NM BDR from Grants to Cuba

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Re: NM BDR from Grants to Cuba

Postby SandyBallard » Mon May 20, 2019 1:50 pm

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Amy and I enjoyed a most excellent adventure this weekend.

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https://drive.google.com/open?id=10YMSjSnqiLRvP4pn238vjzbugb_o1QFB&usp=sharing

After gassing up the dual sports in San Ysidro we hit the dirt on the west side of 550 about 2 miles south of town. We passed the White Mesa Bike Trail and the Ojito Wilderness before heading north on Pipeline Road. Eventually, we wound our way up onto Chivato Mesa (~8500’ elevation) and headed south to Mt Taylor. It had been a goal of ours to ride 239 up on the mesa for some time. The road was mostly pretty good but there were some significant rough sections on the southern half. Not too bad, after all, Amy and I made it with only minor trepidation and no major mishap. It is beautiful up there. Green grass, ponderosa pines, cool. We camped at the Coal Mine Forest Servce Campground near Grants Saturday night. On Sunday, we gassed up in Grants before heading back up onto Mt Taylor and following leg 6 of the NM BDR north. We left the BDR near San Luis and returned home on 550.

The only mishap was that Amy got a flat tire about 25 miles before the intersection with 550. Fortunately, our sons were returning from a weekend in Utah and came in and picked us up. No more adventures until we get the tools and know-how to fix a flat in the backcountry!

Cheers,
Sandy
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Re: NM BDR from Grants to Cuba

Postby RJMirabal » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:22 pm

8)

Hey, Sandy, are you ready to climb Cabezon (the high mesa in the background where you are sitting in your chair enjoying the sunset)? I'll take you. Bring sturdy hiking shoes... :eek:

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Re: NM BDR from Grants to Cuba

Postby SandyBallard » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:53 pm

Amy and I went back this weekend and repeated the ride on our dual sports.

Cabezon - 1 (1).jpg

We trailered our bikes to Milan and our son Eric very kindly drove the truck and trailer back to Albuquerque. We headed up Highway 605 (paved) to San Mateo and then headed north on the BDR. We missed the section of the BDR over the shoulder of Mt Taylor because of snow, but got most of the section done. Road conditions were excellent, with only one ~100 ft sandy stretch just south of our camp.

Cabezon - 1 (2).jpg

The camping out there is idyllic: very primitive, no people, fantastic views. We had a great time!

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And, of course, we had to finish off our trip by visiting the Riding Challenge Library in Cuba!

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Here is a Google Map of our route https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hpX5-j4jFE53YZqe-pWwAmOD0p_qwD7N&usp=sharing and a brief photo album of our trip: https://photos.app.goo.gl/VxPxtxfBzLEQsVug8.

Cabezon - 2 (1).jpg

Dirt is fun!
Sandy & Amy
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Re: NM BDR from Grants to Cuba

Postby AndyS » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:23 pm

I headed out this weekend also with the idea to ride this route! But got stopped and turned around at the snow you described on FR 239. (I was short on time. So instead of looping around to San Mateo to continue like you guys, I just rode some other roads south of Grants.) I'd definitely be up for trying again in a few weeks.
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Re: NM BDR from Grants to Cuba

Postby RJMirabal » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:19 pm

:eek: 8)

I've explored that area on my RZR and it's a cool landscape especially around Mt. Taylor. Great report. :lol:

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NM BDR from Grants to Cuba

Postby SandyBallard » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:58 pm

On March 9 and 10, 2019, Amy and I drove El Taco (our 4x4 Toyota Tacoma) on a reconnaissance of the NM BDR Section 6 from Grants to Cuba. See Google Map https://drive.google.com/open?id=16QnSeWIaky3CgQ6DTsAPwtZ7RebJOqTF&usp=sharing
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Starting from Grants, we headed up hwy 547 onto the shoulder of Mt Taylor. The paved road turned into a good, graded gravel road but then got covered with snow. Eventually, the Taco got stopped by the snow and we turned around and headed back to Grants. We took hwy 605 from Milan to San Mateo and reconnected with the BDR about 2.5 miles north of San Mateo. About 4 miles north of where the BDR hits the pavement on hwy 75 (unmarked), things got very confusing. If you see these signs
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turn around, head 0.4 miles back and turn north on a dirt road. There are a couple to choose from, all unmarked, and we made several wrong turns before we got on the right road. Best to have a GPS with the BDR track on it and use it in this area.
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Once we got on the right road, we had clear sailing all the way to Waypoint 2. The road was hard packed, dry and clayey, with very little sand. Overall a very easy road. We encountered several gates along the way, but they were not locked and we passed through, leaving them as we found them. At Waypoint 2 we took a short detour to ride up onto the mesa to the south on road 239 (unmarked). This fun road is more challenging then the BDR but takes you up into the pine trees on the mesa with spectacular views to the north. Back at Waypoint 2, we continued on the BDR to Waypoint 4 just to the north of El Cabezon. The road was very good in this stretch. From Waypoint 4 we headed north to a beautiful camp up on top of a mesa. The views of El Cabezon to the south and the mesas to the north were fantastic.
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The road from Waypoint 4 to Highway 550 was not quite as good as what we experienced prior to Waypoint 4 but still not bad. There were some patches of sand but otherwise no major obstacles.

Overall, we thought the route would be quite doable on dual sport bikes, even though we did it in a 4x4 and we are quite inexperienced dirt bike riders. We look forward to repeating the trip on bikes in a few weeks when the snow on Mt Taylor melts.

Sandy & Amy
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