Great Continental Divide Ride 2017

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dbradford, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    I know, I know...the Continental Divide has been done. You’ve seen this episode before. Folks like BigDog, Cannonshot, and many others have told this tale. In fact, it’s probably their stories that led me to do it twice. Now, they're the reason I'm here to share. How is this any different you might ask? Two reasons:

    1) We followed gpsKevin’s route for the most part. However, I threw in a detour in Colorado to do Stony Pass and Black Bear Pass.

    2) We took a drone. So, we have pictures that look like this:

    Stony Pass.jpg

    and this

    Black Bear.jpg


    Here’s a short teaser to help you decide. Stay tuned.



    UPDATE 8/26/17:

    Here is the final video.....

    #1
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  2. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

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    Nice, very nice!
    I'll be looking and waiting for more
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  3. wnm_82

    wnm_82 Adventurer

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    Teaser video looks awesome. What drone are you using? I'm currently running a Dji phantom 3 but thinking about switching to Mavic for better portability.
    #3
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  4. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    This sounds to be very different and unique----------luv the drone stuff.
    Will be enjoying reading your story !!!!

    BigDog
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  5. misterk

    misterk Been here awhile

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    in........
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  6. bigwespig

    bigwespig Adventurer

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    Can't wait to see what happens!!!:photog:photog:photog
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  7. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    The Back Story

    During college, I was looking for a way to save gas money, get better parking on campus, and simply have a new toy. So, I wandered down to the local Yamaha shop just to have a look. Next thing I know, I’m signing papers on Yamaha’s latest dual sport…the WR250R. I was happy as could be commuting during the week and finding dirt on the weekends. That was until I stumbled upon some crazy guy’s website way back about 2009. He had the same bike as me, and he went places on it. Crazy ideas started filling my head. His name was BigDog. From that point, I had a goal. The Continental Divide was the ride I wanted.

    I moved to Dallas/Fort Worth after college, which only reinforced my need to explore less populated areas. I started small. Long day trips, followed by weekend trips, then a one week trip to Big Bend. I was ready for the Divide. So in 2016, I did it. Unable to get anyone else to go, I went solo. I crashed, got hurt, persevered, and finished. I told myself that I would not do a ride like that again...unless maybe someone else would go too...

    I’ve known Wes since high school. We used to tear up the county on dirt bikes back in the day. Now he lives up in Indiana. All this time, he was seeing my online posts for the trips I had taken. My 2016 trip put him over the edge. He set his sights on 2017 and got me on board in about a half second. He just needed a bike. He still rides, and he has a garage full of motorcycles…but nothing suitable. Then last December, he sends me this:

    8673.jpeg

    Things were starting to get real.

    Fast forward. I'm still riding my trusty 2008 WR250R. Wes has a shiny new 2017 KTM 690 Enduro. The plan was for Wes to haul the KTM from Indiana to Lubbock, TX where we grew up, and I've since returned. We would leave from my house, go through El Paso, and hit the Mexico border at Columbus, NM. Then, make our way north to Roosville, ride to Mount Rushmore, and finally part ways for the final stretch home. The departure date was July 16th.
    #7
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  8. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    It is a Mavic. Portability was the selling point. It fits in a hard case I bought separately, and it doesn't add too much weight or bulk.
    #8
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  9. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider

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    Signed up..... Great drone video
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  10. Wilkrider

    Wilkrider Pain Doc

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    That Large Canine guy got me too. Looking forward to your report.
    #10
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  11. Harder1

    Harder1 braaaap!

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    Awesome video and a fitting tune. Fantastic work, and I'm in for the rest!
    #11
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  12. Romero

    Romero Been here awhile

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    IN!
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  13. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Day 1 - Lubbock, TX to El Paso, TX

    After months of prep, the day has finally arrived. Wes (aka bigwespig) arrives at my house about 6 a.m. on July 16th. He dropped off the KTM a couple days before when he got into town. I ask him before we leave, “You know this is gonna be hard, right?” He replies, “Oh yeah.” And then, we were off.

    20170822_103910.jpg

    I opted to go through Cloudcroft, NM for our run to El Paso. Higher elevation, cooler temperatures, and much more scenic than running across far West Texas. It should be an uneventful day. Just an easy pavement run to get to the starting line. We hit the New Mexico Border soon enough. As we were stopped taking a pic at the state line, I noticed something odd about Wes’s rear tire.

    20170716_080150.jpg

    He went with a fresh MT43 trials tire after some can’t miss advice he got online. We now wondered if this tire would last the first day to El Paso. So, we called ahead to Cloudcroft hoping to find a new tire. There’s no dealers there, and it’s Sunday. But, we get ahold of a guy that says he might have a tire. Wes adjusted his air pressure, we dropped our speeds, and pushed on.

    20170716_201148.jpg

    We arrive about noon at High Altitude outdoors shop in Cloudcroft. It’s a mountain bike store, and we look out of place. The guy behind the counter is for whom we are looking. He says, “Let me run to my house right quick and get the tire!” He returns shortly with a well-used dirt bike tire, non-DOT…we were quite pleased actually. This was at least an insurance policy until we got to El Paso. He would take no cash, and told us it’s not the first time he’s done this for guys in our position. We expressed our appreciation and moved on feeling quite relieved.

    20170716_130752.jpg
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  14. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Day 1 - Continued

    We ate lunch at Big Daddy’s diner before leaving town. The storm clouds then rolled in, and we found ourselves in pretty good downpour leaving town. This pic is just as we got out of the rain before Alamogordo, NM.

    20170716_150207.jpg

    We warmed up and dried out pretty good for the final run to El Paso. Once you drop down out of Cloudcroft, you’re in the desert passing alongside White Sands Missile Range. We make it back into Texas and stay the night at Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso. By the time we get to camp, all the center knobs are missing from Wes’s rear tire. The low speeds, rain, and cooler temperatures going through Cloudcroft probably helped a great deal in extending the life of that tire. Tomorrow we will search El Paso for some proper treads.

    20170716_170115.jpg

    20170717_081016.jpg
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  15. my6

    my6 Been here awhile

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    Subscribed, oh and say hello to El Paso High School for me. Haven't seen that place in 42 years...:D
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  16. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 17th - Day 2
    El Paso, TX to Silver City, NM


    A quick web search finds us a dealer open Monday in El Paso. We take our time since they don’t open til late morning. This gives me a chance to break out the drone for it’s first run of the trip. Fun fact, Franklin Mountains State Park lies entirely within the city limits of El Paso. This makes it the largest urban park in the nation.

    Franklin.png

    Franklin 2.png

    The original plan was to skirt El Paso. Instead, we find ourselves riding dirt bikes down the Interstate in the nation’s 20th largest city with Wes doing so on some pretty sketchy rubber. We get to the dealer, and they have nothing…only off-road tires. But they know a place. I call the shop they mention and ask about dual sport tires. He says he has a Dunlop. I ask what kind. He says D606. I say we’ll take it. Another quick urban highway jog and we find the place…TNT Motorworx. They throw the tire on while we grab lunch. Crisis averted.

    20170717_112647.jpg

    We get back on the road by early afternoon and head for Columbus, NM. I chose Columbus over Antelope Wells this time ,because:

    (a) We are going through Columbus anyway, and
    (b) We are on dual sports, not “Adventure Bikes,” so an extra 90 miles of asphalt wasn’t very appealing.

    We arrive at Columbus mid afternoon after another good rain shower. We pull up to the border…off to the side of the checkpoint with a Border Patrol agent watching us closely. I decide this probably isn’t the best place to play with the drone.

    20170717_140152.jpg
    #16
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  17. BSTT

    BSTT Been here awhile

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    Very good! Nice video, I like the situations you captured and the music fits perfect! :clap:clap
    Go on bring us the good stuff. Everyone is waiting.:lurk
    Thanks for taking the time to entertain us.
    Ciao Gero
    #17
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  18. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Day 2 Continued

    We continue down Hwy 9 to Hachita where we take advantage of the local rest stop.

    20170717_151410.jpg

    I noticed on the way through Hachita that there is now a new gas pump in town. Last year there was no gas. We finally turn north, dry at the moment, but there are storms all around us.

    20170717_153851_001.jpg

    20170717_153843.jpg

    We stop at Interstate 10 to have a look at the weather radar and decide what to do. By now we’ve got some light rain. The section north of I-10 will be the first dirt portion of the trip. It’s been raining most of the day, and everybody says New Mexico dirt is impassable when wet! We decide to give it a go, and it wasn’t bad at all. A little mud in some spots, but nothing serious.

    20170717_165140.jpg

    We have no trouble making it up Separ Road to Hwy 90 where it was paved all the way into Silver City. It's not raining anymore, but our gear is still wet. Wes and I both travel a lot for work. As a result, we have some pretty respectable statuses with hotel rewards programs. He has Choice, and I have IHG. So, Wes scores us a free Econo Lodge for the night. It would probably be cheaper for us to stay in hotels the whole trip, but that's no fun. So, we plan to redeem ourselves with camping for at least the next few days.
    #18
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  19. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 18th – Day 3
    Silver City, NM to Grants, NM


    We stop to have a look at the Chino Mine on the way out of Silver City. This copper mine is about 1.75 miles across and 1,350 feet deep.

    20170718_081818.jpg

    Soon enough, we enter the Gila National Forest where we are greeted by this pleasant warning.

    20170718_085716.jpg

    Fire activity turned out to be pretty minimal. I think we saw one small area that was smoldering a bit, but no roads were shut down. However, we did encounter some pretty significant traffic jams…



    Weather today is just like the first two days, overcast with a threat of rain all around. We wind up in a decent rain shower leaving the Gila, but it doesn’t last too long as we continue running north away from it. I spotted this roadside stash just before Hwy 12.

    20170718_131502_001.jpg

    It was full of water and snacks for the mountain bikers on the route. For those that don’t know, this route was developed by the mountain bikers. That is who you will see the most doing this ride. We leave the stash in tact, since it’s not really for us. Also, they need it more than we do. It’s pretty cool the way folks all along this route are willing to help the riders that come through. This is just one of the examples we saw on the trip.


    After crossing Hwy 12 we get slowed down by this herd of Elk.



    We then make the final run to Pie Town with the rain starting to pick up again. It’s early afternoon and we hit the Pie Town Cafe for lunch…and of course pie! We finish our meal while the waitress talks about how bad the next stretch of dirt is due to the rain. We figure we’ll give it a go and see what happens. How bad could it be? However, we notice on the way out that the two young women that had been sitting on the other side of the café are now unloading everything from the trunk of their car…seemed odd but whatever. Then I saw their rear passenger tire was completely flat. They were going for the spare. I give Wes a nudge, and we get to work.

    20170718_160356.jpg

    They were heading home to Florida after being out west for vacation. Soon enough we have the donut mounted and they’re good to go…well maybe. I think the spare looks a bit low, so we pull out the air gauge…10 psi. The two girls were bummed about that. No big deal…luckily this crazy guy on a dirt bike has an air compressor. We bump that tire to 60 in no time and send them on their way.
    #19
  20. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Here's a short clip of my first attempt to get the drone to follow me through the trees in the Gila National Forest. As you can see, results were mixed. We don't have trees or hills where I'm from, so I didn't get to practice this much at home before the trip. It gets better later on...I promise!

    #20