This ride is right up the alley of the ADV rider with a small-ish bike and I've always been surprised that more folks don't do it:
- Easy ways are TOTALLY doable on a <650 for SoCal guy: acquainted with and not terrified of sand.
- Hard/Easy ways a blast on a smaller bike
- Distances are big so you cover a lot of ground, see and experience a lot of terrain, have to be on your game regarding stops, navigation (don't get lost), etc. In other words, you're always thinking = a lot of fun
- The # of riders is largely a non-issue. Just leave early, don't get lost, move with a sense of purpose and urgency, and you'll stay in front of a lot of riders. Get lost, lollygag at a corner, stop for a 30' sammich break and you'll be passed by 50 riders. You deserve the dust you get :-)
I'm out this year, going to Atlanta for the holiday, but, again, this is really right up the alley of the riding I've seen that many of you like to do.