Monday

Registration Opens for NMBR's Summer Gila Legends Expedition - GLE 2016

Summer Gila Legends Expedition [GLE] - New Mexico Backroads' Most Rugged and Remote Adventure - Monday, August 22nd through Friday, August 26th  

Email NMBackroads(at)gmail.com for full details and pricing 

Summer GLE Overview: Late August 2016 | New Mexico Gila | 5 Days | 375 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Gila Legends Expedition provides New Mexico’s most rugged and remote overland route. Areas of exploration will include Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert.
Invite: Are you ready for your next great adventure? Registration is now open for NMBR’s Summer 2016 Gila Legends Expedition. The Gila Legends Expedition Experience: This August, New Mexico Backroads will be guiding a five day [375-mile] expedition that will traverse New Mexico’s loneliest and most rugged backroads. NMBR has guided this route for American Expedition Vehicles, overland enthusiasts and a host of adventure based organizations. The Gila Legends Expedition is NMBR’s most remote and rugged route currently offered. This “expedition of a lifetime” includes a diverse range of scenery, historic sites, terrain, and backroads found nowhere else in North America. The 5-day, 375-mile expedition route features desert, grassland, chaparral, canyon bottoms, and lush forest with elevations ranging from 4,300 to 9,600 feet. Areas of exploration will include Gila National Forest, Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert. The Gila Legends Expedition route will traverse the northern end of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range as well as the Southern end of the Rockies, all while skirting the world’s first established wilderness areas—the Gila Wilderness & Aldo Leopold Wilderness. Road types and conditions will include canyon bottom narrows, washboards, rutted two tracks, primitive non-maintained, graded, mountain shelf, dirt byway and [least of all] paved highway. The Gila Legends Expedition will feature outstanding vistas, dozens of water crossings, historic landmarks, wildlife viewing opportunities [including Mexican grey wolf territory], and aggressive elevation contours. Please visit the NMBR Photo gallery HERE for a preview of the Gila Legends Expedition experience. Where & When: The Gila Legends Expedition will take place Monday, August 22nd through Friday, August 26th. Participants will meet the morning of Monday, August 22nd in southern New Mexico; the exact departure time and location will be provided during the registration process. Planning & Preparations: The Gila Legends Expedition will require participants to be self-supportive with regards to vehicle, equipment, meals and supplies. Services of any kind, including cell, fuel, or anything remotely civilized, will be unavailable for stretches of up to 225 miles. In the time leading up to the GLE, registered participants will be provided with extensive information on how to prepare for the adventure, what to bring and what to expect. Over the past decade, NMBR has written a series of informative overland travel based articles with topics ranging from field tool kit assembly, to vehicle maintenance and upkeep, to equipment and gear advice. These articles, paired with extensive vehicle, equipment, provision and preparation lists are provided to participants in the time leading up to the adventure. During the GLE planning and preparation period, NMBR is available to provide expert opinion and feedback to participants for any questions or concerns related to getting ready and gearing up for the adventure. The self-sufficient aspect of NMBR guided expeditions and overland adventures and trail runs challenges and prepares participants for their future 4WD based endeavors—to go boldly, prepared, and with confidence. 

Ready for your next Great Adventure? - If you are interested in joining the Gila Legends Expedition, please email NMBackroads(at)gmail.com for pricing, driver/vehicle/equipment requirements, and registration.

Friday

New Mexico Backroads Announces 2016 Expedition and Overland Adventure Offerings

Mimbres River
Are you ready for your next great adventure? NMBR has released its 2016 expedition and overland adventure lineup. 

Email NMBackroads(at)gmail.com for details and to register.


Summer 2016 El Dorado Overland – Monday, July 18th – Thursday, July 21st | Northern New Mexico | 4 Days | 325 Miles | Elev. 6,500 to 11,200 ft. | NMBR’s El Dorado Overland will traverse the scenic high-country of northern New Mexico during the summer season—when the landscape is verdant. Areas of exploration will include San Juan Mountains, Continental Divide, Taos Plateau, Sangre de Christo Mountains, and Valle Vidal.


Summer 2016 Gila Legends Expedition – Monday, August 22nd – Friday, August 26th | New Mexico Gila | 5 Days | 375 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Gila Legends Expedition provides New Mexico’s most rugged and remote overland route. Areas of exploration will include Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert.


Fall 2016 Camino del Tesoro Overland – Monday, September 26th – Thursday, September 29th | Northern New Mexico | 4 Days | 325 Miles | Elev. 6,500 to 11,200 ft. | NMBR’s Camino del Tesoro Overland will traverse the scenic high-country of northern New Mexico during the fall season—when the aspens are golden and the air is crisp. Areas of exploration will include San Juan Mountains, Continental Divide, Taos Plateau, Sangre de Christo Mountains, and Valle Vidal.


Fall 2016 Gila Legends Expedition – November or December – Dates TBA | New Mexico Gila | 5 Days | 375 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Gila Legends Expedition provides New Mexico’s most rugged and remote overland route. Areas of exploration will include Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert.


Spring 2017 Gila Legends Expedition – March or April – Dates TBA | New Mexico Gila | 5 Days | 375 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Gila Legends Expedition provides New Mexico’s most rugged and remote overland route. Areas of exploration will include Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and Chihuahuan Desert.


Spring 2017 Ghost Divide Expedition & Ghost Divide Expedition II – NMBR’s two Overland Expo West Based Expedition offerings – Dates TBA | New Mexico & Arizona | 5 Days | 500 Miles | Elev. 4,300 to 9,600 ft. | The Ghost Divide Expedition will lead to the 2017 Overland Expo West. The Ghost Divide Expedition II will depart from the 2017 Overland Expo West. Areas of exploration will include Gila, Black Range, Continental Divide, Mogollon Mountains, San Francisco Mountains, White Mountains and Mogollon Rim.
 
USFS Authorized Overland Outfitter/Guide 
New Mexico Backroads provides expedition and overland guide services for adventurists seeking rugged 4WD routes, unparalleled scenery, and professional guidance in the backcountry. Whether you’re a novice overlander or have completed multiple expeditions across the globe, NMBR will provide you with an adventure that suits your comfort level, experience, and 4WD vehicle. In the time leading up to a NMBR guided adventure, participants are provided with extensive preparations and information on how to prepare and what to expect. The self-sufficient aspect of NMBR guided adventures challenges and prepares participants for their future 4WD based endeavors—to go boldly, prepared, and with confidence.  Email NMBackroads(at)gmail.com for more information. LINK

Tuesday

NMBR’s Long-term BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Review: 25,000 Mile Final Summary Report


Last March, New Mexico Backroads [NMBR] began a yearlong review of the new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire. “Is it time to come back to an all-terrain tire?”—this question would serve as the running theme for New Mexico Backroads’ review of the BFGoodrich KO2 (size: 37x12.50R17). Would an overlanding based professional guide or 4WD/overland enthusiast be willing to give up their big block mud-terrains for BFGoodrich’s next generation All-Terrain T/A? Over the past twelve months, NMBR has conducted (and completed) the most in-depth review of the KO2 available in order to determine if the tire’s durability, traction and performance are up to task for the toughest terrain and conditions the Southwest has to offer. New Mexico Backroads’ final KO2 report builds on the two previous NMBR KO2 reports (2,000-mile and 15,000-mile) and provides a final verdict on the tire. May 2015 - NMBR’s BFGoodrich KO2 2,000 Mile Report LINK October 2015 - NMBR’s BFGoodrich KO2 15,000 Mile Report LINK BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire Review Background: Until last year, New Mexico Backroads’ tire of choice has been the BFGoodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain for both the NMBR 4Runner and NMBR Rubicon (as pictured above). The KM2 provided excellent harsh terrain traction and durability without yielding a single failure through countless miles of hard use. The KM2 tires weren’t the most fuel efficient or pavement friendly of tires, but they were dependable. Needless to say, the KO2 All-Terrains had some big shoes to fill when they replaced a perfectly good set of KM2 Mud-Terrains. NMBR’s early expectations for the KO2 was that they would be a better all-around on and off pavement tire, but would likely fall short of the KM2 under the most challenging surface conditions. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Sidewall Durability & Performance: Since BFGoodrich touts the new KO2 sidewalls to be 20% tougher than its All-Terrain T/A KO predecessor, New Mexico Backroads decided to subject the KO2 sidewalls to numerous trail hazards, ranging from sharp rocks to splintered branches; seeking out scenarios that would prove or disprove the claim. Because sidewall damage is a major issue for 4WD and overland enthusiasts navigating the roughest territory, NMBR placed a high priority on providing detailed feedback on the KO2’s sidewall strength. While many all-terrain and mud-terrain tires feature aggressive (and attractive) tread patterns, the sidewall construction and design is often overlooked or lacking. The primary sidewall testing grounds for the KO2 have been the unforgiving trails and primitive backroads of the New Mexico Gila where the majority of NMBR’s field work and guiding are conducted. These remote routes follow two tracks along boulder strewn riverbeds and through dense forest littered with splintered timbers. After countless run-ins, the KO2 sidewalls have not failed; no punctures, cuts, bruises, or damage can be reported. Despite the abuse, the KO2’s sidewall lugs and sipes remain intact and retain crisp edges, only with the occasional nick or scratch. The anatomy of the KO2’s sidewalls feature a serrated shoulder tread pattern, siping and an aggressive side lug design that provides ample bite in technical situations where steering precision and control is critical such as rock crawling or v-notch/side-slope negotiation. The KO2’s sidewall material has been improved over the previous KO tire with BFGoodrich’s new Coregard Technology which provides a more robust rubber composition to resists trail damage. Additionally, the side lugs of the KO2 extend farther towards the center of the tire and feature a design meant to push aside contacting hazards such as branches. Over smooth hard packed dirt road, where higher speeds are safely obtainable, the KO2 was predictable and stable on curves, cattle guards and dips due to the firm sidewalls.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Traction: The BFGoodrich KO2 has proven itself worthy in nearly every surface condition available in the Southwest. In the mud, the tire tread voids clear quickly and provide excellent forward traction; the tires are less prone to spinning and sinking than most tires with “mud” in their namesake. The tight and interlocking tread block pattern of the KO2 provides a stable contact patch over mud which translates to better weight distribution and flotation. The overall tread impression left by the KO2 in mud is shallower and less pronounced than that of deep lugged mud-terrains. In the snow [hard pack, powder and slush], the KO2 was predictable and provided sufficient forward movement. The KO2’s strong mud performance characteristics cross over well in snow regarding weight distribution, tread pattern, and a shallower track depth. Although the KO2 is not a dedicated snow tire, it is marked with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake logo as it is suitable for winter use. Over ice, the KO2 didn’t washout or spin when transitioning to ice from higher traction surfaces, such as dirt or snow. The KO2 boosted confidence on ice covered shelf roads featuring steep inclines and tight switchbacks where a misstep could prove disastrous. On the rocks, the KO2 provides excellent traction on southern New Mexico’s notorious dry waterfall climbs and dry rapid sections. The traction provided by the KO2 on steep climbs and off-camber situations, where surface conditions are dismal, rivals that of the knobbiest mud-terrain tires. The KO2’s interlocking tread block pattern features extensive siping that provides enhanced traction and control. Between the treads are small pyramid shaped risers that promote the ejection of stones and debris to optimize traction by keeping the tread gaps open and prevent drilling (or embedded stone caused tire damage). Bottom line—the BFGoodrich KO2 has equal or better overall traction characteristics as the BFGoodrich KM2. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Fuel Economy: Because NMBR’s field work and guiding often entails stretches of a few hundred rigorous off-pavement miles between gas pumps, fuel conservation is critical. With the previously mounted BFGoodrich KM2 tires, I’d arrive in Reserve, New Mexico on fumes, after three days and two hundred twenty-five miles traveling along NMBR’s Gila Legends Expedition route. With the BFGoodrich KO2 tires, I’m now arriving to Reserve with a bit less than a quarter tank of gas left. The KO2’s increased fuel economy over KM2 could be attributed to better overall traction (requiring less mileage in 4WD) and lower rolling resistance (due to the tighter tread pattern). Regarding tire pressure, the NMBR Rubicon’s KO2 are set between 12PSI and 16PSI for off-pavement mileage depending on terrain. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Performance on Pavement: While the NMBR Rubicon is best suited for dirt travels, the KO2 tires have provided good overall performance and enjoyable driving experience on New Mexico’s winding mountain byways. Steering feedback and all speeds remains predictable and stable. When paired with American Expedition Vehicles DualSport Suspension, the KO2’s cornering performance is exceptional for a 37-inch tall all-terrain tire. Regarding tire pressure, the NMBR Rubicon’s KO2 are set at 28PSI for pavement mileage. This puts all but a quarter inch of the tread in contact with the pavement while providing a comfortable ride. Road related noise from the KO2 is minimal and has only increased slightly with over 25,000 miles of hard use. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire Wear Characteristics: BFGoodrich has heavily modified the tread rubber compound of the KO2 to provide a 100% longer on dirt tread life expectancy than the previous generation All-Terrain T/A—a figure derived from extensive Baja development and third party testing. Given the hard life the NMBR Rubicon’s BFGoodrich KO2 tires have lived over the past year, the treads still remain in good condition. The tread depth of the KO2 tires brand new was 15/32 of an inch. A year and 25,000 miles later the tread depth measures 11/32 of an inch—an impressive figure. It’s worth mentioning that the spare is still unused and will not be included in the NMBR Rubicon’s regular 3,500-mile tire rotation and balance schedule. Balancing remains undramatic; no tire cause wandering, negative feedback or vibrations can be reported. As far as trail related wear, only a half dozen nicks the size of a fingernail are present in the tread blocks—no chunking, splitting or cutting is evident. The tread block edges are crisp and undamaged. The siping within the tread blocks display minimal rounding—evidence the sipes are hard at work providing maximum traction. Bottom line—tire wear is the best I’ve seen of any all-terrain or mud-terrain tire used primarily for off-pavement driving. At the 15,000 mile report, it was stated that the NMBR Rubicon’s KO2 tires were not even halfway through their service life; at 25,000, they still are not.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Review Conclusion: After twelve months and over 25,000 miles of nearly every weather, road and driving condition imaginable, the verdict is in. The underlying question of New Mexico Backroad’s BFGoodrich KO2 review was simple “Is it time to come back to an all-terrain tire?”. The answer to the question is simple—if the all-terrain is the BFGoodrich KO2, then, absolutely yes. No other tire provides the combined durability, traction and performance characteristics of the KO2 in a wide variety of surface conditions. Aside from providing exceptional traction, the improved fuel economy over the BFGoodrich KM2 while running the KO2 has been one of the most enjoyed benefits. As the tires have exceeded expectations and retain over half their tread left, the NMBR Rubicon will continue to run the KO2 tires into 2017 expedition and overland guide season.

Wednesday

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

Monday

Summer 2016 El Dorado Overland - Registration Opens for NMBR's Overland Traverse of Northern New Mexico’s High-Country

NMBR’s 2016 El Dorado Overland Backroads Traverse of Northern New Mexico’s High-Country Monday, July 18th – Thursday, July 21st - 
Email NMBackroads@gmail.com for full details 

El Dorado Defined: El Do·ra·do nmbr (də-rä′dō, -rā′-) n. A place or region of fabulous wealth or inordinately great opportunity found by means of exploration, journey and/or overland travel. Invite & 

Overview: Registration is now open for NMBR’s 2016 El Dorado Overland adventure. Are you ready for your next great adventure? Summer 2016 | Carson National Forest of New Mexico | 4 Days | 325 Miles | Elev. 6,500 to 11,200 ft. | NMBR’s El Dorado Overland will cross the picturesque high-country of northern New Mexico during the summer season. Areas of exploration will include San Juan Mountains, Continental Divide, Taos Plateau, Sangre de Christo Mountains, and Valle Vidal
The El Dorado Overland Experience: This July New Mexico Backroads will guide a four-day, 325-mile overland adventure that will traverse the Land of Enchantment’s spectacular and rugged high-country. NMBR’s El Dorado Overland route was featured in the Spring 2014 Overland Journal story Finding Forrest’s Treasure by Dr. Jon Solberg. The story charts Dr. Solberg and (NMBR guide) Jake Quiñones’ journey across the volcanic fields, mountains and canyons of northern New Mexico in search of Forrest Fenn’s hidden (multimillion dollar) treasure. The El Dorado Overland route will feature lush green vegetation, high-altitude shelf road, cold water creeks, prairie, historic sites, high-desert plateau, dense forest and wildlife viewing opportunities. Over three quarters of the El Dorado Overland route will be comprised of unpaved backroads. Route and camping location elevations will range in altitude between 6,500 and 11,900 feet. Areas of exploration will include the Carson National Forest, San Juan Mountains, Continental Divide, Taos Plateau, Sangre de Christo Mountains, and Valle Vidal. All nights will be spent camping deep in the backcountry and enjoying the company of fellow adventurists. Please visit the NMBR Photo gallery linked HERE for a preview of the El Dorado Overland [EDO] experience.
Where & When: The El Dorado Overland will take place Monday, July 18th through Thursday, July 21st, 2016. Participants will meet the morning of Monday, July 18th in far northern New Mexico; the exact departure time and location will be provided during the EDO registration process. Planning & Preparations: The El Dorado Overland will require participants to be self-supportive with regards to vehicle, equipment, meals and supplies. Services of any kind, including cell, fuel, or anything remotely civilized, will be unavailable for stretches of up to 200 miles. In the time leading up to the EDO registered participants will be provided with extensive information on how to prepare for the adventure, what to bring and what to expect. Over the past decade, NMBR has written a series of informative overland travel based articles with topics ranging from field tool kit assembly, to vehicle maintenance and upkeep, to equipment and gear advice. These articles, paired with extensive vehicle, equipment, provision and preparation lists are provided to participants in the time leading up to the adventure. During the EDO planning and preparation period, NMBR is available to provide expert opinion and feedback to participants for any questions or concerns related to getting ready and gearing up for the adventure. The self-sufficient aspect of NMBR guided expeditions and overland adventures and trail runs challenges and prepares participants for their future 4WD based endeavors—to go boldly, prepared, and with confidence. REGISTER NOW - Ready for your next Great Adventure? Email NMBackroads@gmail.com for pricing and full details.

Friday

Announcing New Mexico Backroads' El Dorado Overland - July 2016

NMBR's El Dorado Overland | Monday, July 18th – Thursday, July 21st | New Mexico Backroads' summer overland traverse of northern New Mexico's high-country | 4 Days | 325 Miles | Route Elev. 6,500 to 11,200 ft.

The El Dorado Overland Experience: NMBR’s El Dorado Overland route was featured in the Spring 2014 Overland Journal story Finding Forrest’s Treasure by Dr. Jon Solberg. The El Dorado Overland route provides overland enthusiasts with lush green foliage, high-altitude shelf road, cold water creeks, prairie, historic sites, high-desert plateau, dense forest and wildlife viewing opportunities. Route and remote camping location elevations will range in altitude between 6,500 and 11,200 feet. Areas of exploration will include Carson National Forest, Sangre de Christo Mountains, Cimarron River, Valle Vidal, Taos Plateau, San Juan Mountains and Continental Divide. Nights will include elk bugling, camping under the stars and cool temperatures—far from the beaten path.

Email nmbackroads@gmail.com for more details


Ready for your next great adventure? 

Sunday

Never A Wrong Turn - The Story of Luka


“I found a puppy burrowed beneath a dead horse on the desolate flats north of Canyon de Chelly. Her name is Luka." 
"The engine strained as I drove through the forested hills south of Greasewood. In the fading dusk light, I watched a pack of wild dogs running between the trees. They looked like jackals pursuing their next meal. I looked down at the little pup lying asleep on the floorboard—her path had been forever changed. -Jake Quinones, “Never a Wrong Turn: The Story of Luka” 

LINK to to full story HERE

Wednesday

NMBR's Trail Tool Kit Advice - The Basics of Assembly & Organization


The Basics of Assembly & Organization - Assemble a trail tool kit that fits your vehicle. Find every last piece of fastening hardware on your vehicle (nuts, bolts, screws, etc.) and and match it with the appropriate tool for removal. Compile a list of the tools required to work your rig and update the list as you upgrade suspension, steering, armor and such. 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. Use your trail tool kit in your garage to get acquainted with what works, what does not, and what is lacking. 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".

When you book an expedition/overland based adventure with NMBR, extensive preparation is provided in the time leading up to departure. NMBR has written a series of overland specific articles, "how to" tutorials and "tips and tricks" features, that break down (item by item) what to bring and what to expect when traversing the backroads. The self-sufficient aspect of NMBR guided adventures challenges and prepares participants for their future 4WD based endeavors—to go boldly, prepared, and with confidence.

NMBR's complete 2016 expedition/overland schedule HERE

Monday

Guadalupe Mountains & Crow Flats – Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Route


"The Most Dangerous Stagecoach Ride in the World: Butterfield Route", a story written by Overland Journal’s Dr. Jon Solberg, charts NMBR guide Jake Quinones and Solberg’s adventures across West Texas as they retrace the historic Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Line from the Pecos to the Rio Grande. The duo’s 700-mile traverse and collaboration yields a rich narrative and vivid imagery that captivates the rugged people, precarious roads, spectacular landscapes and history that surrounds the Butterfield trail. Full story available by subscribing to Overland Journal, the publication for environmentally responsible, worldwide vehicle-supported expedition and adventure travel.

Frigid Morning at Otero Mesa – Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Route


We broke camp early under darkness and snow flurries in order to get a head start on our 100-mile day. As the roads were rough and nearly lost for miles, we'd likely be driving well past dusk. When the muted dawn light finally exposed our surroundings, the wind and snow paused, giving way to an eerie silence—we had found the trail once again. The two track and fence line follows the Butterfield Trail for miles across Crow Flats and the Cornudas Mountains in pursuit of the Rio Grande. This desolate stretch provided some of the most deadly mileage of the historic St. Louis to San Francisco overland stagecoach route.  
"The Most Dangerous Stagecoach Ride in the World: Butterfield Route" - Full story available by subscribing to Overland Journal, the publication for environmentally responsible, worldwide vehicle-supported expedition and adventure travel.

Tuesday

Weekend Warriors Unite - Adventuring With a Purpose Dosen't Require a Passport


Don't spend too much time planning and equipping for adventures and endeavors that are months or years away. Explore the natural wonders that are less than a few hours away, savor every mile, sharpen your skills in the field, and develop your own unique style of adventuring. Across Arizona or across Africa, mileage is mileage. The purpose of your journey is what counts; how you challenge yourself to make the most of travel time. Pack light and pack well. Learn from mistakes. Figure out how to fix things when they break. Survey paper maps at night. Enjoy the vehicle and equipment you have now and care of them well. Always take good food and drink. Buy a good sleeping bag and pillow. Set goals for tomorrow, but make sure you adventure for today. Weekend warriors unite!

Friday

Carson National Forest Road/Bridge Closure Notice - Camino Real Ranger District

A bridge at the junction of Forest Road 478 and Forest Road 437 is currently closed to to washout damage. Please seek an alternate route when traveling through this area and do not cross the waterway adjacent to the bridge. For the latest information area road conditions and closures, contact the Camino Real Ranger District at (575) 587-2255. Click map for enhanced detail.

Thursday

Risk & Reward: Growing New Mexico Backroads


Virgin River Cottonwoods at Zion National Park - Five years ago, this photo was featured in the Overland Journal; it was one of my first published images. Beyond the tangled branches, dying light, and radiant rock, the photo represents the humble beginnings of New Mexico Backroads [NMBR]. Back in 2008, I was challenged by my brother-in-law Phil Byrne to start a blog that featured my images and explorations of New Mexico, to build a presence in the 4WD community and inspire enthusiasts and companies to enlist my services. At the time I was struggling to build a niche business from nothing and looking for guidance. It would take a few hundred NMBR blog posts, accompanied by a few thousand photos, before I received my first photo purchase inquiry. That first inquiry fell through, but soon I began selling $35.00 8X12 prints [printed at Sam's Club for $1.99] steady enough to keep my ambitions kindled and bank account in the black. It would be a few hundred more blog posts before the Overland Journal reached out to me for photos. 

As for the guiding and scouting, during the early years (2004 to 2008), I was learning the ropes of building, breaking, fixing, and maintaining a 4WD vehicle. I was leading small trail runs and weekend trips across the backcountry with my local club and other enthusiasts. I was traversing and learning the backroads along the US/MEX border—now one of my biggest specialties. Driving and vehicle recovery were skills that were earned over the tens of thousands of miles of dirt travels. Cutting my 4WD teeth was a long, painful and rewarding period. 

With constant forward motion, determination and ample blessings I've been able to turn it all into a livelihood. Most importantly, I’ve had unfaltering support from my wife Meghan. The Virgin River Cottonwoods image represents the start of a professional career I once dreamed about—a reality now. NMBR services have expanded to include: adventure and landscape photography [for commissions, prints, digital media & publication]; photojournalism [including wildland fire, US/MEX Border and other high-risk assignments]; scouting and consulting for backcountry film productions and commercial photography; overland, expedition/overland and rock crawling guiding services [for New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Texas]; and off-road driving and vehicle recovery skills training. While each job I do in the field is unique, all of it is rooted in providing strong customer service and support. 

Imagine loving what you do so much that you don’t constantly watch the clock, wait for the weekend, surf the net for hours looking for a visual fix, or yearn for vacation days to arrive. Life is too short to dislike your profession. Take a risk, work hard and go boldly. If the job isn’t out there, make a career where one does not currently exist. Going out on your own will likely double your work hours, slash your income and may result in failure and/or divorce, but the rewards (even with failure) will be immeasurable. Are you ready for your next great adventure? It’s out there…

Friday

NMBR’s 2016 Ghost Divide Expeditions [GDE16] - Overland Expo West Based Expeditions



Ghost Divide Expedition [Original] – Overland to the Expo - Sunday, May 15th -19th, 2016 
and 
Ghost Divide Expedition II – Overland from the Expo - Monday, May 23rd - 27th, 2016

Overview & Invite:

If your prospective 2016 Overland Expo WEST trip involves copious amounts of pavement, consider airing-down, engaging 4WD, and taking the path less traveled with New Mexico Backroads.

Updated 11/9/15 - Due to high demand, NMBR 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 2016 Overland Expo WEST; the Ghost Divide Expedition II will lead from the 2016 Overland Expo WEST.  Both Ghost Divide Expeditions will follow the same route and cover three unique areas—Gila National Forest, White Mountains, and Mogollon Rim.  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, meals and supplies.  All nights will include camping and enjoying the company of fellow overlanders, deep in the backcountry. 

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 15th through Thursday, May 19th.  Participants will meet the morning of Sunday May 15th in Southern New Mexico; the exact time and departure location will be announced to participants on April 1st, 2016.

The Overland Expo WEST begins the morning of Friday, May 20th and ends the evening of Sunday, May 22nd

The Ghost Divide Expedition II will take place during the week following the Overland Expo WEST—Monday, May 23rd through Friday, May 27th.  Participants will meet the morning of Monday, May 23rd at Mormon Lake [site of the Overland Expo WEST]; the exact departure time will be announced to participants on April 1st. 

Peparations:

The Ghost Divide Expeditions will require participants to be self-supportive with regards to vehicle, equipment, meals and supplies.  All nights will include camping and enjoying natural surroundings, 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.  In the time leading up to the Ghost Divide Expeditions, participants (or Ghost Dividers) will be provided with helpful and extensive information on how to prepare for the adventure and what to expect.  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:

2016 will mark the 5th year New Mexico Backroads has guided the Ghost Divide Expeditions in connection with the Overland Expo WEST; this year’s route will be the longest, roughest and best yet.  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].  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. 


Ghost Divide Expeditions Resources & Features:

NMBR’s Ghost Divide Expeditions photo gallery LINK

TCT Magazine Article - Writer and photographer Phillip Jones recounts his experience on the 2015 Ghost Divide Expedition. LINK (GDE story starts on page 6)

MOTUS Article -  Zach Berning, Digital Editor at Motus, previews NMBR’s 2015 Ghost Divide Expeditions. LINK

REVOLUTION EXPEDITION Article - Adventurist Terry Baker recounts his experience on the 2015 Ghost Divide Expedition. LINK

Perspective from a 2015 Ghost Divider -

     "Just finished the Ghost Divide Expedition II with Jake Quinones, our guide at New Mexico Backroads and I just can't say enough of what a great time I had. The trip was seamless, the scenery and backcountry was just absolutely beautiful. But our guide made all the difference in the world. His knowledge and history of all the areas were outstanding, making the places we saw come alive. I never questioned his capability or his professionalism at any time. I would and will travel with NMBR many more times in the future! One trip off the bucket list. Now for the rest..." - Debbie W., Northern Arizona
The Next Step

If you are interested in joining one of the 2016 Ghost Divide Expeditions [Original or II], please email nmbackroads(at)gmail.com for full details, pricing and registration information.