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Ken S

March: NM, AZ, CA

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Ken S

I'm planning to start a ride in the middle of March from Albuquerque going south, then west through AZ and CA.  A basic route would turn west on I-10 at Deming, NM and go through Tucson, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, then on to S. CA.  I don't know AZ and CA very well, and I don't like riding interstates.  I'll have a few extra days, so a couple questions:


I understand that Hwy 191 in eastern AZ is a beautiful ride.  Is mid-March too early to ride it?  I'm wondering about high elevations and iciness.  I know that NM has had heavier-than-usual snowfall this year, so that may be an issue.  If the roads and weather were amenable, i'd like to go north on 191, then to Pi Day (3/14/20) in Pie Town, NM; but I suspect it's too early.

 

Any recommended alternative scenic routes?

 

With extra days in CA, is Angeles Crest Hwy an option that time of year (mountain passes or iciness)?  Any other recommendations east and south of LA?

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TEWKS

Ken, 191 was a beautiful ride and I think we rode it in March. I'd have to clear the cobwebs to be exact on the date, but yeah, different years with different weather?? :dontknow:

 

I mention this whenever asked. All that I've seen (and remember) in AZ, the Apache Trail stays locked in my mind as the place I'd like to visit again. :thumbsup: It's about 40 miles of well maintained gravel that will transport you back into an old western movie. :cool:

apachetrail.jpg?resize=720,540

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szurszewski

I wanted to ride Angeles crest last March, on my way from Santa Barbara to San Diego, but I had two problems: it was snowing up there...AND a good stretch of it had just been closed a few weeks earlier by a rock slide. I just looked and it did reopen a few months ago.  
 

The folks I stayed with in Santa Barbara said it is possible to ride it early in the year - sometimes. So, I guess you may have to leave that choice to the weather when you’re there. 

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AZgman

Rt 191 up through Hannigan Meadow, AZ (9000 ft) can be dicey in March. There almost certainly will be snow piled high on the sides of the road and black ice is a real possibility.

 

Apache trail northeast of Tortilla Flat is closed for maintenance due to flooding. You should check to see if repairs have been completed just before you travel. 

 

Coming through Organ Pipe National Monument and continuing on into California will be through an area where Rt 8 is your only paved option. Be sure to stop in Ajo (garlic) to see a funky western town.

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Ken S

Thanks for the info.  I didn't realize Hannigan Meadow was at 9000'.

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Ken S
6 hours ago, TEWKS said:

transport you back into an old western movie. 

Thanks Pat.  That looks like a lot of fun.  And StreetView of the area looks great.  After the UN this summer in CA, I'm thinking of moving my bike and toy-hauler to NM to use as a base to explore more of the SW.

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Ken S
4 hours ago, szurszewski said:

 it was snowing up there...AND a good stretch of it had just been closed

Thanks Josh.  I realize that traveling in March can be iffy, and I'll check conditions as I decide which way to go.  But I'm almost ready for a road trip.  This winter has been strange in Alaska.  50 degrees on New Years Eve, one of the coldest Januarys ever (all month), then I had to postpone a trip to my cabin this week because of almost 2 feet of new snow.  (I didn't want to try to break 30 miles of trail through the wilderness and that much wet snow.)

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longjohn

ANGELES crest is still closed for snow, as is Glendora ridge rd, but they both maybe be open sometime in March, because rain is being pushed into WA. 
see here for numbered state roads:  

https://roads.dot.ca.gov

 

angeles crest is 2

 

Edit. Extra days in ca?  Try 18,38, 273, 33, 58,1. Head into Sierra foothills. Mar there is green!  Give me a shout out and I or one of the inmates could prolly Give you a personalized tour. 
 

edit2. Re 191:  be sure to finish before dark as it gets cold and animales start roaming 

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LBump
1 hour ago, longjohn said:

Edit. Extra days in ca?  Try 18,38, 273, 33, 58,1. Head into Sierra foothills. Mar there is green!  Give me a shout out and I or one of the inmates could prolly Give you a personalized tour. 

 

This is always a good idea if conditions are right... :thumbsup:
 

 

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Ken S
18 hours ago, longjohn said:

Try 18,38, 273, 33, 58,1.

Thanks for the info.  Do these highways connect in this order?  I'm looking to see the route, and looking forward to checking out the area.

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longjohn
43 minutes ago, Ken S said:

Thanks for the info.  Do these highways connect in this order?  I'm looking to see the route, and looking forward to checking out the area.

I'll assume you're coming from SD countyish.  go north on79>371>74>243(not 273 which was a typo)>10>38>18>138.  Here is where the weather makes some decisions for you.  If Angeles Crest is open go up to wrightwood.  If not you could still go through Wrightwood but then go thru the Antelope Valley starting with Big Pines HWY.  Or go down to 210 and go up Mountain Ave>Glendora Ridge RD, if it's open>to either Glendora MT RD or East Fork RD>39.

 

edit:  that would be a nice days ride.  you could then make your way to Santa Paula>150>33>.58>229>41>1>old creek rd>santa rosa creek rd>cambria>1>monterey.  Another nice days ride.

 

edit2  other roads to consider:  198  25  Nacimiento Ferguson

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Ken S
On 2/24/2020 at 11:49 AM, longjohn said:

Another nice days ride.

Thanks for the details. Will check it out. 

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MikeRC

I'm following this thread closely. 

 

I'm off to Palm Springs next Tuesday to re-acquaint myself with my GS that's sitting in storage an $8 Uber ride from the airport.  Other than Ramona March 20 & 21st haven't planned my travels yet :D 

 

Mike C 

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