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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
20160613_090005.jpg 20160614_135320.jpg 20160615_090944.jpg 20160615_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.
 

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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.:icon_thumright:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
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/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/great-divide-mountain-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
 

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RDW, this an awesome write up. Thanks for sharing. I congratulate you on completing this adventure. The highway part of this trip must have been almost unbearable. I think I would have wanted one of those old (and I do mean OLD), like fifty or sixty year old Harley seats with springs, sheepskin, and memory foam to get me through it. lol:headbang::headbang::headbang:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Anyway, the pictures give you a pretty good idea. There are some rough spots so don't let all the quality roads in the pictures fool you.
Once again Tinman Tims side racks held up to a lot of abuse.

Thanks Twilight for the sheepskin seat recommendation.
 

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Nice write up, RDW! I love those wide open spaces. We rode some of those same spots in Colorado and Wyoming last summer. One of the most amazing experiences was the pronghorn running with me as we rode outside of Saratoga, Wyoming. My Indian name is now "rides with antelope"

 

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RDW, I was excited to read your trip report! I am leaving on the 11th to do the New Mexico Backroads Discovery Route (NMBDR), which is about 1200 miles from TX to CO. This was a last minute invite, and I am scrambling to get gear and bike ready. I would be very interested in more details on the gear you took and how you loaded it. I am looking for a tent, and wonder how you used the hammock tent in desert areas...does it also work on the ground?

I have installed a Clarke tank, have a Seat Concepts kit on the way, just bought a Garmin 610, and had my suspension recently worked with stiffer front and rear springs with RaceTech cartridge emulators. I added a Rotopax mount and will probably take one gas container, which hopefully works out better than your experience. Longest distance between gas stations on this route is 153 miles - as long as the town of Weed has gas - which apparently is not always the case.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If you are carrying a sleeping pad you can always go to the ground with a hammock (or if you're young, rough it without one). Not ideal, but for an occasional night it'll suffice. Having said that, I would take a tent for the area you are going. As far as loading the gear goes- You'll get it figured out. You could arrange it 10 different ways and they would all work. You'll get dialed in as you go. Sounds like you might be worrying about gear too much. I wouldn't bother with the Rotopax. The Clarke tank will be sufficient. If at some point along the way you become concerned about gas you can always stop at a food store and get a large juice container to use for a temporary fuel can, but I doubt you'll need it with the 2.7 Gallon tank. But a suggestion; in these small towns you might pull in and find a closed down gas station (Local resident: "yeah, they shut down about a year go. Now we go to _____ for our gas") so for peace of mind I'd make some phone calls before the trip to anywhere in question to verify. I see that you live in Texas so I don't need to make any suggestions about hot weather riding gear and plenty of water. Sometimes plans go awry and you might find yourself out in the desert longer then planned.

Have a great trip!


RDW, I was excited to read your trip report! I am leaving on the 11th to do the New Mexico Backroads Discovery Route (NMBDR), which is about 1200 miles from TX to CO. This was a last minute invite, and I am scrambling to get gear and bike ready. I would be very interested in more details on the gear you took and how you loaded it. I am looking for a tent, and wonder how you used the hammock tent in desert areas...does it also work on the ground?

I have installed a Clarke tank, have a Seat Concepts kit on the way, just bought a Garmin 610, and had my suspension recently worked with stiffer front and rear springs with RaceTech cartridge emulators. I added a Rotopax mount and will probably take one gas container, which hopefully works out better than your experience. Longest distance between gas stations on this route is 153 miles - as long as the town of Weed has gas - which apparently is not always the case.
 
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