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Gunslinger's Divide Ride - Do ya' feel lucky?

Aug 9, 2009
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Austin, TX

Me and Ulybrad are taking off for about 9 days of dual sport adventure starting off in RDS World HQ, and going up the whole of New Mexico to Colorado, and back down! Temps are looking HOT, 100 in lower NM and 80s in upper NM.

Thanks to all the TWT convicts for tips, tracks, and info rolled into my trip planning!

Route is looking like this roughly:
Day 1- HQ to Capitan - 200 miles, camp Nogal Lake or Cedar Creek

Day 2 - Capitan to Socorro - 175 miles, camp Water Canyon off 60

Day 3 - Water Canyon camp to Pie Town - 210 miles, camp Pie Town or motel Datil

Day 4 - Pie Town to Cuba, 200 miles, motel

Day 5 - Cuba to Pine CO, 180 miles, camp Elk Creek

Day 6 - Pine CO to Coyote Creek St Park - 140 miles, not including any extra mile in White Peak loop, camp Coyote Creek

Day 7 - Coyote Creek to Capitan - 240 miles, camp or motel?

Day 8 - Capitan to Guadalupe Rim entrance - 110 miles (camp?)

Day 9 - Guadalupe Rim to HQ - 120

We hit the dirt on Saturday, June 15th, which is when I turn on the SPOT tracker and you can follow along here:


On my return, pics and tall tales will get posted!

Its the peak of wildfire season, and every year it seems New Mexico is on fire. This ride was first planned a couple of years ago by me and Kosmic, but we had to bail due to large severe fires ravashing New Mexico. Several are burning right now, but so far does not look to be on the same scale as a couple of years ago. I am monitoring them, and our route comes close to a couple of the fires. So far no road closures are affecting our route.

- Thompson Ridge Fire, larger but mostly contained.....we may have to re-route here which is easily done. Roads are re-opened.
- Tres Lagunas Fire, larger but only closure is the wilderness area.
- Jaroso and Sawmill fires are much smaller
- Silver Fire, has potential to be much larger, and seems to be burning in southerly direction, should not impact our route we are further north on loop to Pie Town.
That all said, things can change!


Here is my XR650R, all loaded up for my first epic DS trip on this bike!



My riding buddy is UlyBrad, submariner, motocross racer, story teller and overall comedian.......I am lucky to have such a well seasoned and happy go lucky partner on this ride! A couple of other buddies were to come along, but mis-fortune struck.....so this ride is for them too, and I know one day they will make this stellar route.


UlyBrad rockin it at BBRSP!


Stay tuned the wide open dirt of NM calls!

Have fun! Keep an eye on those fires. They are getting bigger every day, especially with the high winds and steep terrain making it hard for the fire fighters to battle it.

Father forgive us for we have sinned.......2060 miles of pure heaven and brimstone........




More to come, stay tuned!
Ulybrad and I set off for a 2,060 mile epic Gunslinger’s Divide Ride that I put together from various GPS tracks, and some I drew myself. Pulling out of Austin, I swung by Marble Falls to get Ulybrad and get ready for the 550 mile truck out to RideDualSport.com world HQ!

Kosmic swung out early on his Yamaha Canary and was able to greet us, with Sahara fixing up a great dinner for out first night. While the evening started out calm, with some great views of the Guadalupe Mts, a super fierce thunderstorm blew in that night!

The wind, rain, and lighting were torrential, with more than one inch dropping in a just 15 mins that the storm blew over us. Was this a bad omen? An ominous start? Even the electricity went down for a period of time! This really underscored the volatile nature of weather, which can kick you in the *** at any time!

Both our rides ready to go, parked at RideDualSport.com World HQ!



The Guadalupe Mts, our return route will take us along the Rim Road a portion were vehicles are allowed. The view from RideDualSport.com World HQ!


Our hosts who fixed up a great meal and gave us a place to land and take off for the ride.


A bright and sunny start turned quickly into a black, windy, and stormy night…..what kind of omen is this???


Power down at HQ but still a pretty sight.


Getting ready to hit the road, with Kosmic following us out of HQ on his Canary.





In the morning, a few of the dirt roads outside of HQ were flooded, and we hit some 2 foot deep crossings……off to an interesting start, and some mud too boot!


No dust to start out of HQ, heading into higher elevations from a 3,000 ft start.



We made a smart decision to back track about 20 miles one way to get gas in Weed. After doing about 160 miles on the first tank, Ulybrad was fixing to hit reserve, and doing a full 210 to Capitan, was not workable. So, adding 40 miles round trip, for a net 20 mile loss was worth it.
Resting point before hitting Weed for gas.






One of our first “technical difficulties” UlyBrad’s freebie boots he scored from a friend started to fail! So much for German craftsmanship! Several applications of JB Weld later were good to go!


In Ruidoso Downs, a little chilie was waiting for us! Not knock out tasty, but what the heck, had some local flair. But, UlyBrad’s taco plate was a few bucks too much!




So after more than 200 miles of mostly dirt on Day 1, we noodle around Nogal Lake looking for a camping spot. My tracks showed a campground but was having trouble locating it…I went down Nogal Canyon road, and a nice guy in a truck that rides a dual sport pointed us to a forest road with good camping!


Day 1 ends with some fine free camping, about 6,000 ft with cool, dry air and no bugs!

Day 2 starts us heading north, from what is really the epicenter of New Mexico riding. The Capitan area marks a turning point – head north and you start increasing elevations, head south and you only have two points for gas before the Texas border: Weed or Artesia just south of Roswell. This will become important later on the return!

I’m making my file sizes a bit larger here, to take advantage of the great pics the new Olympus Tough takes. I am very happy with the speed and quality of the pics from this camera, highly recommended!



A couple of thoughts about my riding buddy UlyBrad: what a stellar dude to have on your side! UlyBrad off set my OCD Anal Retentive side with his devil may care attitude: “Lets just ride!” UlyBrad is as fun as a barrel of monkeys, providing entertainment and tall tales along the way. He stuck it out every day, riding as much as needed with no complaints. Being an IXL dirt bike instructor I had my own personal riding coach also! Our goal was to enjoy the scenery, ride as slow or fast as we wanted, and make sure to soak it all in. If it was camping, motel, restaurant, or some cans of sardines at the camp site, UlyBrad was cool with all of it. Even in some critical moments during the ride…..when the heat, pressure, and exhaustion were high….UlyBrad kept a great attitude: “Ya, its tough, but I’m lovin it and this is what we came for!”


We work our way north, to the point where the out bound and return bound routes split off. I attempted to gain access to a parallel road to highway 54, but my track comes up to a gate by this old railroad station. We hop on to the new 54, and after taking a couple of diversions UlyBrad ends up chatting with an old lady at her home who tells us “old 54” is now closed, and all private roads. At times this proved a challenge with my GPS tracks, as “road” is not always a good choice, and can often mean its private, and on private land. So, we take a short hop on to 54 North, then turn West towards Socorro.



Moving west, attempts to get off the highway are fruitless…..as numerous turnoffs from 380 are locked gates on private land. But, also, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM with the KTM…..so slabbing it to Socorro is not a bad option, since the heat is ramping up, and the scenery is pretty flat.
We make it to the turn off for our first New Mexico byway, which proves to offer some incredible riding!





Rolling on the Byway!




Here are a couple of indispensible items! As the heat ramped up, these little hydration tabs were awesome, replacing salts you lose in the heat. On some days, esp as we returned south, I could go through 2 100 oz.s of water in my Camelback. I added a couple of these tabs, helping me keep refreshed.


The other most important item: GOOD COFFEE! These Starbuck Via’s were great, taste good and easy to pack. Two cups of this in the AM, with some instant oatmeal cooked up and your ready to roll!


So, two days into our awesome adventure and its all going great…..but the KTM has a major issue we need to solve on the road…..
Whats wrong with that blasted KTM.....:ponder:

Keep it coming
To follow up on the KTM…..on the night of day one in our campsite I spy something that does not make sense on UlyBrad’s KTM. He just installed a brand new Kush sprocket and after one day’s riding it’s toasted! No bad reflection on the Kush sprocket, it was the chain that caused the problem.


Based on how it’s wearing, I can tell it wont last more than another day. We scratch our heads about how this could happen, and in the end figure that the chain was bad, with a huge tight and loose spot. During UlyBrad’s last SLAP ride in Arkansas mud he must have fried the chain…..which promptly fried the new rear sprocket.

With Socorro as our second night’s stay, we figure get a hotel and figure out how to get new chain/sprocket in Albuquerque, our only hope. At the hotel I post up on ADV rider in the regional forum to get any suggestions for shops that might stock parts. Lo and behold, ADV DS rider Sy replies and is tremendously helpful! No hope of a KTM sprocket in stock, and he generously offers up the sprocket off his own KTM! We meet up at Sy’s buddy’s shop Moto Authority, who gets us in and out with chain and sprocket on a Monday, when all the other shops are closed.

By the time we make it to Moto Authority here it is:


New chain and Sy’s sprocket from his bike and all is right with the world!


Huge thanks and props to Sy and Moto Authority! Sy would not take any compensation, but UlyBrad left him a credit for a new sprocket at the shop. So, while we had a 200 mile detour to fix the bike, we were on the road again and off to start our Pie Town loop out of Socorro!
ADV inmate Sy to the rescue! Thanks so much!


Highly recommend Moto Authority! http://moto-authority.com/


So we hit Socorro by about 2 PM and are ready to rock and roll but need to fuel up. I always keep an eye out for small local joints to eat in and we were not disappointed!



We head out of Socorro to hit the national forests and some elevations, which rise up to 9,500 ft as we ride the forest roads. These roads begin as wider double track, smooth but as you work up the mountain become narrower and rockier. You have to keep your game on and concentrate, a fall off the side is bad news.




Working our way up the narrowing double track, hitting 9,500 ft elevation.




As we work our way up the mountains, the riding gets harder, with more effort and sweat. But, weather is clear, dry and excellent! One of the tracks provided to me by another rider does not pan out, as the forest road is blocked by downed trees. We have to navigate on the fly, and find our way out on other roads. This forces us to miss a large segment of the Pie Town loop…..but no worries because we have plenty of tough riding on hand! We find our way out on other roads to Datil, where I know they have one motel.


This shot perfectly shows UlyBrad’s dirt technique that is critical for dual sport riding. Compared to road riding its counter intuitive, where you must push the bike down into the turns, have your body counterweighted to the outside, and use the gas to make the front and rear tires dig in. With extra weight on the back, and going up hills, you have to lean over the front to balance out front and rear traction. My form starts going to pot at the end of the day when I am tired, but you cant go into it half-baked…..you must commit and stick to the form, and get results!

UlyBrad's IXL page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/IXL-Rider/107164522652724?fref=ts



After a full day, fixing the bike in Albuquerque, riding back to Socorro, then tackling the mountains we emerge just as daylight is leaving us in Datil at 8:30 PM! The hotel has a room and the restaurant is still open!




Still not done with the KTM…..since its e-start was lacking, UlyBrad had to do a lot of kick starting…..and with a full load proved to much for the aftermarket kickstand. This is the third one to fail. UlyBrad goes nuts beating on his KTM with its own kickstand. More excitement to start our day 3!

Day 3 finds us all refreshed and ready to hit the dirt outside of Datil. We do a quick drive by of Pie Town, and come across the windmill museum just before Pie Town. Its an odd collection, the work of someone truly obsessed!



Here we are now picking up the motorcycle version of the Continental Divide Trail, which at some times actually goes on the same roads bicycles use, and diverges on its own. Our goal is to hit Grants, top up and refresh, then on to Cuba.

We hit the Chain of Craters Byway, a moon-scape desert like plateau, which when wet becomes an impassable bog. This proves to be a beautify ride, its sunny but cool, perfect riding weather which keeps the motorcycles happy.







After a time, we arrive into more beautiful rock formations and peaks. This is a very surreal landscape – seems desolate which I love, and little used. But, signs of life appear from time to time, ranch land, mines and a few trucks here and there. But overall, you have the vast roads all to yourself not a soul in sight. This kind of isolation even surpasses Texas, which has the size, but not the public access to so much land.








We emerge in Grants where we are ready to eat and top up! Always picking local over any chain restaurant pays off again, as we hit a local Torta and Burger place! The staff was super friendly and the waitresses two little boys help us out and were endlessly fascinated with these too “rough and tough” guys all dusty, dirty and on big dirt bikes. Their bright eyes and eager to please service earned them extra tips!


Best onion rings EVER!

UlyBrad got the “everything” combo Torta with home cut fries.


Needing a quart of oil for his KTM, we made a quick stop at the first motorcycle shop we saw but UlyBrad was told “we don’t work on metrics…” so off the auto parts store down the road. Oh well, for the better if UlyBrad put some HD oil in his KTM it might have thrown its rod.


After Grants, we make the next leg to Cuba, where I have fears that the Thompson Ridge wildfire may set us off course, but these prove unfounded. Lucky that none of the fires in NM affected us, did not even see some smoke. That’s what gave rise to the “Born Again” Gunslinger’s Divide Ride because two years ago me and my twin bro had to abort the route…..and the GSDR is resurrected! Amen!


Just a few miles outside of Cuba we score a great Nat Forest campground for the night….with cold well water to do a “French sponge bath” in with some Doctor Bonners soap! I offered some Dr. Bonners to UlyBrad, but he passed for his more manly “Dove” for sensitive skin.



UlyBrad now excelling in finding all kinds of ways to hold up his KTM for the next week!


We settle in for a mixed buffet for dinner: sardines, oysters, slim jims and chips….all washed down with a 24 oz Tecate I stuffed in my Camelbak, along with some ice to keep it cold!


The next day finds us finally hitting some higher elevations and forests that will track right up on the CDT!
Day 4 finds us ready to hit the road after staying at the nice Clear Creek Campground off of 126 outside of Cuba. Being all refreshed were ready to make some time in our first real forest riding….but….I cant find the forest road that cuts north up to the CDT track!

This was frustrating, because I zoomed all the way into the GPS, which showed the road I should make a right turn on to head up into the hills. I pass it by several times and stop right where I should see a road….but none! Maybe I did not back track enough to find the right entrance, but its very straight forward. We blow 20 mins just looking for this easy-to-find road but no luck! So, we continue on 126 for a short bit till I spot a forest road that will get us into the mountains and back on track.

This shows the turn off by Clear Creek Campground, but I could not locate it, so we take a turn north a bit farther down.


Now we are into some real forest road riding! The roads vary a lot….from rutted double track that snakes through the trees, to rock infested roads, to graded gravel roads. I have to put my thinking cap on and not BLINDLY follow the GPS…it becomes a challenge as the roads snake and turn a lot, trying to figure out if I go Left or Right. Even if I have to back track a bit, its still fun riding and we manage to stay on course.


Starting up the forest roads, was liking the “burst” feature on the new camera. It has different settings for number of bursts but this one does not affect the picture quality and still gets you many shots per second easy.





Love these rocky climbs, not super gnarly but challenging enough to make you break a sweat. On top of that the RaceTech suspension on my XRR was gobbling it up!

On later long down hill sections we were faced with a continuing barrage of small rock domes followed by sand pits, then rock, then sand, over and over. This proved hard at the end of the day, because the dips up and over the rocks, and hitting the sand pits made you have full on concentration. If you lost form when tired one of these sections could take you out. On top of that, some shady sections were hard to see ruts and holes developed in muddy sections that had dried up. At a few points I bottomed the forks but just held on!



We entered into beautiful alpine meadow sections that I did not expect in New Mexico! Deer and sightings of huge elk were frequent! At one point a massive bull elk, easily 6 foot a the shoulder, and with a massive 3 foot tall set of antlers bounded across the road right in front of me…..the best wild life sighting of the trip!





Here we drop out of the forest for a bit into some lower elevations.


UlyBrad entering into some snaking downhill gravel roads, and down at the bottom!




As we drop out of the forest, and cross a small highway, we stop for needed gas, supplies and a chocolate shake, which does the trick for lunch. We set in the shade for a good bit and re-energize. The mini mart sports some 4 buck camo flip flops that take the place of UlyBrads single Teva!

UlyBrad knows no strangers and strikes up conversation anywhere, making quick friends with the locals and others traveling around. He throws out the bait and sees if you bite!


After being refreshed, we hit some elevations again, and ride into this beautiful valley.



Here we score another national forest campground for the night…a bit windy but it calms down. The camp host reminds us that just the other day a big bear was in the meadow right by our tents….and advises us not to open the sardines for dinner (we do…).

Day 5 finds us winding down more forest and meadow roads, so far with excellent weather, only a few sprinkles here and there….otherwise cool in the AM and warm in PM, but never humid. Perfect riding weather.


I am surprised by the perfectly cone shaped pine trees that dot the landscape…how do they get that way? Makes me feel like we are in some old European children’s playscape, with these perfect Germanic pine trees sculpted and placed just right.

Along the way we have guests, as deer and elk sometimes run parallel to us….UlyBrad said one deer followed along side me for a whole mile, but I could not see it since I was focused on the road.



On this section of the route, we are riding on the actual CDT, you can see the mountain bike tire tracks snaking along the road.



This riding is quite perfect. It goes on for miles and miles, and here and there sprinkled in are some rocky or sandy sections, dips and ruts to keep you on your toes.


We pop out of the forests, make an accidental run in to Chama for some gas….UlyBrad had us pointed the right way to Antonito, but somehow the GPS tricked me and I got us turned around. In Chama we gas up and get to see a old steam train making its way through the hills.
We finally get back on course, hitting Antonio, which is our point to turn south and head into a totally different landscape. I spot this little café on the side of the road, so we stop for lunch. We sit outside and eat, but the café is connected to a bar…..a long and deep bar, dark, and cool. It runs the length of the whole building, which must be 100 years old. Its all wobbly floors, crooked walls, and doorways at different heights.
We sit outside, watching the few locals, of all shapes and sizes. Many sport skinny jeans, lip piercing, and over done make up….dragging and assortment of rug rats behind them, taking off in beater cars all dusty with hub caps missing.

A guy ambles over, really excited about our bikes, he’s an electrical contractor working on an old building. He rides a Honda XR “just like mine” and tells us how he rides really hard with his motocross buddies, launching the bike of big jumps. Told me he broke the frame doing that, and I ask him to point it out, he does so on my XRR. Funny thing is he keeps saying how he has electric start, he took off the kick start lever because he never needs it. I inquire again, so “you have an XR650R like this one?” “Yes, yes” he says…..odd, no way had to be a 650L. I just thought it was funny: great guy, lots of fun to talk to…..but clearly he could not tell between the R and L?

The Dutch Mill Café….I liked the sign so we stopped…funny enough, they serve Mexican food, not Dutch. Not sure I really would want to eat Dutch, some herring before a big hot ride?



We start off for a whole new leg of the ride, cutting south east to the Rio Grande River Gorge. Its hot out, maybe 90 or more, clear and sunny. I am eager to start this portion. I follow the GPS tracks, easy enough a few turns out of town….but we get to the first major road that takes us way out of town, funny it does not look like a road. More of a dirt side track that appears to run up to some ranching equipment. Can this be right? Looks dubious…but I am on the track, and yes it leads us farther of town into this……..

I get this very strong feeling of simply riding off into the abyss…..a long straight dirt road for as long as the eye can see…..with nothing but scrubby dessert in front and a mountain range far in the distance. You really get the feeling that you wont find a single person, water, gas or provisions…..its just you and the emptiness. Kind exhilarating, but also scary that I was leading myself and my buddy into the total unknown. No trees, no shade, not a rock big enough to even sit on.

I got this odd feeling, seeking out the most remote area I possibly good.....that no one else would have any reason or desire to ever come to. Except me to ride my motorcycle though it.


After a few miles the road I am on just peter’s out. A turn I am supposed to make is on the GPS, but we cannot see any road. We find some faint tire tracks, and follow those…it looks like the right direction, but those give out too. We go over land, on bare ranch land to find a road, no luck. We follow fence line roads that get us in the right direction, that helps. Few road markings and roads that appear on the GPS simply do not exist. Finally we make it back on the main road, which looks like a BLM numbered road, and from their we are OK. I was unable to hook up the two main roads. But its amazing how you can go for miles and miles, only to have to turn around when a faint double track just ends.


As we make it off the ranch land (still BLM) I find a sign in the road, so glad to see that we are heading in the right direction! But the distances do not seem so great as what I drew in the tracks….so I make sure to get on the track and not stay on the easiest graded gravel road.


This is the main road heading us towards Dunn Bridge, but I know we are off track. My tracks show us heading closer to the edge, so I make sure to cut off on some side roads, and the turn into rutted, sandy, tougher double track for miles and miles. I cut in to go around the base of the mountain also. I know I would hate myself if I came all this way, knowing my track was off the side and I did not make the effort to get off the main graded road and back into the boonies!






Getting off the main road and back on track! Cutting in closer to the edge. Rocky, dusty, tight double track snaking around! I park the bikes because I can see the Gorge just a few feet away, and we hike in.




Finally we make it to Dunn Bridge! What a feeling of satisfaction to make it after a hard day’s ride! I remember calling the BLM from Austin, since the Gorge was recently declared a National Monument….the nice lady in the office told me, yes you can ride any of the roads, and we don’t even have it all MAPPED yet! So, drawing these tracks and riding to the day’s final destination was very gratifying.



Now its off to Taos…..the most difficult riding yet awaits us in White Peak…..
It is possible that the old guy had an XRR. There is an aftermarket electric start kit. Last I checked it cost about $1500.00 so it isn't on very many bikes. Loving your report; keep it coming :clap:
It is possible that the old guy had an XRR. There is an aftermarket electric start kit. Last I checked it cost about $1500.00 so it isn't on very many bikes. Loving your report; keep it coming :clap:

Thanks, Im enjoying the report as a way to re-live the ride!
Yes, I thought about that possibility on the e-start but seemed pretty remote chance....

Day 6 has us heading out from our motel in Taos to start the day on forest road to make our way out east towards White Peak. But, this is not happening, because the access point I drew to get on to forest roads just outside of Taos has a massive locked gate! I see a big water tower, and inquire of some city water system workers in a truck if it’s a public road, they say only for walking or mountain biking. So, after looking for an alternate route in, this was not panning out. We jump on 64 to get to Angel Fire and then White Peak. This actually turned out for the better, because we were poised for a butt whoppin in White Peak and the extra time was needed!

I still want to go back and use and alternate route to access the forest roads outside of Taos. Looks like incredible riding in some excellent mountains.


This section of the report is dedicated to LOSTRIDER who suffered an untimely get-off on his BMW just before our trip and could not make it. Lostrider is the one that turned us on to White Peak and its possibility.


White Peak was a total unknown to me, and mired in controversy. While I don’t know all the details, a previous Land Commissioner in New Mexico made some dubious land swaps, trading some public lands for some private lands, which upset numerous folks that hunted on these lands, and accessed them for recreation. These deals were not well publicized and done somewhat under cover which caused political problems and accusations of self-dealing by the Land Commissioner.

Also, several public parcels around White Peak were slated for sale for oil/gas exploration after promises White Peak would be spared. Some how, these deals were almost “inadvertently” done, and halted at the last minute. In the end, a couple years ago the NM Supreme Court reversed several of the public/private land swap deals because they violated certain public trust provisions.

So in the end, I am sure there were a lot of pissed off ranchers, hunters, oil/gas companies, and the public. As a result…..its not really clear if your on public roads all the time or not in White Peak! This would take extensive research and getting maps from the NM Land Commission to determine.
With this dubious history, UlyBrad and I wander into White Peak! The holy grail of Gunslinger Divide Ride!


After topping up on gas in Angel Fire, we hit 120, the main road to access the White Peak area. I did not have my track log on, and White Peak has a lot of tricky navigation, so best I can tell we made a smaller loop which dumped us out on White Peak road and the route back down towards Las Vegas.


We first come up on Sawmill Lake and the riding is excellent, smooth nice double track going long the scenic lake and pine trees. Note the fence, likely denoting some private property…




Wow this is starting off great!



The clear double tracks around the lake look well used, and even have signs of recent grading as if being prepared for hunting or an event. The road starts to get more faint, and in some areas more rocky. But overall, it’s a beautiful and idyllic area, I remember thinking no wonder parts of it came into dispute, who would ever want to give this up?



The roads meander around several old adobe houses, on more of a high plains area. Several of the roads you can see meander off into the fields, where they become very faint. We stop at this old place for some pics…


Maybe an omen of what is to come?



The tracks I am on start to narrow up, and the trees begin to envelop you more, becomes more rocky, and we go up and down over a few streams. We have NO idea to what extent we are on actual public or private road. We pass several private property signs on fences, but no locked gates.
As we ride on it gets hotter as we hit high noon, and are confronted with some sudden, sharp curving, and steep rocky climbs…hmm this is getting interesting! We meander over rougher, tighter roads…..UlyBrad hits a few at good speed, ends up with a couple of get offs. As I come up on rockier sections, I just have to punch the gas, hang on and concentrate!

UlyBrad comes up over a rocky climb and hits the gas hard over the rocks!





Then, we hit a monster 45 degree rocky climb with a sharp turn at the top….and no idea what it leads to! Gulp!


UlyBrad clears it, and comes back down to catch some carnage. I’m at the bottom trying not to talk myself into falling, and get focused for my run up.



Half way!


Er, I guess not! I loose my MO on the climb, have a brain fart and there goes the front end, opps! Catch a bit of rock on the side of my helmet, but my bell is not rung thankfully. So, its your classic, stuck mid-way on a steep climb with a bike I have to kick start! This was the only time my XRR, a bit flooded, needed about 8 kicks to get it going.


I have to put all my weight up front, to control the front end because if I don’t, I know the bike will loop with all the gear on the back.


Note the fully extended front fork!


Off we go!




From here it gets more interesting. Up top, we hit several massive rock garden roads…..sharp turkey sized rocks all back to back….we blitz several sections, but UlyBrad takes a couple of falls and I nearly do. There is no looking back for your riding buddy because you have to focus on what’s up front. We come up to one section, 30 feet that is impassible. We have to walk the bikes over. We have NO IDEA how long this will continue!
Now we are feeling some exhaustion, UlyBrad has to kick start his bike, and that is taking a toll also. Here I slow it way down and take stock.

Time: its 2 PM, so we have lots of day light left. Good.

Water: Concern about dehydration at 8,000 ft, and about 85 degrees. I have an extra bottle, so refill my 100 oz. Good.

Fatigue: We are both tired and getting worn out. Both have fallen a few times. We need good long breaks to recover, so we take time and keep our heads about us.

White Peak is serving up a royal butt whopping, were feeling it! But loving it!


I start to get concerned……how long could these rock gardens get? Could they become impassible or will we suffer an injury now that we are tired? I hike up a ways and find that it clears out for a bit….so we carry on, eventually getting to more passable roads.

But, I have a decision to make, and am TOTALLY dependent on a functional GPS to navigate. We need to try and access something familiar to get out, and back to the main road. Late in the day its too risky to try and hit more tracks that will take us further out…so fortunately I am able to get us back on a more accessible track.

I make a critical, and good decision….we come up on a gate that says no trespassing, and no vehicles…..but the gate is not locked. I consider turning back, which would put us on a farther loop out and more time to get out…but I go for it, we open the gate and drive on through. Were we on a private road? Not sure…..

We finally dump back out on White Peak road and the main southern road to Ocate, and find a small tiny store, for a cold drink. Inside is one guy, sitting in an arm chair, with a fridge and some candy bars in a cabinet. That’s the store. He’s about 85 and lived there, in and out, since he was 15.
Finally, out of White Peak, exhausted, but feeling great! The toughest most challenging part of the whole ride!

Its awesome, but enter at your own risk! I think the better approach is to camp at Coyote Lake campground close by, and spend a day exploring without carrying all the gear. I would also get good maps from the Land Commission and get a better handle on private vs public lands.


Sitting there, in the shade of a 100 year old building, I reflect to UlyBrad how odd it is, that we seek out the most remote, rugged corner of New Mexico, where nary a soul is….all for FUN! Are we crazy? Yeah!


Not shy about how some of the locals feel about fracking…lingering resentments against previous Land Commissioner attempts to sell of White Peak parcels to the oil and gas industry? Conflicts over use of what little water there is for fracking? Maybe some things you just cannot escape from, no matter how far out you are!


We make the final run into Las Vegas and a state campground just outside of town. Not super pretty, but I am sure when the water was up in the lake it was nicer. We are greeted by high blustering winds, but thankfully they die down. A cold refreshing shower awaits! The night was so nice, we just lay out our bed rolls in the shelter for the night.



After this night, its our last day on Gunslinger Divide Ride to roll back to RDS HQ!

Awesome adventure dudes! I wish I could have gone with you, but I had to save my vacation days for Alaska this August. It looks like the bikes were set up perfectly for the type of riding and camping you did. And its super cool to know that there is so much excellent riding to be had in New Mexico.
Congratulations on your safe return as well!:rider:
Very nice... It definitely gives me the itch... :wary: :flip:
Very nice... It definitely gives me the itch... :wary: :flip:

Thanks Tourmeister.....in a few months I think you will get to scratch that itch! New Mexico has a ton of riding for exploring, this was my first major foray into NM. Before on the TAT, we just dipped into a small corner of the state. The variety of terrain was amazing.
I ran Jeeps all over that White Mountain area back toward Red River. I took my VStrom up to the rough stuff and turned around:lol2: Shoot there was one rock field I though I was gonna tear my Jeep up...All basketball and beachball rocks:eek2: Looks like you guys had fun...I plan to take HP2 up there later this year.