New Mexico in 5 Days

Craig Littlefield

September 2014

On September 22, 2014, Susan O'Brian on her Honda CTX700, Ron Foltz on his R1200GS, Dave Delie on his R1200RT, Helen & Mike Tschirhart and me on our S1000Rs took off for New Mexico. Our objective was to ride all the best motorcycle we could in 5 days.

Day 1

We went through Safford, over Mule Creek Pass to Silver City. We had intended to take NM152 to Kingston but the road had been washed out. Instead we had to go to Deming and then I10 to Los Cruces. We arrived there for ice cream at the Dairy Queen when I discovered that my hearing aids had fell out of my riding pants pocket. Helen remembered something flying off the back of my bike but was not sure what it was. I always have trouble hearing but it was even worse the rest of the trip.

Before we could leave it stated to rain. We all got our wet gear on and headed for Alamogordo for the night. And it really rained. It was the hardest rain any of us could remember riding in. All the rain gear failed to different degrees. After dinner the owner of the motel let us use her large clothes drier. The White Sands Motel in Alamogardo is a great place to stay with reasonable rates.

Day 2

We first rode loops south of out of Cloudcroft. We rode NM130 to NM28 and took the loop east and north back to US82. Then we rode NM130 the other direction back to Cloudcroft. Great roads. After lunch we rode to our motel in Ruidoso as it was threatening to rain again. After checking in we took US70 to Roswell. Going north and west out of Roswell on route NM246 took us back to Ruidoso. That is a great motorcycle road with beautiful scenery and no traffic.

Day 3

In the morning Ron had an emergency at home and had to leave us to go back to Tucson. The remaining five of us headed for Taos. It was a beautiful morning. We followed US94 north onto NM3. This is a narrow back road with no traffic. The road was marked for dangerous curves and we were disappointed as we saw no significant curves. It did go through some interesting terrain before reaching I25. It was a short ride into Las Vegas where we took a break. Route NM94 and NM518 are both great motorcycle roads leading into Taos from the south east. .

Day 4

In the morning we headed north and east on US64. It was cool and clear with some fog. Beautiful country. We stopped to visit the Viet Nam monument in Eagles Nest and then on to Red River for coffee. Back down to US64 we stopped at the bridge over the Rio Grande. US64 west to Tierra Amarilla is one of my favorite rides. Then we went south on US84 to Los Alamos. We had a hard time finding the road west out of Los Alamos as they had the main road closed. After roaming around we found we had to go through a check point and show our drivers licences. Highway 4 from Los Alamos west and then south to San Ysidro is fantastic.

Meeting US505 we headed north. It looked like rain ahead so we stopped to put on rain gear. It was not 5 minutes later that it started to rain hard, which then turned to heave huge hail. The side of the raod turned white first and then the road was suddenly covered with several inches of hail. It was like driving in snow. Cars had pulled off to the side of the road. Helen caught her front wheel in the heavy slush went down, her and her bike sliding down the road with Susan trying not to run over her. Helen was not hurt and thanks to her engine guards and frame sliders neither was her bike. People from the stopped cars help her get her bike vertical. A mile down the road it had stopped raining and the surface was dry. An ambulance and a snow plow were headed for the hail covered road. We continued on to Cuba.

It was almost dark now and we had another two hours on narrow roads west and south to Grants. There was no traffic. The weather was clear as we drove into the setting sun. It was a nice ride but we didn't get to our motel in Grants until 8 pm. It was a long day.

Day 5

Leaving Grants we went south on NM117 to US60 at Quemado. Susan, Dave and I decided to go home through Show Low and Salt River Canyon. Helen and Mike took US191 home. They found a great restaurant, PJs, in Clifton.

A great trip. Almost 2000 miles. All the bikes ran great. Susan's CTX Honda does fantastic and the S1000Rs proved to be great touring bikes.

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