Riding the Bootheel

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Re: Riding the Bootheel

Postby lmounger » Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:30 pm

Sandy, you and Amy exemplify the riding spirit of our club and I look forward to your postings about riding the four corners of our beautiful state. Your enthusiasm for motorcycling is evident from the many posts you are responsible for. That new F850GS you are riding is another good clue that you are now firmly hooked on adventure riding.
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Re: Riding the Bootheel

Postby RJMirabal » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:34 pm

:eek: 8)

Oh man! This is very cool. Makes me want to have my RZR back to do this area in spite of a long trailer tow to get there!

:roll: :wink:
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Riding the Bootheel

Postby SandyBallard » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:03 am

After Dlck Strohmeyer announced the beginning of the 2020 Riding Challenge to 52 New Mexico historic markers (https://loebmwr.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5237), Amy and I decided to seize the bull by the horns and head directly to the most challenging destination of all, Bonus Historic Marker #7. Located down in the bootheel of New Mexico, it is the furthest from Albuquerque of all markers on the Challenge and, being one of the two Bonus markers, it involved navigating almost 50 miles of dirt roads. But, in its favor, it is the furthest south of all the markers on the Challenge and hence is likely the warmest, an important consideration in mid January.

Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 8.50.08 AM.png


So on Saturday of the 3-day MLK weekend we trailered the dual sports down to the Sunny Flat Forest Service Campground near Portal AZ, which is just a handful of miles west of Rodeo, NM. This is a lovely campground in Cave Creek Canyon, an internationally renowned destination for bird watchers. On Sunday, we rode the 170 mile loop illustrated in the map referenced below. While most of the route involved paved roads, Bonus Historic Marker #7 was located on the ~50 mile dirt component of the route.

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The portion of the dirt road up to the marker and down the west side of the mountains to Slaughter Ranch was a terrific road, consisting of reasonably well maintained, twisty double track. Surprisingly, the most interesting aspects of the ride were all the water crossings. The first 3 were pretty wide, as depicted in the short video of Amy riding across one of them.
Animas Creek Crossing

The subsequent dozen or so were much shorter and dispatched with only mild heart palpitations. West of Slaughter Ranch, the dirt road was very flat, wide and well maintained, so much so that riding it was reminiscent of riding on pavement. After gassing up in Douglas AZ, we rode back to camp on paved Highway 80, arriving in time to narrowly avoid violating happy hour, an aspect of winter camping we consider to be of the utmost importance. While temperatures were pretty chilly when we left camp at around 10 am, things warmed up to a delightful 70 degrees by early afternoon. All-in-all, it was a lovely day out.

On Monday, we took a short hike near camp through the most popular bird watching areas in Cave Creek Canyon and then proceeded to trailer the bikes back home.

Kudos to Dlck Strohmeyer for putting together a terrific Riding Challenge for our motorcycling pleasure!

Sandy & Amy Ballard
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