The Continental Divide
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Thread: The Continental Divide

  1. #1
    Senior Member RDW's Avatar
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    The Continental Divide

    For some time now I had been thinking about riding the Continental divide (a mostly off-road route that was mapped out by the bicycling organization "Adventure Cycling". A few years ago I was considering doing it on a Mt bike but after reading a book that someone wrote about the experience, I came to the conclusion that there was too much talk about grinding up dozens of long steep grades in extreme heat. I like to think of myself as a practical person so the answer was to do it, but on a motorcycle.

    I attempted to get a ride to Southern New Mexico for me and the TW200 through Craigslist ride-share but didn't have any luck. Then after calling around, found a reasonable rate for a one-way rental van. They sent the van (from another town) and it was not the one that was agreed upon. The one they sent was too small (the Dodge that had been ordered was sent back for a recall). Long story short- I ended up riding the TW from Southern Oregon to the start of the route in NM. I had intended to officially touch the Mexican border town of Antelope Wells, but after riding mostly hot, windy desert for 3-1/2 very long days (getting passed most of the way by heavy truck traffic and blown around on the hwy) I decided to pick up the route 125 miles from the Mex. border in the town of "Silver City" With an elevation of almost 6,000 feet, the temperature there was reasonable.

    Much of the route is very isolated (if hurt you could be laying there for 8, 10 or more hours before anyone was likely to come along). So I rode accordingly and was pretty conservative with speed, etc.

    It was an amazing experience with beautiful scenery every day. Even the desert area north of Rawlins Wy was interesting with dozens of Pronghorn all along the way. It's a real thrill to watch those animals go into a hard sprint across the desert.

    There were bicyclist along the way and I usually stopped and talked for a few minutes when we met.

    I also encountered a few other motorcyclist but they were only doing a portion the route.

    There was no real rain until the last day when it rained hard.

    The route extends up to Banff but I ended it at the Montana/Canadian border.

    12 day's on the actual route- 3-1/2 days getting to the start and 2 day's getting back home for a total of about 17 days.

    In general I really enjoyed the trip. I wild-camped wherever I found myself almost every night with the exception of 2 motel nights. One, on the way to the start of the route in Boulder City, NV. Camping was going to be 35.00 and it was 103 degrees, so a 65.00 motel was a no-brainer. The other night was when it rained the day I finished.


    What worked:

    Sheepskin seat cover- big improvement in comfort.
    Small collapsible chair.
    Hammock tent.
    Bear canister- a more convenient option then hanging food from trees.
    It seals the smells pretty well and also keeps food from getting crushed in the saddlebags.


    What didn't work:
    Extra gas can. It was a real pain. I wish I would have installed a bigger "Clark" tank for this trip.

    Most of my rain gear failed. Boots, pants and gloves all allowed water in. The raincoat was the only rain gear I had that worked as it should. I had not tested all the gear in heavy rain before the ride. As it were, the day that it rained I was back to civilization and just took a motel until it cleared the following day.

    Garmin Montana 600 GPS- It worked and it didn't. Very frustrating. Below 45 mph it worked OK, above 45 and the screen jumps in all directions (east, west, north, south) every 2 seconds.
    The Garmin "Rugged Mount" stopped supplying power when it rained. I replaced the fuse and it wasn't that. But it started working again a couple of days later??? Also, I attempted to use it to establish a route on the way home and get "no routable roads in this area". "This area" is everywhere. These things aren't cheap! I did a search on this problem and a lot of people experience the same things with no help from Garmin. I'll spend some more time trying to get it worked out but don't really have much patience for this stuff. If anyone here has suggestions/advice regarding these GPS issues I would love to hear them.

    The trip to the start of the route was not fun (major understatement). I love the TW200 on forest service roads and dirt trails but it sucks on long hwy trips (IMHO). lots of vibration at 55 mph, noisy, uncomfortable bike for days with 10+ hours in the saddle (two of the days were 14 hour days). On I-40 east of Flagstaff, a car passing me in the fast lane ran over some road debris (piece of some type of sheet metal about 16"x16") sent it air-born, just missed me, hit the saddle bag and put the bike into a wobble- I would not do this trip again if I didn't have a shuttle to the start of the route. The trip back from Montana to Oregon was not as bad because there were lots of back-roads with great scenery.
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    Last edited by RDW; 10-23-2016 at 09:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member T-Dub Ken's Avatar
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    Nice.
    Please share more photos and a video if you made one.
    How steep were the trails?
    Anything deadly?

    Looks like you're riding a 2013. Same as mine.
    jtomelliott49 likes this.
    T-Dub Ken

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  3. #3
    Senior Member RDW's Avatar
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    20160613_090005.jpg20160614_135320.jpg20160615_090944.jpg20160615_155934.jpg


    There were only a few places that it got steep with loose rocks. The maps mention these locations where bicyclist need to carry or push their bikes for short distances. Two of these I choose a alternate route instead of scouting it and maybe back-tracking if it was a sketchy situation. I didn't want to take the risk of breaking something on the bike or my body out there. Help was usually a long way away.
    Last edited by RDW; 06-29-2016 at 01:57 PM.
    2013 TW200---2007 XT225---2014 CB500X
    "Everyday is a school day"

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  5. #4
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Now that's an adventure for sure! I remember riding across the country on my Harley and thinking that wasn't all that fun, I can't imagine what it was like on the TW. On the major highways that is. I love the TW on the back roads as you mentioned.

    Lots of TW riding inspiration going on this summer. Congratulations on your successful trip and thanks for your contribution.
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  6. #5
    Senior Member RDW's Avatar
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    2013 TW200---2007 XT225---2014 CB500X
    "Everyday is a school day"

  7. #6
    Senior Member sponge's Avatar
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    Amazing trip. Thanks for sharing. Do you have a link to the trail you took? I would be interested in doing this with one of my kids.
    Chris Vogel
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  8. #7
    Senior Member RDW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sponge View Post
    Amazing trip. Thanks for sharing. Do you have a link to the trail you took? I would be interested in doing this with one of my kids.
    A link to the maps: don't let the price scare you, they are excellent quality and you can re-sell them when you finish.

    https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...in-bike-route/ You can download the GPS track from the same web site.

    Here is a link to a very good online map: https://eatsleepridegreatdivide.com/#start=0&end=2691
    Last edited by RDW; 06-29-2016 at 03:13 PM.
    2013 TW200---2007 XT225---2014 CB500X
    "Everyday is a school day"

  9. #8
    Senior Member RDW's Avatar
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    2013 TW200---2007 XT225---2014 CB500X
    "Everyday is a school day"

  10. #9
    Senior Member RDW's Avatar
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    2013 TW200---2007 XT225---2014 CB500X
    "Everyday is a school day"

  11. #10
    Senior Member RDW's Avatar
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    2013 TW200---2007 XT225---2014 CB500X
    "Everyday is a school day"

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