I must admit, I have never been a big “ride report” kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong, I like reading them, but usually give up after I soak in what I expect to see right up front. I also think that almost every place one can ride has some kind of fairly well executed report in place…so what value can I add? In this case, the New Mexico BDR is brand spankin’ new. In fact, I believe we are only the second group (not associated with the BDR itself) to do the vast majority of the ride. That’s pretty cool in itself. I believe that’s mainly because we did it WAY earlier than ideal. Life. Work. It all gets in the way. The first group (by 3-4 days) was led by the famous (infamous???) Big Dog. He just posted a report too - check it out here: http://www.bigdogadventures.com/NMBDR2016.htm So here we go. It’s late April 2016 and our starting point for the New Mexico BDR is Tucumcari. Why? Because it allows us to get to the bottom (we ran it south to north) fairly easily, and then once we were spent – we could zip back to the truck with relative ease. My goal was to keep the transit legs to and fro under 250 miles. And we did. I did a nice 50/50 route from Tucumcari to our starting point near Carrizozo, NM. We chose Carrizozo as it was right where we felt the BDR got “interesting”. There is a bit further south, but the NM BDR is a massive ride at over 1200 miles. Even if we chopped off a bit in the south and the snow cut us off as we edged to Colorado, we still would get 900+ route miles in…yikes! This is my second BDR. I did the Colorado two years back and loved every mile. That being said, I did that ride in late July (maybe early August). Riding in late April made the decision a no-brainer. This past summer, I took the family on an epic cross country RV trip. We spent a few days in New Mexico and I was really impressed with the state and the diversity of terrain. I knew this was a state I wanted to explore…so the fit was perfect. If you want to stop reading now…the NM BDR flat out rocks! I know that the BDR teams refer to Colorado as their “crown jewel” – but I simply liked the New Mexico ride better. The terrain seemed to radically change every few hours. If you woke up in the desert…you would bed down in the high mountains (or vice versa). We saw everything from 90 degrees and scorching sun to 25 and snow (in the same 24 hours). Sand, rocks, mud, dirt, trees, cactus, horses, antelope, elk…it never stopped. One thing that still sticks out to me is that on day three (or maybe four), we hit what was the most desolate place I have ever been. I happened to glance at my odo when we passed a truck of hunters, and then for the next 6 hours and 120 miles of movement…we saw no one. Not a soul. I am not sure how many places are left in the US where 120 miles of motion = zero people. I am not sure why, but it was a highlight of the trip for me. So let’s get at it… We unloaded at the Tucumcari Flying J. We had no pre-approved place to leave the truck. We figured we would sort that out when we got there. I wandered in and found the manager behind the counter and asked if we could ditch the truck in their lot for a week. She is a “Jeeper” and gave me all sorts of places to see and gave us an enthusiastic thumbs up. I felt good knowing the truck had essentially 24/7 eyes on it. The Tucumcari Flying J literally has a line of trucks coming/going 24x7. PS - if there is an interest in getting from Tucumcari to a good starting point and doing it 50/50, just let me know and I will post up the GPS. It's a great option for those east of NM that plan to "trailer" to a decent starting point. Bikes? Just two of us on this trip…and we ride together all the time (mostly dirt). I was testing out my new DIY “Mo Rally” CB500X – what a killer little bike! It was escorted by a 800 GS. Absolutely zero bike drama…no flats, nothing broken, nothing to adjust…the bikes simply did perfect. One word of warning, don’t even think of doing this ride without a real knobby of some kind. We both were running TKC80’s and they did perfectly. There is such a wide variety of terrain (and weather) that anything shy of that is asking for trouble. Off we go. Right into dirt two track cutting straight towards our starting point south of Carrizozo. It looks dull, but was an absolute blast. Some of these dirt roads are smoother than pavement and 60 mph feels safe in places. We kept the speeds in check and just let the miles click by. Some of these roads go on for 20+ miles with no intersections. These are BIG ranches and just sections of BLM land. Beautiful in it’s own desolate kind of way… Here is my first (and really only) bit of advice: bring food, water, and camping gear. I know most guys do…but some folks like to restaurant and motel it the whole way. New Mexico is covered in the most powder I think I have ever seen. I call it dust…it’s probably glacial loess…but I don’t really know what that is. What I do know that is when it rains, you are done. Period. I’ve ridden my dirtbikes through nasty mud slogs before…this is different. The only thing that is mobile after rain here is on four legs or tracks. Wheels are of no value. There is no "I am going to man or skill this out"... We were moving fast towards our goal and a massive thunderstorm obscured our view of the high desert to the west. A few BIG rain drops started slamming my face shield and wind screen and then the wall of rain hit us…for like 3-4 minutes. The road went from moon dust to unrideable grease literally instantly. We “outriggered” as long as we could and JUST before I threw in the towel, we punched through to a road section that was miraculously untouched. From our “high” perch, I could see which roads were wet and which were not. Had we been a minute later, we would have been camping on-spot. Adventurers 1, Mother Nature 0. That was close. To reiterate...bring food, water, shelter! The rest of our push towards the BDR route was uneventful. I did scratch one bucket list item off – I am fascinated by the big wind turbines. My brother in law works for Siemens and has offered to get me IN one…but it just never worked out. Our dirt road in the middle of nowhere took us right through a massive field where they look like dandelions popped up for sun! Very cool! Just FYI, they are as big as you might think. The tower base is probably 13’-15’ across. They are silent sans for the massive blade cutting the air. FYI, New Mexico is ridiculously windy! Since we left Tucumcari at lunch, by the time we neared the route, it was time to starting thinking gas, food, camp. A natural fit was Carrizozo itself and there is a REALLY nice campground just a couple miles north. We learned it was a NM state park that was recently acquired by the feds and converted to a National Recreation Area (Valley of Fires National Recreation Area). Everything was literally BRAND NEW. The nicest shower/bath house I have ever seen. Great sites that were spread out…tent only sites too. Cost? $7! Even if you are not camping, it is worth a stop here to see the awesome lava flow (malpais I think – see NOT a geologist). There is a mile loop that cuts through the flow, which goes all the way to the White Sands National Monument. I was stunned by the variety of flora and fauna here. This was really cool, and I am not typically a desert lover. It’s worth a walk! There are a bunch of viewing points with the history of the eruption, flow, and the impact on the landscape. We both really enjoyed the Valley of Fires quite a bit. We set up camp on a killer overlook of the malpais flow. We watched the sun set to a quality cup of dehydrated decaf coffee. The wind was killer, with gusts to 40+ mph…so no fire. We were spent. Shortly after this pic, the sun set and a blanket of stars covered us from horizon to horizon. I had not seen that since I left the service...I sort of missed drifting off to sleep that way. I left my rain fly off intentionally. The temps were still hovering around 65. How many times does one get to see a natural blanket of stars? Time to aim at White Sands Missile Range tomorrow. It’s west, desolate, and sandy. Fun!