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CBAT and a Nomad Ride the Great Divide, Part 1

Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
I’m loading up to leave on what I hope to be an epic adventure for my 50th year since arriving in this world. Planning started well over a year ago. Can't say exactly when. I read a thread over on ADV Rider and could not get the ride out of my mind. So, I started the wheels in motion. Originally developed for mountain biking, The Great Divide Route was put together by the Adventure Cycling Association. It was soon being used by motor bikers, with some slight modifications, as a border to border ride, mostly off of paved roads. The route crosses back on forth over the Continental Divide using jeep trails, forest service roads, county roads, and a few highways. There are some paved sections but they are kept to a minimum. Time restraints would limit this trip to two weeks total so we would not make the entire route, the rest we'll save for another ride, already have an idea for that. ;-) Our plan covers the route starting from the Canadian border at Rooseville, MT to Salida, CO. A little over 1600 miles of back country riding. I have a proper machine, 2000 Suzuki DRZ 400S, and got to work on her replacing and improving worn out stock bits and pieces with this trip in mind. The DRZ now has 22,000 miles on the meter. I purchased proper luggage for the mighty DRZ, Dirt Bagz and Wolfman duffle. I ordered the maps I would need from ACA and started plotting the routes in Mapsource for transfer into the Zumo 550. (This trip was the deciding factor in purchasing the Zumo and SPOT.) I could have used tracks from those who have gone before but part of the fun in prep was plotting the route. I have a track from Big Dog Adventures also stored in the Zumo just in case.

Now that I had a plan, I just had to convince someone else it was a good idea. First to give the stamp of approval was my wife of 29+ years, Sandy. She will be playing a major role in the logistics of the trip. Getting to and from the trail is one of the logistical challenges when riding dirt bikes on a tight schedule. Hauling saves a tire change and several days in transit. We are going to trailer the bikes to the northern border then she will take the truck/trailer and meet up with us in Salida. She will be hanging out with her parents who are meeting her in Idaho the day we start our ride. Our grown and well armed kids will be holding down the fort at home. I hit up all the usual suspects last fall, the guys I normally ride with, so that any who wanted to go could arrange their vacation around the ride. One took the bait, Perry, a.k.a. NomadicFireman. Three riders would have been a little better for the worst case scenarios but two makes for easier planning and decision making on the fly. Perry and I have ridden many miles over the years so I know there won't be any personality issues. Perry will be on his trusty 2004 KLR 650 with 30,000 miles on the odo. He took care of his biggest issues, doohickey (which was broken BTW)and valves, and he added a center stand and oversized front brake.

We made a dry run trip to test the bike setups and gear load we would be taking on the big trip. An overnighter to Junction and back. Everything worked great. Confidence was boosted. Final prep started a couple weeks ago. Finally time to install the tires that had been waiting patiently in the garage for about 6 months.

Some previous bits necessary for a long ride on a DRZ.
A well used (with the help of the previous owner) bash plate under the motor.
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Right side case saver (these were on the bike when I got it) with wide foot peg.
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Left side case saver, +1 inch shift lever to fit my #12 boots, wide foot peg.
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Racks; Turbo City rear with Dirt Bagz side. Tire lever bungied (replaced zip ties) to the rack.
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4 gallon Clarke tank, requisite web stickers on the side panel. Wolfman Enduro tank bag. :thumb:
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The old rubber, worn but a few miles still left on them. Not near enough for this trip.
rear
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front
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Ahhh, new Maxxis Desert IT knobs.
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front
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rear
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The final touch on the bike was one more sticker on the light shroud. Courtesy of ACA.
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With less than a week till blast off I started gathering the camping and riding gear that would be used on the trip. We will be camping as much as we can stand so the load is a little on the heavy side but not too bad. That's one reason some of the guys didn't bite on the ride. They wanted a soft motel bed every night. Most meals will be at cafes along the route so food prep is only as a last resort if we are caught out somewhere. I assembled gear on the dining table we seldom use.

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It looks like a lot but it's what I took on the Junction trip so it’ll do for a week or more camping on the trail.

We are leaving tomorrow morning. SPOT will be active if you want to follow our progress using the link in my signature. Sorry, we don't have technology to give updates along the route so you'll have to wait 'till we're done for photos and the ride report. If we have WiFi in hotels on the way up I may post a few pics and …..whatever. Wish us luck! :rider:
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
11,836
Location
COS
Good luck!
Some day I hope I have the time to do a similar trip, untill then I'll have to get by with ride reports.

You guys ride safe! And take lots of pics.
 
Joined
May 13, 2004
Messages
3,960
Location
Leander, Tx
We will be camping as much as we can stand so the load is a little on the heavy side but not too bad. That's one reason some of the guys didn't bite on the ride. They wanted a soft motel bed every night.
My kind of trip :thumb:
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
1,420
Location
Arlington, TX
I will be in Buena Vista when you guys hit Salida. Let me know if you want to take a day to whitewater on the Arkansas. Or camp at the at the TeePee Town near the Cottonwood Pass on the divide. I am well connected in the area.:mrgreen:
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
I will be in Buena Vista when you guys hit Salida. Let me know if you want to take a day to whitewater on the Arkansas. Or camp at the at the TeePee Town near the Cottonwood Pass on the divide. I am well connected in the area.:mrgreen:
How 'bout that. Thanks for the offer. Done that too many times already on backpacking trips with high school kids. If we have an extra day I'm think more of hitting 4 or 5 of the mountain passes west of Salida. :trust:
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
WiFi is working in the La Quinta. :clap: So you get an update from Amarillo. Perry was working his shift in Fire Dispatch last night and had to hold over a couple hours so we didn't get out of town until 0940. No problem, it's a "short day". :sun: Got to Brownwood just in time for lunch at Underwood's BBQ Cafeteria. :eat: Good for traveling since you don't have to wait for your food and it's much better than the Taco Bell across the street. I must not have been in full travel mode as I forgot to snap a photo of the rig out front. I'll try to do better. All was well until about 15 miles west of Childress. I felt a shudder and the truck started to wobble like a tire was BAD out of balance. It was pulling straight and easy though. I slowed to about 55 and the shudder went away. Not satisfied I pull to the shoulder in a safe spot to check. Here is what we found.

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:eek2: Let the adventure begin. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you must have a spare for your trailer as well as your tow vehicle. The tread was completely gone except for a few bits on the sidewall. A short roadside pit stop of 20 minutes and we were back on the road.

Arrived in Amarillo around 7 pm and decided on The Big Texan, home fo the free 72 oz. steak. :eat: I couldn't get a good photo with the truck and restaurant due to low angle of the sun but this is the hotel next door.

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And we were treated to the show as a guy was working on his free steak and had about 25 minutes to go when we sat down. The big slab o' beef is free if you consume it, a side salad, 3 fried shrimp, a baked potato and a roll in 60 minutes. Otherwise it's $72. Perry walked over to check it out but saw he wasn't going to make it, just too much beef left, and the sides. He was working on a piece about the size of a 20 oz. NY strip and still had the sides.

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Our much smaller steaks were cooked perfectly and seasoned well. A good place to get a good hunk of meat. And lots of dead heads on the wall. If you are in the area around dinner time, I recommend it, at least once.

That's our day. Thanks for the comments and well wishes. See you next time.
 

CeeBee

Inactive Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
308
Location
Magnolia, TX
We are leaving tomorrow morning. :rider:
Hello Bruce,
Hope we run into each other! A friend and I are leaving Alb., NM the morning of the 28th and heading north on the divide route. Stopping in Buena Vista CO. for the West Fest (Advrider) which starts the 30th and ends the 2nd. Will spend a few days there then continue on north.
Who knows? maybe run into each other. :rider:

Soozy said: I will be in Buena Vista when you guys hit Salida.
Are you going to West Fest? If not, hope our paths cross. :sun:
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
1,420
Location
Arlington, TX
I think I hit town on the 1st...I am not going to West Fest, but the town is one main street and I am on a Burgman wearing a high viz yellow jacket. I think there are two gas stations.

I may come visit. The owners of Arrowhead are very nice folks.

And the offer to get you guys on the river still stands.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Hello Bruce,
Hope we run into each other! A friend and I are leaving Alb., NM the morning of the 28th and heading north on the divide route. Stopping in Buena Vista CO. for the West Fest (Advrider) which starts the 30th and ends the 2nd. Will spend a few days there then continue on north.
Who knows? maybe run into each other. :rider:

Soozy said: I will be in Buena Vista when you guys hit Salida.
Are you going to West Fest? If not, hope our paths cross. :sun:
Wow! Texans are everywhere. We'll look for you. I plan to stop and chat with every bike I can along the way. Have yourself a great trip.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Well, we made it to Billings, FINALLY. What a day. On a bike it would have been an iron butt but that's all I'll say about that. We arose in Amarillo at 0dark30 and hit a Denny's next to La Quinta for a good b'fast so we could be at the Walmart at 0700 when they opened. I wanted to replace the blown tire....just in case. It was 0840 by the time we were rolling north in the rain.

We made good progress through the rest of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and part of the way through Wyoming when it happened again.

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The other tire, same brand as the first that went, Seiberling I think, threw it's tread. By now we are good at changing these thing so 10 minutes later we were rolling again. A quick check on Zumo and a call to Walmart in Casper and we were set. I got one to match the one we got in Amarillo, should have done that in when I got the first one :doh:, and we were ready. This put it about 1800 local so we asked the nice lady at the counter for a diner recommendation. Here is what we got.

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Doesn't look like much and I would not have picked it on a drive by but it was really good. I had a burger, hand made fresh, Perry and a wonderful looking Rueben, and Sandy had a Chili Chese dog with an extra long gourmet type dog and homemade chile. It was delicious, I had some of her leftovers for desert. :eat:

Back on the road and continuing north, it was midnight local when we got to our reserved room Billings. Good thing I did the reservations, the town was full up. Here I am representing.....

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I'll take this sign at our hotel as a good omen. :sun:

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On to Eureka!
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
11,836
Location
COS
I can't decide if reading this makes my day stuck behind a desk easier, for the mental escape. Or harder, because I'm stuck behind a desk and not able to take an adventure.

Can't wait till you guys get back and we see some pics of miles on the bikes :rider:

BTW, what is that piece of PVC pipe bungied to your rack? Is it to prop the bike up for fixing a flat?
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Are you guys itching to get on the dirt like I am for you guys to get on the dirt? :mrgreen:

I will be very interested in reading how your DR does on the trail, along with the gear and mods. I'm more inclined to go with the Ortlieb roll dry sidebags than Dirtbagz, but still considering options. Am curious to hear how they tested out for you.

Kudos for choosing to camp on this trip! :clap:

So, who's driving your truck/trailer south from Montana? Or does it have autopilot? ;-)

Have fun! :rider:
 
T

Texfire

So, who's driving your truck/trailer south from Montana? Or does it have autopilot? ;-)
I think he said that his wife was driving the van and trailer and would pick them up in Salida.

Have a great trip Bruce and Perry, and be safe.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Are you guys itching to get on the dirt like I am for you guys to get on the dirt? :mrgreen:

I will be very interested in reading how your DR does on the trail, along with the gear and mods. I'm more inclined to go with the Ortlieb roll dry sidebags than Dirtbagz, but still considering options. Am curious to hear how they tested out for you.

Kudos for choosing to camp on this trip! :clap:

So, who's driving your truck/trailer south from Montana? Or does it have autopilot? ;-)

Have fun! :rider:
My wife is handling the shuttle duties. She was hanging out with her parents and visited Devils Tower, Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse while we were riding.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Ok, we made it home without incident. I have over 500 pics to sort through to determine which ones are up to the high standards of Two Wheel Texan ride reports. I've got a start on that so I'll pic up the story where we left off, traveling up in the truck towards the northern border.

The last trip update was from our hotel in Billings, MT. As soon as it was up, Sandy was checking it out to make sure all was in order.

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We were up bright and early the next morning and ready to make the final leg of our auto transport to the jumping off point of our ride. Sandy and I ready to get on the road.

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We found a Perkin's Family Restaurant for breakfast. These are throughout the mid west and are what I would consider a step above a Denny's in quality. Afterward Perry found a fellow Nomad rider in the parking so we spent some time talking about mods for the guys nearly new ride. (Perry's Nomad has around 50K on the clock)

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Just outside of Billings we got into our first mud. Not what we were looking for but it adds a bit of character to the vehicles.

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It took about 7 hours to make the trek westward to our destination of Eureka, 8 miles south of the Canadian border. We were in good spirits as we were getting closer to getting out of the truck.

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Along the way we would go through Helena, the Montana state capital. Some scenes around the dome.

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From Helena we would head northwest toward Kallispell and Whitefish. Then continue on north toward Eureka. We would get there around 7 pm. This is downtown Eureka.

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And on to our hotel on the north side of town, the Ksanka Motel.

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Tomorrow we ride!
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Hit the trail: Day 1

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We arose at first light which is 0530 in Eureka. Cloudy sky and cool temps, we walked across the street for breakfast. With bellies full of omelets and heuvos rancheros we returned to prep the bikes for the ride. We had left them on the trailer for security the night before. Paranoid, a little, but we sure didn't want to have come all this way to lose the bikes now. It took about an hour for loading and last minute checks and by about 0800 we were ready to roll. The border was a short 10 minute ride and a good way to test our cold weather layering since it was 50 degrees. We didn't cross into Canada because Perry didn't have a passport and the Canadians frown rather severely on some of the specialized equipment we were carrying. :trust:

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We said our goodbyes and rode south. We by passed the first bit of the defined trail because it was nothing more than a loop around the airport. We aren't into the purest aspect of following the defined route and as you will see we deviated from time to time if it was to our advantage and made sense for our plan. South of Eureka we started with a nice bit of twisty paved road through some tree covered hills. At the end of this section I encountered the first of many routing challenges using Mapsource 2008 as the base in my Zumo 550 GPS unit. We were routed onto a small dirt trail and it soon became apparent that it was not correct. The road disappeared but it was obvious that at one time it had connected to the main highway. This would happen several times throughout the trip due to the map data being WAY past it's prime. It kept things interesting.

After our little misdirection we crossed back over the main highway and hit the first dirt of the trip. Heading almost due east we would continue until we reached the western edge of Glacier National Park. It was cloudy, had rained the night before which was nice to keep the dust down a bit.

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The first obstacle we would encounter. Is this all you got?

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Piece of cake.

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Our first break would be in an area of a previous wildfire. It's a bit eerie feeling with all the dead standing timber but one of the many diverse environments we would find ourselves in over the next week.

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This is a good time to introduce our mascot for the trip. We call him monkey. He's quite the motorcycle enthusiast and has accompanied us on many of our previous adventures. He was happy to come along on this one too.

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This was at the first major intersection after getting on dirt. You can tell we were heading pretty much due east as we are still 6 miles from the border. Right after we made the turn south we met a Border Patrol truck heading north with lights flashing and in a hurry. Someone must have been smuggling donuts and LaBlatt Blue across the border.

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There were so many lakes it wasn't possible to stop at all of them. So many beautiful vistas if we stopped to take pictures we would still be riding. Not a bad idea if you can pull it off but we didn't have the time to stop at every photo op on this trip.

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Here is a shot of Perry along the west edge of Glacier National Park.

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We pulled into a campground to get a view of this lake. I was getting a picture when Perry told me to look his way. Over his shoulder were two women standing at the side of a pickup truck pulling their clothes on. So, we dubbed this place Naked Lady Lake.

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Here is the track profile for the first section of the ride just to show the elevation change.

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We dropped down into Whitefish and topped of fuel tanks. We would do this at most every opportunity, just to be safe. From there it was a series of paved roads for quite a while. I'm sure they were dirt when the route was developed but like in so many other places all the good dirt roads get paved when more people move onto them. No matter, the countryside was wonderful.

As we were passing through Columbia Falls we encountered the next mapping SNAFU. We were supposed to go here.....

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I'll take blame for this one. When planning the trip I combined the GPS tracks from the American Cycling Association and a couple of tracks I had pulled off of ADV and made some other additions based on things I wanted to see and do. In the process of rerouting I would try and check to make sure thinks like this didn't happen. But no problem. I just had to hit Detour on the Zumo and we were back on track in to time.

I believe this was crossing the Swan River.

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We would take many of the same picture due to the nature of riding. You stop and the cameras come out.

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In the Cold Creek area we ran into a nice little section of single track. Obstacles to keep cages out.

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After checking the other side of the hump we went for it. Perry's KLR high centered a little but he was able to roll it on over. The added center stand made a nice hard point to teeter on. A little bit up the trail there was a good place to take a break.

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This was the typical mid day snack for us. Summer sausage, pepper jack cheese, peanut M&M's, and Wheat Thins. Perry was seldom without his Diet Dew. I tried to stick with water but took a swig of Dew occasionally as it was always offered.

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The stream provided a good opportunity to clean the face shield. Perry had not yet learned to drop back enough in the dust. That would change the next day as the dust would get worse in some sections.

This shortly after we broke out from the single track and got back on the road. I saw this over my shoulder and just had to stop.

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As we got to the paved highway I consulted Karen, the young lady in my GPS with the friendly Australian accent, if she knew of any restaurants nearby. A mile away was a place called The Hungry Bear. So, we took her advice and ended up here.

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It was 445 pm and the restaurant didn't open till 5 so we stepped into the bar.

We were just strolling through checking out the decor when a couple stood up and asked us, "Are you firefighters?" We were both a little stunned because we both are firefighters but were wearing nothing that said so. Perry, the more diplomatic one, politely asked how she could tell. They said by the boots and the baggy pants we were wearing. Huh? We both wore motocross boots and mesh over pants designed for street riding. But we also both wear suspenders. It was starting to make a little more sense. So we started having a conversation when another guy gets of his stool and offer to buy us a drink. :clap: Nice folks.

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I asked the bartender what they had and as she went through the list I heard what I had intended on looking for this trip. A local brew call Moose Drool. It was wonderful. Rich and slightly sweet, very smooth.

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The bar was loaded with dead heads and even full dead critters. Nice bit of woodsy charm.

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And more over the table we were seated at.

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And to top it all off it was Friday which meant 13 dollar prime rib. :eat: Oh, yeah, it was delicious. With our bellies full we had a few more hours of daylight so we rode on with a campsite in mind. We ended up in Seely Lake, a small village with all the amenities you could need. Perry wanted a shower so we checked at the Seely Lake Motor Lodge.

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No rooms available but we were offered a spot to camp behind the lodge for $5 each and showers for $1.50. Deal! We pulled the bikes up onto a grassy knoll and hopped off. Before I could get started setting up camp I heard Perry calling for help, but he was laughing at the same time. This is what presented itself.

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Mega Wedgie. :eek2: He had gotten hung up when a buckle on his Camelback got tangled with the cargo net holding his gear on leaving him hanging right next to his bike and he couldn't get loose. This is when friends come in handy. I came to the rescue and got him unhooked without damage to him or the bikes equipment. The camp ended up being a nice spot.

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We even had time to relax a bit after the day's ride.

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Total for the first day of 257 miles. Tomorrow will have cows, tunnels and ghost towns.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
The second Day; Cows, Unicycles, and tunnels.

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With sunrise around 0530 there is no problem getting an early start. We found a nice cafe in town for breakfast, Pop's Cafe. Perry enjoyed another omelet while I went with the Rib Sticker; two eggs, two bacon strips, and biscuits with sausage gravy. Yum. The sun was bright in the clear blue sky with temps in the low 50's by the time we were rolling east and south. We rode by several small lakes as we climbed the hills east of Seely Lake.

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The great thing about a long ride like this is the constant changing surroundings. It wasn't long before we were across the mountain range and dropping into the valley on the other side.

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Some long straight stretches through grass land.

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We saw a large cloud of dust ahead and soon saw that the road was completely blocked by a large herd of cattle. The cowboys were all on motors. A couple four wheelers and a couple of cycles.

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Perry, being the diplomat, approached for a closer encounter.



Didn't notice the action in the middle of the herd until later. :oops: Perry struck up a conversation with the sweep rider. Friendly guy. He said they ride cycles 'cause horses are too slow. OK.

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Soon the herd took a left into the next gate and we were rolling again. We crossed the valley and began to climb the next pass, negotiating the switchbacks and passed a jogger :loco: and a couple walking from the nearby dude ranch. As we rounded one of the bends in the road we were treated to a vista overlooking the valley we had just crossed. Had to stop for some photos.

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Breathtaking! But, someone had been there before us. Perry told me to look down behind his rear wheel. Someone had painted "Wow" in the dirt. Perry had parked right in front of it.

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We cleared the pass and dropped into the next valley which held the town of Lincoln, MT. Rather than get on the highway we took the little ATV trail that locals use to cruise around town on their ATVs. Many of the paved roads up there have these trails next to them. We also saw many plated ATVs. The larger ones like the Kawasaki Mule and Polaris Razor. If they had lights they could plate it.

South of Lincoln we climbed toward the next pass and found ourselves on the first of the challenging ATV trails we would ride on. It had recently rained so the trail was dotted with nice mud puddles. Slow going in first and second gear. I can't imaging riding a big trailie in sections like this. I should have stopped for a picture but I had to keep momentum going in the climb. At the top I was able to get a short video of Perry rolling up.

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It was getting to be time for a break and near the summit there was a nice clearing. As I pull off the road I noticed a two track road climbing up a good slope so up I went.

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Pictures just don't show how steep it is. Those of you who have tried to show a hill before know what I mean. Anyway, at the top there was a nice meadow with an awesome view of the surrounding hills.

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Perry made some comment about The Sound of Music and silliness took over. Use a little imagination and insert the overture from the movie.



We took a minute and walked around a bit. We came across one of the coolest sights of the trip. A memorial for a WWII veteran and his wife.

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There was also a cabin tucked back in the trees. I wondered if the cabin may have been Mr. Bahny's retreat from the world. I can't blame him at all if that was the case.

Exploring done we had a little snack since we had stopped. Perry had his usual snack, discussed previously, I broke out some of Sandy's homemade granola bars. All organic ingredients including rolled oats, cranberries, apples, yummy. Thanks Sandy. :clap:

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Perry taking his break with a fire watchtower in the background.

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Back down the hill on onward. Up next........ unicycles! Really.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 2 continued: Unicycles

We came around a bend in the trail and I saw a guy standing by the side of the road next to what looked like broken bicycle. So, I stopped to make sure he was OK or if he needed anything. Much to my surprise the "broken" bike was actually two unicycles. :eek2: We started talking and his partner came bounding down the hillside and joined in the conversation. They are riding these unicycles the entire length of the trail, Banff, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, NM as a fundraiser for cancer reserach. The website is here: Divideby1.com

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We stayed and chatted for about 15 minutes. When they complete this journey, and I believe they will, it will be an amazing accomplishment. The funny thing is, it had rained recently so the dust on the road had been smoothed down a bit. I had noticed a couple of squiggly tracks in the middle of the road and kept thinking, "That guy sure is having trouble keeping his line on that mountain bike." I was wrong. They were doing fantastic traveling up and down those hills on those unicycles. You can make a donation from the web page of you want.

We wished them luck and success and rode on down the hill into some ranch land. I found a spot with some horses and a view so I stopped up next to the fence for a photo.

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As soon as I stopped the horses came over to say hello. Another friendly encounter.

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I understand they were just looking for some snacks but I enjoyed it anyway.

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The route then took a turn off the roads and onto some very nice two track. I had to stop when the trees opened up into a high meadow.

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I'm pretty sure we weren't on the actual ACA route but I don't care. The trails we were on varied from very rocky to rutted with what I would call jeep traps. Huge holes in the road with mud at the bottom that would swallow a jeep. Perry almost found one the hard way. I saw it at the top of a little rise and had parked off to the side and was waving my arms to warn him off. He saw it and was able to stop safely on the edge of the hole. Had he been traveling faster than the 25-30 mph we were normally traveling he would have gone in. All was well.

We came upon a cool train trestle...

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And then we were home....

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Not really. Austin, MT. We met a local couple and the man volunteered to take our picture at the sign. He thought we were there to take pictures of the trains that roll through this town. He mentioned RailFan.com as the web site. The hill beyond the crossing has a double switchback on the face that makes for good train photos. No trains lately because of a collapse at a tunnel further up the line. Anyway, we got a cool photo while we were there.

The route dropped us into the western edge of Helena where we rode through the old part of town and started the section toward Basin, MT. We had gone about 12 miles when we came upon a sign we all hate to see, "Private Road No Trough Traffic" :doh: The road the route was supposed to go on had a locked gate across so we took the next one to the right. We soon passed a car about 20 yards off the road with a woman who gave us "the look". We went just a little further and turned around. When we got to where the car was I stopped at the car moved down next to the road. I popped open my chin bar so she could see my face, this usually calms people a bit, and we started to chat. I explained what we were doing and where we were going and she was quick to say, "you can't get there from here." So, we elicited her help and here demeanor change to the positive. I pulled out the paper map and she started pointing and saying things like "how can they publish routes through private land on private roads."

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She was pretty flabbergasted. She said she had lived there for 20+ years and she did know the roads on the map. The only options for us were back to Helena and west to the bypass to Basin on one of the routes I had in the GPS, or east to Clancey then 10 miles of Interstate 15 south to Boulder. Boulder was on the agenda so we took that option. Time again to fuel up and get some chow. We found this little cafe and were not disappointed.

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Across the street there were some "real deal" bikers wearing Bandito colors at the bar/casino from Washington. Figured they were on the way to Sturgiss. No problems, I waved, they nodded, all is well in the universe. :rider: Fueled and fed we rolled toward the next adventure.....THE tunnel.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 2 continued; Boulder Tunnel and Comet

A few miles north of Boulder, MT is a place most people miss when doing the GDR. It's off the designated trail by about 15 miles and if you don't know it's there you'll never find it. There are no signs. I knew it was there from Gaspipe's ride report on ADV and wanted to be sure to take the challenge. The Boulder Tunnel is an abandoned rail tunnel that is a mile long and like most of these old tunnels is flooded. :eek2:

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Look close at this picture you can see the light at the other end. It's that little white spec just off to one side. Perry wasn't sure of riding into the unknown. The water was dirty he wanted to check it out for depth.

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The conversation went something like this;

Me: What do you think?
Perry: I don't know.
Me: Would you rather go around?
Perry: What ever you want.
Me: It's only deep the first 1/4 mile or so.
Perry: OK
Me: You ready?
Perry: Right behind you.

OK Let's go. He was hesitant but off we went. We were there we had to go. The first bit was a little deeper than the foot pegs on my DRZ. It wasn't long before my boots were filling with water. The bottom was rough, like riding through a creek bed through a canyon in the dark. The sound of my Yoshi pipe filling the tunnel was all I could hear. I made it to a good dry spot and stopped to check on Perry's progress. All I could see was his silhouette against the light holding up his KLR, him standing almost knee deep in the water, the headlight out. :eek2: I thought he had gone down and drowned the engine. I left my bike running just to make sure I could continue and started slogging back through the water toward where he was. Every 20 seconds or so the headlight would come on and he would attempt to crank it over, nothing. I kept walking and hollered but he couldn't hear me over the other noises in the tunnel. I was about ankle deep when the KLR came to life. He climbed on and made his way to wear I had parked. He said the engine just died. I asked if he had done the T mod on teh vacuum line I mentioned to him. Nope. :doh: He had sucked some water in the vacuum line and that had killed the engine. At least he hadn't gone down and sucked water. We commemorated the moment with some photos deep in the tunnel.

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We got back on and finished the ride out. It was loose gravel with interspersed puddles, the water level being just under the surface where it wasn't puddled. This shows it well as we approached the exit.

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We made it! :clap:

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The exit is at a spot on the map called Portal. Very appropriate. Nothing there but a bunch of rusting old trucks. We rode south toward the ghost town of Comet. Rough two track with a couple of steep climbs over the summit and into the town. I almost lost it once but was able to gather it up and get started back up the steep rocky road. Perry caught my horrible riding form near the summit.



We rolled into Comet and posed for a few pictures.


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We would have to find a different hotel for tonight. ;-)

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Perry found a good place to wring the water out of his socks from the tunnel experience.

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I was sitting outside and saw some chopper coming up the road from the other side, the easy side. ;-)



They were a couple of the same guys we had seen earlier in Boulder. Turns out their MC was camped a couple of miles south of Comet. Must have been at least 40 of them with trucks and trialers, some campers. One guy rode up and a BMW bobber. Straight pipes and leaving a trail of gasoline every time he got on the throttle. :lol2: Oh well, he was having fun on it.

We continued on to Basin, MT with the idea of camping wherever we could find a spot. Following a Forest Road north abut 5 miles we passed a group in a designated camp. Further up the road it was private property on both sides for several miles. We turned around and Perry led the way to find a spot. He stopped at the large group to ask if they knew of any good places. Turns out they ride dirt bikes as well and offered us a grassy spot behind one of their pop-up campers. Nice.

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Perry finished the day in the creek. Too cold for me.



Setting up camp I noticed my LED headlamp was missing. Perry said he though he say it laying on the ground after the unicycles but wasn't sure so he didn't stop. OK I can spend the night in the dark. We'll stop at Walmart in Butte tomorrow and buy another. Mile for the day approx. 190. I think the tunnel confused the Zumo as the last part of this day ended up being an unreadable file.

Now, time to upload some more photos. Back soon to continue.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 3: Cattle Trail, Closed roads, Bannack, MT

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Up early again we rode to Basin for breakfast on the recommendation of our fellow campers. The Silver Saddle Cafe/Bar/Casino.

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Excellent omelets and fresh baked cinnamon rolls. :eat: One thing I noticed is many restaurants had a bar/casino in the same building. Businesses were always separated. I'm pretty sure it was because of the CHL laws in Montana. Can't carry into a bar or casino, no problem in a cafe. Across the street is the Leaning Tower of Pizza, rumored to be the best pie along the route. I would have taken the bait had we been there for dinner.

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South of town we picked up the trail on an abandoned rail right of way that is now an unmaintained cattle access trail.

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A sign gave a history lesson about the area.

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And across the interstate was ruins of an old ore smelter. Interesting how the stack runs up the hill before making the vertical tower.

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The trail paralleled the interstate and varied from loose to packed gravel but it was smooth. Which trail would you choose?

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We soon came to another tunnel, Tunnel #9, 1914.

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Not as intimidating as the last tunnel. And, out the other side.

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At the end of the dirt trail we stopped to take off a layer of clothes as the temps were heating up. I had a panic attack when I could not find my wallet. :eek2: I checked my fanny pack where it had been and I didn't see it. I went through my pack, nothing. I was really getting wound up when I checked the fanny pack, again. It was there after all. It has tucked itself under the lip of the opening and since it was black and the fanny pack is black it was in the shadows. I called myself a few names to show my frustration with myself and we rode on into Butte.

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We hit the local Walmart for a new headlamp and to stock up on snacks, refueled and continued south through Thompson Park toward Fleecer Ridge. This vista is represents what the Rockies means to me. Beautiful.

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The trail was getting rougher. Then I was stuck. :doh:

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It doesn't count as a crash because the bike is still upright. It says so in the rules :deal: Before the climb the trail dipped through a low rocky spot in the trail. I choose a poor line that kicked me toward the rut and I got sucked into the deep rut and couldn't get out. The rear tire spun and I was stuck. Came out pretty easy with some pulling toward the rear from Perry.

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We climbed up to the summit of this pass and came to an intersection with 5 possible ways to go; Zumo Mapsource only showed the road we were on. OK We went on the route defined on the GPS only to come upon several deep trenched cut across the road then the trail nearly disappeared with several large logs across the way.

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Perry took advantage of the photo op.

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Obviously this road was closed a long time ago but it was the only road showing on the e-map. We went back to the intersection and followed one we thought would take us in the right direction. We passed a Subaru going up the same trail, these cars are everywhere up here. The road ended up not doing what I needed to I flagged them down to ask directions.

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Back to the 5 way intersection, take the one to the left of the one with the mine and porta-potties. That worked and got us back down to the route we were supposed to be one. A little further I stopped for this view.

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Perry pulled up and said, "Nice parking."

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:lol2: So much of this it's hard to avoid. This brings us to a challenge for the readers. Can you figure what this is used for? It's not for flipping eggs or mixing cakes. Post up your guesses.

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We made our way down to the highway. Find Perry on this road and you can see how separate we ride to avoid dust.

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We took the bypass around Fleecer Ridge for two reasons; every report I had read said the ridge was impassable on all but the lightest dirt bike, and mainly I had heard the Forest Service had closed the trail. It was nice paved highway riding through the canyon along a river. We stopped for food and fuel and the Wise Creek Mercantile. Last gas for a long stretch.

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From here we rode south on Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. Awesome paved highway with sweeping twisties. :rider: Stopped for a photo here.

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Stopped at another spot and caught Perry taking a photo. Actually he was taking a photo of me taking a photo of him. :lol2:

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Perry's photo.

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We continued on into Grasshoper Valley, the land of a thousand hay stacks. Or that's what one guy called it. Here is another challenge for the readers. What is this contraption?

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Someone out there might know. Post up your answer.

On to Bannack, the original territorial capitol of Montana.
 
Joined
May 13, 2004
Messages
3,960
Location
Leander, Tx
Re: Day 3: Cattle Trail, Closed roads, Bannack, MT

Here is another challenge for the readers. What is this contraption?

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Someone out there might know. Post up your answer.
Looks like a small trailer to me :-P

Oh, and I'd guess the spatula is for scraping/removing caked mud and other substances?
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 3 continued: Bannack, MT

We soon found our way to Bannack State Park. Mr. monkey was enjoying the ride so far with a little mud on the bottom of his feet.

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From the website:
Bannack was founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek. As news of the gold strike spread many prospectors and businessmen rushed to Bannack hoping to strike it rich. In 1864, Bannack was named as the first Territorial Capital of Montana. Remaining in Bannack for only a short time, the Capital moved on to Virginia City. In 1863 gold had been discovered near Virginia City and at that time many prospectors left Bannack in hopes of finding the mother lode in Virginia City. However, some people stayed in Bannack and explored the use of further mining techniques. From the late 1860's to the 1930's, Bannack continued as a mining town with a fluctuating population. By the 1950's gold workings had dwindled and most folks had moved on. At that point the State of Montana declared Bannack a State Park.

On with the pictures.

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Jail, you wouldn't want to stay here long.

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The jail annex.

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Chained to the floor.

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1st Masonic Lodge in Montana on second floor. School on first floor.

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The lodge was always on the second or higher floor to prevent eavesdropping on the secrets by non-members, the "profane."

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This is an active lodge.

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The school below.

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I played on merry-go-rounds like this when I was a kid.

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Perry tending bar.

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Dark clouds gathering to the north.

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Single men's quarters.

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Church.

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Don't complain about uncomfortable pews in your church.

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Bartender and preacher. He covers it all.

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Perry's well trained eye of a fire inspector caught this.

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Finished with our tour we rolled through light showers and into Grant, MT. After discussing options; eat and try to miss to storms or ride on and hope the track takes us around the storm, we rode on hoping to miss the isolated thunderstorms. To be continued.......
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Re: Day 3: Cattle Trail, Closed roads, Bannack, MT

Looks like a small trailer to me :-P

Oh, and I'd guess the spatula is for scraping/removing caked mud and other substances?
LOL not that. :-P When I fist saw it I thought of Monty Python and dubbed it a cowtapult. But it's not that either. Here's another photo for some scale.

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Removing other substances is a good guess. Close enough. Here is a photo of it in use.

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Perry likes riding with the shield up on slower stretches of road. We would often fly through masses of bugs and gnats that would get sucked into his helmet. He would dig around and stop the irritation around his ears. :lol2:
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 3 continued: Riding the storm out

This is what we faced as we rode south from Grant, MT.

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We discussed rain gear and agreed we would wait and see. It looked like the trail would go west of the worst of it.

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Shortly after this photo we got into some rain and had to put on rain gear for the first time of the trip. It only rained on us for 10 minutes as we rode and stopped just before reaching the pass. Made the road nice and muddy but not too bad. Then the sun came out and the rain gear came off.

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360 view of the summit.



The road went through a narrow gap and proceeded down a shallow canyon. Here's a nice place if you want to get away from it all. Perry commented that the john was too far from the house.

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Continuing down the canyon towards Dell, MT.

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Finally arriving in Dell in time for dinner. We chose the Calf-A Diner with requisite bar and casino next door.

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We got the last two servings of pot roast and mashed taters. :eat: Man was it tasty. Full and refueled we decided to head for a spot on the ACA map that showed an area to camp. The map showed about 40 miles and we had about and hour and a half of light left. It would be close. We rode through many herd of cattle as we headed east along the Montana/Idaho state line. As we arrived at the milage on the map the spot was out in the open plain and I suspected swarming with mosquitoes. No good, we rode on. WE got closer to some hills covered with trees. It was looking promising. Finally I spotted a forest access road and slammed on the binders. We followed the new road, not on any of my maps, up the hill and found a camp site next to a stream. That'll do donkey, that'll do. Perry like it, so I dubbed it Camp Koehn.

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Set up in time for sunset.

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To be continued......
 
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Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 4: Missing parts, Rain, Yellowstone.

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The day began with cloudy skies.

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Don't want anyone saying we didn't stop to smell the flowers.

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A cool way to bridge a creek. Dump large logs in the creek then fill on top with dirt. The water runs between/under the logs.

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We rode east toward Island Park, Idaho with breakfast in mind. Past the Red Rock National Wildlife Habitat. and to the state line. Had to pose in from of the sign.

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We continued on, cool temps and overcast skies.

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We fueled in Island Park and asked about a good place to eat. We were directed south a couple miles to Mack's Inn Landing. A small community on the Snake River.

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We got inside and placed our order for a couple of omelets with everything just before the rush of people came in. The dining room filled quickly. The waitress brought out a couple plates, sat them in front of us and we dug in. We took a couple of bites and noticed there was no meat. At first we thought they were just skimpy, then a second waitress came with two more plates, saw our table and turned quickly to return to the kitchen. Oh, oh. The first waitress returned to inform us we had the wrong omelets. OK, that explains the lack of meat. She said she would bring out some sausage and jalapenos that I had noticed missing also. Then she informed the table next to use that we had their omelets. :lol2: They were not quite so happy. We offered to hand over their plates, only a couple of bites missing but they would have none of that. They didn't want omelets with meat and the rush was on. We were done and heading out he door when they finally got their correct order.

Out in the parking lot I wanted to take advantage of the smooth surface to tighten and lube my chain on the DRZ. I took up one notch of slack, perfect. Got ready to lube and noticed this. What's wrong with this picture?

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:doh: Yup, counter shaft sprocket nut missing in action. Good thing the guard was there or it would have thrown the chain. The sprocket was on the edge of the splines enough to keep driving the real wheel. We started asking about where I could get a new nut so we could continue the journey. We went first to a local hardware store in hopes of finding a nut. No dice but they directed us to a nearby snowmobile shop that may be able to help. As I put the guard back on for the short run up the street to the snowmobile shop. Perry says, "It could be worse." Followed immediately by a huge clap of thunder. And, then it began to rain, hard.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
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Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 4 continued; Missing parts

The rain gear went on and we rode a couple miles back up the highway toward Island Park to High Mountain Adventures.

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They did not have any parts but the manager, Ryan, got on his computer and began searching for nearby dealers and calling to check on the availability of the missing parts. I needed the sprocket nut and the spacer washer that goes on first against the sprocket. Ryan got the part numbers and made the calls. Being Monday the closest dealers were closed, like nearly all small motorcycle shops are. He found the parts in Rexburg at a large dealer that was open. If you are ever in need of a snowmobile or kayak rental anywhere around Island Park Utah I am sure that Ryan will do his very best to take care of you. He took care of us and he didn't even have anything we could purchase from him. Many thanks, Ryan. :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

I notice one of the foam speaker covers was missing from inside my helmet. Perry said he thought he saw one on the ground that morning before we left camp. I asked if he happened to see my sprocket nut laying on the ground anywhere. He denied that he had but promised he would mention anything he saw laying around just in case it was some gear that I had lost. :-P

We geared up for the 60 mile southward detour. The skies were very dark, lightning was striking on either side of the highway, it was raining, and Danger Zone (Theme from Top Gun) came on the MP3 player as we pulled out of the parking lot. The rain eventually lifted and we found the dealer along the highway with no problem. How could you miss it?

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We took our spot in the designated cycle parking and made our way to the parts counter. Picked up my parts and paid the cashier the $4.56 needed to continue the journey. Perry, the diplomat, headed to the shop to bribe a mechanic for a socket and wrench to complete the repair. $5 bucks got us the needed tool. Isn't that lovely.

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Completing the repair I thought, what if it happens again? We used some red Locktite but who knows? So, I returned to the counter and got a spare, just in case. What's $4.56 for some peace of mind.

I punched up the routes and saw that we could go just 22 miles north to Ashton and head due east to hit the trail and slide between Yellowstone and Teton National Park. So, that's what we did. We only missed about 20 miles of the trail and it was well after noon but we were back on the trail. :rider:

Heading east we rode through miles of wheat fields on the straight road.

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The road changed from paved to maintained gravel and we hit the Wyoming state line. The dust hanging in the air is from me locking up and turning around to get the photo.

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The trail goes in between the parks and comes out above the entry gate so there is no need to pay the fee. ;-) The GPS showed how close we were to Yellowstone.

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I mentioned this to Perry and he couldn't resist. He wanted to say he had been to Yellowstone.

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This ended up being one of the most dangerous sections of the trail. The tourist in the SUVs and minivans were hauling butt down the road and it wasn't very wide. Barely a lane and a half. I stopped on a reservoir dam to take a photo.

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Perry pulled up and says, "I saw this on the road back there. Is it yours?"

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:lol2: He's a funny guy. :lol2: After a good laugh we continued on and stopped in burn area from one of the wildfires.

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After getting on the higway we were held up for at least 45 minutes in construction traffic as we tried to make our way south to the Tetons. Several sections of construction with delays long enough for people to shut down cars and get out to stretch their legs. It was late in the afternoon and getting cool so we stopped to add a layer for warmth.

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Next, the Tetons.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 4 continued: The Tetons

We made the turn toward Jenny Lake and the Grand Tetons and soon came upon a herd of grazing elk.

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Then on to Jenny Lake.

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The clouds were rolling over the peaks but so far, no rain. The crew at Jenny Lake overlook.

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Waterfall on the mountain across the lake.

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It was getting on passed 6:30 so we started thinking about dinner and a place to camp for the night. At Moose we got back on the highway and headed north toward Moran. We skirted the edge of the storm as it poured over the top and onto the Jenny Lake area. I knew of a place up the road that would do nicely for dinner, The Buffalo Valley Cafe.

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Across the road was a horse corral.

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And large burgers on the menu. :eat:

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Perry opted for the buffalo burger. He said that buffaloes have nothing to fear from him, he prefers beef. Satisfied we rode another 10 miles east to the Turpin Meadows trail head and campground. We got set up just before dark.

Miles for the day 255. Not bad considering the delays.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 5: Mud; ATV trails and the Great Divide Basin

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It all started with the coldest morning yet. Cold enough to get this on my seat.

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An early morning shot of our camp.

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I kept waiting for Perry to stir but he was sleeping soundly. Even calling his name lightly failed to wake him. He even slept through the flash of the camera.

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No problem, he eventually woke up with all of my encouragement. Sky was clear blue but the area had rain the previous afternoon and we would get to experience some nasty mud for the first time of the trip. It wasn't long before both of us were down, in almost the same place. Not really a crash, more like the bike is going down so I'll just step off. It was that slow. Perry caught up as I got the bike righted.

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We fought these deep slick ruts all the way up this hill. It's difficult to move forward when the front wheel is in a different rut than the rear wheel.

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We finally got back to the highway only to be thwarted by a long construction zone. We had to wait for the pilot car and got warned of teh slick road conditions. :yawn: While following the pilot we met two other pilot cars heading the other direction. Good coordination but so slow. Had time to click a photo while waiting.

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Past all that we made the climb from Dubois (prononced Dew Boys) up to Union Pass. By the summit the clouds broke and we had nice sunshine. I was following the route provided by Mapsource which placed us on some ATV trails, the most direct route to the road we needed to be on. This was a lot of fun but slow going. Two track with rocks, fairly steep hills, ruts and what I began to call mud wallows. Anywhere water would puddle the ATVs would churn up the ground creating a rounded hole which filled with more water. This went on for several miles deeper into the woods.

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Monkey was hanging on.

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We eventually broke out into open and came upon our first gate of the trip. Sign says please close gate. We did, thank you very much.

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This led us to another gate and beyond that gate a sign that said TRAIL CLOSED. There was a trail that went left and another that went right. Neither of them were on the GPS. I started left and thought to consult the paper map. While there we took a couple of photos for the desktop.

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Looking at the paper map the direction that would get us to where we needed to be was right, not left. So, we went back through another gate and headed off down the hill. This too was a rutted and rocky ATV trail that went for several miles but took in the right direction. Soon enough we were back on the proper route and headed toward Pinedale.

This photo show the meadow we were in when we took the desktop photos off in the distance on the upper left ridge line.

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Back on the road.

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In Pinedale it was just after noon so we stopped here for lunch, The Wrangler Cafe.

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Perry had a steak guesadilla and I went for the Reuben with pastrami, not corned beef. Both of us were satisfied. Back outside we met up with the rider of the Harley parked next to us. He was riding around on vacation with his wife. When we told him what we were doing and he said it sounded like more fun than what he was doing. Sorry to hear that, have a nice trip. :rider:

Pinedale is the jumping off point for the Great Divide Basin run, 220 miles to Rawlins, meaning the last fuel stop according to the reports. I knew I would need extra but Perry's KLR tanker would make it. At the gas station we bought 4 quarts of Gatorade and emptied them into the Camelbacks. Filled the bottles with gas and loaded 3 in my pack and 1 In Perry's saddle bag. Down the road we went only to find another new gas station in Boulder, 12 miles closer to Rawlins. No matter, I still needed the extra fuel. We turned east and headed off down Lander Cutoff Rd. There is quite a bit of traffic on this road since it saves people going to Lander from going all the way south to I80. We still had mountains in sight for this section.

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A break along the way. This is where I added the gas from my pack. It was starting to get heavy.

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After about an hour of riding we found ourselves in South Pass City, WY.

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This is the Wyoming version of Bannack. A mining town that once had the second largest population in the state. It was slated to become the capitol then the gold ran out and the people ran out shortly thereafter. The building in the picture above was the first Masonic lodge in Wyoming, once again on the second floor. Now it's a souvenir shop where Perry bought me an ice cream. Down the street to the east is the preserved part of the old town run as a state park. We didn't have time to visit since it was late afternoon and we still had to cross the basin. We mounted up and prepared to leave when two locals flagged us down so I rode over. They asked if we were heading out into the basin. I replied in the affirmative and they expressed their concern about us having enough fuel. I said, "i think we do." They offered, and I accepted to have them top off my tank with some that they had. Very nice. Any trepidations that I had quickly vanished and we were ready to go. :zen:

Just out of town was the old mine.

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We rode to the next town, Atlantic City, but didn't stop. We just did a quick once around the block and hit the road to the basin. It wasn't long till we hit a fork in the road that didn't show on the Zumo map. The route showed straight through a gate but the road went left. I stopped after going through the gate 'cause it just didn't feel right and after the episode with the ATV trails earlier I didn't want to take chances out there.

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I consulted the paper and had difficulty placing our location without landmarks. Next option was to load the route I had from someone who had gone before. He had come from the south to the north. Sure enough the main road to the left was the way to go. So, back through the gate and on down the road. As it turned out the other way looped back into the big road on one side but disappeared on the other side. Most of the way across the basin the road was not where the Zumo said it should be. But, it was a good road and mostly well maintained. We were definitely out in the middle of nowhere USA.

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It was like walking on the moon as our boots would leave imprints in the dusty ground. We wondered if this was where they filmed those fake moon landing photos. :wary: ;-)

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We maintained good speed on these roads. Usually around 50 mph. And it was one of the most fun sections because we got to race the pronghorn antelopes. They were bedded down next to the road. As they notice your approach they would get up and start to run down the road as that was the easy path. A quick glance over the shoulder to judge our speed and you could see them change their body attitude and kick it into high gear. They would accelerate than cut across the road out in front of us. The other critters on this leg where the prairie chickens. These birds hung out on the road also and would take to the wing as we approached. They would peel off at the last second before we would collide. Close enough like I felt like I could grab a tail feather if I was so inclined. Good fun for sure.

As the afternoon wore on we started seeing storm clouds building up behind us.

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We had heard it was not a place to be after a hard rain. And we saw the evidence of road conditions when we would pass areas with deep ruts from a single truck passing through so we agreed to press on till we got on paved road. The storms were quite impressive.

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We made it out with no problems. By my calculations after filling up I would have had just enough gas without the last bit added in South Pass City. We had agreed earlier that this would be a hotel night as a reward for a long day. We checked into the Hampton Inn and hauled our gear upstairs. We intended to dry out our wet gear from the night before and it wasn't long before it looked like a bomb had gone off in our room. We even did some laundry.

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It had started raining so we order Chinese delivery. Some how the order got confused and instead of General Tso's Chicken for two it came as two dinners for two. No matter. We were hungry and we ate it all.

Total miles for this day: 336
 
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