Great pics and story!
How did your tires perform on the Xch during the trip? I see your buddy has more aggressive knobs on the DRZ.
I'm heading to MT on Wed (XCo is there already) and starting from Helena w/ a group going south on Sat, ending in Albuquerque, NM.
I've packed lotsa tools, tubes and gas, riding and camp gear, and just a few pieces of synth clothes with camp soap and net bag for drying on the road.
My tires look about like yours with Mefo fronts and Kenda on the back, so I'm curious how yours performed.