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Week 7 : Grants - Antelope Wells

Start : Grants, New Mexico, USA
Finish : Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA
Dates : September 26th - October 1st, 2017
Riding days : 5
Distance : 396 miles

From Grants to Pie Town, it’s nearly 90 miles of extremely remote riding through a new and strange world known as El Malpais National Conservation Area, Spanish for “The Badlands”. The primeval black basalt terrain of El Malpais was created by titanic volcanic forces over the past million years. Molten lava spread out over the high desert from dozens of eruptions to create cinder cones, shield volcanoes, caves, and other eerie formations. Our route follows a gravel road dotted with lava stones and called the Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway.

 
After leaving the badlands it’s still 32 miles to Pie Town on a rolling dirt county road through open grasslands and forests of piñon and juniper. Pie Town sits astride the Continental Divide and is located almost 8,000 feet above sea level. What was once just a nickname for this small village with a bakery known for its apple pie, eventually became the official town name. Yes, it’s worth stopping and trying out the pie because for the next 180 miles you won’t find a bakery, and definitely not a pie
The route from Pie Town to Silver City is intimately connected to the Continental Divide, crossing back and forth seven times over dirt and gravel roads. After the Mangas Mountains, it’s a straight shot south along the western side of the Plains of San Agustin, a barren dead-flat area that some believe was the site of a UFO crash in 1947 so do not accept a lift from any vehicle without wheels.

Before you become too accustomed to the flats, the route returns into the mountains of the
Gila National Forest which has some very demanding terrain with tough climbs and steep serpentine descents. On the southern end of the Gila Wilderness, you’ll ride atop the Continental Divide for eight miles, before you turn right and finish the stage near the serene Roberts Lake.

Read more in the BROCHURE...