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Old 07-23-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
Cannonshot OP
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A CannonRide Down the Great Divide (solo)

Cannonride? Some of you know the format: maps, GPS tracks and waypoints for download, lots of pictures of the route, and some (hopefully) entertaining stories about history and interesting side trips and stops along the way.

Overview Map


The Great Divide Ride is a mountain bike route developed by the Adventure Cycling Association that runs down the continental divide from Banff, AB to Antelope Wells, NM. Although some of the route involves trails that exclude motorized travel, motorcyclists have adopted much of the route as it primarily uses forest roads and other highways. Maps and tracks are available from the Adventure Cycling Association.

I have included the Canada section on this ride which requires some significant rerouting for motorcycles. I have developed some tracks that account for this that I will post for others to use. The detailed maps I post in the report will show the Adventure Cyling Association tracks and the tracks (and alternates) that will be useful for motorcycles. With changes for motorcycles and other options, the route is approaching 3,000 miles.

By the way I stopped by the Adventure Cycling Association headquarters in Montana while on this trip.


A nice group of folks dedicated to putting out great products for their following.


A few scenes from along the way.
















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Old 07-23-2010, 08:11 PM   #2
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The Start - Banff, Alberta

Overview of the Canada portion of the ride. The red line is bicycle only trail.


The beginning.


For me, the route begins on the Mount Norquay Scenic Drive which overlooks Banff. Start at the top and enjoy the views of the city.


The Banff Springs Hotel was originally built in 1887-88. In 1925 it burned and was rebuilt. After the fire they found a secret room with no windows or door where some believe that a ghost that haunts the hotel lived.




As you wind down the switchbacks toward town, be on the lookout for mule deer and rocky mountain sheep.


Banff was administered by the national park system until 1990 when it was allowed to incorporate. There are about 7,500 permanent residents.


The town has an interesting railroad depot. Many tourists arrive by train. In fact, in 1883 three railroad workers stumbled onto the natural hot springs there. In 1885, Canada established the area as a federal reserve and began promoting the area as a resort and spa to help support the railroad. The railroad built hotels along the line to support this.


A closer look at the hotel.


The bicycle ride starts at the Spray River trailhead behind the hotel.


Since this trail excludes motorized travel, we have to go around and over some mountains on a very entertaining separate route.

Cannonshot screwed with this post 07-24-2010 at 07:45 AM
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:15 PM   #3
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Nice!
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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Cool pics... Bicycle tracks should be considered single track lol.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:28 PM   #5
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Oh this is gonna be gooooood!
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:23 AM   #6
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Go Bryan!
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:41 AM   #7
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A closer look at the hotel.


Impressive work & subscribed
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:20 AM   #8
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I'm in Cannonshot!!
My buddy Burt & I have done it twice, including last year.
Anxious to see your Fleecer Ridge ride pics!!

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Old 07-24-2010, 10:16 AM   #9
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Thanks for tuning in!

Besides being (hopefully) entertaining, the purpose of this thread is to document some detail that might be useful for others that are considering this ride.

The cameras I used on this were a waterproof Pentax Optio (used during inclement weather) and a Nikon D60 with a 18-200 lens that I carried in the tank bag. I still pretty much used the Nikon as a point and shoot.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:03 AM   #10
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Canmore and the Smith Dorrien Trail

I should mention that before you leave Banff, you may want to ride the 9 km Tunnel Mountain Scenic Drive. This ride runs on the east side of Banff and takes in views of Bow Falls, Bow Valley, the hotel, Mount Rundle, and the Hoodoos (fingerlike eroded rock formations with a hard cap).

(Red is bicycle only, dark blue is motorcycle track.)


Canmore is just down the road from Banff and was developed by the railroad as a source of train fuel (coal) and as a switching yard. The coal mining was good for a while but the last mine closed in 1979 causing the town to diversify. Now it is a tourist town much like Banff. There are some old buildings still around downtown. These include a union hall, four bed hospital, hotel, and Mountie barracks.

This log, straw, and mud Northwest Mounted Police barracks was built in 1893 at a cost of $450. It was big enough for two mounties and two horses.


The place was recently restored to its 1921 state at a cost of $450,000.




When you drive through the touristy downtown the air is filled with the delicious aromas from the various specialty restaurants.


It used to be that you had to go the long way to get where we want to go. Now you can take the Smith Dorrien Trail up and over the mountains.


The trail starts at the Canmore Nordic Center. The 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics held cross country skiing and biathalon events here.


At this time of the year, they were hosting mountain bike events.




One of the few places I saw guard rails.








Looking back down at Canmore. They have some kind of water/hydro power project going up here.


This is a good part of the road. Much of it is potholes, rocks, and stutter bumps.






Always beautiful scenery in this area.


As I was riding along I saw the hump and a strip of back hair from a grizzly right along the side of the road in some vegetation. Having had four encounters on a backpacking trip in the Northwest Territories I was quick to recognize what I saw and stop before I got too close to the bear. The bear reacted to me by taking a few steps into some trees, facing me for a bit to check me out, and then ambling off into the woods. By the time I got the camera out, this is the parting shot I got.


But here is a shot of a grizz just for reference.


These notable claws contribute to distinctive tracks.


Just a reminder to not be too casual about bears. About five years ago a 35 year old woman and two friends were jogging on a popular trail near Canmore when they encountered a grizzly. The woman took refuge in a tree while the others ran for help. The bear dragged her out of the tree and killed her.

I made sure I stopped there and took a good look around. After all, it was important.



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Old 07-24-2010, 11:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannonshot
The cameras I used on this were a waterproof Pentax Optio (used during inclement weather) . . .
Glad to hear it's still working for you, Bryan. Mine's still going strong as well. Nice to be able to just "rinse it off" if it gets dusty or dirty.

Looking forward to your report.
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:34 AM   #12
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So very much IN!
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:55 PM   #13
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Thanks CS!

Thanks for posting CS! Hipster just forwarded it to me and now I am going to up all night. I see you have included some aviation porn in your RR.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:18 AM   #14
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Cannonshot,

Just finished reading this great ride report, all I can say is Wow. Thanks for all of your hard work. I'm buying the next time our paths cross.

FB
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flyingbeard screwed with this post 04-13-2011 at 01:11 PM Reason: spelling
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by flyingbeard View Post
Cannonshot,

Just finished reading this great ride report, all I can say is Wow. Thanks for all of your hard work. I'm buying the next time out paths cross.

FB
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