First Ride of 2020- Cabin Fever!

Rapidrob

Well-Known Member
#1
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Today was the first "warm' day in several weeks. I have been cooped-up too long! I took my Hawg-Ty out for a 15 mile run just to get out of the house.
I planned to climb my mountain, crest the top, circle to the north and loop back home. There is a new fire road South of my home one mile I wanted to check out as well.
I knew there would be snow and that God-Awful Caliche Mud. The Russian Steps in the spring are very much like this mud. Imagine Pan-Cake batter with Elmer's White glue added to it. Not only does it stick to everything,it is slicker than dog snot to boot.
So I rolled out the bike, added some fresh gas, set the choke,open the gas valve and pulled the rope starter. It fired up on the 2ND pull. (you have to love the 6.5 HP Predator engines.)
I left my drive way and picked up and abandoned road that used to be County Line Road but was moved 250 yards to the West 50 years ago because of solid mountain rock.
The remnants of the old road are still passable on foot and mini-bike! Lots off felled trees,boulders,loose gravel and very steep climbs ahead. And winter has added snow and that cursed mud.]
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The first 1,000 yards were pretty uneventful.
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The old road gave me a chance to "feel" the bike and the steering and what to expect when I hit the mud.
The snow was nothing to drive through,no slipping at all.
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I'm about 1/2 way up the old road heading due North.
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Being trained to always be alert, I did not hit this tree with my knee or handlebars. The bike had slid side-ways after I gave-it-some-gas to avoid a boulder.
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Lot of Mule Deer tracks all through the snow. This winter has really brought them down from the crest. I see many every evening in my front yard.

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due to land slides and earth quakes most of the old road has been covered up with tress and boulders over the decades.
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The rotten granite and gravel really makes for a nice ride. Lots of traction.

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The old road shows up again. It hard to believe this road used to be 24 feet wide. Any of the original surface has long washed away being taken over by the run off from Thunder Mountain.
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The road ended here with the tress taken over the right-of-way.
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All that you can do is wind around the trees and boulders. The is a Fire Road going up the mountain a hundred yards away now.
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Boulders, snow and a Cholla Cactus to my right...one slip up and its a very painful trip into thorn city.
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A steep climb to the fire road. The balloon tires really dug into the snow. I flew up to the top of the rise with no problems.
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Now the long climb to the summit of Thunder mountains North Face.
End of part 1.
Many more to follow.
 

Rapidrob

Well-Known Member
#2
Part 2:
Now that I am on the Fire Road that I can climb to the summit of the mountain, cross over and circle back home.
The road is laying North East and for the most part in the sun. I was hoping that the road bed was drier than the rest of the road as this section was going to be steep.
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As it turns out, the road was still covered with snow. The Kenda Knobby tire did not slip one time for this long section. I was impressed.

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The amount of Mule Deer tracks surprised me. This was their Interstate Road System.
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As I came to the fork in the road, I realized this South section of the road had cotton the full effect of the Sun. There was going to be mud,and lots of it.
The road to the left of the handlebars will be my return road after I cross over the summit of the mountain.

And so the mud starts.Hiding just under the layer of snow waiting for any unsuspecting mini-bike rider to dare cross its path.
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Although it looks "dry" it is not. Hollywood could use this scene in an action adventure movie where the good guys hit "quick-sand".
Just as the front tire cleared this boulder,the ice cube sized lugs on the tires filled with the goo.
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Within a few yards the tires were so filled with the mud,and the muck had so filled the area between the edge of the tires and the fender wells the front tire stopped turning. This instantly put me into a 'slide-for-life" sideways up the face of the mountain.
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As the bike climbed higher and higher, the mud got worse and worse. I violated my own rules as to never put your feet on the ground to maintain balance as your moving. That was a mistake. The soles of the boots clogged with the mountains concoction of what it calls mud instantly adding pounds of extra weight to my feet, throwing off my balance making driving the bike in any sort of a straight line an impossibility.
I actively sought out any path over boulders or even cactus to get out of this mud.
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And finely a break. The road got very steep and the gravel drained most of the water off of it. I had traction again. Clods of mud,stones and grass were flying in all directions. The fenders were ringing like a Steel Band from the Bahamas as the gravel was thrown by the tires.
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Climbing past 6,000 feet, climbing beyond 7,000 feet and climbing now to 8,000 feet. The summit is getting closer. Traction is now very good. The engine is pulling hard and the TAV is allowing a constant speed to be maintained. While cold the air is still. The sun on my face really feels good.
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The really large boulders lets me know I'm almost to the top of the this section of the mountain. The road has swung back towards the East now.
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I reached the summit. In the far distance you can see the next mountain range as we look towards Santa Rosa. That mountain is about 70 miles away.The air in New Mexico is so clear every thing looks closer than it really is.
The summit was bone-dry. I stopped for a few seconds to check the bike. All was well but really covered in mud. If I allowed it to dry, it is very difficult to remove. This is the same stuff they make Adobe bricks out of.
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I'm starting the long road to the North and around the base of the mountain. The Fire Road continues on for miles and miles.

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I'm now circling to the North. The Mountains on the horizon is Santa Fe. They too are 70 miles away.
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I will be descending about 1,500 feet in order to pick up a dirt road to skirt Privet Property that has been fenced off.
This is the end of Part 2.
More to follow.
 

Rapidrob

Well-Known Member
#3
Part 3:
As I descend back into civilization, The path is in good condition. This section was made by Hippies in the 60's who had a commune at the top of the mountain. No water, high winds and very cold temperatures ( -25 degrees F in the winter) must have been fun to deal with. They didn't last too long.
But thank you for this road.
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The descent is gradual and a lot of fun to traverse. I will be able to coast downhill for a 1/2 mile or so.
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I just can't imagine how the Hippies crossed several sections of exposed boulders such as these in their VW Busses but some how they did.
It is a shear drop off to the right. As I rode by I did not see any rusting VW hulks from days gone by in the gorge.
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These exposed boulders/shelves went on for a good distance.

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I'm at the bottom of this section of the mountain ( 6,500 feet) and passing private property. I now have to detour several miles in order to climb back over the mountain and home again.
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I have a three mile detour to do. After riding this road for 30 years now I have never encountered another vehicle on this road. Properties on this side of the mountain are very expensive and secluded from the rest of the world.
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Pretty much a whole bunch of nothing to see. I blew out the cob-webs from climbing and was slinging rocks and gravel with the best of them.
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I hit the cross-roads and turned to the West to climb the mountain again and head home. Another three miles of dirt road.

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The road was ice packed. It did not phase the bike one little bit. The loop backed Fire Road is a mile ahead.
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Back at the Fire Road and ready to climb back over the mountain to my neck of the woods.
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The road looked to be dry. That would soon change.
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And here we go again. Now that is was warmer, the mud was at its finest. Steering was almost nonexistent and traction failing fast.
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I had enough of the road and took the path least traveled. While still sinking into the mud, the rocks and dead grasses really helped.
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Riding through the snow was the path to take. The tires gripped very well and I was able to keep my speed up as well. The road to the right was impassable with a wheeled vehicle.
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The Yellow post mark the fork in the road I took at the beginning of this post. From now on I will be doubling back towards home.
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You can see my track to the left of the tank. Its now just a couple of miles back to my "side of the hill".
End of Part Three.
More to come.
 

Rapidrob

Well-Known Member
#5
Part Four:
As I continue to head West, I was able to put on some speed.
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I'm keeping to my original track. The mud to my right was to be avoided at all cost.
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I'm almost at the end of the Fire Road. .
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In 200 yards I will be on the old abandoned County Line Road for a short section. I'm going to head North and take maintained roads for a few miles
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Winding through the trees again following my trail .
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I'm back to my side of the mountain and heading North.
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I'm staying on rocks if I can. Mud is all around me.
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I break out of the woods and the cul-de-sac at the end of a road. I get hit with a blast of warm air that I was not expecting.
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The air was so much warmer than in the woods I took my gloves off and opened my coat. It had to be 20 degrees warmer than 100 feet behind me.
I really poured on the go juice. I wanted to check out the "new" fire road one mile South of my house which is several miles away from here.
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The road was well made and not muddy at all. The snow/ice was changing into slush. I slowed down to about 20 MPH.
I had about a mile and a half to drive.
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None of my roads are this nice.This road is County Maintained. Mine,by me.
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Approaching the end of this nice road. That is Sandia Mountain in the distance.
I'll be on paved roads soon.
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I'm on the "new" County Line Road heading South. The bike is doing 40. No cars to be seen. The engine and TAV really sound good.
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That's my private road to the left. I want to find the new Fire Road and mile farther down.
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Just tooling along .The weather was 40 F,sun was shining and it really felt nice.
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This road goes on for tens of miles. You can just see it going over the mountain eight miles away.
End of Part Four.
More to come.
 

Rapidrob

Well-Known Member
#6
Part 5: The ride home again.
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The new fire road going over Thunder Mountain is coming up on my left.
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You can just see the new road over the 2ND house on the left. I can also see the owner of the property has blocked the road with a gate. While he does not have the right to do this they do it anyway. Cops could care less.
Back to my home.
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That is my mountain on the right. It is the First Mountain of the Rocky Mountains. Thunder Mountain. The summit is just over 9,300 feet.
It is old and worn down, but it is home to me.
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I'm peeling off to my road. It shares the right of way with the long defunct "old" County Line Road, but dead ends just up the way apiece.
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I have a large tractor and I have to keep the road maintained for insurance reasons. A fire truck cannot climb my other road as it is too steep and he dumps water out of his pumper truck. I teemed up with my other two neighbors to come up with the path of this road.
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This is the End of "old"county Line Road. Bernalillo County said no more. What weird is Santa Fe County said yes,but continued the road 800 yards PAST this point?
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While we have mud, I mixed into the road bed tons and tons of gravel and sand. It really helped to drain the water from the road bed.
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It doesn't look like much, but hay, its my road.
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This section took weeks to cut into the mountain. We had to blast 100 feet of road way in order to pass some impressive boulders and out copings.
Some of the shattered boulders weighed over 20 tons and had to be dragged off the road.
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Another 200 yards and around the bend to my house.
A fun ride with no major problems. I was glad to see that the bike handled the snow and mud O.K.
Now its time to break out the hose and get the mud off of the bike before it dries.
Hope you enjoyed the photos. A fun 12 mile trip through the mountain.
Rob.
 

Rapidrob

Well-Known Member
#11
If it gets onto the exhaust, it takes hammer blows to get it off!
If it dries on paint, it will take a putty knife and a Scotch-Bright pad to get it off.
After all, they make bricks out of the stuff that has lasted for a few hundred years!
 

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