Albuquerque – Laguna – Grants
Ride on parts of old Route 66 west of Albuquerque – I-40 west about 30 miles to NM 6, south to old RT 66, back to I-40 for 12 miles to Mesita exit, then east on Old RT 66/SR 124 to Grants, then back the 83 miles to Albuquerque on I-40
November 26, 2011
Ride was 172 with a 3 1/2 hours ride time.
My plan was to get in a couple of rides the three days after Thanksgiving, but as it turned out I could only do one. This ride followed parts of old RT 66 west of Albuquerque. With the days getting colder I wanted to let the sun warm everything up before starting, so I waited till around 10:00 to leave.
I began the journey by going west on I 40 for 22 miles, then I pulled over at the 66 Casino to fill up
When it’s cold I like to stop for gas early in the ride, it gives me a chance to warm up. For some reason on a cold day I find the first 30 minutes of riding to be the hardest. It really doesn’t make any sense, because at the end of some winter rides I’m so stiff I can hardly get off the bike, but somehow I’m fine with that.
Next I rode 12 miles to the NM 6 exit, taking NM 6 north to where it intersects with Old RT 66. At this point Old RT 66 was only paved passed the bridge for a couple hundred feet. Not wanting to drive on dirt I turned around and went back to I 40, following it another 12 miles to the Mesita exit. (Note you can’t tell from Google maps that this section of Old RT 66 is unpaved)
From the Mesita exit I turned right at the overpass, then a short distance down this road I took a left onto Old RT 66. From this point Old RT 66 parallels I 40, but it doesn’t run next to it, instead this road weaves through the canons.
When I got to SR 124, turned right and rode it all the way to Grants. This back-road runs through several small places – Mesita, Laguna, Paraje and Acomita. While riding SR 124 you get to experience this area up close, something that never happens on the Interstate.
While I was stopped for pictures at one location, four large barking dogs came running across the mesa. Quickly I put the camera away and jumped onto my bike, it was close call, with my back tire shooting gravel at them as I pulled away.
My plan was to eat lunch in Grants before heading home, but the wind was really starting to blow. In this part of New Mexico, high winds are normal and they can make riding very unpleasant.
Finding myself not that hungry, I jumped on I 40 for the 80 mile ride back to Albuquerque.
On the way back I rode into a head wind for about 40 miles, then it just stopped. That made the last half of my ride back, much more enjoyable than the first.
With the holidays it seemed harder to get away and take to the highways. Glad I could find time for at least one ride and I’m a little sad I didn’t get in two.