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Shadow of the Rockies March 2016

Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Messages
43
Location
Buda, TX
This year for spring break I would like to ride the length of New Mexico via the Shadow of the Rockies, part of the TAT. I am riding a 2012 wr250r and could use advice on everything from tires to fuel stops to camping space. I figure I have ten days to truck to El Paso, ride as far as I can, and ride back to El Paso and home for school Monday.

My first concern is surface types. Should I be gearing my tires to mud/sand or hard packed gravel and rocky surfaces? If there are recommendations on legitimate dirt bike tires, that might be a route to take, and switch to street tires for the ride home. Either way, I will have to change gearing and rubber for the ride home.

Second concern is maintenance and safety. What fails on a long ride other than batteries and tire tubes? What should I carry in addition to the stock tool bag?

Third concern: gas, water, camping sites, and dealerships. Where are they and which ones are going to be around in four months?

Lastly, can this be done? Because of weather, I've assumed that late March is the première time to go, but should I consider hitting it at the end of the semester, late April to early June? Is twelve days feasible for travel and fun? How exactly is the weather in New Mexico during March and June?

I appreciate any and all help with this trip, and whatever personal experience on this specific route or general long distance adventure riding.
 

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Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
501
Location
Houston
Great that you want to get out there on an adventure ride. Good on you.

I will try to answer a few of your questions. I have a WR250R and have used it on long trips. Here is one.
http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/hopscotch-jack-danials-too.816701/

Tires - D606 rear and MT21 front. Go with these street legal knobbies. They will be good for the dirt, rocks, sand and the highway on your way back. Nothing is good in the mud. But these will be as good as it will get in the mud. No need to change the rubber for the highway.

March may be a good choice, before it gets hot. But check the elevations along the route. If this gets up in the mountains, March may be too early up high. Cold and snow may still be around. As soon as school gets out in the spring may be better.

You need to carry enough fuel for at least 200 miles, minimum. Yes carry water. I usually have 3 liters water. I use an aftermarket fuel tank. But you can carry a blatter or other container for fuel. You should purchase the route maps and GPS tracks from the TAT site. These will contain information on fuel stops , food, etc.

If camping you will likely need luggage side racks and a tail rack to carry some water proof bags for gear.

Be prepared for temperatures from 32 F to over 100 F. Plus rain. That means clothing as well as camping gear. Even if you go in June, it can get cold and wet high up in the mountains.

12 days can be a great trip. Do what you can when you can.

For a first trip, you may want to consider doing a shake down trip before tackling something like Shadow Of The Rockies. The Oklahoma Adventure Trail would be fine in March. Great ride. But never far from gas, food and shelter if you need it. Lets you try out your equipment and learn what you like to have on a trip.
 
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Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Messages
43
Location
Buda, TX
I have a very similar set-up, with the new Lynx R fairing and all. What tools did you bring or trailside maintenance did you encounter? We have a reliable bike, and so far all I can imagine once I replace my battery is a potential flat.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
11,186
Location
Arlington
Unless it's an exceptionally warm and dry winter, definitely expect there to be snow at higher altitudes in March.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,303
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
You'll have a way better time and travel more safely if you'll put together a small group of folks to ride along with you. I could be biased but you'll not find a more enjoyable group to invite than the crew right here on TWT.
 
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Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
501
Location
Houston
Flats are the most probable issue. I carry a spare tube for front and back. A quick jack so I can get the front or rear off the ground. The tools needed to take wheels off. Plus tire irons. Finally a 12 volt air compressor or tire hand pump.

As I have worked on my bike I have kept most al the tools I used in a small bag. So I pretty much have all the tools I need to work on most things. So an assortment of sockets, end wrenches, hex sockets. Then vice grips, needle nose pliers, screw drivers, electrical tape, some duct tape, zip ties. Some folks carry a spare spark plug. I sometimes will carry a spare master link and a chain press in case I need to repair my chain.

As far as trail side maintenance. Oil and adjust my chain. Check air in tires. I do carry a spare air filter that is pre-oiled in a plastic bag. So if I need to change out I can. Not much else to do unless something breaks. Some folks carry spare brake and clutch levers.

I really like the Lynx Fairing. Grip heaters have come in real handy at times. Have sure been glad I had them.

For clothing. Nothing cotton. It absorbs moisture then makes you cold.
Use multiple layers.

- For base layer I have the cold weather Underarmer top and pant.
- Non cotton underware and t shirt.
- Fleece sweat pant and sweater mid-layer
- Riding gear outer. My riding gear is Goretex. So I do not need to carry a rain suit. I have the Klim Traverse gear.

When hoter, I pull on bicycle pants and t shirt under my riding gear.

I also pack a pair of REI light non cotton backpacking pants for camp and when in towns. These are light and pack small.
Hiking boots.

Camping Gear
- Big Angus 15 degree down sleeping bag.
- Inflatable backpacking mattress.
- 2 man backpacking tent.
- Pocket Rocket burner and a fuel canister.
- Backpacking cook set.
- Camp chair (would not leave home without this!)
All this stuff is light and packs small. I make sure to keep the down sleeping bag in a water proof bag.
 
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Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
1,096
Location
West Texas
I do not know your exact route, but assuming it passes through the mountains of NM, especially Santa Fe, Angel Fire, Taos, etc. you will have a probability of snow still in March.

The southern mountains--Silver City and around that area will be premium riding in March.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Messages
43
Location
Buda, TX
I appreciate the advice on the weather, it's been a long time since I've been to NM, and I didn't want to work off weather.com stuff. With the weather being colder and my camping gear being old, bulky and cheap (and my wallet empty), the trip will happen in late May or early June.

I will probably attempt the entire OK adventure trail (how much I actually finish is in the air) during spring break, pending school stuff. Frankly, I'm very excited, and have already begun planning. This is a much more managed and routed trail, with more resources and all that good stuff, so it will be a good first step into multi-day excursions.

As far as riding with others goes, I'm all for it if I can find a good group. I prefer eating canned food on the side of the road and camping and travelling on a shoe-string budget. And as far as riding ability and bikes go, I've yet to find a group where I'm not barely keeping up or being with riders less skilled (I'm not good, just comfortable) or on bigger and heavier bikes. Once I find that group, or my brother's skill level increases on his XT250, I will consider group riding, but for now, I ride solo.

How often are there burn bans in New Mexico, and how are you guys building campfires on the road?
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
1,096
Location
West Texas
How often are there burn bans in New Mexico, and how are you guys building campfires on the road?
I know quite a bit about Mew Mexico riding, but it would be helpful if you could at least give us a general description of your route. Not the exact roads, just a general direction start to finish with some points in between.

National Forests, at least in New Mexico, have what is called dispersed camping. That means you can camp off forest roads that are on the travel map. It is free. This includes building a fire as long as there are not restrictions. It just depends on the rainfall amount. It is pretty common in June to have fire restrictions in the NM forests. If it gets bad enough, the forest service will close entire areas to motorized travel.

There is usually plenty of available fire wood to gather, and all of the dispersed sites usually have fire rings, some times several.

If you are going to stealth camp or camp on private land, don't build a fire unless you want a confrontation with a angry land owner.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
The only part of the Shadow of the Rockies in NM that gets enough elevation to be concerned about snow is around Coudcroft/Ruidoso depending on how much snow they get over the winter. The rest if the route in relatively low elevation. You can make a neat loop by crossing the northern part of the state and connecting with the Continental Divide Route. Don't try to get into much of Colorado and the high passes will still be blocked by snow during Spring Break.

As far as parts and maintenance, if you have new sprockets and chain, new tires and extra heavy duty tubes with Slime (or other puncture sealant inside) and spare tubes you should be fine. Also carry spare brake and clutch levers and a spare shift lever. A minor biff could end the trip if you can't replace one of those on the trail. Good insurance.

Check out my report from CDR Part 2 for an idea of what a loop around NM might look like. I rode in the fall and started in CO Springs but you'll get the idea.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Messages
43
Location
Buda, TX
My exact route is non-existent at the moment. In general, its the one on the Transamerican trail website that starts in El Paso and ends in Trinidad, CO. Purchasing the trails from the guy's website has yet to be done. I'm hoping someone can share one with me for free, but I'm not holding my breath.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
501
Location
Houston
I assume you know that from Buda Texas you can do a great 3 to 4 day route on back roads going west through hill country then dropping south from Juction and then back toward Austin- Buda. That is a really nice ride.

There are some good ride reports on ADVrider for the Okla Adventure Trail. Will let you see what it is like.
 
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Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Messages
43
Location
Buda, TX
I've had some difficulty finding tons of dirt or gravel roads in my area without more than 75% of the riding being pavement. The Oklahoma trails is still my plan, because I may be going to school up there next semester, but that's in the air yet.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2015
Messages
233
Location
San Antonio
As a New WR owner, I am looking fwd to reading about your trip. A question about using slime. Is that preventative or after the fact use?
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2006
Messages
255
Location
Odessa
Some of the higher elevation areas may have seasonal road closures.
Mid-April is when some of them open.
The back road in to Mogollon is usually closed until May 1.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
As a New WR owner, I am looking fwd to reading about your trip. A question about using slime. Is that preventative or after the fact use?
Used as a preventive measure. I don't want to have to stop for a flat. I managed the entire CDT, Shadow of the Rockies north to Victor, CO, and the Western TAT without any flats or need to air up. :rider: Not sure if it was the Slime or Super Heavy Duty tubes but the results were flat free riding. I carry spare tubes anyway.
 
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