After returning from 5 months riding through Mexico and Central America last year, we crossed the frontier back into the US and stopped for the night in Deming, New Mexico. A friend in Mexico, Dan had offered us a place to stay at his house in Deming. His neighbor Jeff, another motorcycle rider, lived next door. He opened the house and let us in to stay and welcomed us into the community.
We enjoyed a wonderful evening with he and his wife, Elaine. They showed us the place next door which was just placed on the market for sale at a super deal.
We had been basically homeless for eight years. To be able to get our meager belongings out of storage and in one central location, while giving us a base, seemed a great idea. By the next day it was ours. We spent the next 3 days there and left for 7 months.
Fast forward seven months and we finally made it back with our belongings in tow. We would be here a few weeks before our 2 month trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, and again after returning. I saw this as ample time to explore our new state of New Mexico.
Was I ever wrong!
This is such a large and diverse state to explore all it has to offer would take years. There are many biodiverse climates and altitude changes that each one needs to be explored each season.
Deming is at an altitude of about 4200 feet, high desert 30 minutes north of the Mexican border. Just 60 miles NW is an old mining town, Silver City. From Silver are several loops to ride, from paved to two track and BDR routes.
Leaving Deming you can be in beautiful pine forests at 8500 feet with incredible views. One route I ride several times was over Emory pass. Since it was winter it tried to make sure there would be dry weather as there is usually snow at the top and the temperature, even mid day, would have a difficult time topping 35-40°F. There were always deer to be avoided and twisting tarmac to pay attention to.
Just out of town you could find a dirt track to get you just about anywhere in the state. The population density in so low in this area you may ride for hours and never even see another vehicle, bliss.
Another favorite ride was NM15 north of Silver ending at the Gila Cliff dwellings. This was a fantastic paved road twisting through pine forests, heavy growth ferns and greenery lining both side of the road. Small, free campground are scattered along the road. Climbing for miles you break out above the pine forest to incredible views of mountains, valleys and forests as far as you can see in any direction. This area is so remote it is designated a dark sky area without artificial light for miles in all directions.
At the end of the road is the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Park. These are 800 years old and was created to protect the Mogollan cliff dwellings. Archaeologists have identified 46 room in the 5 caves on Cliff Dweller Canyon.
Just 4 miles to the south of the park is the Gila Hot Springs campground. This campground offers wonderful primitive campsites along the west fork of the Gila River. The highlight of this place are the three natural hot springs in the campground just feet from the river with the cliffs on the other side of the river towering over you. For US$8 you get a place to pitch your tent and unlimited use of the hot springs, clothing optional after dark. You can also just stop by and soak in the hotsprings for US$5. Don’t miss this if you are in the area.
While in Deming we would ride down to Los Palomas, Mexico. It’s a great place to see a dentist or pick up medication, no perscription needed. Just remember to bring your passport if you go and walk across the border.
We would always stop at the Pink store. This place sells all things Mexican and related to the southwestern area. There is restaurant in the back with an extensive menu and great food. The staff will usually meet you at the door with a margarita, with refills, while you shop. They make you feel like old friends, as seems the norm in Old Mexico.
Before heading east we made it up to Overland Expo West in Flagstaff. This event never fails to disappoint. We made a presentation of our ride around New Zealand and sat in on several round table discussions. With many friends in attendance from all over the world, we had a brilliant time catching up on the rides of all there.
On the way we visited Chaco Canyon. Between AD 900 and 1150 this was a major center for the Ancient Pueblo People. The park hosts the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American SW. Many of the Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to captured the solar and lunar cycles.