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Old 07-26-2010, 06:34 AM   #46
bg
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Looks like a great trip, Bryan. I love the history you weave into your Ride Reports. Fantastic pictures as usual.

Keep 'em comin'
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:25 AM   #47
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Bryan, great report! Would the entire route be enjoyable on a larger dual sport bike?
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:48 AM   #48
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Fernie




The first courthouse in Fernie was a shack put up in 1880.


In 1889, they decided they needed something bigger, so they built a 28' X 28' structure that housed a courtroom, judge's chamber, four jail cells, a guardroom, and a constable's office. Do the math on that 784 square feet. Finally, in 1908 they put this one together.




This was the coal company headquarters. Now it is city hall. When this town burned down once in 90 minutes, 500 people took refuge in this building and survived.






The town burned a couple of times (1904 & 1908). After the second one, they rebuilt things with brick.




There were a lot of disasters in this area and the legend is that the place was cursed by the native indians. One story is that Bill Fernie was courting an indian princess because he wanted to know the origin of the black stones on her necklace. Once he found the local coal seams, he stopped seeing her. The local medicine woman then put a curse on the valley. These pix from the Fernie website show the image of a ghostrider that appears on a local mountainside. The ghostrider is apparently looking for Bill Fernie.




In 1964 there was a public ceremony to officially lift the curse. Some of the local tribes and citizens got together in town and the mayor and a chief smoked a peace pipe to end it all.

Don't bother going to the historical society - recently burned. Maybe that peace pipe thing didn't cover everything.


Fancy railroad depot.


Restored timber derrick.




These two establishments could keep me occupied for a while.

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Old 07-26-2010, 08:59 AM   #49
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:34 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg
Looks like a great trip, Bryan. I love the history you weave into your Ride Reports. Fantastic pictures as usual.

Keep 'em comin'
Thanks Rebecca. Glad you like the stories.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hipster
Bryan, great report! Would the entire route be enjoyable on a larger dual sport bike?
Thanks Tom. Seems like people have ridden about every kind of dual sport on this thing. Some places are better suited for different size bikes than others, but people seem to enjoy the ride no matter what. As we get into it a bit further, there are some spots best by-passed on big bikes.

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Where does this ride go again?
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:39 PM   #51
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Fernie to the US Border



You follow a nice gravel road on the east side of the river south out of Fernie. A pretty scenic ride.














Once you hit the paved highway, you can treat yourself to some ice cream.








Good camo on these sheep. They blend well with their surroundings. There are two ewes here peeking around a rock at me.




These sheep at lower altitude seem much better groomed.


Some pix I took on the way north (in the rain) and some I took on the way south (in fair weather). I tried to post them in route order so they are mixed a bit.






Fly fisherman on a float trip.


At one time there were two separate railroads that served this narrow valley. This was the result of a personal fued. One Canadian born railroad exec thought the trans-Canada railroad should avoid trying to blast its way around the north side of Lake Superior and run through the UP of Michigan instead. (By the way the King's Highway - a trans-Canada route - ran through the UP until the 1960s.) An American born railroad exec understood the political realities and advocated the route stay in Canada. When the Canadian route was selected, the UP advocate swore revenge. There is a long story, but the short version is that he was able to get the Great Northern railway to run into Canada in this valley to compete with the Canadian railway - simply out of spite. When things went bad market wise, the Great Northern couldn't get out of there fast enough. When the market changed back many years later and the Japanese wanted coal, the Great Northern tried to get back in but they were blocked by the Canadian government who wouldn't give them rights-of-way on crown land.


Back at the border.




And so concludes the Canadian portion of the GDR. Now on to Montana.

As I mentioned, I will post GPS files for people to download that cover the entire GDR. One file will contain everything (including the bike routes) which can be useful for general planning, and the other will be a ready to load file for anyone that wants to embark on the trip. I just need to polish the files up a bit before I post them.
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:29 PM   #52
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Montana - Eureka to Polebridge



On your way through Eureka it is worthwhile to stop at this historic park in town. This cabin is of the type used in the 1920s and 1930s for "smokechasers" and others who worked in remote forests. They were resupplied by mule pack trains from time to time. This cabin was 9 miles from the nearest road and was built in 1928.


Sometimes a galvanized telephone line was strung nearby for reporting fires and the like.


Eureka was once known as the Christmas tree capital of the world. It was founded in the early 1800s. I guess a Canadian trapper went through here looking for a route to the Pacific in the early 1800s. Every April the hold a rendezvous to commemorate his visit.




An early fire lookout.


More modern versions had metal cabs of varying, but standard, designs.


I've used several luggage set-ups on different bikes. This time I went very simple. Worked quite well. Important to use ratchet straps to keep things in place though.


When you first start out, you are on pavement. A nice road nonetheless.


Once you get into the National Forest, you find that they just laid down a long stretch of asphalt as well. Still a nice ride.


Things turn to gravel soon enough.


The roads notched into the hillsides are great.




Forest fire damage.




The wide road to Polebridge.


Touristy, but nice.


Great bakery items. Some of these sweet rolls are vegetable concoctions.




A few staples are available at the store.


I left a few CannonCard tags along the way.


They've also got hot sandwiches.


I met this gentleman at the store. He works for the Adventure Cycling Association. In fact, he does their maps. He was on a bicycle tour that took him to various lookouts where people were allowed to stay. Nice fellow. He invited me to the Adventure Cycling Headquarters when I was in the area.

Cannonshot screwed with this post 07-26-2010 at 07:23 PM
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:54 PM   #53
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Great pictures of your travels

Following along.

You should be coming up on a beautiful Clysdale ranch. 20+/- Studs.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:24 PM   #54
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Border Question

Cannonshot, truly enjoying the ride. You do a superb job. Can you tell us a little bit about the border crossing? For example, does one really need a U.S. passport? How about insurance, etc? Thanks.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:49 PM   #55
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Cannonshot, WOW! Thank you for such an insightful and informative documentation of your adventure. I really enjoy all the history of the towns and that you took time to take in the local flavor. Your report is a very valuable and much appreciated resource for fellow adventures, such as myself, who have the desire to ride the Great Divide.
It is nice to see the KLR all loaded up! My 08 KLR has always done everything I ask of it, never complains and never skips a beat.
Cheers!
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:55 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old1959
Cannonshot, truly enjoying the ride. You do a superb job. Can you tell us a little bit about the border crossing? For example, does one really need a U.S. passport? How about insurance, etc? Thanks.
Well, I'm no expert, but I have gone to Canada a lot for travel or hunting.

What I would do for a trip like this is do a quick search for crossing information. There are a ton of sites that offer current information and answer "frequently asked questions".

Here is an example: http://www.canadawelcomesyou.net/faq.html

I did have my registration and proof of insurance along, but no one seems to ever ask for it.

My experience going in was pretty straightforward. The usual questions about weapons, gifts, etc. People with an OWI/DUI conviction could have a problem if this came up. He asked for my passport (probably a scan). Also photographed my plate and confirmed what state it was from. I'm sure the border guy was familiar with the nature of the trip I described as my profile is probably common at that crossing.

Coming back was the usual stuff. All vehicles ahead of me were being searched. I wasn't. Passport/plate scanned. Most questions were about whether or not I was bringing anything back from Canada. Also an inquiry about my trip. Again, I probably fit a common profile for that crossing.

No hassles in either direction. Professional folks at the crossing.

I have read that some licensed people carry a weapon sometimes and it is common practice for them to store it at a gun store in Eureka for a $10 fee while they are in Canada.

Some people ask about bear spray since pepper spray as a personal protection article is prohibited. I don't think bear deterrent spray (labeled as such) presents a problem since it is sold all over in this area on both sides of the border. After all, this is grizzly country and many people camp and hike in this region.

That should cover most questions that might come up.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:32 PM   #57
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:49 AM   #58
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Polebridge to Hungry Horse Dam





Whitefish Lake


Whitefish has some significant rail operations.




The Whitefish rail station was built by the Great Northern in 1927. The railway dumped it on the historical society in 1990. Now they lease back some second floor space. It is an AMTRAK station as well as a museum.


This "bruck" (bus-truck) was specially designed for the railroad by Freightliner. It was used to serve passengers from Kalispell 15 miles to the south. There used to be some kind of marginal train called the "Galloping Goose" that covered that 15 miles, but it was dumped in favor of the bruck.


It was nicely furnished and could handle 21 pasengers and their baggage (plus some freight and mail). I think it ran about six trips a day.


They have some other interesting rolling stock parked in the yard as well.


Logging is big in this area.


An interesting side trip just off the route is the Hungry Horse Dam.


This is a Bureau of Reclamation project. It established important flood control in the valley. The dam is 564 feet high and is the 10th highest in the US.


The reservoir is 34 miles long and 23,800 acres.


The dam contains three million (plus) yards of concrete.


There is a visitor center with free tours.


A road crosses the top of the dam.


The valley downstream.

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Old 07-27-2010, 07:51 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RideDualSport.com
Cannonshot, WOW! Thank you for such an insightful and informative documentation of your adventure. I really enjoy all the history of the towns and that you took time to take in the local flavor. Your report is a very valuable and much appreciated resource for fellow adventures, such as myself, who have the desire to ride the Great Divide.
It is nice to see the KLR all loaded up! My 08 KLR has always done everything I ask of it, never complains and never skips a beat.
Cheers!
Thanks. I hope the information in this report encourages others to take this ride. Much of the information is intended to help out the next guy.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:01 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannonshot
Thanks. I hope the information in this report encourages others to take this ride. Much of the information is intended to help out the next guy.
I am more inspired to do the run now that I see your images. I am waiting for you to get to the S part of the run. I have had the Shadow of the Rockies run on my "to do list" and now I can not wait to see the rest of the trip and the get the tracks.

Thank you for such a great RR!!

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