Enjoying the Ride
Joined: Sep 2007
2011 Continental Divide Trail Ride (Part V)
2011 Continental Divide Ride
After fixing my bike (KTM 990) that included replacing the in-gas tank fuel filters and replacing my side-stand with along with a special KTM side-stand bypass switch, I returned to finish the Montana portion of the CDT.
(Island Park, ID to Roosville, BC)
I had lined up another rider to complete this ride with me, but he backed out with a better offer a few days prior to departure. My wife, to whom I have been happily married for 38 years, did not want me to go alone, so she offered to go with me. Bless her heart…even though she did not want to ride two-up with me, she drove (Subaru Forester) separately, and we met up each evening at the motel. She monitored my progress from my SPOT messages. She visited several interesting towns, mansions and museums that were not on my CDT route, and generally had a very good time. Here we are sitting in the big chair at Pickel’s Place in Arco, ID, on our way back to the Sawtell Mountain Resort to resume the CDT ride on September 19, 2011.
The next morning I left at 8:30 AM since I had about 300 miles of dirt to travel. It was 30 degree Fahrenheit, and there was frost on the seat of my bike.
I took a little detour up the top of Sawtell Peak about 5-6 miles away. Here it is seen from the resort.
From the top of Sawtell Peak you will see the FAA radar dome and impressive views of the Tetons to the east and the Gravelly Range to the northwest.
A few miles later north on US Hwy 20 and around via FR 053, I was back to the locked gate where my ride had ended 7-1/2 weeks earlier, only this time I was on the other side of the gate.
This is Sawtell Peak seen from further down FR 053 looking south. The FAA radar dome can be seen to the right of the peak.
After crossing into Montana, I came to the Red Rock Lakes, which happens to be one of our 2011 IAMC Challenge Sites ( http://motoidaho.org/node/548 ).
For the most part, I found the dirt and gravel roads in Montana to be among the easiest and fastest to travel along the entire CDT.
Just before coming into Lima, MT, I encountered another solo cyclist from BC, Canada. He was almost 3 weeks into his ride of the CDT. He had started in Banff, BC; but had already ridden his bike 300 miles from his home to get there. We discussed the fact that he would likely be stopped by snow in the Colorado passes. I hope he made it.
Not far to the west of Lima you come to the Medicine Lodge and Old Bannack Roads established in 1862 between Bannack, the territorial capitol of Montana at that time, and Corinne, UT, near where the transcontinental railroad was later established in 1869 ( http://books.google.com/books?id=2PuBxozvcTQC&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&dq=bannack+to+corinne+road&source=bl&ots=iSFBIA9-nH&sig=raWHLI98AV5jJV70HGtIVaZSGh8&hl=en&ei=EbGcTt7RCIbKiQLFr7DpCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=bannack%20to%20corinne%20road&f=false ).
Between state Hwys 324 and 278 is the town of Bannack, MT. It is on the CDT and is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Montana. It has a very colorful history ( http://www.legendsofamerica.com/mt-bannack.html ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bannack,_Montana ). It was made a State Park in the 1950’s ( http://www.bannack.org/ ). One of Bannack’s early prominent citizens, William Andrews Clark, helped establish the Bannack to Corinne road ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Clark ). Bannack is also another of the 2011 IAMC Challenge Sites ( http://motoidaho.org/node/548 ).
Leaving Bannack on the CDT you will ride a series of paved Forest Service roads from state Hwy 278 to state Hwy 43 to arrive at Wise River.
Northeast of Wise River, MT, is Fleecer Ridge with a steep and rocky two-track trail seen as a faint line above to the left above the tree line. Being alone on a fully loaded large bike, I opted not to attempt this most difficult section and skirted around it on the Old Hwy 91 Frontage Road.
You pass under the Milwaukee Road train trestle on Roosevelt Road (paved section of FR 84) coming into Butte, MT, my destination for day 1 on the Montana portion of my CDT ride.
From Basin, MT, northeast of Butte and near Boulder, MT, to Lincoln, MT, the CDT passes through several old mining towns and mill sites, including the Mine Rock on FR 1855 and the Empire Mill Site near Atlantic City.
Prior to the above sites is the little town of Rimini, which lies just south of US Hwy 12 near Helena. There I encountered one of the stranger sites on the entire CDT – a deer with its dead sticking out of a 2nd storey window. I guess being hunting season, he felt this was a safer place to be.
From Lincoln, MT, the CDT basically parallels state Hwys 200 and 83 on a series of Forest Service Roads running on either side of these two highways all the way into Columbia Falls, MT, and our destination for day 2 of this portion of the ride. We stayed at the Super 8 in Columbia Heights just across the Flathead River from Columbia Falls. The lobby of this motel has a most impressive collection of game animals.
The next day was about a half-day ride to the Canadian border passing scenic Whitefish and Red Meadow lakes along the way.
The CDT swings east for a short distance along the East Fork of the Flathead River where you will get an impressive view of the Starvation Range Boundary Mountains in Glacier Nation Park. This photo was taken on FR 486 near Trailcreek.
The last segment of the CDT parallels the US-Canadian border along Poverty Flats Road where this photo was taken showing the clear-cut forest demarcating the border.
I took my final border picture at the US Border Eureka Station next to the US port of entry.
That evening, my wife and I celebrated the completion of this ride at the Cimarron Café in Columbia Falls where I had a sirloin steak and baked potato.
We spent the next day touring Glacier National Park by car with the bike taking a well-deserved rest. We stayed at the Port Polson Inn in Polson, MT, with a wonderful view of Flathead Lake from our motel room.
The next day we stayed in Salmon, ID, and the day after that we were back in Boise.
This is a great ride that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the challenge of a multiday ride. It takes careful planning for which I highly recommend a thorough review of the sources listed at the beginning of this ride report.
My hat (or helmet) is off to the cyclists who do this ride. They are the real heroes and heroines of the CDT. It was difficult enough for me on a motorcycle; I don’t think I could make it on a bicycle.
coolsen screwed with this post 10-18-2011 at 01:56 PM
Reason: change text color