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Into the Dust - riding the New Mexico BDR

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After thinking about it for a few months, I decided my big ride for 2020 would be the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR). As I tend to do, I created an event out of it and then I invited the entire dual sport adventure riding world to join me. Despite continuing lock-downs of varying measures from Covid-19 fears, somewhere around 30 riders arrived in Ruidoso, NM on Saturday, June 6th ready to spend six days riding most of the NM BDR. This is our story.

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More to follow...
 
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This event was a self-led ride. The basic plan was for riders to form their own groups, get themselves to Ruidoso, NM on Saturday, June 6th, and then start riding the NM BDR the following morning. There was no registration, no event fee, no swag. I provided recommended logistics consisting of dates, times, hotels, dinner spots, and a route that consisted of six days of riding a clockwise loop of New Mexico. Everything else was up to each group.

Here's what the 6 day riding plan looked like:
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The first four days the route followed the NM BDR route. However, the BDRs are designed as point-to-point, meaning you start the BDR in one place and end the BDR somewhere else, hundreds of miles away. For example, the NM BDR starts in Dell City, Texas and ends in Antonito, Colorado. Clearly, that wouldn't work since most of us trailered our bikes to NM from Texas and needed the ride to end back in Ruidoso.

I did not particularly want to ride three hundred highway miles on my KTM 500 EXC from CO back to Ruidoso so I designed a course that eliminated the first and last sections of the BDR (the first section from Dell City, TX to Ruidoso, NM and the last section from Abiqui, NM to Antonito, CO). Days 5 & 6 deviated from the BDR and took us back to the Ruidoso on the a mix of dirt and pavement.

Day 0: travelling to Ruidoso

Tricepilot Bob and myself trailered our KTM 500 EXCs from his place just outside of San Antonio to Ruidoso. There isn't much to talk about - it was an 11 hour drive (for me) across the western half of the Great State of Texas.

Loaded up and ready to go
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"He's the man."
"No, he's the man."
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Random gas stop somewhere along the way.
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You've heard of vehicles being held together with duct tape and bailing wire? Those fabled vehicles exist as evidenced by this photo. Except for the bailing wire. He didn't have any that I could see.
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There was a flurry of activity at the Quality Inn in Ruidoso. A bunch of riders arrived before us and it seemed every rider was in the process of preparing for an early morning departure the next day.
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It could have been a KTM/Husqvarna convention! I've been organzing rides and rallies for a long time (about 15 years) and when I first started the mighty and long-lived Kawasaki KLR 650 was the most popular vehicle at any event. It was common for 1/3 or so of all the bikes at one of my rallies to be the KLR. That is no longer the case. Instead, KTM and Husqvarna (which is owned by KTM) have taken over as the most common manufacturer. Those guys must be doing something right.
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The Quality Inn was a nice place with interesting decor.
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20 riders showed up for the group dinner at K-Bob's steakhouse. I estimate about 30 riders in all attended some or all of this event.

We observed social distancing by sitting at tables of 6...
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...or less.
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Don't feel bad for Kubota Mike in the above picture. Others joined him shortly after I took that photo.

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We would be crossing the desert tomorrow and were worried about the heat (reported to have been 114 degrees just a few days earlier). Our plan was stands up at 7 am so we could arrive in Truth or Consequences, NM before the hottest part of the afternoon. We all agreed to make it an early night, so after dinner we headed back to the hotel. I was in bed by 10 pm.
 

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_RG_

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"It could have been a KTM/Husqvarna convention! I've been organzing rides and rallies for a long time (about 15 years) and when I first started the mighty and long-lived Kawasaki KLR 650 was the most popular vehicle at any event. It was common for 1/3 or so of all the bikes at one of my rallies to be the KLR. That is no longer the case. Instead, KTM and Husqvarna (which is owned by KTM) have taken over as the most common manufacturer. Those guys must be doing something right."


At the 40th Colorado 500 ride they had all the motorcycles lined up in four neat rows one evening...it was impressive - 350 of them. Seven of the 350 weren't orange. Go figure. :thumb:
 

kubotamiketx

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RG I said the exact same thing. 95% KTM’s and you know what, not a single mechanical breakdown in over 1,300 miles. So much for the question “are KTM’s reliable”

My husky 501 still sounds like an old cement mixer when she idles, but she always runs fine, just a little rattle like I am.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

copb8

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What a great substitute for our cancelled Mexico trip. Appreciate you getting the ball rolling Richard.

More than most rides we really had a lot of opportunity to socialize with the guys (and girl). Probably would've even been more so if our group didn't leave after 10am most mornings and arrive at night fall. 🙂. Some was justified.

We had a couple mechanicals to work through but Chris sucked it up and Superman'ed a day and rode a full technical day without a clutch! Thank you Curtis for giving it the college try to bandaid for the day. Was great bumping into you throughout the week.

We deviated the last day and a half. Left Jemez (?) To camp SW of Albuquerque. Apparently after an hour of setting up camp in the national forest we were busted by 5'5" Johnny Law with no sense of humor and was told to pack our cr*p and move 200 yards to the east. Nope. Bailed and checked into a cushy Quality Inn instead.

We headed south in the morning, grabbed the trucks and trailers and headed to Cloudcroft. What a cool town. We rode some pretty knarly trails and after headed to town for some refreshments. Great time.

Got to our sleeping accommodations at 10:30 and couldn't believe it's condition. Inhabitable. 😳😳 And that's from someone who's slept in an $18 Mexican hotel. 😎

Two of us headed home and drove thru the night. The others wussed out and stopped at a hotel.

Overall a great trip with a real variety of terrains. I may have to get the dust fossils surgically removed from my sinuses tho.
 
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At dinner that first night JT, Gina & Curtis all decided to ditch our camping gear... so we could stay light and fast on the trails - that way we might have a remote chance of keeping Kubota Mike within sight... nice dream 'eh! Soooo none of us kept up w/ Mike much, but Gina & JT did see a big a' bear some 25-30 ft in front of them.
 
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Thanks to Richard for putting this on and big thanks to Bart and team for helping pops and I as well as all the others that helped out in Reserve and further along the route.

Brief update since a couple asked, after x-rays turns out he had a acromioclavicular joint separation grade II or so and a lightly cracked rib. This trooper still carried on and finished the BDR, albeit on a slightly modified route (still did some dirt each day!). Thanks again all, absolute blast, see you all on the next one; lighter bikes maybe, ha.

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We headed south in the morning, grabbed the trucks and trailers and headed to Cloudcroft. What a cool town. We rode some pretty knarly trails and after headed to town for some refreshments. Great time.

Drove by the Cloudcroft Brewing Company on Friday night and took this picture.
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Thanks to Richard for putting this on and big thanks to Bart and team for helping pops and I as well as all the others that helped out in Reserve and further along the route.

Brief update since a couple asked, after x-rays turns out he had a acromioclavicular joint separation grade II or so and a lightly cracked rib. This trooper still carried on and finished the BDR, albeit on a slightly modified route (still did some dirt each day!). Thanks again all, absolute blast, see you all on the next one; lighter bikes maybe, ha.

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those French guys are TOUGH! Way to go OLIVER! Really enjoyed hanging out with you when our paths kept crossing!
 

Rigid

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Thanks to Richard, and others, for this format. It allowed me to show up and meet/ride with some great guys that I did not know beforehand, but have made friends hopefully for life. We had the freedom to alter anything we wanted and did not expect to be guided every step. I learned so much from the guys I rode with, also from others, and from the experience. This, for me, was truly an adventure on a large scale.
 

kubotamiketx

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Oliver, you earned your name the Flying Frenchman! Truly sorry to hear about the injuries, thankfully nothing too serious, but painful, great job plugging along. I am trying to get some videos fixed up so I can post them so you can see how fast your son road Richards 500, he made it look good on the dirt and street sections.

Tim, as I was going through videos I finally realized we road together in BB with JT on the exploration of the single track hill climb. Funny I didn't realize it was you till I bumped into the BB video. What a great trip!
 
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Here is a link to a video of our groups ride. My only disappointment is that the legs were too long to camp like we had planned. Ended up staying in motels. 8(

Very nice! Thank you for sharing.
 
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