Author Topic: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird  (Read 1490 times)

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Offline horses60

New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« on: August 07, 2021, 09:16:30 am »
Hello,

I start to plan my new bike ride, I live in Quebec and I would like to visit South of USA next winter. The general plan is about 1500-2000 miles and I start to look at this itinerary: Albuquerque - Ash Fork - San Xavier Mission - Las Cruces - Albuquerque.
I'm looking to:
- Best sites "must to see"
- Nice place to sleep and eat
- Best sites, blogs, forum to take informations about my ride

This is my very first draft, so I agree all suggestions.

Thanks!

Offline John Nettles

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Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2021, 09:55:26 am »
Horses, Welcome to the ACA Forums!

Unfortunately, most of my favorite places in AZ & NM are at higher altitude so while it will probably be warmer than your hometown in January, it will still be cold and snowy at times so most are good in the winter.

In AZ, I like Canyon de Chelly National Monument (may be closed due to Covid); Sedona; the ride (on gravel) between Chiricahua Natl Mon. & Portal is very nice but I "think" there was a forest fire in the area a few years ago; and the ride (partially on gravel) between Patagonia and Sierra Vista makes you think you are not in Arizona at times (see pics).

In NM, I like the Geronimo Trail (partial gravel) between Douglas, AZ, and Animas, NM; the White Sands Natl Mon.; The immediate area around Cloudcroft (though the surrounding areas is not much to write home about); areas west of Los Alamos; and most anywhere in northern central NM. 

You might consider riding Baja California, especially on the eastern side of Baja.  I have heard that MEX-5 is now fully paved and it is a lot quieter than the western MEX-1. You could also do a ride around the Copper Canyon west of Chihuahua. If you want flat, then the Yucatan & Belize would work.

Sorry could not help you with better winter riding areas.

Tailwinds, John

Offline horses60

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2021, 10:21:40 am »
Thank you for your replay John, in effect we search some warm place, we want to escape our 6 months winter...
I add your places to my nice to ride list. About your place, please see images, it's correct?

Offline John Nettles

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Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2021, 01:26:58 pm »
Horses,
No, here are the routes.   

Portal:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37069504

Geronimo: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37069551
Remember that both are at least 60% gravel.
John

Offline horses60

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2021, 08:10:42 pm »
Ok, I understand and thanks for the link.
I see that one ride arrive until 1800 mt altitude and the other 2300 mt. It is not to high for the fall-winter season?
Thanks

Offline John Nettles

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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2021, 09:25:33 pm »
I would think they would be but then I am a wuss when it comes to cold weather.  I doubt it "snows in" so you might have to wait a day or two to clear.   That is why I was suggesting Mexico.  Great people, cheap, mostly little traffic (if you pick the right roads), and good weather in the winter.

Tailwinds, John

Offline horses60

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2021, 06:43:05 am »
I'm sure that mexican people is great, I never have visited Mexico, but I'm hesitating about safety.
One thing is normal people, another thing is the criminality and Mexico is not a safety country.
We arrive from Canada with our motorhome, we live the veicule in some place and we start our trip. When I will go back I will find my RV? And during the ride what about the personal security? ???

Francesco

Offline staehpj1

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2021, 07:10:39 am »
I only rode through any of the area a couple times and don't have a great deal of experience with it.  I don't have specific destinations to suggest other than to say that the Santa Fe area was nice and the sand dunes in AZ were pretty.  Oh and in general the people and the food are interesting and worth the trip.

I will say that I rode through Arizona and New Mexico on the Southern Tier Route in the second half of February and had decent weather.  I should say that I don't mind a little chilly weather (I am far more likely to complain about hot weather), and it probably hit 50F during the day even after the coldest nights of the trip.  There was frost at night fairly often and I had one really cold night where it dipped down into the mid teens, but for the most part it was pleasant.  Even the one really cold night wasn't that bad, I had a fire in the morning and hung around camp for a couple hours until the sun was up higher than usual.  I saw snow on the roadside on top of a couple passes, but the roads were clear.  The locals said that sometimes the roads might be bad for a few days, but I didn't see any of that.

Just to qualify or clarify my perspective.  I rode the ST on and off (we rode together probably 2/3 of the way) with a young guy who grew up in south Florida and lived part of his time in San Diego.  When we got to the last day it got a little warm and I commented that it was a little oppressive.  He said that it was the first nice day of the entire trip.  He did say that to be fair, it was the first time I had uttered a single negative peep about the weather.  So for a guy who likes it to be 100F it was probably a living hell.  For me who doesn't mind frost many nights and some 50F days it was nice.

I also rode to Santa Fe from Kansas City in mid May another year.  The weather was good if a little warm for my taste.  The Flint Hills were pretty and lush green that time of year, not what I expected from Kansas.  I don't especially recommend that route in winter though, the green hills would be way less pretty.

To be honest I was a little non plused by the Southern Tier scenery wise, but to be fair Arizona and New Mexico was the best of it.  So the scenery was actually pretty good there.  My negative opinion was mostly based on the 1000 miles of endless brown sage brush after NM.

Offline staehpj1

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2021, 07:11:52 am »
I'm sure that mexican people is great, I never have visited Mexico, but I'm hesitating about safety.
One thing is normal people, another thing is the criminality and Mexico is not a safety country.
We arrive from Canada with our motorhome, we live the veicule in some place and we start our trip. When I will go back I will find my RV? And during the ride what about the personal security? ???

Francesco
Possibly start a Mexican trip in the US?

Offline horses60

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2021, 07:43:24 am »
Hello Staehpj1,
Thanks for your post.
At this moment I'm in a "collect info mode". Our first doubt is about Trudeau-Biden decision: next Monday Canada open border for Americans, but American border stay close for us....
One option will be to search a long stay parking in some city near Mexican border and start the ride in US or also change plans and change city each week for ride go and back each day.
I like cold weather, but not to ride with snow, my wife searches some warm weather to escape our winter. At home when is 50F, in winter, is hot day! No problem sleep into the cold, but at least ride with 60-70F during the day.


Offline staehpj1

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2021, 07:58:01 am »
If you are not already familiar with it, https://weatherspark.com/ is a good resource for planning.

Offline horses60

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2021, 08:08:36 am »
Thanks

Offline staehpj1

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2021, 08:57:52 am »
At this moment I'm in a "collect info mode". Our first doubt is about Trudeau-Biden decision: next Monday Canada open border for Americans, but American border stay close for us....
It is really hard to predict what is to come on that front.  The Covid situation is really bad in some parts of the US right now.  Here in Florida it is peaking.  Our local hospital ICU is close to full.  I think it was the day before yesterday when we heard from a family member who works in the ICU of the local hospital said they had 87 Covid patients in the ICU and 6 had died the previous day.  That is one of two hospitals in a not very large city.  All were in their 20s, 30's or 40's.  We just lost a good friend who was in his 40s this week.  We keep hearing of more and more folks we know or friends and family of folks we know who are infected and ill.  The numbers here just keep rising.  Much of the southern US looks pretty bad, but Florida is the worst.  Hopefully by the time you are ready to travel it will have peaked and things will look better, but some are expecting things to peak in the northern US later so the future of travel restrictions is hard to predict.

Personally I have been on a hiatus from touring since the pandemic started.

Offline horses60

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2021, 07:39:10 am »
Hello,
After some days, I think this could be my tour. I have seen this quadrilateral on the adventurecycling.org maps and I think is a good itinerary to discover the region. I have saved the suggestions of @staehpj1 and @John Nettles for add some detour during my ride.
There is someone that have other negative or positive comments.
My itinerary is ok for november-december?
Thanks.

Offline staehpj1

Re: New Mexico and Arizona suggestions for a Snowbird
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2021, 08:01:54 am »
Hello,
After some days, I think this could be my tour. I have seen this quadrilateral on the adventurecycling.org maps and I think is a good itinerary to discover the region. I have saved the suggestions of @staehpj1 and @John Nettles for add some detour during my ride.
There is someone that have other negative or positive comments.
My itinerary is ok for november-december?
Thanks.
I don't know the area well enough to make too many route suggestions.  I will say this...   You might consider length of daylight hours.  I chose late winter for the MUCH longer daylight hours than early winter.  The shortest day is at Dec 21st.  So just for example if you take a look at Phoenix.
November 15th
  Daylight:
  7:00 am - 5:25 pm
  Total:10:25

December 21st
  Daylight:
  7:28 am - 5:24 pm
  Total:09:56

February 15th
  Daylight:
  7:11 am - 6:13 pm
  Total:11:01

March 15th
  Daylight:
  6:38 am - 6:36 pm
  Total:11:58

The short days may may not be a deal breaker for you, but for me the extra hour of daylight was reason enough to go in late winter rather than early winter when I rode along the southern border.  It may be a better or worse time as far as the Covid situation, but the way things look right now I am betting later would be better since the south is in bad shape and still getting worse pandemic wise.

Just a couple factors to consider if your timing is open to change.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 08:05:58 am by staehpj1 »