Albuquerque – Socorro – Trinity Site – Carrizozo – Salinas Pueblo Mission – Mountainair – Albuquerque
Ride to the Trinity Site using I-25 to Socorro and then Highway 1 to US-380. Entering White Sands Missile Range by the Stallion Range entrance and 18 miles to the Trinity Site. Exiting Stallion Range entrance and heading east on US-380 crossing the Valley of Fire into Carrizozo. Then north on US-54 for 20 miles to NM-55, with a stop at Salinas Pueblo Mission. Lunch Stop in Mountainair, continuing on NM-55 about 18 miles to NM-337. Then right on NM-333 —-Total miles 330
October 01, 2011
The Nuclear Age started at the Trinity Site on July 16, 1945 when the world’s first atomic bomb was exploded. The Trinity Site is located on the Whites Sands Missile Range in the middle of the desert. They open the site to the public for one day, twice a year. This was one of those days and we are rode over to see it.
To get started my wife and I headed over to the K & I Diner
for breakfast. The restaurant was loaded with construction workers filling up before starting their day. We had eggs, hash-browns, bacon, sausage and biscuits with gravy. The food was plentiful and good, which explains all the construction workers.
We left at 8:30 for I-25 and the ride to Socorro, the traffic was light. I paced with a BMW, that was riding in the Land of Enchantment 1000. We rode together all the way to Socorro, where we stopped for gas. After filling up, we were back on the road by 9:30, taking NM-1 from Socorro. The highway starts at the south end of town and about 5 miles out it crosses over I-25. You need to watch for this turn as the signage is poor. At US-380 we turned left for the 20 mile ride to Stallion Range entrance.
After turning onto the Range we drove for about 5 miles before arriving at the gate. Here they stopped all the vehicles and checked your ID before allowing you to continue onto the White Sands Missile Range. The next 13 miles crosses empty desert landscape, where you must watch for the ibex that roam the Range.
By the time we got to the Trinity Site it was already filled with people and we were directed to the area for motorcycle parking. We walked to the site and wondered around, stopping for some water at their snack area.
We left the site and head back to US-380, for our ride to Carrizozo. About 6 miles from town we crossed the Valley of Fire, it’s a lava flow that is four to six miles wide. This lava flow covers 125 square miles and is one of the youngest lava flows in the US.
We gassed up in Carrizozo, it’s important to note with the side trip we covered 125 miles from Socorro. There are no gas stations between these two towns, so if your range is less than 125 miles make plans.
In Carrizozo we turned left onto US-54 for the 20 mile ride to NM-55. On NM-55, they let the grass grow tall and right up to the edge of the road. The birds roost in the tall grass and are flushed as you ride by. After many close calls, one made a wrong move, forcing me to stop and remove it from the bike.
We pulled into Salinas Pueblo Mission(Gran Quivira) and walked the trail around the ruins. It’s amazing to think this place was the home to over 1500 people and there is no water nearby. Maybe that’s why by 1677 it was abandoned.
After visiting the ruins we thought it was appropriate that we stop for lunch at the Ancient Cities Restaurant in Mountainair. It’s a small local place and I’ve eaten at it several times before. Sometimes it’s food is outstanding and sometimes is not. On this trip my beer battered onion rings were outstanding, the rest of our food was OK.
We filled up with gas and made our way back to NM-55 riding about 18 miles north before turning left on to NM-337. There was lots of slow moving traffic on NM-337, making me glad that my bike was good at passing cars on the two-lane. NM-337 is one of those fun roads to run, lots of sweeping turns weaving through the mountains.
It was a perfect day to ride, cool while riding (my wife wore her sweatshirt all day) and hot when we stopped. This was a desert ride and I was glad for nice weather.