Albuquerque – Bernalillo – Cuba – El Vado Lake – Espanola – Santa Fe – Albuquerque
Ride to El Vado Lake with breakfast at Cuban Cafe in Cuba —North on NM 313 to US 550, then north on US 550 to NM 96, then north on NM 112 (16 miles unpaved) to US 84, then south on US 84 to Espanola, then south on US 285 to NM 599, then south to I – 25, then south to Albuquerque
The ride was 302 miles with about 6 hours of ride time.
Saturday June 29, 2013
My plan for the day was to get up at 5:00 and ride to Alamosa for some breakfast, but I overslept by a couple hours. Not wanting my breakfast to become brunch I decided to change my plans. Now armed with no destination I started north on NM 313.
Anytime I’m heading north I take NM 313, it’s not as fast as the Interstate, but the personality of the road is so much better. NM 313 is two lane rural, something we don’t have a lot of in New Mexico.
A couple of weeks ago in Bernalillo my wife spotted a giant lizard in a front yard. Here is a picture of this unique piece of art.
I turned north on US 550 with the idea of riding up NM 04. As I neared the turn for NM 04, the idea of eating at Cuban Cafe in Cuba entered my head. It’s one of those places I always ride past and think I should try eating there someday. Well today was the day.
The food at the Cuban Cafe was average, their version of huevos rancheros was a green chile cheese enchilada with two eggs on top. It was different, but it just didn’t blow me away. The service was outstanding and everyone in the cafe was very friendly.
After topping off my tank I rode north to NM 96. NM 96 is a great motorcycle road that takes you north to US 84, it’s one I ride several times every year.
As I was riding NM 96 I came to NM 112. Now I have ridden past this highway many times, but I’d never been on it. I knew from my atlas at home that part of this highway was dirt. While I love my Valkyrie, navigating unpaved roads are not it’s strong point or mine.
After giving it few minutes of thought, I decided to ride NM 112. The first 17 miles were paved and the road was in good shape. I didn’t see any other vehicles on this section of the highway.
When the pavement ended I stopped and gave myself one more chance to turn around before starting on the dirt.
The first 6 miles of the dirt wasn’t too bad, that’s when I caught up with a truck, the first vehicle I’d seen since leaving US 550. The dust was not blowing off the road, it was covering me. I pulled over, had a drink and waited for the dust to settle before continuing at a slower pace.
If I didn’t have to fight the road, this would have been a nice area to ride. There was great scenery and nobody else around.
The dirt road ended at the El Vado lake dam. The last couple of miles were a little rough, the road was filled with large rocks, the kind that I put my tires over when driving my Jeep. That tactic doesn’t work at all on the bike.
El Vado lake was almost drained of all it’s water, it was sad to see it so empty.
After leaving the lake I made my way to US 84 and headed east to Espanola. Made one quick stop to filled up, but made no more stops for pictures. Took the Interstate back into Albuquerque. hit town around 2:00 with the temperature around 102. It’s amazing how the heat doesn’t affect me till I slow down, then it’s kills me. Nothing like a few red lights to let you know how hot it can get.
Anybody that has ridden with me knows I will go out of my way to avoid a dirt road. So on this ride I surprised myself, but it didn’t change how I feel about riding the Fat Lady on the gravel. This was a good ride, it took me to a part of the state I’d never seen before and brought me home.