BrandonoBrien.com

Brandon O'Brien

Travel and Adventure Journal

I wanted a place to journal all my travels and adventures around the world. I always enjoy going back and reflecting on my past travels and getting to relive them through my words and photos.

You're reading posts I wrote in May 2014. Return home.
NMOHVA Sipapu Shindig

NMOHVA Sipapu Shindig

Saturday, May 31, 2014 @ 2:48 PM in General Travel

Callie text me on Wednesday and let me know that the New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA) was doing their annual meetup in Sipapu this weekend. It's a huge group of adventure riders that get together and do various rides, time trials and races. I wasn't planning on participating in any of that but I thought it would be a good excuse to get out of town for the weekend and also get a nice motorcycle ride in.

Rather than participate in some of the group rides (since they were pretty much all extreme off-road stuff), I said I'd go up for Friday night to hang out and camp. Callie and I met in Pojoaque around 4:30pm and rode the High Road to Taos up to the Sipapu camping area. The views along the ride were amazing and fortunately the roads weren't too crowded.

We got to the campground and met up with a bunch of other people who were there for the event. I got my tent ready and ate some food that I had brought up. All of the other people had tons of food so I got to sample a bunch of theirs as well. After a few beers and sitting by the campfire for a couple hours I was tired and got ready for bed. It was extremely cold and took me a while to fall asleep.

I woke up, made some coffee and had some instant oatmeal while everyone was getting ready. Everyone hung out for a little while and gave me some advice about how I should get home. Rather than backtrack the way I came in yesterday they said to take NM Route 518 to Mora and then cut down to Las Vegas. From there, I'd take I-25 for about an hour before getting on some more back roads and cutting over to the Turquoise Trail. The idea sounded good so I packed up my tent and got my motorcycle ready before having a breakfast burrito and heading out.

The ride from Sipapu to Mora was amazing. It reminded me a lot of riding in southern Colorado with all the trees, streams, winding roads and amazing views. I lucked out again and avoided any real traffic so I was able to enjoy the ride a lot. I fueled up in Las Vegas, NM and then hit I-25 until I reached US 285 and took that down to NM Route 41 to Galliesto where I caught NM Route 42 to take me to the Turquoise Trail.

I stopped a few times for photos but wished I would have stopped earlier in the day between Sipapu and Mora since the views there were even better. I made pretty good time and got home around 1:30 this afternoon. That ride really made me want to get out and do more day trips around the state!

The entire route I took can be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/taf3f

Teaser photos:

A small group of motorcycles
A small group of motorcycles
My Triumph Tiger 800 on NM Route 42
My Triumph Tiger 800 on NM Route 42
My motorcycle on the Turquoise Trail
My motorcycle on the Turquoise Trail

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Tags: sipapu, nmohva, motorcycle, camping

Posted from: United States

Memorial Weekend in Portland Oregon

Memorial Weekend in Portland Oregon

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 @ 9:09 AM in General Travel

I spent Memorial Day weekend up in Portland, OR with Luiz, Bethany, Seth, Ashley and Marjorie. We all got on the same flight up there on Friday morning. Once we got to Portland we had a beer in the airport then met up with Mike who took us out to a really good breakfast place, Pine State, that's known for their biscuits. I had a chicken biscuit with cheese and bacon, a beer and a cold brew coffee.

After breakfast the weather cleared up and we started exploring the city. We hit up a few places for drinks and food and also checked out the rose garden. One of the cool places we checked out was the Portland City Grill that's located at the top of the largest building in Portland. We had some really good views of the city from up there. After a few more stops we went to a place called Hair of the Dog for some Chuck Norris duck wings. They were extremely spicy but tasted really good.

The next morning we got ready to head out to Mosier to camp. Along the way we stopped a few places along the Columbia River Gorge to take photos. We stopped at the Vista House, which I'd been to before with Ryan on our huge motorcycle trip in 2012, but it wasn't nearly as crowded this time. In Hood River we stopped at a pub to watch a soccer match and eat lunch before heading to meet with a bunch of people for the campout.

The place we camped in Mosier has some amazing views. There was a lot of beer, food and relaxing. It was nice being able to sleep in a tent without having to worry about it getting filled up with dust like you do here. The next morning we made some breakfast burritos for breakfast then went to check out a winery called Analemma. They had four different wines to sample, one of which was a really dry Gew├╝rztraminer that was great.

Back in Hood River we stopped for lunch and a drink at an up-and-coming local brewery called Pfriem. The food and beer were amazing and the brewery itself was very clean with a really nice location near the river. I think the general consensus was that it was one of the best stops on the trip.

We got back to Portland and set up for a big cookout at the place we were staying. We did some food shopping then had a little down time before everyone showed up. While we were out we wanted some coffee to wake us up so we stopped at a place called Coava. Whenever you order a coffee they grind your beans on-demand and heat the water up to a specific temp and individually brew your coffee. It was definitely one of the coolest places I've had coffee at. Before the party we did another wine sampling at a place right around the corner from where we were staying. The party was a lot of fun and there was more food/drink than we knew what to do with.

The next morning, Seth, Ashley and I got up early and walked down to Voodoo Donuts. The line wasn't too bad so we ordered some donuts then got some coffee and came back to the house. When we got back we found out we were heading to an early lunch at a Vietnamese place that only has two soups per day. After breakfast we went to the Mississippi neighborhood to meet up with some other people and have some more drinks. The area was really nice. There were more restaurants, bars and breweries in one place than I've seen in a long time. We spent several hours in that area before we split off to a soccer bar called 442 to watch the end of the game we started watching on Saturday in Hood River. The game went into overtime and we had to get to the campout so we weren't able to finish it then.

The soccer bar had some really good Bosnian food. I had some sort of meat sandwich and fresh cut fries along with my bloody mary. We walked around a little more before we all decided all the beer we'd been drinking over the last few days was way too filling. We stopped at a place called Coopers Hall for wine and had a great time there. We went through several bottles sampling various reds and roses. After that we we went for dinner at Nostrana, a really good Italian place a couple blocks from where we were staying. They had a late night happy hour with food marked down to really low prices. I had a margarita pizza and some of the other people split some other food. The restaurant was really nice inside with low lighting and wood everywhere.

It had been another long day so all of us came back to go to bed. In the morning we packed everything up, ate breakfast at a place called Zells and then got on our way to the airport. At the airport we lost track of time walking around and got on the plane after general boarding so we got some pretty bad seating, but I was so tired I slept pretty much the whole way to Las Vegas where we had a short layover before landing back in Albuquerque.

All of us had a great time, we had a lot of good food and drink and experienced some amazing weather. All-in-all, the trip was a great success!

Teaser photos:

Columbia River Gorge
Columbia River Gorge
Camping in Mosier, OR
Camping in Mosier, OR
Voodoo Donuts in Portland
Voodoo Donuts in Portland
Freshly brewed coffee at Coava in Portland
Freshly brewed coffee at Coava in Portland

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Tags: portland, coffee, green, camping, mosier

Posted from: United States

First La Luz hike of the year!

First La Luz hike of the year!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 @ 4:07 PM in Miscellaneous

Erin and I had planned on doing the La Luz hike today. La Luz is a trail that goes up/down the Sandia mountain in Albuquerque. It's about 8 miles each way with about 5,500 feet of elevation gain from the bottom. Since I can't take Canyon on the tram and she loves the exercise, I told Erin I'd meet her at the top and hike down with her (since that was Erin's plan). I got to the La Luz trailhead around 8:30 this morning, paid my $3 parking fee and then started hiking up.

The hike up went fine. I only saw a few other people along the way and Canyon got to run around and even got to play in some snow that was in some shade near the top of the trail. As always, the mile and a half of scree fields was pretty monotonous but we made it through.

We got to the tram station a little before 11:30 and had lunch. I made some quesadillas in the morning and also brought some food for Canyon. The only people up there when I got there were some construction workers who seemed to be working on the new tram station. I text Erin and told her I was up there but it didn't seem like the trams were running. Apparently the tram is closed every Tuesday, which we didn't know about.

Without anyone to wait for now and the cold winds that were blowing really strong at the peak, Canyon and I started the hike back down. We made really good time on the way down, but by the time we were about 3 miles from the car it really warmed up. I kept giving Canyon water and pouring it on her to help cool her down.

My total moving time for the hike today (up and down) was 5 hours and 2 minutes. I think that's the fastest I've done it so far. I was hoping to finish in under 5 hours but didn't quite make it. I'm sure I'll be doing the hike several more times this summer so maybe one of those times I'll break the 5 hour mark.

Now that my legs are completely worn out and Canyon is passed out it's time to think about dinner and a shower.

Teaser photos:

La Luz trail
La Luz trail
La Luz trail
La Luz trail
Canyon at Sandia Peak
Canyon at Sandia Peak

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Tags: la luz, albuquerque, hike

Posted from: United States