Being an event coordinator, and self-appointed rallymaster, it isn’t often that I give any trade secrets away, or any secrets for that matter. But after over ten years of organizing drives and rallies out of El Paso, we have traversed nearly every road within our region, and have since moved on to organizing rallies all over our great nation.
Members of our club and events from East Texas envy El Paso’s location, stating that we have some of the greatest driving roads within a day’s drive — and they’re absolutely right.
Slowly but surely, I’m going to tell you where they are, and how to get to them, as the months go by. We’ve formulated many perfect day’s drives and will reveal them for you and your friends to do, by following my easy guide.
People are very surprised when they hear that there is so much to do in El Paso — people from El Paso, that is. But they are even more surprised to hear that we are in the center of so many amazing and world-class driving roads. I’ll start with a simple one that many are not aware of. So get your friends together and see if they want to have an adventure, just for a day, in an amazing and scenic area that is only a couple hours away.
Let me help you to Find Your Road:
Things that you need:
- A dependable vehicle that has good brakes and decent handling. (A Porsche 911 is obviously the best choice, and I’m not biased at all.) Make sure your tires are in good condition as well as your serpentine belt(s). No reason to turn this into more of an adventure than it needs to be.
- A few bottles of water, a cooler isn’t necessary as you will be near services every 75 miles or so. It is very important to stay hydrated!
- A camera.
- About $100 cash per person (depending the consumption rate of you and your vehicle)
7:30am: Meet your friends at a local fueling station, preferably off of US-54 — chances are they will show up with anything other than a full tank. This gives them a chance to fill up and grab some water. Be sure everyone is ready to go and depart together, heading North onto US-54 — maintain a decent pace — the more stops you make, the longer it will take you to complete the course.
The first section of this drive is (in my opinion) boring. it is long and straight, although Oro Grande provides a little intrigue, along with the only four turns in the entire stretch. The locals aren’t 100% friendly if you aren’t buying anything, so don’t expect to be able to use any restrooms, unless you are a customer. There is an old mining operation that used to go on here long ago, and to my knowledge were still hosting tours of it, but I have personally never taken it.
After Oro Grande’s “please don’t miss my town” speed limits, you will cruise a little further down the way to a border patrol check station. These are standard throughout the area, especially leaving El Paso. if any of your friends are visiting from another country, they will need proper documentation to get through the checkpoint.
Upon arrival to Alamogordo, there are two options to stay on course — either drive through town or take the relief route. Depending on the size of your group, driving through town has multiple stoplights and will separate you quickly.
If you intend to stay together — take the relief route but beware of the heavy police presence — as they are there to catch tourists that are merely “passing though” and wanting to get around quickly.
Once getting around the town, you will cross over a bridge and continue forward through the traffic lights onto Highway 82. As the road continues, you will notice that the climate will become less face-melting and more like windows-down weather. You will also notice that after passing through a tunnel, the surrounding vegetation almost magically transitions from desert to forest. The winding road will eventually lead you into the small mountain town of Cloudcroft, NM.
For the drivers, take that first right when you get into town, onto Cox Canyon Highway 130. and follow it all the way till it loops back onto Highway 82, then hang a left to get back to Cloudcroft. For the less-inclined to drive, stop into Cloudcroft’s old town and kill some time while the hard-core drivers make their lap of the mountain back-roads. Be sure to meet up with them in the sizable lot at the Highway 82 and Highway 244 Junction, just east of Cloudcroft, around the sweeping bend.
Highway 244 is really what I have been working to get you to. This is a little-known highway (that has become more popular with select driving groups) that is a ton of fun to drive. It is full of winding roads, blind corners, elevations changes and amazing scenery. Unfortunately it is also an open range, meaning that there is a multitude of cattle that can be standing in the middle of the road at any time — or at least the remnant droppings of one.
I’ve also personally spotted many deer, and several bear cubs crossing the road. It is important to be on high alert on this road due to the dangers that it can bring.
Once emerging from the end of it, you will find yourself at highway 70. By now, mostly everyone in your group is hungry and if you have driven this route in any kind of decent time, it is also right after lunchtime. The options for food are mostly within Ruidoso, unless you make a pit stop at the local casino for food and beverage — perhaps some gambling.
Our group usually pulls into town and finds plenty of parking and (depending on group size) have reservations at the Cattle Baron on Sudderth Dr. Their menu offers a wide array of options for any appetite, which works well for groups. A lunch stop gives plenty of time for everyone to talk about the drive, share photos and even update their Facebook pages to reflect the great journey they’ve had, in only a few hours from home.
While the drive back is relatively easy (Highway 70 South back to Highway 54 into El Paso), it is important to remember drives are like life — life isn’t about the destination, but rather the journey you take to get there. And I’m here to help you Find Your Road.
Motor on my friends, and someday hopefully we can get lost together.
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