Author Topic: Santa Fe west  (Read 2322 times)

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Offline robinverner

Santa Fe west
« on: August 18, 2013, 12:58:11 pm »
Does anyone have a suggestion route from Santa Fe west, possibly to California. We (2) will be traveling in early November, staying in hotels.
Thanks, Rob

Offline mathieu

Re: Santa Fe west
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 06:28:19 am »
I hate to see that you have no replies so far. Either the pundits have already decided that early November is too late to get to the Pacific, or they are still studying.
I am an outsider, from Europe, and suggest that you concentrate on two options:
1. Connect to the Western Express route in Cortez-CO -via Abiquiu, Chama and Durengo- to finish in San Francisco.
2. Follow Route 66 to LA.
My scenic preference, disregarding the season, would be the former.

Regarding the Western Express, Adventure Cycling recommends the route from early summer to mid-fall and the highest point is 8573 ft in California. So this may be too late. Still I recommend to buy the map set which has a lot of specifics about weather conditions and places to stay. It may be an inspiration for coming years.

You are less likely to get stuck on Route 66. I have cycled it this spring. It took me 19 days from LA to Santa Fe, so you might finish it in November. The highest point is the 8000 ft Continental Divide between Grants and Gallup- NM, which you reach earlier and will probably be longer snow-free. With a good daily distance strategy and effort you can find a hotel every night. The advantage regarding services is that you are near to an Interstate. This is also a disadvantage, as you are required to cycle short sections on it (see my journal ). For New Mexico, Adventure Cycling has published a provisional itenerary with services : . The hot Mohave Desert may have cooled down by end of November.

Offline robinverner

Re: Santa Fe west
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 10:29:56 am »
Wow. Thank you so much for responding. I have started reading the Crazy Guy log. We live in Vermont if you ever come through this way.  Robin  802-362-3146

Offline jamawani

Re: Santa Fe west
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2013, 10:48:51 am »
Rob -

Thought I posted a few days ago, but apparently it went the way of all mysterious disappearances on the net.  I am always a little suspicious of "type in a box" for anything longer than a few words.  So, I'm typing in Word and will paste.

Yeah, the date you propose is pretty darn late for the West.  Not sure where you are from or your level of cycling experience.  All I have to go on is your comment about your attempted ride out of Austin.  Two things are going to be in play - colder temperatures and shorter days.  For example, Gallup, NM has an average high in mid-November in the 50s and an average low in the 20s.  Some days may be warmer, but also some may be colder.  It also means that the mornings will be pretty chilly for quite some time - further shortening your riding day.  Not to mention that the first good snow usually comes about then.

I've lived in the West for 25 years and cycled every part from the Mexican border to the Arctic.  The West is gorgeous, but unforgiving.  If you plan a November tour, you should not push it - especially if you have limited touring experience.  It all comes down to one concept -"Why be miserable?"

I think you should ride no further north than historic Route 66 - i.e. roughly I-40.  I am strongly against your riding the Western Express because it will be too risky, too cold, and too far between services.  And I have ridded the WX numerous times.  I just don't think it is a good idea to ride when you have 80-plus miles between services and may end up having poor weather with headwinds with limited daylight.  As it is, you will be hard pressed to find accessible lodging in more remote locations.

Santa Fe is tough to ride out of - my sister lives there and I have rarely ridden in - rather she picks me up.  Heading northwest you have US 285 - horribly busy 4-lane road - which does not have a continuous service road.  I-25 was built over US 85 heading southwest towards Albuquerque, so you don't have an old road option there either.  The only decent option out of Santa Fe is the Turquoise Trail - Hwy 14 - but Cerrillos Road leading out of Santa Fe is one of the most seriously nasty commercial strips which goes on forever - insane to cycle on.

If you are flying in to start a bike trip - I think Taos would be a MUCH nicer start.  All the amenities you need including bike shops - a much more people-scaled plaza - Taos Pueblo just outside town.  And you can head due west on US 64 and see the Rio Grande Gorge right off.  The problem here is that you have few to no motel options west of the town of Cuba.

As for the Route 66 option, the ACA maps should be available by late summer.  I tend to think it is a poor route - much of it follows a busy Interstate 40 on service roads - often chock-a-block up against the freeway - and often you have to ride on I-40.  There are a few nice stretches between Albuquerque and Flagstaff, but not many.  The opposite is true west of Flagstaff.  The three finest stretches of the historic highway are between Seligman and Kingman in Arizona, between Kingman and Needles, Calif., and thru the Mojave west of Needles via Amboy.  The latter stretch is very remote and you will need to make arrangements for Amboy in advance.  Still, it will be one of the high points of your trip - and stunning in November.

That said, I think you might work you trip outwards from the stretch Flagstaff, Ariz. To Barstow, Calif.  You can continue west over Cajon Pass along the Route 66 direction, but there is a easier passage that goes via Antelope Valley and Palmdale using Soledad Canyon - or other canyon routes - via Santa Clarita to the Pacific coast at Ventura.  There's a lovely Spanish mission in Ventura and a huge pier into the ocean for sunsets - not to mention that you can take a cruise out to the Channel Islands as an ending for the trip.  This also saves you mile after mile of urban riding in greater L.A.

Oh!!  And I suppose you might want to visit the Grand Canyon on this trip, eh?  If so, then I think riding thru the Navajo and Hopi Reservations is a good idea and well worth it.  Just remember, do not take photos on the Hopi Reservation and use your camera judiciously on the Navajo Rez.  There are limited services, but you have lodging at Gallup, Window Rock, Second Mesa in the middle of Hopiland, Tuba City, and Cameron.  A visit to the ancient community of Walpi is something that you will treasure - again you should use a Hopi guide and follow all tribal rules for visitation.  Google "Walpi" to get some ideas.  There may - repeat "may" - be Hopi ceremonial dances when you visit.  Dates are never known beforehand.

So that just leaves you getting to Gallup.  From Santa Fe will be tricky.  It would have to be Turquoise Trail to Albuquerque.  If that, then I would ride downriver to Las Lunas and plan to stay somewhere near Acoma Pueblo - another spectacular place to visit.  Yes, you can ride on I-40 and get to Gallup in two days - - but why?  If there were some way to find lodging west of Cuba, my best suggestion would be to start in Taos, first night out at Ojo Caliente Hot Springs, then Cuba.  Your challenge is to find some place between Cuba and Gallup on the reservation.[  I have ridden it - and there simply isn't.  If you were to try this, I would suggest writing the Navajo Chapter House at Whitehorse and asking if you could arrange private lodging.  A possibility - - and it would make for a fabulous routing.  Good luck.

BTW - There's a Navajo rug auction in Crownpoint on Nov. 8th.  And there are find Navajo rugs for viewing at the Hubbell Trading Post National Monument in Ganado.

One of my trips a few years back:

Offline robinverner

Re: Santa Fe west
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 08:03:18 am »
Thank you for the informative answer.
 We've done the Southern Tier from St Augustine to Del Rio (in 3 sections). We'd like to make it to California. We just want a route that is north of the hot desert but south of the cold.

Offline Glamis Sand Dunes support

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Re: Santa Fe west
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 06:18:09 pm »
"Does anyone have a suggestion route from Santa Fe west, possibly to California. We (2) will be traveling in early November, staying in hotels. We've done the Southern Tier from St Augustine to Del Rio (in 3 sections). We'd like to make it to California. We just want a route that is north of the hot desert but south of the cold.
Thanks, Rob"

In early November you will have lovely weather in the deserts of the Southern Tier, not hot not cold until mid December.

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