This Favorite Ride started out as an adventure ride from the Colorado Wyoming border to Silver City, New Mexico via the
Continental Divide Ride route. But the real 'Favorite Road' is a combination of 46 miles of the National Forest road from the
Beaverhead (New Mexico) Work Center to Silver City and 75 miles of NM 152. These two roads are a large part of the Geronimo
Trail National Scenic Byway which is actually a loop starting and ending with Forest Road 150 and passing through the ghost towns
of Winston and Chloride and the city of Truth or Consequences. Forest Road 150 is a great dual-sport ride, doable by an
experienced rider on any size bike, with every kind of road surface you can imagine. And 152 is a motorcyclist's dream, roughly
50 miles of its 75 are twisted and bent into curves that will test riders of every level and every bike, from cruiser to sport.
But I digress. This portion of our ride started with my friend Chuck's DR650 picking up a nail as we neared the end of the
pavement on NM 59 where we were to start south on Forest Road 150. And I do mean near; we were less than 1/4 mile from the
Beaverhead Work Center where we had shade and flat surfaces to work on the tire. One of the Forest Service workers also told
us that it would be OK to camp there for the night. So camp we did as it was getting late when we finished fixing the flat.
The next morning we started down FR 150, the 'off-highway' portion of the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway, crossing the
Continental Divide once and riding the Continent's 'backbone' for eight miles. Forty Six miles doesn't sound like much but when it
is all dirt (or gravel or rock or a combination of all three with some mud thrown in,) it took us over two hours to complete. An 'A'
rider on a light bike could do it in much less but wouldn't see the country like we did at our pace. My DL 650 Vstrom handled the
terrain fine but I had to take it easy in several places with large rocks and some ruts.
We finally finished the initial 46 miles when FR 150 terminated at NM 35 in the Mimbres River Valley. One could take 35 east to
152 and skip Silver City altogether but we were in need of food and a WiFi fix so we rode the 20 miles each way into Silver City
and a visit to Mickey D's. No visit to Silver City is complete without a stop to gaze dumbstruck into the oldest and largest open-pit
copper mine in the country. Copper was mined here in the 1800's to supply a mint in Mexico City and the mine is still one of the
country's largest producers of copper ore.
So after a quick stop for a photo of Chuck and his DR, we were off on 152. He had a long ride back to his home in Colorado so we
said our goodbye's and he was on his way while I dawdled to take a couple photos of the mine and mess with my pack. As Chuck
was turning north on I25 for Socorro, NM, I turned south on the same slab with Las Cruces my goal for the night.
I've ridden 152 at least a half dozen times over the years but never tire of the thrill of the twisties and the beauty of the country
it passes through. This year I was surprised to find that a large forest fire had destroyed much of the forest on the east side of
Emory Pass. A little research later revealed that this lightning-caused fire was in June of 2013 and scorched 138,000 acres of
We leave Silver City on NM 180, turning left onto 152 after about 14 miles. The first 15 miles or so are uneventful, winding
sedately through rural residential areas of the Mimbres Valley. Then the curves start to kick in as the speed limit drops from 55
MPH to as low as 25 MPH over the next 40 miles. The curves are gentle at first but once the road drops into the canyon and up
over the pass, they get tight with advisory speed signs of 10 and 15 MPH as the norm. One of the beauties of 152 is the lack of
four wheel traffic; on this day, I saw more motorcycles than cars or trucks! After buzzing the canyon and cresting Emory Pass, I
passed through the communities of Kingston and Hillsboro. Kingston bills itself as a ghost town; that is, a town with a ghost! Sam
the Ghost was a one-armed handyman at the lodge now known as Black Range Lodge. Some say he still lives there. Other than that,
Kingston, once the largest silver mining town in New Mexico, with 23 saloons, 14 grocery stores and three newspapers, is now home
to about 25 hardy folks. Hillsboro, just nine miles further down the road, was also a mining town during the late 1800's and was
the Sierra County seat for a number of years before it was moved to what is now called Truth or Consequences. If your timing is
right, a meal at the General Store Cafe is not to be missed. Once the only restaurant in town, it is now joined by the Barbershop
Cafe. Both Kingston and Hillsboro offere self-guided walking tours if you have the time to spare.
Once you leave Hillsboro, the highway straightens out and terminates at Interstate 25. Or, for a change of pace and scenery,
leave NM 152 at Hillsboro on NM 27 to Nutt and then NM 26 to Hatch, known world-wide for its chilies. As I motored down 152,
approaching the Interstate, I noticed a serious rain storm right where I needed to be. And an ominous highway sign: Running
Water. Sure enough, water ran out of the sky on me but not enough to dampen the enjoyment I had from discovering the Geronimo
Trail and running NM 152 once again.
Typical road surface and view on FR 150
This IS the Continental Divide, 8 miles of it like this!
Not sure of the significance of the tire but this is the mine overlook. Like the Grand Canyon, it is hard to capture the immensity of it!
Chuck's DR 650, waiting to be 're-tired.'
NM 59 before the flat
Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway
The view of the fire from the Emory Pass Overlook.
The General Store Cafe in Hillsboro, a must stop!
That 'smokey looking' stuff was running water!