Ride to Los Alamos

August 13, 2011–Madrid—Santa Fe—Los Alamos—Jemez
200 mile loop with one gas stop and a visit to the Los Alamos Counrty Fair
Was planning on going to Chama for Chama Day’s, but the events were a basketball tournament and a rodeo. So instead we headed off to Los Alamos for their parade and county fair. To get to Los Alamos, and home, we rode what is probably one of the most popular loop rides in the Albuquerque area.
We left at 7:30 giving us plenty of time to make the 10:00 start of the parade. We rode east on I-40 to the Carnuel exit, took the frontage road (333) thru Tijeras to 14The ride along 14 is one of my favorites and I’m on it often. It’s a lot cooler and not that much slower than using the Interstate. There are a couple places along this route I always look forward to seeing. One of them is rounding the corner and heading down the hill into Madrid. It’s an amazing overlook with miles of landscape right in front of you.
Just before you get into Santa Fe at the intersection with 599, there is an Alsup’s with good pricing on their gas, plus it’s easily accessible. Leaving the gas station we followed 599 to bypass Santa Fe and catch 285 for a few miles to 502.
Took 502 all the way into Los Alamos. When riding 502, watch your speed, it’s a double fine zone and they patrol it regularly. The climb into Los Alamos is one of the things that lead me to a more powerful bike. It’s really an uphill battle.
As you enter Los Alamos you will see a guard tower, remember this is where they built the atomic bomb. They have a free museum that has a lot of information about the building of the bomb. After you pass the airport, look for Central–it splits to the right. Follow it for a few blocks and you will see a large park with a pond. It’s here you will fine their library and the museum. This is also the area they were having the fair.

 

It’s here we stop and watched the parade and looked at the exhibits.

 

 

If you stay on Central it becomes Canyon Road–turn left on Diamond (501) and drive past the Labs. You maybe stopped at the check point, stay on 501. After about 4 miles the road ends at 4.
Taking a right we head into the Jemez mountains. The road starts with a good climb with several sharp turns. This was the first time I’ve been on 4 after the Las Conchas fire.
Some areas were cleared of everything, others the trunks blacked, but the trees still green with new grass on the ground. In the burnt area the creeks were running with black water, that looked like oil.
We stopped at the Ridgeback for lunch. It’s a small place at the turn for Fenton lake, look for the elk burger on the menu. After a nice lunch we got back onto 4 and rode past Battleship rock and Soda dam. Going through Jemez you will almost always see lots of bikes parked in the town. This day was no exception, there was at least 25 bikes parked along the road.As you ride this leg back to 550, always watch your speed, there are a couple of places where the speed limit drops from 50 to 30mph. It’s lesson I learned the hard way one afternoon and one I try not to repeat.

When you get to 550 it’s a 22 mile run to Bernalillo. For some reason it seems windy on this stretch of road. Maybe it’s the higher speed after riding through the mountains, but whatever the reason it aways knocks me around. This trip we got some light rain, making it a much cooler ride.

We took 313 from Bernalillo to 556 and stopped to fill up at the station just before I-25.  We got rained on making our way back to the house. It just cooled us off before we ended the ride.

One comment

  1. ZEO says:

    I just did a similar trip the day after on Sunday to assess the fire damage. I went from Santa Fe thru White Rock down to Fenton Lake, 185 miles round trip. I was surprised that the damage visible from the road was ‘spotty’. There must be larger areas off road. I posted pics on AMRG in the photo albums.Nice report.

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