2015 Pre-Ride Road Report
Oh my gosh! Fred Heinrich, Bob Murray and I just returned from the pre-ride for the upcoming 3rd Annual Ride for the 4-H Clover. It was one of the most beautiful and enjoyable rides I've done and I'm a native New Mexican! I felt like we were participants in one of those "NM True" commercials we see on TV! Check out some of these great pictures as we tell you about our adventure!
We needed to ride the route to check for road conditions, ensure we were on target for timing, and to plan ahead to create another great reputable trip for this ride! Fred and I logged 980 miles, leaving Las Cruces on Friday afternoon and returning Sunday. Bob joined us from Amarillo and met us in Albuquerque on Friday, where we spent the night.
We began our journey on an overcast Saturday morning at 7:40 AM and drove the old road to Bernalillo, witnessing several hot air balloons drifting along in the cool morning air. We took a look at the Saturday kick-off venue and had an outstanding breakfast at The Range, watching the weather for predicted scattered thunderstorms all the while! We then proceeded toward Cuba and turned off on Hwy 4 going through Jemez Springs to experience some great twisties and fantastic NM scenery.
There were a few miles of construction on the highway, but nothing that should dampen our enthusiasm for the ride. We passed a large adventuresome group of people who were rappelling down the face of a 60 foot cliff and cruised by the Soda Dam, which stems from a collection of mineral deposits that have built up to form one of the most photographed spots along the trail.
Our first stop was at Valles Caldera Natural Preserve, where we took a break and could see for miles across the Valle Grande. We then proceeded to Los Alamos and down the winding scenic road to Espanola before turning north to arrive just short of Abiquiu at the Rio Arriba County Extension Office.
One of our objectives for the trip was to find a way to include the nationally renowned Enchanted Circle around Mt. Wheeler, so we departed the extension office up Hwy 554 and bobbed and weaved our way over to Hwy 64 and the Rio Grande Gorge.
We had been skirting thunderstorms all day and a big one chased us from there on into Taos. We pulled under the drive-through at the Sagebrush Inn just in time for the bottom to fall out and the rains to come. God smiled on us during the whole weekend, because as Fred said, “We hit 5 rain drops on Saturday and 10 on Sunday, but never got drenched”!
We enjoyed a nice dinner at the Taos Inn and then decided we were up for a little after-dinner ride, so we hopped on the bikes and took a fantastic 30 minute ride up to the Taos Ski Valley. The twisties were phenomenal and the icing on the cake was the rushing river that paralleled our excursion! We sat at the base of the ski area for a few minutes and solved all of the world’s problems (It’s amazing how few there are when you’re riding with good friends!) and then headed back for the night.
The plan Sunday was to enjoy the complimentary breakfast at the Sagebrush at 6:45AM and then head out to savor the legendary Enchanted Circle! The only problem was we were like kids on Christmas Eve and were all up and waiting for the doors to open at 6:30! The food was great!
Then we were on our way, traveling through tree covered curves up to Angel Fire, then across mountain bracketed meadows to Eagle’s Nest, up to Red River’s quaint store-front lined Main Street before cresting Bobcat Pass at an elevation of 9,820 ft. We returned to Taos through Questa, completing a great 2 hour ride first thing in the morning!
After that we started heading south alongside the Rio Grande River and the multiple adventure seekers floating in rafts and kayaks. We found the Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center and the County Extension Office in Santa Fe. That’s the official end of the August ride, but we headed down to the historic El Pinto restaurant in the North Valley of Albuquerque before Fred and I parted ways with Bob.
This is going to be our first ride in Northern NM and I encourage everyone who’s been with us for the first two rides to get up there the last weekend of August and be a part of the 3rd RFC. It will be a truly memorable experience and I guarantee you will come back smiling from ear to ear! I’ll see you in August!