Operation BAC (Brewery Arroyo Crawl), Santa Fe, Wednesday

Operation BAC is a 9-mile Santa Fe brewery crawl that does not involve walking on city streets. However, it does involve walking on a bike path and through a couple unmaintained arroyos. The BAC is currently scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, 2012 and is open to veterans and non-veterans alike, the vast majority of whom can expect to complete it under 5 hours regardless of branch affiliation, MOS, training, etc.

For Santa Fe crawlers, Operation BAC commences at 11:11AM at the South Capitol Railrunner Station. For Albuquerque crawlers, take the 9:35AM train at 1nd and Central and arrive at the South Capitol Station at 11:11AM. (Those originating from other locations will have to refer to the Railrunner Schedule for assistance. The use of cars is prohibited on this operation.)

The first tuck-in on the BAC is located a mile south of the South Capitol Railrunner Station: the Second Street Brewery. Simply walk south along the bike path which borders the train tracks until you get thirsty—at which point you will find yourself at the doors to the brewery. Distance from South Capitol Station is approximately 1 mile.

The Second Street Brewery is also your first water point. Ernesto Ayala, a veteran who served as a carpenter and an MP (now a present-day builder) will be on the patio with filtered water. Please provide your own refillable containers.

(Ernesto Ayala, veteran, carpenter, builder)

From there you will proceed south staying on the bike path. You will cross two more roadways: St. Michaels Drive and Siringo Road. Be extra cautious crossing St. Michaels Drive. There are no pedestrian or bike crossing signs and vehicle traffic slows only for the train. At Siringo Road the bike trail will fork, with the left fork following the train tracks. You will take the right fork of the bike trail, which skirts the high school, then head down a modest hill before curving west. At the bottom of the hill the bike trail joins up with a large arroyo sufficient to travel four horses abreast. Take the brief dirt path down to the arroyo where you will enjoy a nice spot of shade beneath an attractive arched bridge.

Total distance from the Second Street Brewery to the Arroyo de Los Chamisos and arched bridge along the bike path is a little over 1 mile. The Arroyo de Los Chamisos runs east/west through this part of town and when you are ready to continue you will travel WEST, never leaving the arroyo. You will encounter several more culverts during this next leg of the journey, as well as arroyo artwork. (If you run into the train tracks that means you went EAST–no big deal, just turn around and go the other way.

(Picture of artwork with culvert in the background–took me a couple hours with the balancing)

Your next water point is the Genoveva Chavez Community Center. You can’t miss it so no photo. It will loom upup on the left side of the arroyo in the distance with an enormous black roof like the Katrina Dome approximately 2 miles from where you entered the arroyo.

After topping off on water at the GCCC, look to your left as you pass the rodeo grounds just west of the GCCC. Listening Horse may be in session. Wave to Promise, Zorro, Doc, Jack, Gus and the rest of the gang—unless they are working in which case just go on by.

From GCCC to your final destination, the Santa Fe Brewery, you will have no official water points, but you will never be more than a half-mile* from civilization in the event that you do run out. It is recommended that each participant start the BAC with no less than four quarts of water on their person, making sure to top off at the GCCC for the final stretch to the Santa Fe Brewery, which is approximately 5 miles.

Continue to follow the riverbed as it veers south and moves through another culvert beneath Rodeo Road.  Take frequent rest breaks in the frequent shady spots in the arroyo. (See picture below.)

i think that is jc penny on the rt. didn't get close enough to tell

After a couple miles you will be able to breathe more comfortably as the lizards, rocks, and cottonwoods replace the condominiums, shopping malls and carparks that line the arroyo.

From the culvert at General Miles Road, you will have only 4 miles to the Santa Fe Brewery. (General Miles, 1839-1925, is best known for quarreling with General Howard over who should be credited for the capture of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. Miles was an Indian killer like Custard. If you want, check out “Custard Battles” on the internet, a modern-day war profiteering mercenary security company that was prominent during my time in Iraq–named after Custard himself!

Continue on. Now, as you tire, you will be approaching Cerillos Road. Cross under Cerillos Road through the large culvert being careful not to step on any drunks. As conscience dictates, check to see if anyone needs help and to offer some of your water before continuing. But keep some.

Now that you have survived the Cerillos culvert, you are practically a veteran of the BAC. You only have one more culvert to navigate and less than 3 miles to go before you are rewarded for your efforts with a $2 beverage of your choice at the Santa Fe Brewery.

Don’t get turned around at this point. The culvert may have raised the hackles on your neck and you may have thought you were about to be ambushed. Regroup if necessary before walking the ¼ mile to the I-25 frontage road. This may be the hardest quarter mile of your life because this stretch of Cerillos is highly pedestrian-unfriendly. Take the I-25 frontage road heading south (not much better than Cerillos but an improvement). Do not walk on the shoulder of the frontage road. This is unsafe. Walk as far off the roadway as possible while still paralleling the road. Go 2 miles through the dirt, scrub and cactus trying to ignore the pandemonium of I-25 and the frontage road. If you can, pick up some bottles and trash in this area as you pass through. There is lots. Now you are getting close. Look to you left as you approach your last arroyo and last culvert. There it is. Proceed under I-25 to the promised land: the Santa Fe Brewers!

Made it!---but not quite yet. See below.

(IMPORTANT: Rather than cut across the landscape, follow the arroyo under I-25 to the roadway directly in front of you and then take the established dirt trail up to the left out of the arroyo and onto the paved road. This paved road, which is off-limits to motorized vehicles, leads in two directions. To the left is the brewery just yards away (see picture above), to the right: the 599 Railrunner Train station, also yards away. Depending on how you have managed your time, you will be able to enjoy $2 beverage of your choice at the brewery before making your way to the 599 Railrunner Station. Trains departing for Albuquerque leave at 4:34PM, 5:21PM, 5:49PM etc. Last train departs at 9:24PM. Consult train schedule for northbound trains if needed. My advice: Do not drink the Chicken Killer unless you plan on sleeping in the arroyo. For those destined for Albuquerque, a final brewery stop can be made at the Taproom, just around the corner from the train station on 2nd Street. Password: “Endgame” will get you a nice glass of cold water there courtesy of Gabe Alarid who used to ride his bike to Lamy and back from Santa Fe along the train tracks as a kid and fish in Cabresto Lake when it was still wild country.


  1. Obey all posted traffic signs and traffic lights. (None exist in the arroyo, hah.)
  2. Pack out all your trash and any trash you encounter if you have room in your pack.
  3. Try not to wear headphones or rely heavily on electronic devices. (You can’t get lost in the arroyo.)
  4. Use refillable containers for your water. Don’t buy water in throwaway containers for this event if you can avoid it. Use camelpacks, canteens, thermoses, old growlers, gallon milk jugs, etc.
  5. Walk in the center of the arroyo to avoid impacting the arroyo walls (which are collapsing in many places and likely to be “reinforced” with cement in our lifetime, just as the earthen dam at Cabresto Lake is getting concreted this year. Read about it here if you don’t believe it: http://www.taosnews.com/news/article_6374a30b-9bbb-5ba7-bc09-6b2666e8700e.html)
  8. Tell someone where you’re going or better yet travel with a buddy. If you don’t have anyone else to tell you’re going, tell me.
  9. Chicken Killer is ill-advised
  10. Donation to Listening Horse will get you a t-shirt at the last watering hole
  11. Roundtrip train fare from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and back is $7 for all day pass — so train and Santa Fe beverage for under $10


Cheers and stay frosty out there!!!

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