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Old 03-02-2015, 12:32 PM   #91
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Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Great Falls, Virginia
Oddometer: 16
GPS for CDR? Zumo or handheld?

First, a thank you for Cannonshot's posting and sharing gps Tracs. I read this posting 3 times so far. I am sure another 10 before I commit to CDR. Some of the single tracks and rocky terrain might be more than my skills.

I am a novice. I haven't done a trip this long or off-road. Most I've done is 1,800 miles. So, go gentle. I was doing some preliminary research on a trip to Colorado from Virginia when I came across the Great Continental Divide Trail / Route.

Living on the east coast, my Zumo 350 and BaseCamp are my trusted tools for navigation. Can anyone share their perspective if this trip and associated Tracs are better suited for a handheld Garmin gps like Oregon 450 (which I have) or will Zumo 350LM support this data?

My understanding is the Zumo 350 support 1,000 waypoints total, 100 rides / trace, and maximum of 30 Waypoints per route. My workaround for waypoints is using Shaping Points.

Tentatively my plan is to trailer my F650GS Twin from Virginia to CO. The challenge for me is figuring where to start the trip from without having to back track all the way to my car and trailer. One consideration is to do a shorter north/south loop. Any thoughts? Best time of year for weather?

Many thanks.
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:07 PM   #92
Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Oddometer: 79
My $0.02 having ridden it twice:

There are only a few spots on the CDR that will likely tax your riding skills and/or that bike. They're very well marked on Cannonshot and Countdown's GPS tracks. The primary exception can be most of the NM section. If it has been dry, and the roads recently graded, it can be a piece of cake. If it is very wet, it can feel like most of the state has turned into snotty wet concrete.

The big difference for us the second time around was mindset. For some reason, the first time I was determined to ride every inch of the trail the way Big Dog mapped it out. The second time, our motto was if in doubt, go around it. It's a long MFing ride - no harm in skipping a section to be safe, and no honor in digging your bike out of a mud pit for 4 hours.

As to GPS, I've used a Zumo 450 and 550 just fine, both with tracks and routes (can be a religion debate). I'd say as long as your unit will hold the tracks, it'll work fine. Routes can be a bonus depending on your religion - I find them helpful but not mandatory. BUT, I bring a laptop because things change, and at least once you'll find yourself in a motel, looking at some heinous weather system that you want to go around, and it is nice to be able to stick a new plan on your GPS unit on the fly. I'm sure you could do without this, but I find it super helpful.

Time of year, IMO, something close to the last week of July/first week of August to start ideally.

As to how to start and finish, it depends on your budget. I rend a Uhaul truck in SLC, go to the north end of the route, dump the truck, ride to the other end, and then pick up another Uhaul in or around Silver City. Call it $500 per Uhaul and I don't need to swap out tires on the bike for the whole trip.

As for prioritizing sections of the trip, MT and ID are amazing, as is everything between ID and Pinedale WY. Pinedale to the Colorado border sucks IMO. All of the Colorado section is amazing, though you'll see the most people there (lot of ladies in Subarus). If the weather is good, NM is really amazing. If it rains, it is awful - their mud is just not from this earth.

Probably more than my $0.02

Do it!


jprhode screwed with this post 03-02-2015 at 02:29 PM
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:00 AM   #93
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Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Great Falls, Virginia
Oddometer: 16
Thanks for responses

Wow twice! Envious of you riders who live closer to the CDR. Not a lot of open land with unpaved roads left in Mid-Atlantic region where I live. My nice rides are Skyline Drive in VA and Blue Ridge Parkway from VA to Smokey Mountains.

Thanks for delineating some of the better areas and other more challenging spots.

I am glad a Zumo gps type device will suffice. I am 55 geezer so my eyesight for reading a small handheld gps screen is limited. I plugged my old Garmin 450 into a 5V Garmin mini USB power cable, and the screen does seem brighter. But, still small on print. That's why I prefer something bigger and brighter than a handheld. I suppose bringing a laptop & BaseCamp type software for those changes along the way makes sense. I don't know any other simple way to get data in/out of my Garmin.

I like your suggestions about using a U-haul at either end of the CDR segment. Segment begging defined by rider. With limited time and work etc., I will likely do some segments, landmarks like National Parks, and a few must see scenic places. I guess if I get a U-haul bike trailer from VA with my own car, I can use a box u-haul to get back to my car before heading to VA.

All great ideas. Many thanks again.

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Old 03-10-2015, 04:58 PM   #94
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Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Ohio
Oddometer: 273
another question

This is my year to do the CDR. I am an experienced dirt rider and will be riding with my old riding buddy who went the street bike route. I know Big Dog went from south to north and I planned to do the same but I wonder if there is any advantage to running it from north to south? I may have a time issue as we plan to ride the bikes - looks like about 1800 miles to the start from Ohio - so we will probably have 6 days of road travel out and back and 10 days on the CDR. Don't think I will be able to swing that many days of vacation but I'll be close. We intend to do the ride complete but if we have to break off and head home which end of the CDR would be easier to miss out on? Thanks
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:24 PM   #95
Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Austin, TX
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Re: another question

My $0.02:

Divide Basin notwithstanding, the whole route is pretty cool. I think it largely depends on the weather, and maybe forest fires depending on the year.

If it were me in your shoes doing it again, I think I'd plan to go North to South, and be prepared to change my mind as close as possible to go time if conditions warranted it. I say this for two reasons. First, most of the route from Canada to the CO/NM border fairly is rideable in moderate rain. There are big chunks that are just flat unrideable in NM if it is raining much. Some of the mountains there are ok (though they stopped us in our tracks in 2010) but there are big flat sandy valleys that can be pretty tough going even a week after a big rain. The worst part is you can ride across the whole valley and then get to the un-passable muck and have to turn around.

We got rained on most of the way through CO in 2010 and the roads were still ok. Obviously if you get caught in something like the biblical rains of 2013 all bets are off, and there's a few sections (just North of Salida comes to mind) that you'd probably be better routing around in heavy rain, but mostly it's doable.

Similar for MT, and at least in our two rides we saw way less severe rain there. But, I'm no meteorologist and the sky seems busted just about everywhere right now, so ymmv.

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Old 03-14-2015, 03:01 AM   #96
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Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Grand Junction, CO
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I plan I doing this ride the last week of July 2015. I will be departing from Grand Junction, CO and connecting on the trail around Steamboat, CO. I will be heading to Calgary, AB and staying there with friends.

I was wondering how many days I should allow of this travel. I'm a good rider and plan on riding during daylight hours and sleeping when the sun is down. Any educated guesses would be appreciated. Thanks!

-Ross Moe
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Old 03-15-2015, 09:28 PM   #97
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Marin County, CA & Ketchum, ID
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A buddy of mine rode from border to border in something like 7 days (but he's kind 'a nuts). As I recall he was on a KTM 690, packed very light, and

I, on the other hand, took 3 months to do it. :-)

Anyway, if you're a good rider and your bike doesn't give you problems, I'd bet 7 days would be more than enough time to go from Steamboat to Alberta.
Currently no bikes. ;-(
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:58 AM   #98
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Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Oddometer: 43

Thanks for the reply.

I'll be on a BMW F800gs. Packed light and am I good rider.

I'm probably going to to give myself five days. I have to be in Banff, AB for a friends wedding on Saturday and plan on leaving the monday before. If I don't make it the girlfriend might kill me but I'm up for the challenge.

If you think this crazy to try to do this trail from Grand Junction, CO to Banff, AB in five days. Let me know

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Old 03-29-2015, 03:05 PM   #99
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Oddometer: 266
Originally Posted by Cannonshot View Post
Completed the Great Divide Ride from Banff, AB to the border with Mexico.

Prepared a comprehensive .gpx to share.

One version of the .gpx contains a lot of tracks for planning. These include bicycle only, all alternates, and even Big Dog's tracks so you can compare them to the current route in the US.

The other version is a 20 track file that is ready to load and ride.

The ride report that is full of pictures of the route and road surfaces can be found here:

Files can be downloaded here:

The 660+ waypoints are categorized so you can sort them (fuel, camping, dealers, POIs, hazards, etc).
Two of us are just starting to plan our ride for 2016 and this is great resource. Thanks Cannonshot!
my bikes: R1200GSW, WR250R & Gas Gas Raga Trials
wifes bike: F700GS
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Old 04-04-2015, 02:52 PM   #100
Cannonshot OP
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Location: SE Wisconsin
Oddometer: 20,742
Thanks folks. Sounds like some great trips being planned. I'm glad these tracks and the report are proving useful to so many. A great ride. I hope more people give it a ride as it is well worth it.
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:03 PM   #101
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Lost in the mulligrubs...
Oddometer: 419
While it's still pretty...

Didn't know if anyone else has reported it yet, but there are some big changes going on in the Sage Rd. area in Wyoming. The road that runs from Rawings to the Battle Creek area is getting a wide make over for a HUGE windmill project. I talked to one of the dozer operators, and he said it will all be paved next summer. The road work is in progress all the way down to S.R. 70.

The one thing that bothers me most, is what I remember to be aspen ally may be a thing of the past... Here are some pictures I took last week while riding through.

This is where they have cut some of the trees at one end of the ally...

It won't be long til this vastness will be filled with windmills...

Get it while you can...

Proving I'm an idiot without ever speaking...
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