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Old 12-05-2009, 05:49 AM   #1
Questor OP
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Questor and MotoAdventureGal ride the Continental Divide Trail

Hello All.

This summer, MotoAdventureGal and myself took the time to ride the Trans-America Trail in its entirety.
We had a great trip.
We left Connecticut on June 24th and finished on August 2nd, 2009.

If you want to get caught up, our Ride Report of the TAT can be found here.
http://http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10992778#post10992778

After completing the Trans-America Trail, we decided to ride the Continental Divide Trail.
I mean why not? We've got the time. We've got the bikes, and gear. And we are on the West Coast so why not!

I had read BigDog's CDT report a few years ago. Mr. BigDog writes great Ride Reports, and he was nice enough to include a GPS file in his Report.
So I re-read the report, downloaded the GPS files, and stuffed the data into the GPS.

All total our TAT and CDT ride, and back home along the Gulf Coast took three months, and consisted of 14,766 miles.

In the end, the route we took looked something like this.



I'll do my best to share everything we saw and did on this trip, but that will take some time. I took over 5,600 Hi-Resolution pictures, and so did Motoadventuregal.
So settle in for a long Ride Report, and enjoy.

Q~

P.S. Here are some interesting stats about the CDT.
- The CDT passes though five states. Montana, Idaho, Wyomimg, Colorado, New Mexico.
- Following the CDT, I rode 3430 miles from Canada to Mexico.
- The CDT crossed the Continental Divide 28 times.
- Total elevation gain is 200,000 vertical feet. (That's the quivelent of climbing Mt. Everest seven times - from Sea Level.)

Questor screwed with this post 12-05-2009 at 06:55 AM
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:56 AM   #2
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:29 AM   #3
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Let the show begin !
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:49 AM   #4
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Day 1: Wednesday August 12th, 2009

I awoke by the side if the Flathead River south of Kalispell MT.
It was cold, and as I lay there in the tent, all warm and snuggly in my sleeping bag, the travels of the past 6 weeks played through my head...


A week ago, MotoAdventureGal and myself had finished the Trans-America Trail.

We had agreed that after the TAT we wanted to ride the CDT.

Unfortunately, MotoAdventureGal had a schedule conflict.
She had to be back in the Denver area in five days for work.
So from Port Orford, we rode the little dirt bikes for 2 days and traveled 800 miles to Biose Idaho. There we split up. MotoAdventureGal would go to Colorado for work, and I would ride up to Canada and start the CDT. We would meet up agian in two weeks, and complete the second half of the CDT together.

So here I was, 60 miles from the Canadian border, ready to start the CDT.
I broke down camp around 6:00am, packed up the bike, and headed North to Kalispell to get some breakfast.
It was a cold morning. I remember my fingers were numb as I rode.
I'm riding a DRZ-400 so I don't have any luxuries such as heated grips, electric clothing, or windscreen.
So the first breakfast spot I find, I stop and get some food, and wait a bit for things to warm up.

Gotta eat if you want to play...

After breakfast I rode through the town of Whitefish MT.


North on Rt 93, another 50 miles...


I get the the town of Eureka, last town in the US before the Canada line.





Yeup, were near Canada.


Nothing but Igloo's and Polar Bears.

A few miles later, I'm on the CDT headed south.
For a little while the trail follows small dirt roads.


Then it heads East toward the edge of Glacier National Park, and into remote areas.


The trails / dirt roads up here in fantastic condition. High Speed and smooth.

The CDT takes us down scenic valleys. Thousands of acres of unspoiled wilderness.


I saw a few bicycles towing trailers along the CDT. Apparently this CDT is a very popular bike touring route. Mid August is a little late to be riding the CDT on a bicycle, but a few were still out there.

The trail takes us though a forest fire area.


Great views. No cars, no powerlines, no signs.


Mile after mile of scenic beauty and fast forest roads.


Beautiful lakes. If it were not so cold I would have gone for a swim.
(As I travel more and more, I'm beginning top realise how important it is to "stop and smell the flowers". If you come to a special spot, stop and enjoy it, and make it a special memory. After the ride is over, you probably won't remember everything, but you will remember the places where you stopped to take a swim, or a place you camped and watched the sunset.)



A section of pavement near Swan Lake and a chance to get gas.


Then back into the woods.


More scenic wonder. Nice weather helps a lot too.


A few miles later the trail passes though the town of Lincoln, where I got supplies for dinner, and two beers.
Headed out of town,I find that the road the the CDT follows is closed due to bridge construction. No biggie, a quick re-route gets me back on the CDT.

High speed cruising and drifting...

We follow the CDT into the Rocky Mountains and cross the Continental Divide for the first of 27 times.


Some sections of the trail were high speed dirt roads, other sections were rough double track, but all of it could be done in a Subaru with decent tires.
(In fact I found most of the CDT to be very easy. Only a few sections in New Mexico got a bit tricky, but we will get to that later...)

Later we come to this old structure. I believe it was a mine at one time.


Must have been impressive in it's day...


An hour or so down the trail, it's starting to get late so I find a quiet spot off the road, and set up camp for the night. A subway sandwich and two beers for dinner.

First day of the CDT has been a treat.

Stats for the Day:
404 miles.
Moving Average 42.5 Moving time 9:31
Stopped 2:08 Total 11:39.

Q~
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:54 AM   #5
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TIA Questor! Always good to see one of your RR's.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:56 AM   #6
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Yea another great report in the making.
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:13 AM   #7
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Oh and Q,
I want a very detailed report around the AC-Pinedale-Rawlins section.
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questor
It was a cold morning. I remember my fingers were numb as I rode.
I'm riding a DRZ-400 so I don't have any luxuries such as heated grips, electric clothing, or windscreen.

Hehehe, you're right there; they're luxuries, not necessities. Unless of course you live and ride around in Antartica I guess. Of course they can be quite nice from what I've heard.

Really looking forward to seeing your comparison of TAT and the CDT; especially with regards to difficulty level. Since doing the TAT this year, my dad's been talking about getting into DS riding, and I'm already trying to come up with a trip for us to take together next summer. I'll be looking and listening to what you have to say. Keep up the good work!
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:18 AM   #9
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2007 - Vintage TAT - Ok, NM, Co
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233901

2008 - Vintage TAT - Ut, Nv, Or
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=331983

2009 - Vintage TAT - NC, Tn, Ms, Ar
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=507149

2010 - Unfinished Business Tour - TAT, CDR Shadow of the Rockies
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=615279
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questor
Some sections of the trail were high speed dirt roads, other sections were rough double track, but all of it could be done in a Subaru with decent tires.
(In fact I found most of the CDT to be very easy. Only a few sections in New Mexico got a bit tricky, but we will get to that later...)

Stats for the Day:
404 miles.
Moving Average 42.5 Moving time 9:31
Stopped 2:08 Total 11:39.

Q~


I'll jump way ahead and ask if you feel this is GS friendly? I'm assuming if it's Suburu friendly it's okay for a GS.

Big miles on a DRZ!

Looking good!
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:39 AM   #11
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I like your idea of dinner.

Looks like a nice trip so far.
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Old 12-05-2009, 08:06 AM   #12
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Old 12-05-2009, 08:09 AM   #13
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DockingPilot
Oh and Q,
I want a very detailed report around the AC-Pinedale-Rawlins section.


To me that was one of the best sections.
The Red Sand area was so remote...

And wait till you see some of the folks I met along that section of trail...

Q~
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XC Rider
Really looking forward to seeing your comparison of TAT and the CDT; especially with regards to difficulty level. Since doing the TAT this year, my dad's been talking about getting into DS riding, and I'm already trying to come up with a trip for us to take together next summer. I'll be looking and listening to what you have to say. Keep up the good work!
If my Dad ever expressed an interest in riding with me, this is probably the ride I would take him on.

In general the CDT is easy and scenic.
It would be very big bike friendly.
A KTM 950 with the right tires would eat it up.

A BMW GSA might be a handful in two sections:
- Right after Pinedale WY, there is a section that has a tricky ledge you need to blast up. (Easily skipped)
- The section of trail right as you enter New Mexico. (Not so easy to skip)
If my Dad ever expressed an interest in riding with me, this is probably the ride I would take him on.

Logistically this ride was easy.
The only places that you will need extra range would be the sections from Pinedale WY to Rawlins WY, (you migt be able to get a couple of gallons in Atlantic City if you ask nicely) and Grants NM, to Silver City NM. (We rode 235 miles on a tank full, and just barely made it.)

Thanks for the praise.
Q~

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