The Almost Virgin New Mexico BDR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bigmo, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    My entire advertising budget for the year is invested in that ad. :D

    I'm enjoying the report. It sounds like the two of you had a great time. It sounds like something I need to do.
    #41
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  2. bigmo

    bigmo The Great White North

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    Wow. What a difference a great night of sleep makes! We leave Grants with energy and motivation to tackle the next massive two sections (Section 6 & 7). Typical for this BDR, we quickly leave the forest once again and swap for desert. At first, I thought this may have been like the previous section…but it quickly unfolded into an amazing journey. We passed a truck of hunters that didn’t see a large herd of deer (normal whitetails) off to my left. I pointed them out and they stopped and gave me a bug thumbs up. Great instinct guys! I happened to glance at my trip odo then for some reason. More on that later. The day starts in a beautiful forested section...love the fresh mountain air. My sinuses have been rocking all week!

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    We quickly dropped out of the mountains and a giant desert expedition began. We transit a number of gates, and I sense this area is a very complex mix of private, native nation, and BLM ownership. No more gravel here, this is all dirt two track. First warning, do not start the desert section of Section 6 if rain looks likely (or even possible). There are no road improvements here and the track crosses hundreds of storm “wadis”. The Butler map mentions lots of sand here – sand is not really the right description I believe. It varies wildly from silt to plain moon dust glacial loess. In any event, rain will be disastrous. There are no bailouts or alternatives…you are stuck here for at least a day. If the rain is persistence, your feet will be the only thing that move. Troy and I talked about this a few times.

    The ride started off really cool with some cliff dwellings right up front. There were a few typical examples, but this was the best. I believe this is the ancestral home of the Zuni Nation (I may be wrong). They chose these places very strategically as they commanded a massive view and had close access to water via very rare wells (including one artesian well). I really liked seeing this. While there were no signs, we stayed on the road. I would love to see these up close and may have to visit the dwellings in the Gila National Forest.

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    One of many (20+) gates and a very typical easy road section. The road is actually quite smooth, but do watch out for drainage ruts. In a few locations, deep and wide chunks are just missing. In each case, we could just tug on the bars and scoot over, but it would not be uncommon for a massive section of road to be missing…so keep the speeds down and stay alert!

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    This area is stunning. This is just one of many canyons that you will enter and exit. Each has its own unique beauty. You can see how remote this area is…all evidence of man (sans the road) vanishes. In most cases, not even fences or gates can be seen. I looked down and noted when we hit about 50 miles since the hunters in the pickup. When is the last time you moved 50 miles and didn’t see a soul?

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    The fast road sections are fast and easy. Don’t get sucked in…stay alert. Shortly after this pic, a foot wide/deep crack cross the road where drainage stole the road material fully.

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    I rounded a turn zipping in/out of a drainage ravine and smiled as I saw an abandoned school bus left for the elements. I don’t know if it is just me, but I rarely ride anymore without finding an old bus. In fact, my GPS is littered with “lost bus” waypoints. In the Ozarks, they usually have what we call the “stove pipe mod” – where the owner/occupant installs a small potbelly stove for heating and cooking. This bus had a kitchen, but no stove pipe mod. Bummer!

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    We spent a few minutes scouting out the bus. Plenty of evidence that this was someone’s home for quite some time. I wonder if Grants Public Schools is missing a bus??? I snapped a pic of the bus rules – these look like the rules on my bus (no mention of cellphones, earbuds, etc.). Maybe they need a Rule 11. No gunfire.

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    Lots more amazing road. 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 miles. Still just two souls in the desert. Amazing! Troy told me that he is going to wait until I list the CBX for sale as a Starbucks cream puff and then spam my ad with shots like these.

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    I love this pic!

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    Eventually, we see signs of life and our first person comes into view in a ranch truck. 125 miles since the hunters. Wow. We are near Cuba now and HUNGRY. We fuel and find a restaurant to reflect on Section 6. We decide that we will push on into Section 7 and see how far we can get. Cool. I’ll let Troy talk about lunch…he still keeps talking about the meal. Do yourself a favor, eat here even if it isn’t time to eat. A-MAZ-ING!

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    After the best food I have had in months (years???) we move into the final section - Section 7. I am deeply saddened now that very few miles were remaining my Garmin’s “Distance to Destination”. In fact, our planned ride was right at 1500 miles. Troy figured every 30 miles was 1% of our trip. By this point, almost nothing remained…

    We punched out at Abiquiu Lake (in Abiquiu) and planned our remaining miles. Only 120 miles is left until Antonito, CO, and we could see that the mountains to the north were covered in snow. Here I am doing what I do best (that's funny if you ride with me). Butler map in action!

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    It was also snowing while we planned our best option for camping. We decided to push northward, but got turned back by a closed gate with no bypass. By this time, it was late in the afternoon. We were chilly (once again), it was snowing to the north, and we were down to the final 100 miles of the BDR. The route shoots straight up beyond 9500 feet, and we knew that there was snow above 9000. We made the decision to “call it”. This BDR was in the books.

    We looked at the Butler map and found the Ojo Caliente Hotsprings…that sounds nice eh? We head straight for the Ojo with no real plan in mind. We rang them…full. Dang. Troy was messing around on his phone and noticed they had camping prices! We’re in. What are the chances the campground is full on a weekday?

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    A wonderful night soaking in iron and arsenic based springs (yes arsenic) soothed the previous 1100 miles soar and aching muscles. This place is uber-nice. It’s a strange mix of folks, but the staff was great and once we knocked the dust off our faces, I felt welcomed. A camping spot is $40 – yes it’s high, but it keeps the Natty Light crowd away. Soaking is $16 I think. So $36 to soak all night and sleep with a clean bathhouse and shower. Oh, free gourmet coffee in the morning too! I had 2.5 cups!

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    We packed up from Ojo and turned the bikes towards Tucumcari. Wow. Just wow. The pavement on the way home gave me lots of time to reflect on the week that flashed past. More on that later. We took a few roads I knew from my summer travels and routed through Taos to descend into the Rio Grande Canyon, which is simply stunning. What a great way to say goodbye to this amazing place.

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    We arrived Tucumcai. Yeah, the truck is still there. We quickly dropped gear and loaded the bikes. I noticed the trip was at 1359 miles. Honda calls it Trip B – I call it epic!

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    I have a few more thoughts to add, and I am sure that Troy does too. I will collect them and post up a few random thoughts over the next few days. We left 120 miles of Section 7 unexplored...maybe next year. We discussed that a great way to see the northern part of Section 7 would be to couple it with the southern end of the CO BDR. Nice!
    #42
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  3. TroyWolf

    TroyWolf Student in the art of less

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    Yes, El Brunos in Cuba, NM has excellent food! It's a pretty cool place inside, too. I didn't really feel that the staff was very friendly (might be a gringo thing?), but the food more than made up for it. I ordered the nachos for us to share without adding any additional meat--just the beans it comes with. They were the best nachos I've ever had. I mean, nachos are pretty simple I guess, but each individual ingredient had so much flavor and it was just the right mix. I then ordered one of the cheaper things on the menu--the Carne Asada at $8. It was supposed to be nothing more than just beef in a tortilla. Well, that's really all it was, but it was the best beef in a tortilla I've ever had! Perfectly grilled, tender, and so flavorful. The beans and rice that came with it were excellent, too. Then they brought out 2 fresh sopapillas with honey. YUM!
    #43
  4. TroyWolf

    TroyWolf Student in the art of less

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    The Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa was a nice contradiction to camping and riding the NMBDR! Expensive camping for sure, but ending that ride with a long soak in hot mineral pools and then waking up to an excellent cup of coffee. Not too shabby! Hard to call it "camping", but we did in fact setup a tent and sleep in it!
    #44
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  5. advmoto66

    advmoto66 Ride On!

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    Bravo and thanks for sharing. I love Ojo Caliente what a great find for your trip. Nothing better then a nice hot soak after being in the saddle all day. There are lots of hot springs through out NM. I'm not familiar with the exact BDR ROUTE. But when I do a trip similar it will be focused on hot springs as destinations. 10 thousand waves is a nice unique spa in the mountains above Santa Fe. Definitely worth the effort if it's off the main route. And NM cuisine is incredible. I love NM and the land of enchantment
    #45
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  6. Sl33p3

    Sl33p3 still waking up... Supporter

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    Awesome guys, thanks for sharing!!!
    #46
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  7. NMTrailboss

    NMTrailboss Team Dead End

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    :clap

    Enjoyed the report! Very nice photos and commentary!!
    #47
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  8. TroyWolf

    TroyWolf Student in the art of less

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    I forgot to mention the restaurant at Ojo Caliente. We did not actually eat there, but when hen we arrived, dinner smelled amazing. I bet it's as great as the rest of the place.

    Funny you mention your "hot springs" trip idea--a lady in one of the pools said the same thing. She wanted to do a trip across the country with hot springs as destinations along the way.

    Ask Sean about our Orvis Hot Springs experience outside of Ridgway, CO. He still claims he did not realize the place was "clothing optional" until that fact became quite obvious. :-)
    #48
  9. advmoto66

    advmoto66 Ride On!

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    Yup and usually the people that go au natural aren't the ones that you wished were.
    #49
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  10. OrangeDreamCycler

    OrangeDreamCycler ...explorer of options.....

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    For being a novice at Ride Reporting this sure is activating my
    wanderlust glands and wanting me to take a "round a bout" of my
    home state. Thanks a bunch. ODC.
    #50
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  11. TroyWolf

    TroyWolf Student in the art of less

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    Thanks for sponsoring my ride, Eddie! Thanks to you and the great folks over at McLiney & Company, my chapstick budget for the entire adventure was $0.00! It was the difference between go and no-go. Yes, you do need to do this ride!
    #51
  12. advforlife

    advforlife n00b

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    leaving midland tx fri may 6 to ride it.. cant wait.
    #52
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  13. gagnaou

    gagnaou Long timer

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    Thanks for pointing me that direction Troy, this is awesome, great report Sean!
    #53
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  14. bamamate

    bamamate Been here awhile

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    Great ride report and great to see another 17" rider. I did the COBDR on my NC700x last Sept which also sports 17" cast wheels. I'm also an Ozarks rider an yes it can be funny as to what others label as rocky.
    #54
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  15. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Excellent Ride Report. Thanks again for taking the time to post this one.
    #55
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  16. NicorAdv

    NicorAdv Been here awhile

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    A very good report.
    Wish I could do half as good.

    Forget the TAT, I'll ride this one.
    #56
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  17. Taillight

    Taillight Adventurer

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    Great report. Thanks for posting and sharing.
    I have eaten at El Brunos during a trip up the CDT. Really good.
    #57
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  18. kcmotomann

    kcmotomann n00b

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    Good times fellas! Awesome report.
    #58
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  19. koa925

    koa925 Senior Stromer

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    Awesome, thanks for sharing
    #59
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  20. malsin

    malsin Adventurer

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    Now on the "to-do" list.
    Great report.
    #60
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