Touring - US 64 Across New Mexico
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08-11-12, 07:46 PM
I'm planning to cross New Mexico on US 64, west to east, in July of next year. Anyone familiar with the condition of the road, is there any shoulder, how is the traffic, etc. ? Thanks
08-11-12, 09:22 PM
US 64 is pretty good although lower elevations will be hot in July.
I've done many sections over the years and have driven all.
There are some sections that I have chosen not to ride.
West to East
From Four Corners to Bloomfield -
Busy 4-lane highway, back road is NM 36
Bloomfield to Tierra Amarilla -
2-lane, fairly low traffic, narrow to moderate shoulders
Tierra Amarilla to Taos -
Low traffic until near Taos, steep climb, shoulders vary, vertigo bridge
Taos to Raton -
Moderate traffic, shoulders minimal in canyon sections, short stretch on I-25 near Raton
Raton to Okla/Tex border
US 64 busy with shoulders to Clayton, NM 72 way better, NM 456 (short dirt section) to Black Mesa is sweet
08-13-12, 11:11 AM
Taos Canyon, from Taos east to Angel Fire (about 20 miles), is a winding, treacherous stretch of road with absolutely ZERO shoulder...I'm fairly certain it will be the most dangerous section of the trip. From Tres Piedras east to Taos also has no shoulder, but it is wide open and traffic will be able to see you. Send a PM closer to the departure date, as we live in Taos and should be able to hook you up with a bed and a shower.
08-13-12, 09:36 PM
Although I live in Wyoming, my sister lives in northern NM and I have biked oodles in the northern half of the state - working in visits during longer tours - plus short rides when visiting - plus driving. (I usually explore possible back road routes when driving between Wyo and NM.)
Know what the state mineral is for New Mexico? Broken glass. There is so much broken glass on the sides of rural highways that it is a religious experience at sunrise and sunset. Sadly, there are also lots of crosses alongside the roads. I think NM has the highest rural highway death rate in the nation - - alcohol, maybe drugs too, and speed.
So you would be advised to use caution - especially on narrow roads with no shoulders. It's impossible to bike across New Mexico without having some tough stretches. Some suggestions which apply every where - but esp. NM. Avoid riding at times where there is higher traffic and greater risk - - rush hour (yes, rural people commute) 7-9a, 4-6p. Be especially carefully eastbound if you are riding super early into the sun. Early evening is especially risky because of drinking - esp. Fri & Sat evening. Be even more careful on holiday weekends.
Finally, choose roads with light traffic. All things being equal - which they are rarely - shoulderless roads with light traffic are better than shoulderless roads with moderate or heavy traffic. The chance of scissors - two cars meeting - is geometric with traffic volume. A stretch with 10 cars in each direction in an hour will have 100 potential scissors. A stretch with 20 cars in each direction will have 400 - not 200. Make that 50 and it gets big, fast - 2500.
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