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New Mexico Motorcycle Rides

Follow the Rivers: Tracing the Headwaters of the Colorado River


Having just retired from a wildfire management position with the Forest Service the previous year, and thus off the hook for working fire pre-suppression all summer long, I took the opportunity to ride up into the high Rockies in June, following the great rivers—the Colorado and its tributaries—all the way to their origin. Departing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, I rode ...

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Magical Riding in Northern New Mexico

Every bend in the road in northern New Mexico seems to reveal another geological intrigue.

en · chant (verb): To place under a spell as if by magic. Yep. That’s exactly what the mountains of northern New Mexico have done to me. There is something magical about this state, and I believe it stems from its wide-ranging diversity. The cultural, architectural and environmental palate from which this region is painted is as multi-hued and vibrant as you ...

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Riding a Quasi-Antique Classic in Arizona and New Mexico


Ancient Native American shadows and echoes are scattered across central and northeast Arizona. Cruising this region, Carol, my wife, and I are exploring the remains of the ancient pueblos and cliff dwellings. The Anasazi, Sinagua and Ancestral Puebloans settled here, prospered and disappeared, leaving only hints of their existence. To maintain the historical ambiance of the journey, we are riding ...

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Exploring Southwest New Mexico By Motorcycle

web-Grants New Mexico lava flows

Not caring for Interstate highways, I choose to ride the “blue highways” north and south of Interstate 40 from Grants, New Mexico, where I live. I made this ride in late May on my 2008 Triumph America. This 865cc twin has all of the power I need and is reminiscent of the Bonneville 650 I had in the ’60s, although ...

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Going Loopy for New Mexico: Motorcycle Travel Feature


At an overlook near Cumbres Pass (elevation 10,022 feet) north of Chama, New Mexico, I parked the 2011 Victory Cross Country to take a break. Soon I was joined by a man in a cowboy hat who had climbed out of his pickup truck to stand on a granite outcropping and peer through binoculars. He explained that he grazed his ...

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New Mexico’s Little Las Vegas Favorite Ride

Tapetes de Lana, in Mora, New Mexico

[This New Mexico’s Little Las Vegas Favorite Ride was originally published in the January 2012 issue of Rider magazine] The name Las Vegas is generally associated with glitzy gambling in Nevada and Sin City, the fastest-growing city in the United States. But there is another Las Vegas that sits quietly in north central New Mexico along Interstate 24, east of ...

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Ancient Ways in the Southwest

Indian Lands_13

story and photography by Kathleen Kemsley The climate can be too hot and rainy in the summer, too cold and windy in the winter. But motorcycling conditions in the high desert during the spring and fall months are nearly perfect. A commitment-free week in September beckoned my husband and me to ride the Indian lands of the Southwest, following a ...

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Santa Fe Trail: History and Drama from New Mexico to Kansas

story and photography by Kathleen Kemsley We planned to attend a regional sidecar club rally in September. There was just one drawback, we thought: The rally took place in eastern Kansas. Kansas? What is there to see in Kansas? Though I had never set foot in the state, I had heard plenty about how flat and tedious the journey is ...

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New Mexico Motorcycle Rides: Lincoln National Forest

New Mexico-Motorcycle Touring-Kemsley-06

story and photography by Kathleen Kemsley [New Mexico Motorcycle Rides: Lincoln National Forest was originally published as a Favorite Ride in the August 2008 issue of Rider magazine] Question: What’s black and white and red all over? Answer: A motorcycle route through the region surrounding Lincoln National Forest in southeast New Mexico. At the north end of the route, black ...

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