in CO mountains for 40 years and it gets away from my plains plan.Thanks for tip though. Eventually these ideas turn into something. BTW, I've done Cottonwood Pass and Tincup several times over the years on an ATV. Great country! I suspect I've done other roads contained in the "Shadow" ride.
    https://expeditionportal.com/trans-american-trail-shadow-of-the-rockies/
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  10. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Your reference to "Blue Highways " appears to reflect some particular map 's method of ranking roads , and that does not transfer to other map makers . What are you using as your source map ? Any blue line on my AAA maps will be a river or other water course - not conducive to happy scootering .
    You are correct , you need to look at some more detailed maps, cobble it together as you go would also work .
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  11. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    Actually my reference refers to a book "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat-Moon written in the 1980s about cruising roads in his car that were off the interstates, back roads and seeing small towns, people, etc. I've seen the term used similarly since and therefore my reference. I do use a variety of maps when I get serious about a certain area. Sorry for the confusion. He said that the old Rand McNally maps, backroads, were blue. Here a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Highways
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  12. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Never heard of it .
    Doesn’t matter, you should be able to pick a nice bunch of roads on your own just by looking for the squiggly asphalt- classed roads on the state maps which are mostly free from the tourism departments .
    Even then they do leave out a goodly number of roads which omission I find frustrating and dumb on their part . In New Mexico on a map which is ostensibly meant to inform tourists ,among others , they omit marking lots of paved rural roads which can be fun and scenic because ,it seams , they are near a big freeway and they assume everybody wants to use those all the time .
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  13. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    Having grown up in rural areas on the plains and traveled around many of these states I agree.
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  14. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    You might want to take a look at GTR maps. They show lots of minor roads including major dirt roads. Might just what you are looking for for this trip.

    https://www.gtrmapping.com/

    They are also often available in convenience stores along the way.
    They also show some topo information. I always carry these for dirt roads out west for seeing the big picture and planning bailouts when things go wrong.
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  15. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tip. Yes I do recall seeing them. Agree, still like the paper maps for these uses. Hard to get away from my old land nav map and compass background. GPS is great but nothing like a good paper map.
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  16. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    You might be surprised at the number of dirt roads a AAA paper map will show.
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  17. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    ^ Good to know. I never thought about that. Since I am a member, I will try to check some out.
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  18. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Might be a little too far east for where you want to ride, but have you looked at US385? Not super highway and it wanders a bit (good for seeing places you might otherwise miss), and it runs from I-10 in Texas all the way to the Black Hills in South Dakota - just a stone's throw from Montana.
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  19. dirtmarine

    dirtmarine Been here awhile

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    Thanks, actually it is same general area as Hiway 83 that I was looking at, just a bit farther west but still east of the Rockies. See link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_385
    Seems I did look at this before. Will have to take another look. Not sure if I ruled it out for some reason.
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