New Mexico Backroads Guides American Expedition Vehicles Through the Gila Backcountry

Last week, New Mexico Backroads guided American Expedition Vehicles and their guests on a 6 day traverse of New Mexico’s iconic Gila National Forest. The 400-mile backroad adventure [also known as NMBR's Gila Legends Expedition] crisscrossed the Continental Divide through remote and rugged desert plains, water-filled canyon bottoms, dense forest and snow covered mountainsides. Stay tuned for the adventure. 

Photo: American Expedition Vehicles Ram 2500 ‪Power wagon‬ w/ ‪AEV‬ 3" DualSport SC Suspension, AEV Front Bumper, AEV Raised Air Intake, ‪‎WARN‬ 16.5ti winch, 17x8.5" AEV Katla wheels and 37" ‪‎BFGoodrich‬ Mud-Terrain KM2 tires | ©JakeQuiñones/NMBR 

Next week, make sure to stop by the AEV display at the 2015 Overland Expo WEST. Along with the full line-up of AEV built rigs [Including RAM], the NMBR Rubicon will be part of the display.


New Mexico Backroads Featured in 2015 American Expedition Vehicles Parts Catalog

New Mexico Backroads is featured in the 2015 American Expedition Vehicles Parts Catalog. The article highlights the the NMBR Rubicon, its central roll in NMBR's field work and why AEV parts were selected for its upgrades.
Each year I log over 15,000 miles in the NMBR Rubicon traveling the backroads of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Texas. These travels include photographing, scouting, and guiding for a host of assignments and unique individuals. Whether it’s a leading a multi-million dollar treasure hunt in the on the Taos Plateau, photographing wildland fire crews battling flames in the Black Range or scouting along US/Mexico Border, all of it centers on driving where pavement does not exist. The NMBR Rubicon serves as my transport, base camp and office for everything I do in the field.
The NMBR Rubicon was built for dual purposes: technical trail running and long-distance expedition travel. Harsh terrain and environments places a high demand on critical parts such as AEV's wheels, bumpers and winch mount, tire carrier, armored corners, and DualSport RS Suspension System. With over 45,000 miles on the odometer, the NMBR Rubicon has yet to have a single breakdown or failure [all AEV equipment included]and has continually proven itself as reliable and capable.
For more information on American Expedition Vehicles parts and equipment, visit The NMBR Rubicon will be part of the American Expedition Vehicles display at Overland Expo WEST May 15-17, 2015.


NMBR Begins Year Long Review of BFGoodrich KO2 - Is it time to come back to an All-Terrain Tire?

It has been seven years since my last set of all-terrain tires [BFGoodrich KO’s] were replaced with mud-terrain tires [BFGoodrich KM2’s]. Two vehicles and five sets of BFGoodrich KM2’s later, the demographic of off-road enthusiasts I guide and train has transitioned from those seeking obstacle rich 4WD trails to those seeking multi-day overland/expedition adventures. Today, most of my clients drive highly modified overland/expedition type vehicles outfitted rooftop tents, modest suspension lifts and upgrades that focus on self-sustained travels more than hardcore off-road capability. About now, you may be asking how this all relates to the new BFGoodrich KO2.
Until recently, my advice to clients has always been that “since tire issues are the number one cause of being stranded [trailside or roadside], why risk running anything less than a mud-terrain for the one day an all-terrain may fall short?” This rationale has been backed primarily by my professional experience with the BFGoodrich KM2. With over 100,000 miles of off-pavement BFGoodrich KM2 use, I’ve never encountered single puncture or failure; this for both my clients and myself. A few months back, I was forced to reconsider my long-standing opinion after guiding a client that had a set of the new BFGoodrich KO2’s mounted. As I spotted him through an unforgiving boulder field, I couldn’t help but be impressed that his tires held the same lines as the mud-terrain equipped rigs that had preceded his—the tread and sidewall traction was impressive. I’ve seen countless [other] all-terrain tires succumb to lesser challenges. My [strong] first impression of the BFGoodrich KO2 had me contemplating “Is it time to come back to an All-Terrain Tire?” Stay tuned for NMBR’s long term review of the BFGoodrich KO2. 

Photo: 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich KO2 tires mounted on 17x8.5 American Expedition Vehicles Salta wheels

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - NMBR's 2015 Ghost Divide Expeditions

Ghost Divide Expedition [Original] – Overland to the Expo - Sunday, May 10th through Thursday, May 14th 

Ghost Divide Expedition II – Overland from the Expo - Monday, May 18th through Friday, May 22nd 
Two separate Ghost Divide Expeditions will be offered for 2015. The Ghost Divide Expedition [Original] will take place Sunday, May 10th through Thursday, May 14th, departing from Southern New Mexico and ending at the Overland Expo WEST. The Ghost Divide Expedition II will take place Monday, May 18th through Friday, May 22nd, departing from the Overland Expo WEST and ending in Southern New Mexico. The Ghost Divide Expeditions will be identical with the exception of the direction the route is traveled—all other details, pricing and requirements will remain the same. Overview & Invite: This spring, New Mexico Backroads will be guiding two separate five day [500-mile] expeditions that will traverse some of New Mexico and Arizona’s loneliest backroads. The Ghost Divide Expedition [Original] will lead to the 2015 Overland Expo WEST; the Ghost Divide Expedition II will lead from the 2015 Overland Expo WEST. Both Ghost Divide Expeditions will follow the same route. Over two-thirds of the Ghost Divide Expeditions route will be comprised of unpaved roads. The Ghost Divide Expeditions will provide a demanding [yet rewarding] experience—the days will be long, the roads will be unforgiving, and the pace will be brisk. The Ghost Divide Expeditions will require participants to be self-supportive with regards to vehicle, equipment, and supplies. All nights will include camping and enjoying the company of fellow overlanders, deep in the backcountry. Services of any kind, including cell, fuel, or anything remotely civilized, will be unavailable for stretches of up to 225-miles. For the Ghost Divide Expeditions, New Mexico Backroads seeks the most self-sufficient, open-minded, and good spirited overlanders.
Where & When: The Ghost Divide Expedition [Original] will take place during the week leading up to the Overland Expo WEST—Sunday, May 10th through Thursday, May 14th. Participants will meet the morning of Sunday May 10th in Southern New Mexico; the exact time and departure location will be announced to participants on April 1st. The Overland Expo WEST begins the morning of Friday, May 15th and ends the evening of Sunday, May 17th. The Ghost Divide Expedition II will take place during the week following the Overland Expo WEST—Monday, May 18th through Friday, May 22nd. Participants will meet the morning of Monday, May 18th at Mormon Lake [site of the Overland Expo WEST]; the exact departure time will be announced to participants on April 1st. Preparations: In the time leading up to the Ghost Divide Expeditions, participants [or Ghost Dividers] will be provided with helpful information on how to prepare for the adventure and what to expect. An extensive list of essential and recommended supplies/equipment/gear will be provided accompanied with advice, tips, and tricks. The self sufficient aspect of NMBR guided expeditions [and other 4WD based adventures] challenges and prepares participants for their future 4WD based endeavors—to go boldly, prepared, and with confidence. The Experience: The 500-mile Ghost Divide Expeditions will include a diverse range of scenery and terrain including desert, grassland, chaparral, forest, rivers, canyons, creeks, lakes, and wildland burn scars. Road types and conditions will include canyon bottom narrows, washboards, rutted two tracks, primitive non-maintained, graded, mountain shelf, and [least of all] paved highway. The Ghost Divide Expeditions will feature outstanding vistas, dozens of water crossings, historic landmarks, wildlife viewing opportunities [including Mexican grey wolf territory], and aggressive elevation contours [between 4,000 and 9,000 feet]. Important: Services of any kind, including cell, fuel, will be unavailable for stretches of up to 225-miles. No Persons Under 18-Years of Age – No Pets (Service dogs only; they must be controlled and supervised at all times) 

This year’s Ghost Divide Expeditions route will be the longest, roughest and best yet. For those that join in, the only guarantee is that they will conclude their adventure with new friends, dirty rigs, big smiles, and stories that will make their fellow overlanders envious. 

For photos of previous Ghost Divide Expeditions, please visit NMBR’s online gallery HERE 

Video sneak peak HERE 

Please Email [NMBackroads at] for full Ghost Divide Expeditions details, pricing and registration information.

New Mexico Backroads - Best of 2014 Gallery

Want to go for a drive? New Mexico Backroads' Best of 2014 Gallery is complete; narrowed down from over 15,000 miles of travels & over 25,000 images. Visit the Best of 2014 Gallery on SmugMug HERE. Grab a cup of joe, put on some good tunes, and ENJOY. -Jake Quinones

Trail Tool Kits - The Basics of Assembly & Organization

Assemble a trail tool kit that fits your vehicle. Use this kit in your garage to get acquainted with what works, what does not, and what is lacking. It is better to find out you don't have that 22mm socket or T55 [Torx] at home rather than on a remote shelf road. If you keep a quality set of sockets, ratchets and wrenches in your garage tool box, but keep a cheap or inferior set in your vehicle tool kit, you should reverse those roles. Those Snap-On ratchets at home will do you little good when you are holding a broken [cheap] one on the trail. Once your vehicle tool kit is satisfactory, choose a tool storage system that makes things easy to access and takes up as little space as possible. Go for soft sided storage that keeps things quiet and tightly organized. This past spring, New Mexico Backroads selected Adventure Tool Company's heavy waxed canvas bags and tool roll when rehabbing and reorganizing the NMBR Rubicon's on-board tool kit. Paul at Adventure Tool Company [or ATC] also custom made an extra large re-enforced tool bag to carry some big, heavy tools; aptly labeled "FUBAR KIT".




Jim Taylor at Bosquecito

     Jim Taylor stopped to ask if I needed help while I aired up my tires near Bosquecito. In the miles leading up to his stop, every loose piece of steel in his truck and trailer could be heard; clanking in defiance of the rough road. Jim owns and operates a trash hauling business that services the rural communities surrounding San Antonio, New Mexico. His handshake was like a vice-grip and his unflinching gaze was of equal strength. The area lowlands had flooded during the summer monsoon, leaving miles damaged and sand covered [paved] roads, and debris in trees as high as six feet.  Deep tracks in the soft shoulder revealed the hardships of those that made the mistake of going off course. When Jim passes stragglers, he stops and asks them if they need a wrench, a tug, or a ride.  He's seen it all [good and bad] in the decades he's traveled the maze of backroads that connect his route. Through our conversation, he told me about growing up in the area, having a family, starting a business, and watching his kids move away to larger towns. He also told me about the wars, families, fortunes, and tragedies that shaped the community's rich history. Jim was kind enough to let me capture this image before we parted ways.

Bosquecito | Socorro County, NM



Conductor at Antonito - Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Conejos County, CO

Chama Yard at Dusk - Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Rio Arriba County, NM


Northern New Mexico Exploration - Great Plains & Taos Plateau

Santa Fe Trail, Cerro Negro, Charette, Rio Grande, John Dunn Overlook, Penabetoso Peaks | Mora County, NMMora County & Taos County, NM