Ride to Las Vegas to see the Rough Rider Memorial Collection

Albuquerque – Moriarty – Villanueva – Ribera – Las Vegas

November 11, 2011

Ride to Las Vegas to visit the Rough Rider Memorial Collection with lunch at La Risa Cafe – Took I-40 to NM 3 north for 20 miles to Villanueva, then 10 more miles past Ribera to right on I 25 to Las Vegas Going home I 25 to NM 285, then south on NM 41 right (west) on NM 472 continue on NM 306 to NM 14 right on I 40 to Albuquerque. 

Ride was 238 miles with lunch and 4 1/2 ride time. 

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I had planned this ride for last Saturday but a storm hit the state and I had to postpone it. The weather man was calling for another storm again this Saturday, so to beat the storm I took the ride on Friday. My daughter had practice and the wife didn’t want to deal with the cold weather, so I did this trip alone.

I started the ride by heading east on I 40, didn’t fill up before leaving town, so I made a quick stop for gas in in Moriarty. The stop gave me a chance to warm up. The sun never got out of the clouds, making it a very cool, grey and breezy day.

I exited onto NM 3 and rode north for about 20 miles before dropping into the valley that holds Villanueva. The ride for the next 12 miles is what really make this road worth riding.

After you drop down into the valley, you follow the Pecos north through several small villages and farms.

Every curve in the road gives you another back road surprise, an old home, a plowed field or a view of the river. This part of the highway felt completely different from the last time I rode it in the summer.

About 1 mile before you get to I-25 in the village of Ribera, you will find the La Risa Cafe. If you are traveling north it’s on the left side of the road just before the train tracks. I’d ridden past this cafe many times before and had never stop. Thanks to the recommendation of another rider (Jerry) this was where I stopped for lunch.

For my lunch I had “The Hangover” it was green chile stew with two eggs dropped on top. My lunch was outstanding, it was more like a soup than a stew, but it was delicious.

As I sat eating my heavenly stew and watching other diners served plates of mouthwatering food, I knew this restaurant was going to be a regular stop for me in the future.

After lunch it was back on the road north about 22 miles on I 25 to Las Vegas and the Rough Rider Memorial Museum. Unfortunately for me the museum was closed, so I took a picture of the door and started for home.

The ride back south on I 25 was very cold, with an icy headwind blowing up the canyon. After turning onto NM 285 / NM 41 it warmed up some, making my ride more enjoyable.

It was a grey sunless day, but I still enjoyed myself. The landscapes spoke of winter, giving the roads a totally different look and feel. The traffic off the Interstates was very light and most of day I rode these highways completely alone. My daughter asked me if I was upset that the museum was closed and I laughed. The ride gave me everything I was looking for, I’ll catch the museum another time.



  1. O'Larry says:

    Great write-up and glad you had a truly good ride!
    Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us!

  2. Billy G says:

    Thanks for the write-up Chuck. Great job. That is a ride I’ll have to take one day.

    Years past my family and I use to go camping at that campground in the Villanueva area so I am somewhat familiar with that same route going through from I-40 to I-25. I honestly don’t remember ever seeing that little cafe in Ribera though. I will have to try it out also.

    • ZEO says:

      Thx for the report. Sometimes a solo ride is good for the soul, even if you’re met with a locked door…it’s all about the journey anyway. Definately have to check out that stretch of rt. 3 and hit that cafe. I love finding htese hidden little treasures for myself, and to turn others onto. Pretty close to SF also.

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