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'Tour of the Nations' rolls through New Mexico

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GALLUP, N.M. - Adventure Gallup and Beyond is offering a remarkable behind-the-scenes look at a landscape most of New Mexico's visitors would love to see via the first-ever Tour of the Nations recreational bike tour, Aug. 5 - 10.

The five-day, 234-mile recreational and educational bike ride will travel through four of New Mexico's pueblos and past two national monuments, giving the riders both a visual and physical experience they will long treasure. The average daily ride is 47 miles.

Riders will stay as guests at the Isleta, Laguna, Acoma and Zuni pueblos, where they will be treated to a tour, a traditional meal and traditional performances. The ride finishes in Gallup, where participants receive tickets to the 86th annual Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. The ceremonial attracts Native participants, New Mexicans and visitors from across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

''Tour of the Nations will expose participants to Native American culture, North American history and Southwest scenery through incredible adventure,'' said Michael Cerletti, secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. ''There is no better way to discover the beauty, enthusiasm and tradition of the Pueblos than through the people that have inhabited these lands for generations. Participants will find a people rich in natural and cultural resources and heritage.''

Riders will receive guided tours at all four pueblos; entry passes to El Morro National Monument, Bandera Volcanic Crater and the Ice Caves; breakfast and dinner Aug. 5 - 10; a food and water break every 15 miles; luggage transport; showers at the end of each riding day; and sag support for tired or injured riders. Camping will be either indoors or at a local school.

The cost per rider is $600, which Adventure Travel and Beyond Executive Director Matthew O'Mara said aids the organization in its efforts to bring tourism to northwest New Mexico.

''The Four Corners region is arguably the richest historical and cultural region in the United States,'' O'Mara said. ''The high density of Native American archaeological sites, the large number of Native American communities in close proximity to each other and the distinct Southwestern scenery combine to make the area a powerful and unique destination.''