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Old 08-19-2013, 10:27 PM   #1
jprhode OP
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Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Oddometer: 74
Cal and Jason's Sorta CDR 2013

Hi All,

I'll keep this minimalist since we've ridden most of the Divide Ride before, but we're going South to North this time so it's totally different.

We're starting in Silver City, NM, so first thing is to get the bikes there. Here they are loaded in the Uhaul (There's a GSA hiding behind Cal's bike):



Got a late start Saturday morning so we didn't make it all the way to Silver City that day. We're starting in Silver City because everything south of there looked flat and boring, and we've decided not to stand on principle this time. Here's Cal after we unloaded:



Left Silver City around 1pm, great first few hours. This whole area has received a truckload of rain in the past few weeks and it shows everywhere. Beautiful for sure but there is a rocky canyon part of NF150 that is a bit of a bastard. Still, incident free for us. Except for this dark cloud following us everywhere:



Took this one near the Black Canyon Campground, which looks like it would be pretty cool most of the time:



That's a lot of mud in that wash.

Super pretty area near Wall Lake:



Main problem number one for the day: When we got to the intersection of 159 and 163, we took 159 since that's the well mapped route. Except for the heavy rains a few weeks ago left it pretty heavily rutted, so we figured hey - 163 is labeled as a dirt highway, so it has to be ok, right? Wrong. Lots of sand. Someone took a grader over it in the past few days so that helped, but still any area where runoff crossed the road a few weeks ago was guaranteed to be sandy as hell. Big bikes do not like sand, and we vowed to avoid it and its sloppy cousin Mud like the plague. Eventually we made it to the highway and beat it over to the Datil Wells Campground (thank you Big Dog or Countdown or whoever added that waypoint to the collection along the way). Great place to stay, two thumbs way up.



Next morning we beat it over to Pie Town to reconnect with the route and on to Grants. Nice run, no real issues. Just when we felt we were in the middle of mars, we stopped for a water and I realized I had two bars of Verizon coverage. Nice.

Great lunch in Grants, and a great run dodging storms running over through the forest north of Grants. Sadly our day went crosswise after that. Once we dropped out of the forest and back onto pavement, we hooked a right on San Lucas Rd as directed by Ms. Garmin. 5 miles into the road though we ran into an arroyo full of mud and water. Looked awful, and our rule is when you hit the first one, there will be more so we uturned and went back. We later talked to a local who knew the names of all of the arroyos along that road - in his opinion if the first one was full of water there were others that would be impossible to get through, so we made the right call. Still, pisses me off to backtrack.

To make a long story short we backtracked a bit and slabbed it to Cuba (semi-successfully dodging rain the whole way), where we picked up a room at the Frontier Motel, which...well yikes. But they're nice and it's clean and has AC and wifi so who's complaining? Stellar dinner at El Bruno. No kidding, it was awesome.

Bikes and gear working well, hoping to camp near CO border tomorrow. New Mexico is interesting. Glorious mountains that are pretty well maintained, but god help you when you get to the flat stuff if it has been raining.

Cheers
Jason
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:21 AM   #2
McRuss
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I'm watching this one with interest as I hope to do it South to North next year in late June. I'll watch for the Datil camp ground, not sure if I have the most recent GPX file.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:47 PM   #3
jprhode OP
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Cuba to Chama

Headed out of Cuba, had a great run for a good long while.



Shot off of NF70.

We hit the section marked "steep rocky" along the route - indeed it was. I scouted it on the GSA, and we decided it was more than Cal's bike was built for. Fortunately NF103 to NF316 to highway 96 provided a great workaround.

Sadly, gnarly storms were forming over the Carson NF, so we reluctantly skipped that section and headed up the highway to Chama.

The next morning we headed up why 17 to pick up the route again.

Pilot cars are always popular on a bike trip:



Lots of construction on 17.

Love the section of the ride from 17 to Del Norte. We got rained on a bit but nothing too serious.







After a quick lunch in Del Norte at the Piece of Art Cafe (awesome and a total trip) we stocked up on some camping provisions at Jacks Grocery and headed out. For future riders of this section note that there is now some sort of airstrip straight across the existing tracks just North of Del Norte. Easily worked around but just north of the airstrip the road turned pretty sandy. We rerouted back to 285 and then took the well marked turnoff to La Garita. Probably not a big deal but this would be a much better option after heavy rain.

Camped at Storm King campground, which was very nice - seems like it was recently redone, and totally deserted. No water or trash service but highly recommended anyway.



Great run today from Storm King to Salida, Marshall Pass is on an amazing road from Sargents to Poncha springs. Many signs of rain damage to the roads, but all had been reasonably reworked at this point. Frankly that's a key difference between Colorado and New Mexico - there's a ton of people in CO and they actually use these roads so if they get hosed up they get reworked fast.



We called it an early day and had a great dinner at The Laughing Ladies restaurant.

Tomorrow should be entertaining - rain has been falling in the Colorado Springs area at 1-2" per hour...we're not going there but we will probably slab it from Salida to Como. Those flat plains sections are a bitch if it has rained a lot recently.

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Old 08-23-2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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Salida to Steamboat

Lots of progress today, but not a lot of pictures.

The whole Colorado Springs area got pounded with rain yesterday, and our experience last time with the dirt sections of the route between Salida and Como was that they're awful when they're muddy, so we blasted up the highway from Salida and hit the dirt in Como. For anyone new to this, Como is supposedly the town that South Park is modeled after, even though there is actually a South Park, Co.

We headed up Boreas Pass Rd and into Breckenridge. Beautiful ride. I was trying to take a picture of Cal here but ended up with a selfie instead:



Shot on top of Boreas Pass:



Man it is hard to convey in a photo just how high those mountains are. Nothing like it in Texas, that is for sure.

We had a quick lunch in Kremmling, and then pressed on while the weather was good. One of my guilty pleasures when riding is the cliche gas station ham and cheese sandwich - you know the ones: cut in half on the diagonal and then packaged in a vacuum pack. I'd never touch one in real life but I can live on 'em on a ride.

I have to say that the run from Kremmling to Hwy 134 was just awesome, especially north of the Colorado River. It was sunny and dry today, which made a big difference. Steep and rocky in sections but totally doable. Last time we made it through despite a soaking rain, and it was pretty dodgy. It's remarkable how big of a difference the weather can make on our perception.

The only road report to pass on is that the creek crossing on CR-16 just south of Hwy 134 is running 3' deep. We passed a guy going south on a KLR 650 and he apparently made it through by the skin of his teeth. We were planning to bypass it anyway as I had a near miss there last time, but we felt better after hearing his story.

One of the entertaining aspects to this trip is that there are three other dudes going south to north right now, at least two of them also from Texas. They're running lighter and younger than we are so they're faster when running, but we're skipping the crappy sections so we keep leap frogging each other.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:07 PM   #5
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Steamboat to Pinedale WY

When you do a ride like this one of the first things you need to decide is why are you doing this? Ride along and enjoy the scenery, adhere to the route, accomplish the goal, avoid pavement, ride fun stuff, etc. Last time we tried pretty hard to stick to the route, which occasionally ended up in us digging a very large bike out of the mud or something similar. This time, our goal was to ride fun parts and not waste time with sections that were likely to be impossible, and on the flip side not ride parts on the dirt that were there simply because they were dirt.

A good example is the Divide Basin. For my money, this section of the ride blows. Actually, the SW corner of Wyoming kinda blows. No offense. So, we decided to beat it through here as fast as possible.

We headed north out of Steamboat and had a very scenic ride during which we took no pictures, mostly because we were in camera overload. This dirt road through nowhere clearly passes a lot of wealthy people, because it was very well maintained. Check out the website for the Three Forks Ranch in Colorado to see what I'm talking about. For $9000, they will coordinate for you to shoot an Elk. Very pretty in any event.

Here we are where the route hits 17 at the Wy-Co border:



Why I took that pic instead of stopping to take a picture of something pretty I dunno. Anyway, we skipped the Continental Divide Basin this time, because it was boring. Instead, we took CR-4 aka Haiwatha to Hwy 430 into Rock Springs, Wy, and then 191 to Pinedale. Also flat as hell and super boring, but we got 'er done quicker. Here is what Nowhere looks like:



Hours of Nowhere - now with less antelope. Anyway, we were damn glad to get to Pinedale and the beginning of some really awesome riding again. Plus, Ridley's General Store, where they have everything, is here. So, we'll stock up in the morning and head into the Wind River mountains. Hoping to camp somewhere around Jackson Lake just south of Yellowstone.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:31 PM   #6
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Pinedale to Island Park

Headed out of Pinedale and through the Bridger NF on what ends up being Union Pass Rd. Saw a giant bull moose beside the road, no way to get a picture fast enough. He was in some guy's pasture inside the fence - he hopped the fence like it wasn't even there, crossed the road and headed into the woods. Very cool. Even the paved parts of this section are beautiful. The unpaved parts are exceptional.





Mountains east of 26 shot from Union Pass Rd:



They've very big in person. From there we headed over into Teton National Park and camped at Lizard Creek Campground right next to Jackson Lake. Or where it used to be anyway:



Still, cool campground anyway even though it ended up full of European tourists. They were pretty well behaved though, which I guess means maybe we were "those guys". The camp host even sells boxes of firewood for $6, which seems like quite a racket given that half of the forests in these parts have fallen over due to pine beetle infestations. We were glad to have something to cook over though.



Rained on us a bit before sunrise so we got a slower than normal start in the morning.

The Ashton-Flagg road over from just below Yellowstone into Idaho is another great ride.



Except for the second half which is a pretty bad washboard road. Very tedious. It was cloudy most of the day but we didn't get rained on at all.

Once in Idaho there's a neat little section where you ride on what used to be railroad tracks but has since been converted for ATV use.



This was fun for awhile but we took an early opportunity to cut onto a normal dirt road and headed up to Island Park. In the interest of time we're going to take a few highways up to Butte and then back on the route.

We're holed up for the night in Ennis, Montana. Ennis is apparently a fly fishing mecca, but as a place to stay it was not a great choice. Frankly, I think they misspelled it...
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
jprhode OP
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Ennis to Seeley Lake

Ran up the highway to Butte, mostly pretty forgettable. Reconnected with the Divide route on hwy 2, which is quite pretty. From Butte we headed up Hail Columbia Rd to the Lowland Campground. This isn't the Route proper, but it is a great road and a sweet campground we stayed at last time. Unfortunately we hit it way too early to stop so we ate our gas station ham and cheese there and pressed on.

From Basin, we headed up towards Basin Mine, on the "Route Classic". Great run up and over the top, only to find a road closed blah blah whatever sign. We were invested at that point, so we carried on down the far side towards Rimini. We eventually ran into a convoy of giant trucks - thankfully our timing was perfect and we negotiated with the lead truck driver to wait until all their trucks went past and then carried on. Turns out that there are gnarly levels of arsenic left over from mines in the area, so they are hauling the tailings up to the old Basin Mine and burying it there. Not sure why burying it on top of a mountain makes sense, but I guess one big pile is better than two little piles as Arlo Guthrie pointed out. Anyway, if you're in the area, don't go this way - we could have gotten totally hosed.

We camped at Moose Creek campground, which was quite alright given that the nearby creek was apparently super toxic:



Not sure why we didn't take more pictures yesterday.

Here's a little camping genius for you:



Cal has a battery powered blower to pump up his air mattress. It works like a damn champ to reduce a camp fire to coals for cooking over.

Somehow all of our wine evaporated out of our MSR bag, so we went to bed early. As always, the next morning consisted of Via coffee (more camping genius) and instant oatmeal.

Today we had a simply stunning run of dirt roads from our campsite all the way to Seeley Lake.



More pine beetle destruction. It's pretty shocking how many trees they've destroyed since we ran through here three years ago. One valley, no destruction, next valley, no trees. Freaky.

Gorgeous forest somewhere south of Lincoln, MT.



There are some really steep sections in this run.

The old Empire Mine site:



Cottonwood Lakes somewhere between Ovando and Seeley Lake:



We finally stopped in Seeley Lake, got a room, and went for some perfect steaks at Lindsey's Steakhouse. Stellar. The view was not bad either.



Our goal for tomorrow is to camp at Kintla Lake, which is at the very NW corner of Glacier. Looks beautiful, and beats the crap out of touching home base in Roosville. From there, we'll start to head home.

jprhode screwed with this post 08-28-2013 at 08:32 PM
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Seeley Lake to Bowman Lake and done

Man what a ride. Our last day headed towards the border. We headed out of Seeley Lake towards Glacier. Montana has a lot of lakes. Here's a small one called Red Meadow Lake.



Which is right at the mountain pass on Red Meadow Lakes Rd. Even the flat parts of the road are pretty:



It was a little cloudy and a lot hazy - there are fires further south in Montana.

We saw the border at Roosville a few years ago and didn't see a real compelling reason to see it again, so we wanted to camp inside Glacier at Kintla Lake, which is a stone's throw from the border. Sadly the ranger lady at the entrance to Glacier told us that the campground there was full (only 13 sites), and suggested we go to the campground at Bowman Lake instead. I'd have loved to have gone to Kintla, but Bowman was awesome, and the road in was very pretty. Evidence of a huge forest fire years ago, but tons of new growth all around.

We barely got our tents set up and it started to rain pretty hard. I have weather radar on my Garmin, and it indicated that the rain would stop pretty soon, so we went and sat in the big camp visitor information tent (there are bears in the area apparently) and drank some wine. Once it stopped we finished setting up camp under the watchful eye of the wildlife.



It was a bitch to find enough wood for a fire, and then it was a bitch to get it to light. With much help from Cal's mattress inflator and a little bit of gas we eventually got 'er done. We came very close to boiling our brats in beer, but eventually we got some hot enough coals to cook them over. We call them twice dropped brats, because they fell in the fire twice. Adds character.



Note the deft touch on the plating of the dish. Veggies cooked in foil pouches with a little oil and tossed in the fire. Damn good.

We saw some amazing scenery on this ride but Glacier easily takes the cake:



Beats the hell out of Roosville in my opinion. Thanks for reading, I'll post a few road notes for future riders on the main Continental Divide Ride thread.

cheers
Jason
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