14 Legs, 7 Wheels: Furry Math on the CDT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by zina, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    We did the western half of the <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/tat/">TransAmerica Trail</a> with our dog Simon in 2011. We knew we'd eventually do the Continental Divide Trail with him but hadn't set a specific date. Our friend Alex also wanted to do the CDT with his 80 lb Rottweiler mix, Lola. Since she was in her early senior years, he felt that 2013 would be the last window of opportunity to take her on a 2,000 mile trip before the drone of his Ural was eclipsed by the persistent creaking of her bones.

    Applying furry math, the 14 legs and 7 wheels comes out to two dogs, three humans, two DRZs and one Ural.

    <strong>Team Simon</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/prologue_comanches.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/prologue_comanches.jpg" alt="" title="click to enlarge" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Video of Simon looking around while travelling in his backpack.

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1vAjRadhVM&hd=1" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/prologue_simon.jpg" alt="" title="click to see video" width="492" height="247" /></a>

    <strong>Team Lola</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/prologue_alex.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/prologue_alex.jpg" alt="" title="click to enlarge" width="500" height="333" /></a>

    We live near San Diego while Alex lives in Colorado Springs so we planned to meet at the Canadian border on July 7. The adventure was set!
  2. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    San Diego, CA to Petaluma, CA

    We had a mild dread of riding our DRZ400s on pavement for 1,600 miles but other than paying $2k to rent a one-way U-haul, that was our only option. Even as terrible as it sounded, we had perspective on our side: Wayne owned a KTM 530EXC and I had a Husqvarna TE450 and those bikes vibrated like crazy at freeway speeds. In comparison, the DRZs hum like touring bikes. That perspective &#8212; and fistsful of ibuprofen &#8212; would get us to Canada.

    We wanted to get knobbies at a shop near the border, but the leading candidate in Kalispell was closed on Monday, the day we'd be passing through so we strapped our tires on the bikes. It didn't seem like a big deal since we were mainly driving straight lines on paved roads.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_tires.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_tires.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The ride was uneventful until we hit a traffic jam in Orange County due to a crash.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_crash.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_crash.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="281" /></a>

    That's when we realized how top heavy the bikes were with the tires. If we braked too hard we'd have to totter around on the balls of our feet until the bike felt balanced enough to stop. Lane splitting was out of the question &#8212; we wouldn't have gotten far before flopping onto someone's pricey rig so we crawled along with the cages.

    Above LA the 101 was pleasant, even cool. Just past Santa Barbara we stopped to zip up at Area 1, which is the great-grandaddy of Area 52. That box? Yes, the Truth is <strike>Out</strike> In There.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_area1.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_area1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The downside of travelling with a small dog is that they can walk underneath the bike. This is the first (but not the last) time that Simon took the opportunity to clean my sprocket.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_grease.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_grease.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    My digital dash quit working a few hours into the ride. Fortunately, the Garmin has a speedo so I could maintain a consistent speed. If my legs appear to be in the wrong place, that's because my ass was sore and propping my legs up on the shrouds changed the pressure points and offered temporary relief.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_speedo.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_speedo.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We got to Petaluma around 8:00 and my mom had dinner waiting for us. Moms excel at dispensing food to weary travellers, somehow getting third and fourth servings into distended stomachs. All she got for Mother's Day this year was a phone call. Maybe next year I'll make the effort to send her a nifty kitchen gadget.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_mom.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_mom.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    586 miles, 10.9 hours moving time

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_map.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0704_map.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>
  3. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    DAY 2 - JULY 5 - FRIDAY
    Petaluma, CA to Crescent, OR

    We left Petaluma around 8 am and started into another long day of slabbing. Everything was fine until we hit Corning, where the temp was 105&deg;. We pulled off in Redding, where we were both feeling a bit nauseated from the intense heat. After hydrating, f-bombing the weather, and tightening my chain, we were back on the road.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_chain.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_chain.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    In an hour we reached Weed, where we made the turnoff to Highway 97 and started climbing up in altitude and out of the heat. That's Mt. Shasta (14,180 ft) down yonder.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_shasta.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_shasta.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We stopped at Big Pine RV Park for the night. The mosquitos thrilled at having visitors not holed up in an RV and took complete advantage of it.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_camp.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_camp.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    This was one impressively long and boring day.

    <strong>439 miles, 7.12 hours moving time</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_map.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0705_map.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>
  4. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    Crescent, OR to Sprague, WA

    Time for Simon to return to his Cordura prison so we can hit the road. He can use his plaintive look all he wants; it won't get him a ride in a car with climate control.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_simon.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_simon.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    A nice big tree in the middle of nowhere. I think you can guess what might be going on. This stop is slightly pivotal, as you'll find out in a minute.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_break.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_break.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    There's not a whole lot to see during our long slog up 97. Fortunately, I'm listening to an audiobook about the Donner Party which keeps me highly entertained. Not only did people resort to cannibalism, a couple of guys were actually killed for their flesh. My takeaway from that event is that I'll only cross mountain passes in winter with hardcore vegans.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_empty.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_empty.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We finally get to the junction of Highway 97 and I-84 and with all the gas stations and restaurants around, it's a great time for a break. Problem is, Wayne announces that there's a problem with his battery and he doesn't want to stop the bike. Back when we took our bio break by the big tree, Wayne noticed that the battery was hardly cranking. It was Saturday afternoon and we had to find the nearest motorcycle shop to get a new battery. Since most shops are closed on Sundays and Mondays there was a sense of urgency. We pull into an abandoned station to get out of the sun and wolf down some snacks, Wayne's bike all the while running. Someone else is making use of the shade but he or she never pokes his or her head out of the van, even though the running bike is kind of annoying.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_station.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_station.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="281" /></a>

    Wayne pulled out his phone and found a shop in Kennewick, 100 miles away. Time to boogie!

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_intersection.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_intersection.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="281" /></a>

    About 20 miles down the road we're taking an exit. Uh oh, now what? Wayne pulls into a parking lot and says we need gas. There's no self-serve in Oregon and he doubts the station attendant will let him keep the bike running while it's being filled so he pulls the Rotopax off my bike and tells me to go to the station and get filled up. While I'm gone, he dumps the two gallons we've been carrying into his tank. And just like that we're off again, hoping to reach Kennewick before the shop closes. I'm not too freaked out, though, because you know who really had it bad? Yes, the Donner Party! At worst we'll call AAA. No need to draw straws to decide if it's white or yellow meat for dinner...

    A motorcycle shop in need is a most blessed sight. They have a battery that fits the DRZ and it's already charged up. Unfortunately, it's hot and there's no shade anywhere so Wayne is stuck installing it under the blazing sun. He likes to talk a lot so when he's not saying anything it's a distinct sign that conditions have degraded.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_battery.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_battery.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The only shade is in the shadow of a jet ski. Rather than all of us suffer unduly, Simon and I decide that moral support from a distance is an important component of getting the bike properly fixed.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_shade.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_shade.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Once the new battery is in, we push on down the road, trying to make up for lost time. We eventually call it a day in Sprague, WA and get dinner at a hamburger shack.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_burger.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_burger.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Lucky for us the guy who owns the shack also lets people camp on his nice lawn for $10. There was a classic car show in town for the Fourth of July weekend so we share the green with some nice looking vehicles.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_camp.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_camp.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    One more day down...tomorrow we reach the United Provinces of Canadia and all its maple-leafed goodness!

    <strong>411 miles, 7.17 hours moving time</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_map.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0706_map.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>
  5. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Sep 25, 2002
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Can't wait till you head back south :D
  6. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    We've actually finished the trip and are currently in the dull comfort of our home. :cry

    I kept a diary on the road and I'm now putting it together with the photos.
  7. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Sep 25, 2002
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Yeah I figured that, I meant get to the border then start the dirt part
  8. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    Hoping to get several days up this weekend. We'll soon be getting into the dirt and fixing flat tires... :evil
  9. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    DAY 4 - JULY 7 - SUNDAY
    Sprague, WA to Eureka, MT

    The sign heading out of Sprague needed a little clarification.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_caution.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_caution.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Highway 2 through Idaho and Montana is gorgeous. With the sparse traffic, it's a road rider's paradise.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_idaho.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_idaho.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We get to the Roosville border crossing in the early afternoon and let Alex know we're there. He had spent the previous night in Kalispell and at this point he is somewhere not too far away. In the meantime, we check out the border crossing.

    Plenty of recreationally minded folks wanting to get into Canada...

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_toCanada.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_toCanada.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    ...but no comparable interest for the US. Was it something Homeland Security said about waterboarding people who love hockey and bacon?

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_toUs.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_toUs.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Is it just me or did they actually make this rock look like a sheep? I would love one in my backyard. I'd put a saddle on it and on full moon nights I'd drink way too much beer and pretend I was a cowgirl breaking in the world's meanest sheep.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_art.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_art.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    When I see Alex rolling up I start dorking out. The dogs and humans are about to join as one pack. Arf arf arf!!!

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_arrival.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_arrival.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We take the obligatory border photo in case one of us gets separated and we have to nail flyers up around town.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_start.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_start.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    That's Bob Clark looking like he's trying to pass gas at the boys. I looked up his name on the internet but couldn't find a Bob Clark that had anything to do with a crotchety old guy who lived near the border.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_bob.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_bob.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We have four tires that need changing so we decide to find a campground and take care of that time-consuming task. Alex pulls out his DeLorme Gazetteer and we spot two campgrounds not too far away. We try to get to them but both times we encounter private property signs. Rather than risk the ire of landowners and their hidden punji sticks, we head over to Rexford Bench Campground, which we saw on our way into Eureka.

    We are happy to do this trip with Alex because we knew he'd be carrying all sorts of crap we didn't want to carry. Case in point: scissor jack. His metal gas can is also the perfect height to keep the bike steady.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_jack.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_jack.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    What would be the perfect reward for enduring 1,600 miles of asphalt on a thumper? How about manually changing four tires while mosquitos continually deep probed you?

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_rim.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_rim.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Wayne's clothes are filthy after wrestling with wheels, chains, axles, etc. so I hand wash them in my collapsible bowl. As for that perfect Asian squat, I generally try to avoid using it in public not because it perpetuates a stereotype, but because people without the proper genetics may try to do it and blow out their achilles tendons. Alex attempted it but couldn't get his heels on the ground -- I was ready to grab my Spot and hit the SOS button if I heard a "pop" followed by the helpless swinging of a foot.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_squat.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_squat.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    <strong>289 miles, 5:32 hours moving time</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_map.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0707_map.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>
  10. 29andSingle

    29andSingle Been here awhile

    Jun 23, 2009
    Littleton CO
    Great report so far. Can't wait to see the rest of the pics.
  11. Lacedaemon

    Lacedaemon Been here awhile

    Feb 6, 2007
    Northern Virginia
    Following the ural side of this also. :lurk
  12. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    DAY 5 - JULY 8 - MONDAY
    Eureka, MT to Swan River, MT

    It's early morning and we're on a peaceful country road heading towards our first sampling of dirt. I'm cruising behind Wayne and out of nowhere a black cat bolts out from the tall grass and heads straight for the belly of my bike. THUMP! I look in my mirror and the cat is down. If I were superstitious I would actually be rejoicing at the outcome since I didn't allow that witch-in-disguise to cross my path. What's more, this happened at mile 13 into the day's ride so I crushed the potential of receiving bad luck <em>squared</em>. But I don't buy into the voodoo and I am just plain sad for that cat. I really like animals and for me to be the Deliverer of Death puts a damper on my morning.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_morning.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_morning.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We get to the dirt and it's smooth as a baby's butt. If most of the roads along the Continental Divide are like this, we should've just done it in our camper van. Alex is looking down because he can't believe it's not asphalt beneath him.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_firstdirt.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_firstdirt.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We're here the day before a road closure is scheduled. Rerouting wouldn't be a problem, but we're only an hour into our adventure and it's nice to stay in a rhythm (i.e., follow GPS tracks and not think).

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_sign.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_sign.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    I think this is Red Meadow Lake (48.755708,-114.562518). This postcard lake has three camp sites right at the edge.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_lake.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_lake.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="281" /></a>

    Problem is, this is what happens to those who try camping there. These are floating in the water in a semi-circle — clearly the work of the Smiley Face Cult.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_fish.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_fish.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We came across this cyclist riding the Divide (his buddy on the left joined him for the Montana leg). As avid mountain bikers, our respect for those who choose to pedal it is immense. Riding a motorcycle on the Divide is a ridiculous dabble compared to mountain biking it. Man, we are feeling like our sauce is seriously weak.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_cyclist.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_cyclist.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Explain to me again why we didn't do this perfectly groomed road in the camper van?

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_smooth.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_smooth.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    I had stopped to take some photos so Wayne had gotten ahead. As I'm catching back up I notice lights are flashing on a vehicle that's next to him. Did he manage to get a speeding ticket on a forest road? As I draw closer the vehicle is on the move and the driver waves as I go by. When I catch up to Wayne he explains that it was border patrol and they asked him questions like Where are you from? Which roads did you take to get here? Were you in Canada? They must see plenty of motorcyclists riding the Divide so I'm not sure why Wayne was worth stopping. Wayne said the guys were nice enough. He told them that Alex and I were behind him, which is probably why they didn't stop us.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_wave.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_wave.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="281" /></a>

    We return to pavement above Whitefish Lake and grab lunch at Piggyback Barbecue. We can hear thunder in the distance as light rain begins to fall.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_lunch.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_lunch.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We finish lunch and are back on the road. At a stoplight Alex asks me if my rear tire is flat. I look down and if it's not flat, it's at least grossly under-aired. Wayne thinks that in his production-line changing of tires, he might've pinched the tube. We pull under a parking cover next to an apartment building where the extras from the movie <em>8 Mile</em> ended up. (They're not out at the moment, but they will soon present their sideways caps and wifebeaters on the balcony. Either their cable TV was down or they'd never seen a motorcycle tire being changed before.)

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_apt.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_apt.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The cover gives us shelter from the sporadic rain as we work. Wayne pumps up the tire while I make sure the tube isn't binding anywhere. Simon is not allowed to roam free because this is the mean streets of Whitefish.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_flat.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_flat.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="281" /></a>

    After the tire change we're on pavement for a while. We stop for gas and come across CDT riders who are going south to north and are almost done. I'm lightly dreading New Mexico (heat and reported bad sections) and wishing we were in their shoes.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_woodys.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_woodys.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We make our way southeast and eventually get back onto the dirt north of Flathead Lake. There's a lot of standing water on the ground so we somehow managed to miss the brunt of the thunderstorm. It's early evening so we settle on a camping spot in a clearing. We're near the Swan River wetlands and the mosquitos are having a great time at our expense.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_camp.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_camp.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    <strong>169 miles, 5:27 hours moving time</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_map.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0708_map_sm.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="313" /></a>
  13. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

    May 1, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Yet another great report, Deliverer of Death! Very funny!
  14. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    Glad to have whomever among you who are following this. I'm guessing that the CDT is one of the most-written about trails so short of one of us getting vacuumed up by a UFO it's kind of business as usual. I hope I can at least give you a little perspective if you are considering getting your wife or girlfriend to do this trip.
  15. Lacedaemon

    Lacedaemon Been here awhile

    Feb 6, 2007
    Northern Virginia
    You're not giving yourself enough credit! In addition to the wife/husband dynamic, you are also traveling with a dog (no sidecar) another dog (sidecar) and an Ural (I am following both RRs).

    That, coupled with really nice riding is why this is one of my favorite RRs going! :D
  16. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

    May 5, 2011
    SW Florida
    Bingo bango im in for the ride the devide
  17. coarsegoldkid

    coarsegoldkid Been here awhile

    Apr 18, 2008
    Coarsegold, CA
    Subscribed. Riders doing this type of adventure have my admiration. It's not a ride to the grocery store.
  18. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    DAY 6 - JULY 9 - TUESDAY
    Swan River, MT to Moose Creek, MT

    Welcome to a damp, damp morning. These wetlands are no misnomer. The sun doesn't reach our camp site through the trees so the tent is going to have to be rolled up wet with junk stuck to it. That disturbs my female sensibilities, calibrated for a certain level of tidiness.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_tent.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_tent.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Being in bear territory, we use the sidecar trunk as a food locker. A bear could probably tear it open, but at least the racket it makes will give Wayne and Alex ample time to put on their shoes and get a head start on me (I sleep with earplugs), although a head start isn't necessary since I am among the world's slowest runners.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_locker.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_locker.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Before leaving our camp site, we see a cyclist coming down the forest road towards us. Of course we can't let him pass by without a thorough interrogation. We learn that Pascal is from Switzerland and enjoys epic rides, having done such inconceivable journeys as pedaling across the Sahara. Wayne asked how he managed to get so much time off to ride and Pascal explained that whenever he wanted to undertake a new adventure, he just quits his job. He works in the software industry and doesn't have much of a problem finding a new job when he returns home.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_pascal2.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_pascal2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    There's a small stuffed koala in the front bag that Wayne asks about. Pascal explains that when he's reincarnated he wants to be a koala because they sleep 20+ hours a day and their food source of eucalyptus abounds. He adds that the eucalptus makes them extremely amorous, but alas, chlamydia runs rampant and has had a significant impact on the population. Until scientists work out the vaccine for koala chlamydia, I would recommend that Pascal select another reincarnation vessel. Might I suggest the kangaroo? They've got killer cycling thighs.

    The first part of the day's ride is more easy forest roads. This is the biggest obstacle in our path.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_tree.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_tree.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Well, until we get to this one. There's no way we're crossing it — the workers would probaby be pissed if we even walked across — so we get out our maps and look for an alternative route to Highway 83.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_ditch.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_ditch.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We leave Pascal a message about the impasse. If his route's the same, maybe we save him from excess pedaling, although he might enjoy the extra miles to fantasize about life as a koala.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_note.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_note.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We get back to Highway 83 and cruise down to the Condon store...

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_condon.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_condon.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    ...which features an outdoor freezer with a beam that blocks the door.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_ice.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_ice_sm.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We're on Highway 83 for about 40 miles. The Ural has a top speed around 55, with little (maybe nothing?) in reserve to overcome hills or headwind. Alex recedes into the background and the only way we know he's still back there is the dot of his headlight. Our speed disparity isn't a problem, though; the agreement is that we always regroup when the pavement turns to dirt, or vice versa. Yeah, I know, it's pretty funny that the DRZ400 can outrun anything.

    The trail picks up again at Seeley Lake. If I recall correctly, the problem so far with Montana is that there are lots of lakes but you can't see them because of all the trees lining the road. The Montana Tourism Board should work with the various government agencies to have view-blocking trees relocated. Certainly there's enough room in that big state for a tree sanctuary.

    The above mentioned tree problem is why Cottonwood Lake (47.166726,-113.351916) is striking. The tree-blinders are suddenly removed and your eyes are treated to a shimmering blue that follows the road.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_cottonwood.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_cottonwood.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Crossing Highway 200 drops us into the CDT-friendly town of Ovando. Today, we increase the dog population by 2.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_ovando.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_ovando.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    For $5 per night you can sleep in a wagon, teepee, or the town jail. A solar shower in the tent goes for $2.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_shower.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_shower.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Not too far outside of Ovando we're back in the dirt. We try to stay close so no one has to eat all the dust.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_dust.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_dust.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The horses cluster behind a sign posted for their benefit. One of them must know how to read, and I bet his name is Mr. Ed.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_horses.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_horses.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Through this stretch of forest there's logging activity and the road shows the wear from heavy use. The bumpier stretches are tamed by standing on the pegs. Alex and Lola don't have this option and just have to put up with getting their teeth rattled. Alex gets some payback on a long sandy downhill that has Wayne and me plowing all over the place. What's fun for the Ural is usually not fun for the DRZ.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_logging.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_logging.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We meet another CDT cyclist. Unlike all the other ones we've chatted up, this guy looks FRIED. His eyes are red and he speaks quietly and somewhat haltingly, like he's not entirely sure where he's at. I ask him if he needs anything. He wouldn't mind some more water so I top off his bottles. In hindsight, we should've attached a tow rope to him and pulled him into the next town so he could get a big fat cheeseburger and a good night's sleep.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_cyclist.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_cyclist.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Remnants of industry, or perhaps random wall building.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_wall.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_wall.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Montana's loneliest llama. Not even a horse or a cow for a friend.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_llama.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_llama.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We cross Highway 12 and find a good stopping point for the night. Moose Creek Campground is about 8 miles west of Helena.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_camp.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_camp.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    I haven't had a shower in a few days and I can't take my filthy hair anymore. One of the biggest differences between my male counterparts and me is that their threshhold for odors and uncleanliness is a lot higher. Compared to the general female population I'm low maintenance, but compared to adventurers I'm probably borderline high maintenance. Greasy hair and smelly feet bother me, as does the fact that I packed a pair of green shorts of a hue that clashes with my green shirt. A dude just wouldn't care — how liberating that must be!

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_wash.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_wash.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The communal dinner tonight is what Alex calls "Taco Soup." It's a bunch of stuff that comes out of cans and something that comes out of a packet heated together in a pot. Poured over Minute Rice, it's a perfect end-of-day camping meal.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_dinner.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_dinner.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    <strong>190 miles, 6:10 hours moving time</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_map.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0709_map_sm.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="313" /></a>
  19. blacktruck

    blacktruck Wanderer

    Nov 7, 2012
    A little southwest of Middle earth
    Spent a few years up there many years ago. I've driven through it a few times since but not like that. I'm in. I want to go back and see some of this stuff but since it's really tough to get there from here. I've gotta be satisfied with just reading about it. Count me in.
    Ride safe and have fun...
  20. zina

    zina Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2006
    San Diego
    Moose Creek, MT to Clark Canyon Reservoir, MT

    A woodpecker sporting a lucha libre mask serves as this morning's alarm clock. Does it know that the FDA recommended daily allowance for creosote is zero? Apparently not.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_woodpecker.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_woodpecker.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    We follow an easy forest road towards our lunch destination of Butte (has any road not been easy?). The road is mostly lined by trees so there's not much to photograph (really, it's possible to get your fill of trees when they're constantly in your face). We get to Basin on the interstate and things finally start to change up as we follow a frontage road along I-15.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_frontage.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_frontage.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    This civil engineering exercise from 1911 is a refreshing change of scenery. I'm about to make a Freudian Trip by slipping my unit into the tunnel.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_tunnel.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_tunnel.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The DRZ headlight is so anemic that I'm riding through the tunnel almost blind, hoping not to hit an obstacle or drop into a hole. My video camera is running and its optic eye does a superior job of seeing in the dim light.

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uizPcLTzaf8&hd=1" target ="_blank"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_tunnelvid.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Alex lived in Bozeman before moving to Colorado so he's familiar with a lot of places in Montana. He guides us to an eatery called Great Harvest Bread Co. and we get the best sandwiches we'll eat on the entire trip. As is standard for dualsporters with dogs, we must dine outside. It's really not health codes that keeps dogs out of restaurants; it's their predatory glare at the food transferring from hand to mouth that requires the ban. A patron cannot dine comfortably when a dog will lunge at his or her face at any moment.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_lunch.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_lunch.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Think I'm kidding? I've watched Lola watch Alex and I'll bet a few meals have ended with him peeling her jaws off his face. Alex actually has a cool scar along his cheek which he claims is from his childhood. I understand sometimes you have to tell white lies to cover for the bad table manners of your best friend.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_lola.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_lola.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Simon is much less of a reconstructive surgery threat. He's more a a dropped-food opportunist so it's fun to see if he'll go for a piece of napkin soiled with mustard.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_simon.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_simon.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Back in the dirt after lunch we encounter more heavily ladened cyclists making their way south. I see a frisky little dust cloud behind Alex — did he actually roost them?

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_cyclists.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_cyclists.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    For now we're out of the wall-to-wall trees. We wind along hillsides where low scrub transition into meadows. Niiiice.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_postlunch.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_postlunch.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Alex is taking a break and as we roll up we notice he and Lola have company. The friendly mixed-breed border collie greets Simon.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_dog.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_dog.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    The dog has no collar but he's in great shape. Alex offered him water but I think he said he didn't seem desperate to drink or eat — it's a good sign that he's not starving. Still, being dog lovers we're disturbed about leaving him behind. We haven't passed any homes since we left Butte so where did the dog come from? Did he bounce out of someone's truck bed? I'm an extra bit sad to leave the dog because he's similar to my late best friend, Lucky.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_dog2.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_dog2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    When we get to Highway 43, we see Alex talking to a couple of guys. As we get near, Alex pulls back onto the road and continues on. Shortly thereafter, we pass this van.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_theo.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_theo.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="324" /></a>

    Turns out the guys that Alex was talking to had waved him down. They said their van had a flat and someone either needed a ride to or from the van. Alex wasn't about to boot Lola out of the sidecar so that's probably why the guys were fervently waving at <em>us</em>. Alex explained later that the guys were unkempt to the point of being scabby and that they didn't even have a spare with which to replace their flat tire. That explains why they were waving at us — they were probably baked to the point of cluelessness. Were they hoping to sit on our handlebars? Anyhoo, being a hippie might've been cool in the 60s, and nowadays it might even be sweet if you're a clean-ish hippie toting a guitar, but c'mon, nobody wants a dreadlocked vector for lice in their car.

    We cover a lot of ground on the paved Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, which reaches 10,000 feet. I think I heard Alex's Ural let out an audible groan when nearing those five digits. He looks intense on the downhill side of the byway; he's taking advantage of the speed wherever he can.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_byway.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_byway.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    It's really too bad there's that thing called snow or else I'd consider moving to an area like this with a better bike culture. The People's Republic of Kalifornia is impressively mountain bike unfriendly, at least in the San Diego area.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_hangingbike.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_hangingbike.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="324" /></a>

    It's late afternoon and time to think about a camping spot. We stop at Bannack State Park but they want $23 for a mostly primitive campground. No point in paying for an enclosure that features a toilet, an overpowering odor, and a swarm of flies. However, in hindsight we should've enjoyed the ghost town since they got <a href="http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/flash-floods-damage-bannack-state-park/article_65162252-efbe-11e2-8b28-001a4bcf887a.html" target="_blank">hammered by a flash flood</a> one week after we were there and will require a lot of work to be restored. This underlines the capriciousness of weather and backroads travel: Had we departed one week later on our trip, we might've found a lot of this area a big pain in the ass to get through. Even Highway 89, some 75 miles to the east and the northern entrance to Yellowstone Park, was closed due to a landslide. But today, the weather is fine and we're on the move.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_straightaway.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_straightaway.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="324" /></a>

    About 20 miles southeast of Bannack we arrive at Clark Canyon Reservoir. It takes us a little while to understand why so few people are taking advantage of this beautiful waterfront spot. As it gets darker, the mosquitoes begin to congregate around our camp. By the time we're bedding down in our tents, the buzzing is so loud it feels like we've been dropped into a Hitchcock movie.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_camp.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_camp.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    Ever mindful of what is enabling us to see this part of the world, we lovingly put our horses in the barn for the night.

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_night.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_night.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="375" /></a>

    <strong>187 miles, 5:20 hours moving time</strong>

    <a href="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_map.jpg"><img src="http://www.ducatigirl.com/cdt/0710_map_sm.jpg" alt="" title="" width="500" height="313" /></a>