Ride to Pueblo Pintado

Albuquerque –  Bernalillo – Cuba – Pueblo Pintado – Grants

Ride to Pueblo Pintado—North on NM 313 to Bernalillo, then North on US 550 to Cuba, then south on NM 197 that becomes IRS 9, then south on NM 509, then south on NM 605 to Grants, then east to Albuquerque.

The ride was 282 miles with about 5 1/2 hours of ride time.

Saturday May 25, 2013

Google Maps
Almost every weekend I get on my bike and hit the road, most of these outings are loop rides that bring me home after a few hours. For me the perfect ride is around 6 hours (300 – 400 miles) on the bike. With a 6 hour ride you don’t run out of daylight in the shorter days of winter. In the summer it nice to get home before the afternoon sun makes it look like you wet your pants. In my opinion the New Mexico late afternoon summer heat is more difficult to deal with than any winter day above freezing.
Last week I discovered a seldom traveled 300 mile loop that took me through some amazing southwestern landscapes (canyons and desert). So it was no surprise that I’d want to ride that route again. Only this time I was going to travel the route in the other direction. I was anxious to see what it looked like going the other way. Because my daughter had a basketball tournament I couldn’t plan the ride till after her Friday night game (they lost).  When I found out her next game was late Saturday afternoon I called Chuck Lane, he had expressed an interest in doing this ride with me.  We planned to meet at 8:00 for breakfast at Murphy’s Mule Barn. Chuck and his girlfriend (D.D) split a chicken fried steak, it was so big it didn’t fit on the plate. Sorry no food picture, I forgot to bring the camera into the restaurant.
 The ride up US 550 was like moving through rush hour traffic, lots of people getting out of town for the three day weekend. But when got onto NM 197 all the other cars disappeared, this is really a road less traveled.
Just before we got to Pueblo Pintado a flock of sheep made their way across the highway.
Pueblo Pintado [Spanish for “Painted Town”] is located on summit of a ridge at the base of Chaco Canyon. The ruins are visible from the ISR 9. The dirt road to the ruins is near ISR 46 (it’s the only paved road). The ruins are about 2 miles up  a gravel road, the road wasn’t too bad for us on this day, but washboard sections on it gave us a good shaking.
There is a parking area you access by a short rutted road. The Pintado ruins are very impressive and are well worth the extra effort to get to them. Pueblo Pintado were the first ruins encountered by early expeditions as they approached Chaco Canyon from the east.
About 5 miles from the ruins in a sandstone canyon area, we came upon a herd of wild horses.
After we had ridden down NM 509 a few miles we passed through a large mining area. They have built overpasses on the highway so their equipment can cross the road.
Just before we got into Grants we were treated to watching a train crossing our path heading west. We stopped for gas and then headed east for home. It was nice day and I had a great time. Thanks to Chuck and D.D. for sharing this adventure with me. Don’t think I would have done that dirt road without you.

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