The Great Dirt Divide on GSPD
A few months ago I was invited to participate in a 2 week ride from Sacramento to the Canada/US border and down the Great Divide Mountain Bike trail as far south as we could make it, and back to Sacramento. I had heard of and even seen sign of the continental divide, but what the heck was the Great Divide TRAIL? I was told it was route put together by mountain bikers on the US continental divide from Canada to Mexico and a few nuts have done it on motorcycles, in fact some famous guy named something like Salvatore Clement had done it and called it the best ride he'd ever done. I also read an account of 2 guys doing the trail last year, but was still not getting a clear understanding of the adventure we were about to attempt and pretty skeptical this route could be enjoyably navigated on a motorcycle. I couldn't make a decision on whether to attempt this trip or not and didnt commit to the plan until just a few days before leaving Sacramento. The convincing factor was the other riders commitment and enthusiasm for this trip.
The plan was to meet the other riders at the BMW rally in Spokane. Since i was pressed for time at work i made that 900 mile trip alone behind the other riders who left a couple of days earlier. Unfortunately, I had trouble on the way to spokane, when my 95 GSPD decided to become a thumper rather than a twin. No BMW dealers in Walla Walla but after much fiddlin and anxiety I was able to finally figure it out. Turned out to be a long HOT 4 hour delay in Walla Walla Washington caused by some grit clogging one of the air passages in the right side Bing carb. What a relief! I was having major ride failure depression!
Thanks a lot to this guy who spent a lot of time trying to help in Walla Walla(more to follow)
I arrived in Spokane in time to spend about an hour at the rally and get a good nights sleep before leaving for the Canadian border with advriders JimC
(aka Capt Nemo) on a F650, Skwerl on a F650 and wannabe advriders David on a KTM950 and Dwayne on a tricked out R80GS. Advrider RCrabb joined the gang the first night in Whitefish Mt.
Here's my old GSPD ready to roll out of spokane
Here we are at the Canadian Border port of roosville
Now this is where the fun begins Dirt Doggies. The route is 80% dirt from here to Mexico. Sorry I'm not a GPS guy and dont have those fancy smancy e-maps to post (maybe Jim can do that). But we did have GPS points to follow and roll charts for us simpler riders. Thanks to RCrabb and Dwayne for putting together the roll charts out the the bicyclists books. Not too
far out of Roosville we were approaching our first dirt pass just west of Glacier Park
and shortly thereafter we passed Red Meadows Lake on our way into White fish Mt
(more to follow)
It's been almost 30 minutes! You suck at this! :D
EDIT: Ahhh, you are quick-like-bunny when I'm grousing about your posts, aren't you? Photo not found thigees, though.
We spent the night in the State camp ground in Whitefish (which is about 6 inches from a major railway and not recommended for those seeking serenity)
It rained pretty good that night, in fact it rained nearly every night and occasionally each day. The unusually cool and wet weather made the ride conditions near perfect, but did cause us to rethink our camping plans in favor or motels
Here we are ready to leave the first camp with Skerl and Dwayne running from the camera .
The road heading south out of whitefish was just unbearably ugly
And then we came to our first PROHIBITED ZONE - no motorized vehicles OH NO!. I was quickly admonished by the group for looking up this trail. We had to route around this section which caused delays trying to rejoin the trail past the no motor zone. Fortunately there were very few of these sections on the trip.
When we finally got back on the dirt Jim C was so pumped he endoed his little F650 on a HUGE water bar and ended up buying a crow bar to fix it at the nearest motel.
BTW, please bear with the low res images, they get better later in the trip--------
The next day we left Seeley Lake Mt headed for Lincoln Mt for Breakfast. Another dreary day of sticky dirty roads passing lakes full of fish and surrounded by flowers
And the clouds were just so depressing.
That we all had to stop and cry
But finally a little glimmer of sun through the clouds
Still in Montana, this place was so depressing that some people just up and left -a long time ago.
In fact we passed many of the ghost towns that were profiled in a recent advrider thread
But Montana truly is BIG sky country
We passed through Helena and spent the night at about 7000Ft in the Park lake campground. That's where I discovered my front Jesse bag mount was just barely hanging on. Fortunately I was able to back track to find my footpeg mount and go into Helena for the rest of the hardware needed to fix it.
We had our second major mechanical problem the next day when Duanes R80 cylinder stud pulled out of the motor block causing him to truck it home. We were all sorry to see Duane leave the ride.
Although we didnt have a set schedule or time table, a few of us wanted to make it at least to New Mexico within the 2 weeks including the 2500+- trip to and from Sacramento. The first few days had put us behind schedule mainly due to mechanical delays and trying to stay on trail while staying out of the no motor zone and impassible terrain. We averaged about 150 miles the first 3 days, but had anticipated doing about 300. The pace would pick up later.
The maps were great, but did have a few errors that also caused delays. This is where the GPS really came in handy to let us know we were off course.
Still in Montana, here's a shot heading south towards Lima.
And another image traversing the high plains of Montana near the continental divide.
This is the day we met up with 3 KTM950s and a KLR near Wise River M. They were from Texas that were also headed for New Mexico on the Great Divide. This image was taken on a mountain pass in the Beaverhead National Forest
Shortly thereafter we were back in the high plains of the Big Sky Country. The dirt roads were getting smoother and faster
But I was so sad that my hairhead was getting dirty
The scenery kept changing. On our way into Lima we headed into a few canyons
More to follow---------
The pictures sure look familiar.
Wish I could have been able to get you over to our web site, we could have routed you around some of the obstacles you hit. We were just a week or two ahead of you and ran into the same things. I was posting daily GPS tracks and route notes whenever we had a motel with a phone.
Look forward to seeing the rest of your report.
Our trip info, GPS, journals, photos, etc. is here.
Day 5 on the great divide started in Lima Montana with 5 riders and ended in the rain in Dubois Wyoming. We passed from Montana to Idaho from west to east, and into Wyoming.
The morning had fast and damp dirt roads through the wide open high plains of Montana.
And the high plains were surrounded by high mountains
With a small town or 2 like Lakeview Montana
and the surrounding mountains were showing some snow
We left Monana and entered Idaho at Red Rock Pass
We headed south into Ashton Idaho for lunch and then east towards Wyoming. On the way we made a special stop here in Squirrel Idaho for Skwerl. I think he had to bury some nuts or something near this old school house.
Some how I didnt get any photos of the dirt road that bordered Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons or the rainy ride into Dubois Wyoming.
Luv2Lean is such a great story teller we are going wait till he is done before we add any more commentary. I will try and fill in with some pictures when L2L is missing some shots. One reason L2L didn't have any pictures from Ashton-Flagg Road, the Tetons and DuBoyz is we were racing against a closing rain storm which caught us around Jackson Lake . We were rained on every day of the ride, but fortunately missed most of the heavy rain, other than on the ride into DuBoyz.
Approaching Henry's Lake in Idaho
More lousy roads and terrible weather
Remnents of Storm in Lima, MT. This is where Duane left us
Here is a burn area on Ashton-Flagg Rd - Striking contrast new flowers, burned forest.
River Crossing right before entering Flagg Ranch
More will follow
Jim In Sacramento
Day 6 on the great divide started in Dubois Wyoming. We had a good soaking rain coming into Dubois the night before, and unlike the previous days it continued raining through the nite and into the next morning. I was set to camp in the motel for a day or 2 to wait out the rain in the forcast but the rest of the group chose to press on so off we went over 9200 ft. Union Pass into the Bridger Teton National Wilderness. The heavy rain made it pretty slick on top with one short section that got really slimey, This caused David and Skwerl to turn around and take the longer paved road to meet JimC RCrabb and I in Pinedale Wyoming. Fortunately the slimey section was short and the rest of the dirt to Pinedale was a lot of fun - if only they would have known! Here I am looking back and wondering where everybody went while the rest of the group were a mile or so back discussing the mud reroute plans
The weather improved quickly making my idea of camping in the motel look pretty wussy. The damp road conditions made for some great traction and the clouds just enhanced the beautiful scenery.
JimC RCrabb and I arrived in Pinedale Wy a couple of hours ahead of David and Skwerl. David was thinking of heading back to Sacto to attend some personal issues at home. When they finally arrived in Pinedale Skwerl had also decided to head back to Sacto. Skwerl had a radiator leak on his F650 and was probably a little worn out from all the dirt with limited dirt experience in his past
The next leg of the trip was heading further away from the home direction and I had to make a decision to head home with David and Skwerl or press on towards New Mexico. It was a tough decision since I new the Jim C only had a couple of days left to ride when we would be be much farther from home and may not make our destination anyway. Press on it was.
The wait for David and Skwerl had put us behind schedule. It was about Ipm and we had about 250 miles of dirt between us and the next town - Rawlins Wyoming. We hit it pretty hard that afternoon and still didnt get into Rawlins until 8pm. Most of the ride to Rawlins was high desert, but with exceptionally smooth dirt roads. There were a few exceptions like this little hill climb where JimC biffed it.
The weather started to turn again that afternoon with dark clouds all around us at times. Fortunately we seemed to turn and skirt most of the dark lightning clouds just in time.
It was a long cool and windy afternoon on some 70 mph 2 track desert roads. This may have been the cloud that finally caught us on the way to Rawlins
On the way into Rawlins RCrabbs F650 started to leak coolant from the water pump. This would lead to the end of his Ride. BTW, I forgot to mention that RCrabb was on his second Great Divide Ride and he rode all the way from Chicago to do it again. I really appreaciated the information he shared from his prior experience on this trip and was sorry to see him leave the next morning.
MorePindale to Rawlins Pics
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