A Father and Son Trip Down the Great Divide

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by isaac004, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    This looks great!
    #21
  2. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the comments!

    I'd say you just gotta lay the gantlet down and pick a date to lock down. Then that will force the planning and preparation to occur. You won't regret it, that's for sure.
    #22
  3. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    Day 1, Eureka MT to Seeley Lake MT

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    Today starts the first full day of riding the Great Divide. While loading the bikes up in the morning, my Dad noticed one of two bolts holding a heat shield on my exhaust was missing so we tracked down a hardware store ASAP. We found one that opened at 8am and we rolled up right as they were opening. I bought the bolt, but then realized that the boss welded to the pipe had stripped out threads. Hmm, this means the bolt could have been missing for a long time. Simple fix though, I just put a hose clamp around it.
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    Here is the quick fix...it works great and I'm planning on leaving it like this as the permanent fix.
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    We continued on and quickly jumped onto a goaty paved road. Still no dirt yet, but we knew it was coming! We had heard from some hikers the day before that part of the road was supposedly closed off while they resurfaced it. They were right, as we came across this:
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    There was a Park Ranger type person there checking up on the construction contractor and while very nice and polite, he was adamant on not allowing us to try squeeze by on the narrow "shoulder". We were getting kind of bummed out because the only other way around would be to jump back on US-93 south and miss the whole first section of dirt. The ranger left and we decided to walk up to the construction workers and ask them if we could sneak by. They said "sure thing!" and we immediately jumped back on the bikes and squeezed around the paver and roller. Score! Nothing like riding on virgin blacktop!
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    Shortly after that, we hit the first official section of dirt!
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    Cruising down the dirt, everything felt more alive all of a sudden...
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    Came across some damaged forest...not sure if this is due to pine beetle infestation, but it wasn't pretty.
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    Thump thump thump......Dad is getting back into the dirt groove.
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    We then came across this preserved cabin but I forget what it was called.
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    Working our way up to Red Meadow Lake.
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    Boom, Red Meadow Lake...
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    This mountain top lake is incredibly beautiful and serene. It was extremely green all around and the air was crisp.
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    We talked with 2 locals who were up there fishing, and got them to take our photo for us.
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    We continued down the road and came across one of the listed camp sites for the Great Divide mountain bikers. I took a side excursion and rode down one of the paths to the lake, next to one of the camp sites. Absolutely perfect!
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    But since it was not even lunch time we had to keep on rolling if we wanted to make progress. We rolled into Whitefish MT looking for lunch and I immediately pulled over at Piggyback BBQ.
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    The food was pretty good here and it was a nice spot to relax for bit. Here's my Dad enjoying his sandwich.
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    Here's the pulled pork sandwich I had, which was quite tasty.
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    Next up was a section of small side paved roads. These yellow flowers grabbed my attention in one of the many grassy fields.
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    For a while we trailed two Harley's, one of which was this sidecar. It was very interesting following them and watching a motorcycle lean the wrong way in every turn, but the way her hair was flowing in the wind looked very relaxing as we all carved around the meadows and woods.
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    Just as we were missing dirt again we jumped back onto the forest roads. Here are a few of the Great Divide cyclists we saw along the way.
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    I should add that in June they had the Tour Divide, an unsupported cycling race from north to south that is 2745 miles long. Every rider is responsible for carrying all their own camping gear, food, water, etc. They must also plan on how and when they will go off course to restock on supplies. These guys are truly nuts, especially considering the fact that the first place guy completed the Great Divide trail in 17 days on a mountain bike.
    http://tourdivide.org/2010_TD_Results

    Here's a little surprise we had to squeeze around.
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    Afternoon snack by the river.
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    We decided it would be best to run down to Seeley Lake and hotel it for another night. The rainy weather was still clearing up and it was still dipping into the 30's at night so we opted for some more comfort. While riding south on MT-83 we saw some more storms brewing off to the side...
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    Unloading at the hotel.
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    Dad got attacked by a bear...
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    The lady at the motel recommended Lindey's Prime Steak House for dinner, which was actually pretty good. One dinner feeds two...they bring out a huge chunk of meat and cut it at the table for you after cooking it.

    Overall a great first day on the dirt. Most of the dirt was double track forest service roads, winding up and down the mountains.
    #23
  4. BigT

    BigT Been here awhile

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    Subscribed! :lurk

    Great RR, Isaac, I just love reading about long distance rides done on Thumpers. :thumb

    Thanks for providing a link over on SBR. Edit: & a link to that work stand.
    #24
  5. Moriarty

    Moriarty n00b

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    Keep up the awesome RR. Planning a Phx to Glacier and back ride in three weeks and cant wait to get up north! :lurk
    #25
  6. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

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    In on it too! :clap

    Looking to do this trip one day myself.
    #26
  7. PacificPT

    PacificPT Been here awhile

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    Always enjoy your RR! Keep it coming
    #27
  8. Almost There

    Almost There Up, up, and away

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    Awesome. Wish my dad rode bikes. Have fun.
    #28
  9. koa925

    koa925 Senior Stromer

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    awesome ride, looking forward to the rest of the story ! :lurk
    #29
  10. popsbronco

    popsbronco n00b

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    Alberta
    [
    Awsome way for father and son to spend time together. Cant wait to get out there the DR650 is ready to go!

    quote=BigT]Subscribed! :lurk

    Great RR, Isaac, I just love reading about long distance rides done on Thumpers. :thumb

    Thanks for providing a link over on SBR. Edit: & a link to that work stand.[/quote]
    #30
  11. slabm7

    slabm7 Been here awhile

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    I'm in, looks like a great ride!
    #31
  12. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    Day 2, Seeley Lake MT to Whitehall, MT

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    The morning started out as a crisp foggy morning, quickly clearing up as the sun rose with brisk temperatures in the 40's. We quickly hit the dirt and came across a tree trimming operation. This consists of an excavator type machine, but instead of the usual bucket shovel at the end it has a tree trimming attachment. The first one I passed was no big deal, as I just beeped my horn so he could stop for a moment while I rode by. The second one I passed was much scarier, not because of any close call, but because of what I saw. I passed in the same manor, beeping my horn so the operator could pause while I rode by, but this time I saw the other side of the trimming attachment (which meant no guards). To sum it up, I saw a bunch of high speed spinning blades about 15 feet away at head level. Whew. Anyhow, back on the road....
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    Flying through these dirt roads in the dense forest on a sunny but cool and crisp morning was truly beautiful and amazing. Tons of small squirrels kept darting across the road, reminding us of all the life in the woods surrounding us. We came across this cool small lake.
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    I started to experiment with self portraits while riding.
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    Kozy Korner...what a great name.
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    The terrain opened up for a bit....
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    We stopped for brunch in Lincoln Montana, which is where Theodore Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, used to live.

    Jumping back into the mountains.
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    There are a lot of these small cabins, decaying slowly in the woods.
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    The road then followed a nice small creek through the hills.
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    We then came across Empire Mill, or at least what still remains.
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    This old mill used to crush ore in one of the mining operations in the area. Judging by the size of some of the tumblers, the boiler, and especially the stone walls still intact, this was pretty large.
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    Nice teeth.
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    A bit mangled.
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    I claim this.
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    I lost track of how many times we came across cows, and cattle guards.
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    Zoooom
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    A nice open meadow.
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    Another Great Divide mountain biker, one of three in this group.
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    Just north of Rimini MT, our GPS route led us into this closed road. Seems ok for the mountain bikers to use but we didn't want to risk it.
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    So we backtracked a few miles into Rimini and talked with a local who was doing some work in his small auto body shop. A very nice person, he was a local to the region and gave us some directions to get around the gate. Part of the mix up was that just south of the area is a superfund site for a mine cleanup project. The local was telling us that in Rimini the government had to clean up 4-6 feet of dirt across the whole town due to mining contamination. A stagecoach used to pass through this area and it was one of the wealthiest areas too, thanks to mining. I also liked his comment about how all the crazy and disturbed people that live in the middle of nowhere Montana are always the ones who aren't from Montana.

    We found our way around and went over this earth dam.
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    Here is the sign from the Basin Creek Mine Superfund Closure.
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    Cruisin' along.
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    Butte Montana, once called The Richest Hill on Earth. There is some pretty good history here, all tied back to mining.
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    One of the main roads through Butte, Harrison Ave, turned out to be the most annoying place I've ever been to. While gassing up and resting, I saw countless motorcycles and open pipe pick up trucks going wide open up and down the road, over and over. One douche bag was even making multiple passes towing his speed boat around. This must mean two things...people are very bored here, and there must be a lot of idiots here too.

    Trying to keep the chains in check, a restock of chain lube as well as engine oil was needed so we picked up some supplies at Two Wheelz in Butte. Mostly a dirt shop, the staff was friendly and they had a good stash of vintage dirt bikes on hand to look at. We then tried briefly to find a reasonable motel in Butte but everything was too pricey. Our plan was to continue south and grab the first camp site or cheap motel we found, though we knew finding a motel would be rare since we were headed into the mountains again. It was already 6pm too. The GPS did show one place called the Iron Wheel Guest Ranch in Whitehall Mt, which was only 10 miles or so off the route, so we decided to take a chance.
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    It turned out to be a great B&B. The owners were really nice and had a dinner option as well. Most of the other guests were there for horse riding and fishing. The husband of the owner couple is a big time hunter and takes people out for guided hunts, and is also a taxidermist. His shop had more skins then I had ever seen anywhere. Here is a bear he was working on for a client.
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    Name this animal?
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    I also forgot to add that they have bunnies EVERYWHERE. Turns out they got a few bunnies years ago for their kids, and well, the bunnies did what they knew best. A few get killed every now and then by natural predators, but for the most part there are always 10-20 visible bunnies hopping around the yard at any given time.
    #32
  13. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    Hmm. You know, I do believe we passed you guys in Northern Colorado. I don't recall which day, but one morning passed what I thought was blue and white DR's headed south. Now that I read your report I think it must have been your Dad's XR that I mistook for a second DR.

    I was first in line on a blue '08 with a yellow kayak bag on top of the luggage pile, and then it was a white '09 DR followed by a red KLR650.

    Sorry we didn't get to speak. I'm enjoying your report.

    :thumb
    #33
  14. pwducati

    pwducati Adventurer

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    Isaac:
    Really enjoying reading your report and reliving the trip!!
    This surely was the best trip I have ever done.
    Especially doing it with good company such as yourself.

    Thanks for taking the trouble to do a Ride Report.

    Dad
    #34
  15. rockjohn

    rockjohn Been here awhile

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    Another great father and son adventure. :thumb
    #35
  16. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    I remember this too...I'm pretty sure it was on 7/13 in the late morning, a bit north of Salida CO. We were coming down the mountain into Salida and you guys were going north up the mountain. The red KLR was trailing a bit further behind. In fact, near the end of our ride while eating lunch in a Subway in Grants NM, a guy on a red KLR from Florida stopped by to talk to us and remembers passing us and said he was with two other DR riders. The KLR guy was loaded up in his truck and said he had to bail for family reasons. Pretty sure he was in your group.

    I whole-heartily agree too, it was a great trip. The ride report is no problem, so that we can relive this trip whenever we want!
    #36
  17. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    What a great adventure and ride report. Trying to get my son to go on a long trip...

    Can't think of a better riding partner than a son.

    Ya done good taking your Dad with you.

    Thanks for posting this.
    #37
  18. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    Yep -- that was us. Not to intrude on your outstanding report, but this shot was taken about 30 minutes before we passed you on the mountain.

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    BigDaveF (our KLR riding buddy) had trucked his bike out and stashed his truck at Grants at a storage facility. We, on the other hand, rode ours out and back. I'm all but certain that it took years off my life ... :brow

    If I ever do anything like that trip again I'll do it Dave's way. :thumb

    Thanks again for your great report!
    #38
  19. HAULINDAVE

    HAULINDAVE Adventure Rider

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    I did a ride (4000 miles) of some of the same place's as you right around the same time , only on a Harley . Started in Grass Valley Ca and went up though Lake Almanor and up though Eagle Lake then north in to Oregon and meet some friends on the Columbia River that I grew up with . They were all riding Harley's , that's why I road the Harley or I would of rather rode one of my dual-sport bikes . Then we did stayed in Seeley Lake MT too , behind the Motor Lodge you stayed at there was a campground .

    Hope I added a pic of Lake Almanor with a friend who rode with me the first day on my BMW1100GS and me on my Harley.

    Keep it coming !

    Attached Files:

    #39
  20. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    Yep, I definitely remember passing you three.

    Riding the bikes out and back to the ride may have taken some more time and wasted some tires, but it also made it feel more adventurous and did keep the costs down (50-60 mpg instead of 15 mpg from a truck) and reduce logistics (don't have to worry about parking the truck and getting back to it).
    #40