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Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

Honolulu, Hawaii
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Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

I'm from Honolulu and will be in New Mexico at the end of March for a seminar. I will be renting a motocycle (Triumph Tiger SE) from Eagle Rider in Albuquerque between 30 Mar and 2 Apr and I'm wondering where the best places to go for a 2 1/2 day trip given the weather and time of year? I will be traveling alone, and have more than 25 years experience.

I am interested in routes north of Albuquerque (I'm thinking Santa Fe/Taos and Carson Nat. Forest area. However, I'm concerned about the weather. Don't want to run afoul with snow. South would be fine also, but I have not seen too much posted regarding rides down that away. I understand the Gila Nat FOrest is supposed to be nice. How are the roads that away?

Secondly, what are your thoughts on camping vs. hotels? Thanks for your comments

New Mexico
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1. Re: Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

The high road to Taos would be excellent on a motor cycle.

In RE to the weather, it's hit or miss this time of year unfortunately. Just as an example, last week we were having "chamber of commerce" type weather....temps in the low 70s...no wind...just about picture perfect. Then it snowed last night.

Generally as we get into April, things calm down somewhat, but we still do get some really strong winds and dust storms. Not unusual for that last little winter storm to hit us in early April either. Just keep an eye on the weather before you're heading out....best you can do really.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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2. Re: Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

Thanks for the advice NMdesertdiver. I will be in Santa Fe for a few days before renting the bike, so should be able to get an idea on how the weatehr is going to be for at least the day I start my trip.

Edited: 9:23 pm, March 20, 2012
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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3. Re: Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

Today was one of those strange weather days here in Santa Fe.... cold wind, partly cloudy, snow in the higher elevations and some snow showers at lower elevations.

Albuquerque
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4. Re: Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

A trip to the Gila Wilderness area is also a great option. It is somewhat remote, but the weather is usually good at the end of March. If you head south of Albuquerque on I-25 and turn west on the road to Hillsboro you can go over the Black Range and down through to Silver City. I've seen javelina and mountain lion on that road.

Lots to do near Silver City. There's an interesting place to eat in Pinos Altos.

Follow the Mogollon Range northwest out of Silver City through Gila, Glenwood and other small towns. Lots of aracheological sites and beautiful country that hardly anyone sees.

The roads are good in this area. Just watch for cattle because it is open range. And keep your eyes out for bear, deer, etc. You will see wildlife, especially if you are out at dawn or dusk

Albuquerque, New...
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5. Re: Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

The "High Road" to Taos: Chimayo, Truchas, Penasco and into Rancho de Taos (3 miles south of Taos) is a beautiful ride, with mountain meadows, and historic, adobe villages and churches along its route. Excellent for a good handling bike. Roads are all paved. I believe Taos Pueblo will be closed for religious ceremonies during your dates. But, you can double check. Return from Taos via the "Low Road" ...Taos, Pilar (river rafting in season), and Espanola...much of it along the Rio Grande River, deep inside it's canyon. Be sure to check out the US64 suspension bridge across Rio Grande Canyon, a few miles northwest of Taos.

One of two other routes very popular with area bikers is NM-14, the "Turquoise Trail" or "backroad" to Santa Fe from Albuquerque. You join the southern end at I-40 in Tijeras, about eight miles east of Tramway @ Central Ave. here in Albuquerque. Central Ave is the old Route 66. Just stay on Central Ave. at the above intersection, rather than turning left onto the I-40 on-ramp. At Tijeras take NM-14 north. On the east side of the Sandia Mountains, there is the National Scenic Highway to the top of Sandia Peak, about 14 miles...lots of curves, and only the last mile has switchbacks. From the Crest (at just under 11,000ft.) you can see 100 miles on a clear day. Round trip from NM-14 is about an hour. Return to NM-14, and traveling north again, stop in Madrid (Mad-rid), an old coal mining town, now home to eclectic shops and galleries. The Mineshaft has good green chile cheeseburgers. You enter Santa Fe near Cerrillos Road and I-25.

You could combine the above into a loop trip over NM-4. Albuquerque to Bernalillo, San Ysidro, Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Sp;rings (Jemez State Monument with mission and pueblo ruins) and the Ojo Saloon and Restaurant...very Old West. Continue past the Valle Caldura (volcanic crater miles across) and eastward through the pines to a spilt in the road Left to Los Alamos, or right passing the entrance into Bandelier National Monument.

Rejoin US285 near Pojoque, and south to Santa Fe.

Since Santa Fe and Taos are already over 7,000 ft. in elevation, you can expect pretty nippy riding on a bike. As was previously mentioned, the weather is iffy in the Spring...snow just a few days ago, and highs in the 40's...now sunny and 70's this week! By the end of next week, we should be getting more mild...should, but not for certain. April and May are our duststorm monts with winds gusting to over 40-plus MPH however.These are one or two days a week with passing cold fronts.

Although the ride over the Black Range from Caballo Lake Dam to Silver City is very scenic, and offers exciting twisty roads, I would personally avoid it on a bike, especially traveling alone. On my last trip through there, I rounded a corner in my little Nissan Sentra to find three Hereford steers on the road. I got stopped five feet from one! Deer and cattle are free roaming in the Black Range, so there may be a threat around the next corner.

In the short time you have available, I would think the High and Low roads to Taos, and/or the NM-4 loop through the Jemez Mountains would be the best area rides...weather permitting. Enjoy your visit, and keep the rubber down! If you have not been here before, you might rent the Tim Allen, John Travolta comedy, "Wild Hogs." Not the best movie, but it shows a lot of Northern New Mexico's beautiful scenery from the perspective of three Harley riders on their dream "roadtrip."..

6. Re: Where to go? Motorcycle trip 30 March - 2 April

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