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Old 04-11-2013, 10:50 AM   #1
DolphinJohn OP
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Top of CDR to Denver suggestions wanted

So, a friend and I are planning to ride the Continental Divide Route (BigDog or Cannonshot's route) north from Aurora, Co. in September.

I will be on a 2000 KTM 640 Enduro and Steve will be on a Honda XR 600. We will be loaded with camping gear.

We both have ridden a lot of off-road in Colorado, TAT, etc.

I quickly threw together a google maps route of the basic way I was thinking about getting back.

It includes some areas I have ridden but Steve has not, like Going To The Sun, Beartooth, Chief Joseph.

I also want to ride through Yellowstone because I never have.

Google won't let me simply drag my route on to dirt roads so I need some help. We want to avoid long sections of high speed slab wherever possible.

I'd like to add some dirt sections in wherever possible, so I'm looking for suggestions from those of you with experience in the areas near our proposed route.

I checked out the UTBDR and would like to do some of their roads in the Utah part.

We have pretty much the whole month of September for the round trip from Aurora.

Any help, suggestions, criticism, name-calling are all welcomed and appreciated.

Also, suggestions don't need to be just for dirt. Cool scenic roads, campgrounds, etc. all would be great.

Thanks!!


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Old 04-11-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
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These are the bikes a couple of years ago. We were on a day ride so the bags and gear were back at camp.

I think I have a pic of them loaded, I'll look...

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Old 04-11-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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A little off-topic, but I usually find Google Maps pretty willing to do what it's told but you need to be viewing it as a simple map (not Terrain, not Hybrid, not Satellite) and you need to be zoomed in close enough so the dirt road is not a tiny line but instead a tiny stripe.

As for Going to the Sun, I'd skip it. After doing the northern half of the CDT you will have seen plenty of Rocky Mountains. Glacier NP is scenic alright, but there's alot of traffic and the road is nothing special. For a flatlander, though, it's spectacular!
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:05 PM   #4
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Several of us rode the CDT in 2010. Not finding fault but in hindsight and based on reading here, nearly everyone over-thinks the the thing. We certainly did -- started out with GPS tracks, state by state maps, the Adventure Cycling Assoc maps and copious notes.

Bottom line - get the Adventure Cycling Association Great Divide maps and you'll have all you need in terms of route planning.

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/greatdivide.cfm

After that the GPS tracks and waypoints can provide good perspective while you enjoy the ride.

If you are really committed to camping the cycling maps will also provide a wealth of information on the cheap (the whole set is + or - $100).

We carried sleeping bags for emergencies but camping was not our plan. Instead, we found a cheap motel each night, and fuel and meals were never a problem. If I had it to do over I'd defer the camping gear and food-stuffs and take just trail mix and water.

IMHO
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRONE View Post
A little off-topic, but I usually find Google Maps pretty willing to do what it's told but you need to be viewing it as a simple map (not Terrain, not Hybrid, not Satellite) and you need to be zoomed in close enough so the dirt road is not a tiny line but instead a tiny stripe.

As for Going to the Sun, I'd skip it. After doing the northern half of the CDT you will have seen plenty of Rocky Mountains. Glacier NP is scenic alright, but there's alot of traffic and the road is nothing special. For a flatlander, though, it's spectacular!

Yeah, you westerners are spoiled!! I rode GTTS in Glacier back in '06 but my buddy has not been there. I just figured we will be right there so why not? I don't remember much traffic but it was a while ago...

Thanks for the tips on Google Maps, I'll try it.

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Old 04-12-2013, 12:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by basketcase View Post
Several of us rode the CDT in 2010. Not finding fault but in hindsight and based on reading here, nearly everyone over-thinks the the thing. We certainly did -- started out with GPS tracks, state by state maps, the Adventure Cycling Assoc maps and copious notes.

Bottom line - get the Adventure Cycling Association Great Divide maps and you'll have all you need in terms of route planning.

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/greatdivide.cfm

After that the GPS tracks and waypoints can provide good perspective while you enjoy the ride.

If you are really committed to camping the cycling maps will also provide a wealth of information on the cheap (the whole set is + or - $100).

We carried sleeping bags for emergencies but camping was not our plan. Instead, we found a cheap motel each night, and fuel and meals were never a problem. If I had it to do over I'd defer the camping gear and food-stuffs and take just trail mix and water.

IMHO
I appreciate your thoughts. The CD or GD part of the ride is pretty set, I was just looking for a good way back down to Denver.

We like to camp so we will probably do both, camp and some motels. From what I've seen (read) I don't think any of the route is technical enough to worry about being too loaded. That being said, we both usually pack the minimum for camping.

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Old 04-12-2013, 12:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DolphinJohn View Post
I appreciate your thoughts. The CD or GD part of the ride is pretty set, I was just looking for a good way back down to Denver.

We like to camp so we will probably do both, camp and some motels. From what I've seen (read) I don't think any of the route is technical enough to worry about being too loaded. That being said, we both usually pack the minimum for camping.

.
Roger that. We had BigDog's and Countdown's tracks and waypoints as part of our planning, and I loaded all of the waypoints into my Nuvi 550 and CSx76 but ended up referencing Countdown's tracks as they were properly formatted for my best GPS (i.e., the CSx76).

Then late in the process -- like, two weeks before we left, my buddy bought the maps from Adventure Cycling.

"Stuff wise" I was grossly overloaded but still did not have much trouble on the few technical sections we hit. As time passed I shed stuff, eventually leaving most of it with friends in Westcliffe, who brought it to me in Alabama later that year when they came through.

Anyway, best of luck with all of it and enjoy the ride.

We are already plotting how to do it again sometime in a four-wheeled conveyance.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basketcase View Post
We had BigDog's and Countdown's tracks and waypoints as part of our planning, and I loaded all of the waypoints into my Nuvi 550 and CSx76 but ended up referencing Countdown's tracks as they were properly formatted for my best GPS (i.e., the CSx76).
Thanks, I put a lot of work into filtering several riders active logs to get most accurate set of tracks for CDR. I also have them formatted for new generation (78/Montana) GPS with 2,000 points per track.

Back to question, I would look at GWT as best parallel route. You have Dual Sport bikes and the backcountry routes are much more Adv bike oriented.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Countdown View Post
Thanks, I put a lot of work into filtering several riders active logs to get most accurate set of tracks for CDR. I also have them formatted for new generation (78/Montana) GPS with 2,000 points per track.

Back to question, I would look at GWT as best parallel route. You have Dual Sport bikes and the backcountry routes are much more Adv bike oriented.

I'm not sure what you mean. By "backcountry routes" do you mean the routes I did on Google Maps?

How do I go about getting maps for GWT? I searched around a little and it looks like there aren't really any maps for it??

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Old 04-12-2013, 03:35 PM   #10
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Colorado route alternative

DolphinJohn,

Have you considered heading due West from the metro area to get up in the mountains quicker. The thought of heading North through areas like Greeley doesn't sound like fun.

I rode to Pawnee Grasslands about three weeks ago, 85 was not terrible but not scenic either. A lot of stop and go with not much small town charm. Not too mention all of the semis and feed lot stench.

I'm in Broomfield, from here I often head up HWY 72 into the Coal Creek area (heading up through Golden Gate Canyon is also nice), depending on how much time you want to spend in the area you could be on dirt roads within an hour of the East Denver. You'd have to do a bit of tracking back and forth to make a mostly off road route up through Colorado (or use the shadow of the Rockies), so more time spent (but hey, it's Colorado!), or at very least you could shoot over to Golden, up 6 and on to the Peak to Peak Hwy, through Estes and over the RMNP. North to Kremmling where you could probably find some dirt options to get into the Steamboat area. Mostly pavement but MUCH better than HWY 85.

My two cents..

Joe
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DolphinJohn View Post
I'm not sure what you mean. By "backcountry routes" do you mean the routes I did on Google Maps?

How do I go about getting maps for GWT? I searched around a little and it looks like there aren't really any maps for it??

.
Maps to the CDT can be ordered from the link I posted in post #4, but the GWT and CWT are two similar but different critters.

Look here for maps of the GWT: http://www.greatwesterntrail.org/for....php?board=2.0
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basketcase screwed with this post 04-12-2013 at 03:47 PM
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:16 PM   #12
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DolphinJohn,

Have you considered heading due West from the metro area to get up in the mountains quicker. The thought of heading North through areas like Greeley doesn't sound like fun.

I rode to Pawnee Grasslands about three weeks ago, 85 was not terrible but not scenic either. A lot of stop and go with not much small town charm. Not too mention all of the semis and feed lot stench.

I'm in Broomfield, from here I often head up HWY 72 into the Coal Creek area (heading up through Golden Gate Canyon is also nice), depending on how much time you want to spend in the area you could be on dirt roads within an hour of the East Denver. You'd have to do a bit of tracking back and forth to make a mostly off road route up through Colorado (or use the shadow of the Rockies), so more time spent (but hey, it's Colorado!), or at very least you could shoot over to Golden, up 6 and on to the Peak to Peak Hwy, through Estes and over the RMNP. North to Kremmling where you could probably find some dirt options to get into the Steamboat area. Mostly pavement but MUCH better than HWY 85.

My two cents..

Joe
I know what you're saying, but to be clear, this is the route back down after we complete the CDR. What you see on the map is heading south and east back to Aurora. When we start out of Aurora at the beginning of our ride we are going southwest to catch the CDR around Como where it crosses 285.

As far as the Colorado section on the map above, I really just put in "Aurora" as the last point after Utah. It is just Google Maps' best route with "avoid highways". That will be the end of our trip so it will depend on how we are doing for time. If we are pressed we will most likely stick to pavement but if we have time we will be looking for dirt such as you suggested.
Thanks!

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Old 04-13-2013, 08:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DolphinJohn View Post
I know what you're saying, but to be clear, this is the route back down after we complete the CDR. What you see on the map is heading south and east back to Aurora. When we start out of Aurora at the beginning of our ride we are going southwest to catch the CDR around Como where it crosses 285.

As far as the Colorado section on the map above, I really just put in "Aurora" as the last point after Utah. It is just Google Maps' best route with "avoid highways". That will be the end of our trip so it will depend on how we are doing for time. If we are pressed we will most likely stick to pavement but if we have time we will be looking for dirt such as you suggested.
Thanks!

.
Yeah, that makes sense. Giving yourself the slab option at the end is a good idea in the case you're running short on time or are feeling particularly beat.
That being said, if you've got it in you, a return back down through the mountains (albeit on pavement) will be nice from the scenery standpoint.

Either way it looks like a great trip you've got planned! Have fun!

Joe
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:47 PM   #14
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To get from Yellowstone to the UTBDR...

Ride the Greys River Rd and Smith Fork Rd from Alpine WY south to about Cokeville where you can jog west to pick up the UTBDR near Bear Lake. Instead of riding the highway all the way around Bear Lk and thru Garden City, you can go left (south and west) at Laketown and cut across to the UTBDR route. I don't know what that road is called or if it even has a name. It leaves the little valley there down in the SW corner and eventually joins the hardware ranch road.

Or from the Jackson area, work you way down to Soda Springs like you have on you google maps link. Hwy 34 is considered a good twisty slab route by canyon carvers, or you can get from Palisades Res to Greys Lk on dirt. Then from Soda Springs, go south on 8 mile canyon road and north canyon road, which spits you out on hwy 36. Ride that SW a few miles to Mink Creek and take a left on Birch Creek Rd, then go south on Franklin Basin Rd. That will take you down to hwy 89 near Bear Lake. Jog east a few miles on 89 and turn south on hardware ranch road which is the north end of the UTBDR.

Have fun.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:55 AM   #15
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To get from Yellowstone to the UTBDR...

Ride the Greys River Rd and Smith Fork Rd from Alpine WY south to about Cokeville where you can jog west to pick up the UTBDR near Bear Lake. Instead of riding the highway all the way around Bear Lk and thru Garden City, you can go left (south and west) at Laketown and cut across to the UTBDR route. I don't know what that road is called or if it even has a name. It leaves the little valley there down in the SW corner and eventually joins the hardware ranch road.

Or from the Jackson area, work you way down to Soda Springs like you have on you google maps link. Hwy 34 is considered a good twisty slab route by canyon carvers, or you can get from Palisades Res to Greys Lk on dirt. Then from Soda Springs, go south on 8 mile canyon road and north canyon road, which spits you out on hwy 36. Ride that SW a few miles to Mink Creek and take a left on Birch Creek Rd, then go south on Franklin Basin Rd. That will take you down to hwy 89 near Bear Lake. Jog east a few miles on 89 and turn south on hardware ranch road which is the north end of the UTBDR.

Have fun.
Awesome! Thanks Al!!

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