Great Continental Divide Ride 2017

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

  1. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hub City
    July 21 – Day 6
    Platoro-ish, CO to Silverton, CO


    We only get a few rain drops overnight, but it seems like all our gear is pretty damp. We start heading up into the Rio Grande Forest and past Platoro. This is the road I crashed on last year. It’s wide open and smooth, and I got caught up enjoying the view instead of paying attention to the road. I took a minor bend in the road too fast, locked up the rear, high sided, landed on my head and shoulder. A guy passing in an SUV with New Mexico plates helped me pick up the bike. All my gear did it’s job except my gloves which ripped, and my hands were cut up. They helped me bandage my hands since I couldn’t hold still enough to open the bandages. They offered to give me a ride back to town. I politely refused. After a few minutes and some Ibuprofen, I was back on my way.

    I tried to show Wes the exact spot it happened, but I really couldn’t remember where. Looking back I was probably a bit concussed, and that’s why I said I wouldn’t do this ride solo again. I remember having trouble getting out words to answer the guy’s questions. Being the stubborn jackass I am, I lived and finished the ride.

    We go through Summitville and hit Indiana Pass soon enough. Just off the pass is Grayback Mountain. There is a little road that we took to the top of Grayback that isn’t on gpsKevin’s route. Up there we meet Tim from Florida and his crew on a couple of side by sides.

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    There were a little suspicious when I pulled the drone out.



    Back down the mountain, we get to the point where I mapped out our detour. I mapped this out in Basecamp with no idea what the roads were like. Turned out to be a fun little stretch to South Fork.



    Instead of continuing on CR 14 to Del Norte, we hung a left on Forest Road 345 which eventually turns into CR 60 into South Fork.

    South Fork Detour.jpg

    The plan was to head to South Fork, take the highway to Creede, then past the Rio Grande Reservoir, and follow some county roads to Silverton. From there, we would do a good portion of the Alpine Loop before cutting across to Sargents to get back on the Divide.

    Alpine Detour.jpg

    Should be no problem getting to Silverton. These are county roads which in West Texan means straight, flat, and dry!


    The part where I went down was rather rocky and steep, and we had been climbing for some time. About 20 yards more, and I would have been home free! A few minutes more puts us at the top of Stony Pass at 12,650 feet. I had no idea that I mapped something like this. Better to be lucky than good. According to my limited research, Stony Pass is on the actual Continental Divide, so we may be on to something here…just saying.



    We get down the pass and into Silverton for the night. I hang a left at the first campground we see coming into town. Big mistake. We walk up to the office...30 bucks they said. Seems steep but we look around, the town is packed, and it's starting to rain pretty good. We were out of camp food and wanted to get a real bite to eat, so we bite the bullet. She directs us to their tent area, which turns out to be a swamp. Took forever to find a halfway decent place to throw a tent. Head into town and grab a bite and some brews at Golden Block Brewery. By the time we ride back to camp, it's dark and the rain is picking up.
    #61
  2. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    Nice job you goofballs! :thumb

    :lol3
    #62
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  3. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 22 – Day 7
    Silverton, CO to Sargents, CO


    The rain is on hold by the time we wake up. Our tents are drenched, and the sun isn’t coming out from behind the clouds. So, we roll them up wet and get going. A quick breakfast and fuel in Silverton, and we hit the Million Dollar Highway towards Ouray. Just outside of town I spot a Forest Service campground that looked a million times better than the POS we stayed at the night before. If nothing else, we should have just disperse camped for free. Lesson learned.

    About 10 miles from Silverton we turn left onto Black Bear Pass towards Telluride. There’s about 15 or so Toyota FJ’s dropping the pressure in their tires when we turn off. Must have been some sort of FJ club, because that was just the beginning. We pass what seemed like dozens as we made our way over the pass to Telluride. We reach the Summit at 12,840 feet.

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    As we go over the summit and start to descend again, the whole feel of the pass starts to change. We’re passing snow still several feet high, and it’s a rather steep drop off to our left down the mountain.



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    The FJ caravan soon stalls. We must wait out this traffic jam. All the FJ’s have slowed to a crawl as we approach "the steps." They have a spotter at the first turn to help everyone out...everyone but us it turned out. He seemed unimpressed by our presence. The steps are the most technical bit of this pass. Large stair step rocks that you must descend while approaching a rather narrow turn with certain death to your left...OK maybe not certain death but pretty serious bodily injury at least. On a scale of 1 to 10, pucker factor was 12. I see a spot off to the side where I can pull up and get some drone footage. Wes continues on.

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    The drone adds a perspective I hadn’t seen before in pictures. I still don’t think is does these places justice.

    #63
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  4. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Day 7 Continued

    I pack the drone and start to make my way down. After the initial turn, there are 11 switchbacks I think. Some require more spotters and multi-point turns by the FJ crew. The second switchback down was the longest wait. We’re starting to get pretty fatigued by going nowhere while straddling the bike at this high elevation. At least there’s a view to take in.

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    I finally catch back up to Wes sometime before Bridal Veil Falls.

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    It's raining again by the time we get into Telluride, and it's already afternoon. The FJ crew slowed us down quite a bit. We planned on taking Imogene Pass next; however, a friendly fellow at the gas station back in Silverton warned us that a rockslide had Imogene closed. Wes and I decide to call an audible and book it to Sargents via the pavement given all these factors. We stop in Montrose to give the bikes a bath. Wes then finds a new D606 front at Sun Sports in Gunnison.

    I called ahead to Sargents while eating lunch. I remembered something about cabins there. Sure enough, Tomichi Creek Trading Post had one available for 60 bucks. We were looking forward to a night indoors as we had camped every night since Silver City. We mount Wes's new front tire at the cabin, air out the tents, and do some laundry.

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    The cabin we got happened to be the closest to the bar/restaurant as well which didn't hurt our feelings. I highly recommend this place.
    #64
  5. jpfranke34

    jpfranke34 Adventurer

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    In! :dutch
    #65
  6. JemmyOtis

    JemmyOtis n00b

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    There needs to be a "Like All" button to make it easier because I mean, come on...
    #66
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  7. Michhub

    Michhub Major Medical

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    Great job! Thanks for sharing, just killed an hour of normally productive work time :thumbup
    #67
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  8. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 23 – Day 8
    Sargents, CO to Routt National Forest

    We grab breakfast at the Tomichi Creek restaurant 15 steps from our cabin the next morning. They only serve a standard breakfast plate and nothing else, and it was pretty good. I think your only option is bacon or sausage. Before heading out, there is some sort of commotion in the campground. Everybody is walking towards the highway as I come out of the bathroom. Then I spot the moose that has everyone stirred up. Here’s a crappy out of focus pic.

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    Back on the trail, we head over Marshall Pass at 10,842 feet.

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    After Marshall Pass we go down through Salida before back up into the San Isabel National Forest.

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    This part of the Divide through Colorado is rather flat and quick, so we make through Hartsel, into the Pike National Forest, and up Boreas Pass to 11,482 feet soon enough. There was some light rain at the top of the pass, so I couldn’t run the drone.

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    Down Boreas into Breckenridge, we fuel up. I think we grabbed lunch, but I can’t remember where.
    #68
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  9. Harder1

    Harder1 braaaap!

    Joined:
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    Watched the whole video last night on the TV. That drone footage adds a grandeur that never comes through in regular photos. I think I need one....Awesome work guys! Great tunes too.
    #69
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  10. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Day 8 Continued

    A couple more from Boreas Pass. It's an old rail line and pretty easy. You can run a sedan up Marshall and Boreas without much trouble.

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    It’s all paved after Breckenridge, around Dillon Reservoir, and through Silverthorne. We eventually turn off onto Ute Pass Rd into the Arapaho National Forest where we get slowed down by this:



    There were about 165 or so riders. I got curious, so I stopped and asked what was going on. They said they were doing trail maintenance in the forest that week. They had a big camp set up just down the road a bit further.

    We reach the Colorado River and into Kremmling for fuel. I read online about Radium Hot Springs around here barely off the main route. I’m hoping we can camp there…the satellite view showed a fire ring already there. We go down Trough road which runs along the south side of the Colorado and turn down some two track. However, we hit a locked gate with about 0.1 miles to go. So, we park the bikes and see if we can’t just carry our stuff the rest of the way…0.1 miles isn’t very far. We hike for a ways but soon learn that it’s a few hundred feet down in elevation as well. We spot the campsite from high point and give up.

    We ride around and look for a way in from the west side, but it’s just not gonna work. So we cross the river and head up into the Routt Forest. We find ourselves at Black Tail Creek campground for the evening.

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    I was skeptical of this campground when we first pulled in. Nobody was there…which is fine. But, it was overgrown and looked as if nobody had been there in a while. Maybe they know something we don’t? But it’s late, and fires were restricted to designated campgrounds only. It's the best option we've got, so we settle in and get a fire going.
    #70
  11. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm

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    Just found this ride report and video. I have sub'd to be able to find this easy and to enjoy in my off time. Like now.......:thumb
    #71
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  12. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 24– Day 9
    Routt NF to Rawlins, WY


    Wes is up first the next morning. He hollers at me to get up when he sees something in the campground. I get out of my tent as quick as I can to see what he’s talking about…another moose! It was maybe a couple hundred yards off. Wes took a bunch of pics, but none turned out really.

    Moose.jpg

    Sun wasn’t quite up yet. The blob under the arrow is a bull moose…I promise!

    We scarf down some breakfast and get going. It was a rather uneventful morning after that and we get through the Routt NF and into Steamboat soon enough. We stopped at The Shack Café for lunch then hit up the outdoors shop next door in search of some dehydrated meals. We were out of camp food but didn’t much care for the Steamboat pricing and decided to just keep going.

    We find ourselves into Wyoming shortly and at Aspen Alley.

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    The last stretch into Rawlins is fast dry and flat. We didn’t stop much for pictures. We did spot this as we entered Rawlins though…Wes couldn’t resist. It’s not every day you spot a street sign with your name on it!

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    I scored us a free room at the Holiday Inn Express that night. We decided it would be good to quit early and rest up for the big stretch across the Divide basin tomorrow. Also, we had some minor repairs. I needed to clean out a leaky fork seal and solder my USB plug connection. Wes had some maintenance too but I don’t remember what exactly. We got fancy for dinner and walked to Wendy’s next door.
    #72
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  13. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 25 – Day 10
    Rawlins, WY to Griffith, WY

    We get an early start the next day to tackle the Great Divide Basin. We were afraid we would be cutting it close with the fuel range on the 690. The 690 has a stock fuel tank. Wes is packing two fuel bladders to get through. We top off the tanks, fuel bladders, and my rotopax and we get going. To help with the range, we skipped the 37 mile section north of Rawlins and east of Hwy 287. This saves us 20 miles.

    Turning back onto the dirt at Bairoil, we are less than impressed with the condition of this road. Luckily it smoothed out after a few miles and we made good time. We spotted plenty of antelope on this stretch which you can see in the main video. We also got to see some wild horses which was a pretty cool sight.

    We turned off onto some two track at some point which ran us straight into a cattle drive. We spotted the herd a good ways off and waited for them to push across the road ahead of us. There were five or six cowboys and several dogs. Had to be a couple hundred head of cattle.

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    After they cleared the road, a cowboy rode over and thanked us for waiting them out from a distance. Seemed like common sense to us, but I guess not to some. We needed a rest anyway.

    We were into Atlantic City soon after where we emptied our spare fuel into our main tanks while trying to not let any rain drops in the tank. It was sprinkling on us all day but never got serious.

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    #73
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  14. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Day 10 Continued

    We stop for lunch at a burger stand in Pinedale.



    We find a KTM dealer in Pinedale where we load back up on chain lube and get some info on the trail ahead. Union Pass is next. I had to skip this bit last year due to a wildfire. The weather looks ominous, but we press on anyway.

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    Over the pass, the 690 is low on fuel again. Luckily we spot a random 24hr fuel sign in the forest a few miles before we reach the highway. It's a single pump with 91 only and belongs to Crooked Creek Guest Ranch. We fuel up and try to find someone to take our money for a cabin. But the place is all but deserted. Instead we head down to the highway and start looking for a place to spend the night.

    We hit Lava Mountain Lodge in a few miles which has camping and cabins. They recommend a cabin due to grizzly activity in the area. We heed their advice. This turned out to be another pretty good place. Bar/restaurant within walking distance and some odd locals to keep you entertained. The cabin was $35 plus linens if you so wish.
    #74
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  15. bigwespig

    bigwespig Adventurer

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    The ol 690 ate alot of wr dust and was in dire need of a clean air filter. I knocked the chunks off in the bathroom of that holiday inn. Hahaha. I replaced the paper stocker with a foam twin air with a prefilter. That filter did a great job with most of the funk caught in the prefilter.
    #75
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  16. bigwespig

    bigwespig Adventurer

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    Lava Mountain was fun. Interesting stickers on the cooler that provide for fantastic entertainment and even a beverage named after them. The quarter powered shower was a first for me. Lol
    #76
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  17. Jacks-son

    Jacks-son Been here awhile

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    Brilliant. Now if I can talk my son and grandson into an adventure like yours. Thank you guys for the effort.
    #77
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  18. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 26 – Day 11
    Griffith, WY to Mesa Falls, ID


    I asked Wes before the trip whether he wanted go through Yellowstone. He had never been before, and wanted to do it. I told him it would suck. He didn’t much care. I know the mindset…I had it last year. So, I didn't argue. Yellowstone it is.

    The Tetons first.

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    Then Yellowstone.

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    #78
  19. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Day 11 Continued

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    In case you were wondering, Yellowstone still kinda sucks...too many cars and people. Wes was over it after about the first 10 minutes. I actually thought it wasn't nearly as bad as last time. It started raining on us pretty good after leaving Old Faithful. And then it hailed. It's all in the main video. At some point, Wes almost got taken out by a BMW, but we made it.

    Into Montana

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    I still wanted to do the bit through Idaho along Warm River. So, I tried to map a route through the forest from West Yellowstone to Idaho Falls. Unfortunately, it ended in a locked Forest Service gate about halfway through. We could have easily got around it, but we follow the rules and turn back to the highway.

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    We cut off onto the Mesa Falls scenic byway towards Warm River. I spot a FS campground a few miles north of Warm River. We're in luck...they had 1 open spot. I pull the drone out to inspect it. I had dropped it onto concrete the day before and hadn't had a chance to assess the damage. The tab on the back of the camera that connects to the gimbal brace is busted. So, the camera is flopping around in transit which is not good. So, I take it for a test flight over Lower Mesa Falls.



    And give it a temporary fix to get us through the rest of the trip.

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    #79
  20. bigwespig

    bigwespig Adventurer

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    I'm fairly stubborn and should have listened about Yellowstone. I don't know maybe I was just spoiled by all the beauty involved in this trip before we got there. I hate people. Yellowstone has too many people. Therefore I hated Yellowstone.
    #80