- Nov 25, 2012
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You've already been given a lot of great suggestions; I won't repeat them all. Couple o' things I WILL reiterate:
Like everybody said, get out of Texas as quickly as possible. Vernon is barely 3 hours drive, and is as boring as lint once you're there. Go to Amarillo (350 mi) or Dumas (400 mi). Like Jason said, we do it all the time in the car AFTER WORK. On a bike, if you're not used to long hauls, take a lot of long breaks & you can still make Dumas in under 8 hours (I do it in 6 1/2 on the VStrom without speeding) or Amarillo in 7 (roughly 5 1/2 hrs for me).
Or, as Scott suggested, trailer to Raton - an easy 9 1/2 hour drive. You can store your vehicle/trailer at the Summerlan RV park on the east end of town, for a whopping dollar a day. Then jump off from there.
Somebody mentioned 300 miles a day is good, comfortable Colorado or mountainous NM mileage, and I heartily agree. Take your time, take lots of breaks & lots of pictures, and that 300 miles will take anywhere from 6 to 9 hours - strictly up to you, your camera, and your bio schedule. And you'll arrive at your destination not feeling overly road weary.
If you don't have them, invest in Butler Motorcycle Maps - one each for NM and Colorado. They'll show you all the great routes - which, by the way, are many of the same ones everybody mentioned above.
Telluride - Drew & I went through a few years ago. Not horrible, but VERY touristy. We could hardly drive down the street through the hoards of people walking everywhere - all wearing pink golf shirts with sweaters tied around their shoulders. Am I right Drew? Have lunch there at a trendy bistro, then move on. The roads around that area are fantastic. If you stay around Durango or Delores. you'll find that you can make a great loop up through Silverton & Ouray, over to Telluride, then back south to Mesa Verde and back into Durango, in a very comfortable day.
Also, if it works into your route, drive Hwy 149 between South Fork at one end and near Gunnison at the other. Either direction is fun. You'll do canyon running, cross two curvy, high passes, see the headwaters of the Rio Grande, and pass through the historic mining town of Creede - all in about 120 miles. or heck, drive it north, then turn around and drive it again southbound.