Summer Tour 2013 – Day #90 (9/8/2013)

Hi All,

This travelogue installment covers my second day ride on Sunday, September 8th since arriving in Taos. Again, beautiful weather made the 348-mile ride enjoyable through some very varied scenery.

The following map segment shows my route.

My route for the day ride from Taos past Los Alamos through Cuba and back to Taos

My route for the day ride from Taos past Los Alamos through Cuba and back to Taos

I started out heading south from Taos along Hwy-518, west on Hwy-75 to Rio Lucio, south along Hwy-76 to Chimayo, southwest on CR-98, Hwy-503, and Hwy-502 through the Pojoaque and San Ildefonso Indian Reservations almost to Los Alamos, where I turned off onto Hwy-4 in order to ride past the Bandelier National Monument. Unfortunately I would have had to take a shuttle bus for tourists in order to enter the Monument and did not want to spend the time on that excursion.

I followed Hwy-4 past Jemez Springs to US-550 at San Ysidro and proceeded north along US-550 to Cuba, where I stopped at a convenience store to take a break and have some refreshment. While there, a middle-aged man approached and after some casual questions, asked me to buy beer for him. After he confirmed being a Navajo tribe member, I declined mentioning that I was unfamiliar with tribal law. He went over to speak with another person waiting in a car. At the time I thought that they were just friends looking to score their drug of choice, but on later reflection thought it might have been a sting operation by tribal police. If that was the case, I’m glad I gave the right answer.

Following my 15-minute stop in Cuba, I resumed heading towards Taos via Hwy-96 and US-84 to Tierra Amarilla, and then along US-64 the rest of the way to Taos.

During the day’s trip I took over 200 photos. I’ve selected 22 of them to share in this travelogue report. This first one shows the view along Hwy-76 between Rio Lucio and Chimayo.

Along Hwy-76 between Rio Lucio and Chimayo

Along Hwy-76 between Rio Lucio and Chimayo

A bit further along towards Chimayo, I spotted a home and outbuildings atop a knoll adjacent to the highway and took this photo to show the location and the nice view the residents have from that location.

Home with a nice view along Hwy-76

Home with a nice view along Hwy-76

Approaching Chimayo, I took this next photo as the road descended a slight grade into the valley.

Approaching Chimayo

Approaching Chimayo

Near San Ildefonso Pueblo, I took this next photo of the Black Mesa on the southern side of Hwy-502.

Black Mesa near San Ildefonso Pueblo

Black Mesa near San Ildefonso Pueblo

Just after merging onto Hwy-30, the rock formation in this next photo caught my attention.

Rock formation just west of San Ildefonso Pueblo along Hwy-30

Rock formation just west of San Ildefonso Pueblo along Hwy-30

A short distance further along Hwy-30, I saw this large mesa looming over the highway.

Mesa next to Hwy-502

Mesa next to Hwy-502

About three miles from the entrance to Bandelier National Monument, I took this photo of the rock formation.

About three miles from Bandelier National Monument

About three miles from Bandelier National Monument

In this next photo I am very close to the Bandelier entrance road. Although the clouds look ominous, the weather remained quite nice.

Nearing the entrance road to Bandelier National Monument

Nearing the entrance road to Bandelier National Monument

Just west of Bandelier National Monument is the Valles Caldera National Preserve in Valle Grande. This next photo shows a view from the highway north across the large valley and the East Fork of the Jemez River.

Valle Grande

Valle Grande

Further along Hwy-4 I passed through Jemez Springs in Jemez Canyon and took this next photo of the large mesa to the west.

Large mesa to the west of Jemez Springs

Large mesa to the west of Jemez Springs

After turning from Hwy-4 towards the west on US-550, I took a photo of another mesa on the south side of the highway. The mesa seemed to have a purple coloration.

Mesa west of San Ysidro along US-550

Mesa west of San Ysidro along US-55

US-550 is a very nice, four-lane highway. A short distance from San Ysidro, I entered the Zia Indian Reservation and took this next photo of the view towards the north.

View along US-550 to the north

View along US-550 to the north

This next photo shows the view towards the east along Hwy-96 some distance from Cuba.

View along Hwy-96

View along Hwy-96

A short distance further along Hwy-96, I took this next photo of the view.

View along Hwy-96

View along Hwy-96

Just before Hwy-96 intersects US-84, I passed by Abiquiu Lake reservoir, which is fed by the Rio Chama river.

Abiquiu Lake

Abiquiu Lake

Just north of Abiquiu Lake the highway approaches and diverts westward around the large Mesa Montosa. This next photo shows the view along US-84 before reaching the turn.

View to the north along US-84 along the northeast side of Abiquiu Lake

View to the north along US-84 along the northeast side of Abiquiu Lake

After the bend in the road to the west, I took this next photo of the view along the highway.

View to the northwest along US-84 near Mesa Montosa

View to the northwest along US-84 near Mesa Montosa

The coloration of the rock formations in this area caught my eye.

Colored rock formations

Colored rock formations

Along the southwest side of Mesa Montosa is a “Ghost Ranch,” which welcomes visitors. Although I did not stop, I took this next photo as I passed by.

Ghost ranch near Mesa Montosa

Ghost ranch near Mesa Montosa

A short distance past the ghost ranch, I took this photo of the rock formations along the highway.

Rock formations near Mesa Montosa

Rock formations near Mesa Montosa

Some distance further along and after passing by Tierra Amarilla, putting me onto US-64, I took this photo of the comparatively lush grassland sufficient for grazing cattle.

Grassland and grazing cattle along US-64 just east of Tierra Amarilla

Grassland and grazing cattle along US-64 just east of Tierra Amarilla

Shortly before crossing the Rio Grande River and reaching Taos, I passed by a small community of unusual homes that are designed to be self-sufficient in the desert climate. The community’s visitor center is called Earthship Biotecture. As I passed by the area, I took several photos of the houses visible from the road. This final photo shows the entrance to the visitors center.

Visitor center for Earthship Biotecture

Visitor center for Earthship Biotecture

After returning to Taos, Jack from Washington and I went to Michael’s Kitchen for dinner. We were mightily disappointed that the restaurant did not offer any beer! I ordered a burrito for dinner, which I found quite good.

Since there was still more to see in the area, I considered extending my stay in Taos for another day. After checking the weather forecast, I decided to depart on Monday and made reservations for stops along my return route in Enid OK, Arkadelphia AR, and Evergreen AL.

That concludes my travelogue report for September 8th. On Monday I started east towards Enid, Oklahoma. More about that day’s journey in the next report.

Don

About Don

I'm a retired computer programmer who enjoys touring the country by motorcycle.
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