Just finished the NMBDR!
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Thread: Just finished the NMBDR!

  1. #1
    Member HobbitRider's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    Central Texas

    Just finished the NMBDR!

    I just got home from riding the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route - it was a great route! I was riding my TW of course, and my buddy who I met through the Two Wheeled Texans forum was riding a DR650. After seeing how easy it was for me to ride my smaller bike he is seriously considering a TW200! I am not all that good at writing trip reports but I have not seen much info on this newer route, and I learned some lessons that might help people new to this like I am, so here goes.

    Getting there: Since not many people live near the start/end points of Dell City, TX or Antonito, CO getting there is the first consideration. This was the only time I wished for more power than the TW has because I had to ride 550+ miles through west Texas in July heat at 60-65 MPH to reach Dell City. And from Antonito it was a 750+ mile ride home. I was informed that I should trailer the bike and contact a gentleman named Christian who is setting up a shop in Dell City to cater to riders' needs, to include a place to camp, but I didn't call him so can't confirm. Dell City has no lodging that I saw, but does have gas and groceries. Antonito at the other end has gas, groceries, restaurants (sorta), and a great place to stay called the Narrow Gauge Railroad Inn.

    The route: great ride! The route mostly stays in either high desert or the mountains, all beautiful. Elevations pretty much stayed between 5500' and 9500'. It is about 90% dirt/gravel roads with some pavement, and the largest towns were Truth or Consequences and Grants. Not too technical, although there was plenty of loose surface, rocks, and a few muddy sections. We averaged about 200 miles a day, completing the BDR in 7 days of riding. The web site states that June and September are the best months to ride due to snow pack in the winter and the monsoon months of July and August. We obviously took the chance in July, and fortunately only encountered rain (and hail) a few times. I could believe that many sections would be impassible if it was wet though. The entire route was easy enough to follow using the .gpx file downloaded from the NMBDR website New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route (NMBDR). I ordered the Butler NMBDR paper map from Procycle, but they must have been out of stock because it arrived after we left. It would have come in handy though! The official website has some good info including an interactive map, FAQ, etc., but the amount of information was very limited. For instance, the description for gas says that the longest distance between gas stops is 153 miles are on two stretches between Dell City and Weed, NM and then between Ruidoso and Carrizozo. But the descriptions of two other sections failed to mention clearly that you need to take side trips (from Fence Lake to Pinehill, and from El Rito to Ojo Caliente or Abiquiu) to get gas or you will have over 200 miles with no gas! Luckily I made the right decisions before passing up the opportunities. Riding with our smaller tanks this is a major consideration. And we only encountered a couple of motorcycle shops along the way, which fortunately we didn't really need.

    Camping/Motels: our plan was to camp, so I carried all the gear. there were plenty of places to camp all along the way, mostly primitive camping. Because it was hot and we were dusty each day we decided to stay at motels most of the time. That also allowed us to charge our various gadgets easier. Wish we had just planned it that way and left the gear at home. I guess it would have come in handy if we had been stuck too far from a motel, but that only happened once. Motel prices ranged from $37 - $80 for single rooms.

    Gear: I did take all my backpacking gear to camp out, along with an MSR fuel bottle filled with gas. I figured I could either use it for cooking with my Whisperlite international, or use it for emergency fuel. I took all the tools I use to work on my bike, one tube each for front and rear, an electric air pump, and various tapes, zip ties, etc. Luckily I never needed any of them. For electronics my buddy and I had Sena 10s intercoms which worked great, I used a Garmin Montana 610 but neglected to order the AMPS mount to keep it charged so it was usually dead before the end of my rides (10-12 hours). originally it was mounted in a Garmin "motorcycle handlebar mount" - huge mistake because the thin plastic ring broke on the fourth day and I had to backtrack to find my Montana. I also started out with my GoPro camera mounted using their handlebar mount - another huge mistake because that mount broke on the third day and I lost my camera and all my videos/photos. Grants was the first town big enough to have a Walmart to buy another GoPro - and that mount broke on the first day! Luckily I saw my camera fall and recovered it - and will mount the camera on a chest rig next time. So I only ended up with a few pictures and videos - not the best ones.

    Clothing/Protection: i searched and tried on several "adventure" pants/jackets, but not many to be found locally. Never found any I wanted to wear during a long hot ride, so had almost decided to just wear BDU pants and synthetic shirts along with my street boots and helmet. But preparing for this trip I decided to take a MSF Dirt Class with Brad Collins of IXL Dirt School in Marble Falls, TX, and he gave me several pointers and advice. On his recommendation I bought an Arai XD4 helmet, Forma Terra boots, and Fox offload/MX pants. I already had a Fieldsheer mesh jacket, and several short sleeved synthetic shirts. I can't say enough how much I loved the helmet and boots! The pants were better than the adventure pants I tried on, but I am looking for hot weather pants with more mesh. I found that sweat pooled up under my legs and buttocks, which gave me a rash. A little mesh on those areas would help. I decided to take the risk of not wearing knee pads...and did not need them but might wear them next time.

    TW200: What a great bike for this trip! While I wished for more power going up the steeper grades, I was still able to hold at least 45-50 MPH in 4th. And that was hauling my 215 lb. weight, a fully loaded pack, gas can, and a camp chair! I just learned to get over and let cars pass although we did not see many cars on the route during the entire trip. I was able to hold a steady 60-65 MPH highway. I do not have many mods to my bike, but do have 15-50 sprockets, bark busters, and a Clarke gas tank. I had the heavier front and rear springs installed along with the Racetech Cartridge Emulators. I am running a Shinko 244 tire on the front, which works well. I also took my Cycleracks and their bag supports off and mounted a Nomadic Rack from Procycle and a Rotopax mount to carry a gallon of gas. The main reason for switching out the racks was to better position my Giant Loop Great Basin bag further back giving me more seat room while allowing the legs (and weight) of the pack to ride lower like they were designed to do. This combination worked out perfectly! And I realized after removing the Cycleracks how heavy it was - although it is sturdy. I dropped my bike once on this trip in some loose lava stones, but the Giant Loop and bark busters prevented any damage. And no flat tires! I have read a NMBDR trip report on another forum were the father/son team seemed to have constant flats on their larger bikes, but not sure if that was due to skinner tires than the TW or their higher speed. We generally kept it at 30 MPH average, and many areas slower than that. There were stretches we could hold 45 or so. Although I generally get 50-55 MPG highway running at 60-65 MPH, but found I was consistently getting about 60-65 MPG riding slower on dirt with a fully loaded bike. I never needed my Rotopax gas, except on the trip to Dell City. But it was comforting having the extra gas. As far as elevation, my bike was stuttering bad when i got to Cloudcroft and after about 6000' - I was thinking I should have rejected it! But I had gassed up in Weed with 85 octane gas, and over the course of the trip discovered when I used higher octane like 91 the bike ran great up to 9500', but one other time I had to use 85 octane and it stuttered again. So...I am using higher octane now.

    Well, hope this helps someone considering the route. I highly recommend it, and I will be running other BDR routes, or the Great Divide, or maybe the TAT next year. The NMBDR was a great learning experience.

    Last edited by HobbitRider; 07-24-2016 at 01:19 PM.
    2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx
    2009 Kawasaki KLR650
    2001 Yamaha TW200

  2. #2
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Pleasanton, CA
    Thanks for the ride report! Bummer about losing your camera and all the busted mounts. Glad to hear that those were your most serious mechanical problems. Lots of good information for anyone contemplating this ride!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rhodetrip's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Out wandering around
    Good stuff, Hobbitrider. Mrs Trip and I have ridden most of the AZBDR and the Colorado routes. I'd like to give New Mexico a try one of these days, too! Looks like you had a good time and good weather!
    Thanks for an interesting report!
    littletommy and Tweaker like this.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Nicoradv's Avatar
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    Mar 2018
    North East Texas
    Well Hobbitrider,
    I finally made it here.
    Looking for a TW200 to ride the NMBDR (again), among a bunch of other rides.


  6. #5
    Super Moderator littletommy's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Spokane, Washington
    Welcome to the forum!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicoradv View Post
    Well Hobbitrider,
    I finally made it here.
    Looking for a TW200 to ride the NMBDR (again), among a bunch of other rides.

    1st John 1:9
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    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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  7. #6
    Senior Member Donzo's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    Great synopsis of your trip! Would love to do this ride as well - one more for the bucket list. I better get going on the list AND live to 110yo if I hope to dent it!
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. #7
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Frosty Hollow
    Great detailed information. If I had the traveling Lizrdbrth Trophy I'd award it to you. Great Job!

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    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  9. #8
    Senior Member Nicoradv's Avatar
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    Mar 2018
    North East Texas
    Let me add a little bit more to this story here :

    Day 1
    You leave Dell to the north, then turn back to the SE on a sorta loose sand roadm you then climb up to the ridge line rd where there is sharp turn back to the left. That curve sloops to the outside where there is long drop off...
    Didn't like it at all. Surface was mostly ball bearings, sometimes called pea gravel.

    Once upon the ridge, you can look down to the desert valley and see what u just road through...
    It was very hot down there, up here on the ridge also.





    After leaving that spot we had not gone but less than two miles when a heavy thunderstorm drop rain and a whole lot of sleet on us.
    The temp dropped and both of us were pretty chilly from being wet. I was sorta wishing for desert heat then.

    Day 2
    I remember this place Bonito Lake. That little lake was so low, it shows you just how dry its been there.



    Day 3
    South bound, right before San Antonio... Headed south from 380.
    Hobbit must have been racing the wind, cause he just left me behind. I look seeing things when i go by them.
    This one item here in this image was one I wanted to make sure i got picture of.
    Wanted Hobbit in there, but he was no where to be seen.
    The ones of you that have ridden the NMBDR will recognize it.


    We had for some time been planning and tenting at Chloride Canyon.
    Upon getting close to Chloride, we stopped and asked about it.
    Was told there was some camping at place some distance inside it.
    We thought we had found it


    Waking up the next morning and having to get our food bags out of the tree we had hosted them up in, ended our tent camping.
    Both of us thought it is just too much trouble to do what ever to keep the bears away.
    I was so tired, didn't pay attention to where i pitched my tent ( i believe i picked the most rockiest place there was), nor did I blow the air mattress up enough, so really didn't sleep that well.

    Once we got packed back up and started out, we had ridden about 3 miles and came to heavily wooded area (green like), not that dried stuff we came from.
    Large area here that would have been perfect for tenting. anyway, thats the way it goes.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Nicoradv; 04-03-2018 at 05:05 PM.
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  10. #9
    Member Downs's Avatar
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    Dec 2017
    Greenville, Tx
    I haven't decided if I want to ride the NMBDR on my STROM or the TW. I think if I ride the TW I'm going to uhaul pickup truck it as close as I can get to the start then back home. Save the wear and tear on me and the bike.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
    2004 VSTROM 650
    1978 GS1000

  11. #10
    Senior Member Nicoradv's Avatar
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    Mar 2018
    North East Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by Downs View Post
    I haven't decided if I want to ride the NMBDR on my STROM or the TW. I think if I ride the TW I'm going to uhaul pickup truck it as close as I can get to the start then back home. Save the wear and tear on me and the bike.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
    Ether on TWT or Advrider there is mention of place in Dell City you can part your truck at.

    Just saw you were in Greenville, ride it there.

    I am fixing to come May 7.
    Last edited by Nicoradv; 04-02-2018 at 07:19 PM.
    If a bike is plated, it's suppose to be ridden, not hauled on a trailer.
    2002 DR650SE, 2001 TW200

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