I left Taos this morning after breakfast with a bit of a sad heart. New Mexico is such a beautiful place that is almost mesmerizing at times. Today meant the end of my destination and now turning back to head home. However, I still have a few days of exploring coming up so I’m going to make the most of them.
I rode out of Taos but instead of going to the interstate, I went through Los Alamos and got back to NM-4. This road is the same one that passes Bandalier and one of the best motorcycle roads around. I know I’ve said that about other roads, but this one will leave a smile on your face for quite some time. Also, not a car in sight.
After passing Bandalier canyons I continued to climb up switchback turns through Chicoma Mountain at an elevation of 11,561 feet. Up at the top it was chilly, some of the Aspen trees were just starting to turn, but will probably be full yellow in about three more weeks. I came upon what looked like an enormous meadow, and realized it was the result of a volcano eruption.
After coming down the mountain I continued to have gorgeous views of the forest roads. I took a few shots but these do not do it justice. I want to come back here some day to camp.
I rode down further into Jemez Springs, a sleepy and sweet little town nestled in at around 6,000 feet with high volcanic cliffs. After that was Jemez Pueblo, with bright orange rocks, also the result of volcanic lava.
I was happy I chose this road to bypass the interstate. However, it was inevitable that I had to eventually join back up to the freeway to make my last run into Gallup. I seemed to have good luck dodging the rain clouds, I could see them off in the distance dumping lots of water and it looked as if I would ride right into them. I decided to pull over and put my rain gear on just in case. Miraculously, I did not get rained on but the wind really picked up for the last hour and I rode hard for the last 60 miles.
Now I’m here in a nice room, Gypsy is covered and locked for the night and I’m crossing my fingers for no rain tomorrow. I have another “off the beaten path” route planned if the rain holds off. I’ll be heading south through the Zuni mountains and Zuni Pueblo. I’ll come back up and go through Petrified Forest Nat’l Park, then through Winslow, AZ (the same town the Eagles sing about in Take it Easy) with a final destination of Williams. I’ll be staying there for two days so I can take one day to explore the Grand Canyon. Keep your fingers crossed for no rain storms!