US 84 / US 64 : Santa Fe - Taos

Star Rating Graphic (5) 250 kms
ssn696 | May 12, 2006 | America > United States > New Mexico Motorcycle Roads > NM - RioArriba/LosAlamos/Sandoval/SanteF...
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May 12, 2006 - Star Rating Graphic

This will be pretty long day (or two), but well worth the ride. Camera is mandatory. The trip starts in the center of Old Santa Fe in the square at the Place of the Governors. If you're rich you stayed at one of the pricey downtown hotels, if not, well, you wanted to walk around the old town, right? Go west on Palace, turn right on Grant Ave, then left onto Paseo de Paralta. Bear right onto Guadalupe, then merge onto US 84/285 north at the National Cemetary. Just over the hill coming out of Santa Fe is a great place for breakfast. The Tesuque Village Market is just off on Tesuque Village Rd, at the exit for the Santa Fe Opera, bear right. About 3 km down the road is the Market. Huevos Rancheros with red or green chili. When you're done wiping off your chin, continue on Tesuque Village Rd, which merges again onto 84/285 north towards Pojoaque, then on to Espanola. In Espanola, bear left on Paseo de Onate, which is still 84/285. Watch out for the locals in their low riders, mostly on Saturday nights. Once out of town, you will be on a wide open highway, which becomes Route 84. (Don't turn off onto Route 285 or you'll miss the most scenic part of the trip). If you are a Georgia O'Keefe fan, you can stop in Abuquiu, or keep going north towards Chama. One you have climbed up past the Abiquiu Reservoir, you can stop for a hike at Georgia O'Keefe's Ghost Ranch, on the right. Gorgeous multicolored cliffs clearly inspired her paintings. Continue north, and stop at Echo Amphitheater on your left. A natual sandstone overhang that really does echo. Continue north about another 45 km. If you need a break, go past route 64 another 7km to Henry's Store in Tierra Amarilla for a cold drink or potty break. Either way, turn east onto at NM Route 64 towards Taos. The road winds through some of the most beautiful scenery in New Mexico. In winter, this road is typically under 1-4 meters of snow. The road winds down out of the mountains and into open dry grassland after you cross over Route 285 (yes, you're going in a big circle.) You'll pass the local oddity, the 'Earthships', squatters who built solar powered homes from tires and beer cans in the 1960s. Then, one of the greatest wonders of all, the Taos Bridge over the Rio Grande Canyon. Fabulous whitewater rafting trips in spring go right under this bridge, 150 m down. Continue west on 64 towards Taos on Paseo del Pueblo Norte, into the center of town. Have a ball here, but don't buy more than you can carry.... If you plan to go back towards Santa Fe, take Rte 68 south (Paseo del Pueblo Sur) out of Taos about 35km, but turn left onto State Road 75. Go about another 20 km, and turn right onto State Road 76. This is called the High Road to Taos, and it winds down to Chimayo, near Pojoaque. Keep your eyes peeled on your left for Juan Medina Rd. This will take you right past the Santuario de Chimayo. People make an annual pilgrimage here on foot from Santa Fe on Good Friday. If your starving at this point, head over to the Rancho de Chimayo for dinner. Excellent local cuisine. Continue on Medina Rd until it intersects NM 503. Go right and follow 503, winding road through historic rural Nambe. The road ends back on 84/285. Turn left to go back down to Santa Fe

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