I just did the complete continental divide trail hauling butt this summer on an 02'.
It was REALLY nice because of how comfy it was, and the gas range never had me worrying (I was also getting around 50mpg which was nice on the pockets!). Just got myself some crash bars and was set, slapped some dual sport tires on there (shinkos something, 705's maybe?).
Gets really heavy on tight stuff, but the CDT is not tight stuff at all. You can ride one down to the Patagonia and be completely fine, because its also UBER reliable. Sure, hard to do anything under the tank, but thankfully you never have to!
I would highly recommend one if you can get past its looks... the engine is the nicest thing.