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 suppose I should get around to actually finishing this story. Sorry for the delay. We made it to the border, but we still have a long way to go to get home.

    July 30 – Day 15

    Eureka, MT to Great Falls, MT

    We grab a quick bite to eat at the convenience store across the street before starting our trek home. The plan is to ride to Mt. Rushmore then split up...Wes to Indiana and me back to Texas. At least that was the plan.

    We cut back through Glacier National Park to hit the Going to the Sun Road. I had read about this being one of the most scenic drives in the country, and it did not disappoint. Worth the price of admission. The park was busy, but not too bad.

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    The fella in the ball cap and sunglasses is Jake. He works for the Park Service at Glacier and describes his normal duties as drive around all day and kick rocks off the road. He came over to chat while we were stopped for a pic. Turns out he has a well farkled 690 of his own. He offered to take us on some lesser known trails, but his bike was temporarily out of commission, and he wasn’t quite done kicking rocks that day. We were itching to put down some miles anyway and get home, so we pressed on. We did get connected on social media though, and he has some pretty cool rides of his own. So, look for Jake if you’re going through Glacier, and he might be able to lead you on some lesser know routes.

    A couple days prior we had called ahead to a dealer in Great Falls and arranged for some new tires for Wes. The WR250 should be fine getting home on the tires I started with, but the 690 is gonna need some fresh rubber. It’s Sunday, and we have to wait til morning to get the tire. So, I score us a free room at the Holiday Inn Express in Great Falls for the night.
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  2. misanthropic

    misanthropic Long timer

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    Good stuff. Color me green.
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  3. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    Very impressive trip video! Thanks for taking the time to capture the footage, especially with the drone, and all your fine editing.

    Makes me want to go back and ride the whole thing again (too)!

    Bravo :clap

    HF :thumbup

    p.s. how did your friend retrieve his truck from Lubbock?
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  4. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    July 31 – Day 16
    Great Falls, MT to Billings, MT


    We take our time getting going in the morning since the dealer doesn’t open til 9 or 10. When we get to the shop, it was one of the biggest disappointments of the trip. We called ahead the week before to make sure they would have tires for us, but we soon learn that the tires they have are the wrong size. I’m not talking width or aspect ratio…the wrong damn rim size. Also, never mind the fact that half the bikes on their showroom floor are 18/21 dual sports. Carrying DOT tires in that size would just make too much sense. I’m talking about you Sports City Cyclery in Great Falls, MT…you are a disappointment.

    They were the only place in town open on Monday. So, now we have to go another 200 miles to Billings. We called ahead to the dealer there, and they said they had tires for us. We arrive about noon, grab some lunch, and proceed to wait…and wait….and wait some more. Wes didn’t feel like putting the tires on, so he paid them to do it. The kid in the back took the rest of the day to get it done. We should have just done it ourselves.

    We finally hit the road about 5 pm. Then about 30 miles later I realize Wes isn’t behind me anymore. I back track a couple miles and find this.

    20170731_181653.jpg



    Wes said the rear wheel was way out of balance, and it was pretty rough going before it went flat. We didn’t think to inspect the handiwork before leaving, but it turns out that the kid put the rim locks back on wrong. We didn’t trust them to fix it, so we pulled out the tools and a spare tube to fix it ourselves. That’s when we noticed this….

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    The tire was ruined. We called the shop on the side of the road, and they sent the kid to come get Wes’s bike with a trailer. It was late and luckily this happened before they closed. It still took the guy forever to find us. He apparently didn’t know the difference between Interstate 90 and Interstate 94 either.

    Looks like we have to stay the night in Billings, and try to get fid a new tire in the morning. Wes gets us a free night at the Comfort Suites.
  5. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    He actually didn't have too. He originally made the trip from Indiana with his brothers so they could visit their dad. They hauled the bike down then drove back after a few days.
  6. whistler0414

    whistler0414 n00b

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    What a great ride report. Your eye for photography is so good, and the drone changes the way we see the world. My first off road experience other than Iowa gravel, was the CDR, north to south in 2011 when I was 70. What a learning curve. Since then I've been fortunate to ride the Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Idaho BDR's, and the Heart of the West. At 76 I hope to have a bit of time left to explore back country with great friends. Your report brought back so many memories. Thanks!
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  7. JTM386

    JTM386 n00b

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    HAHA I made the ride report. Final video came out great!!!!! Pleasure to meet you fellas in Glacier, I know we will cross paths again maybe plan a Big Bend ride? I'm currently in Southern California/Baja for the winter but I'm very capable and willing to twisting the throttle on over to Texas after the new year?
  8. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Thanks!. It was good meeting you too. I've got an itch for Big Bend, but for me it's gonna have to wait. I've already got my winter vacation time spoken for with family ski trips and such. Also, my boss decided to schedule me through July already before I could even plan a summer vacation!
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  9. Scott Parish

    Scott Parish Adventurer

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    Terrific RR - will continue to review video as I prepare for my 2018 trip.
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  10. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    August 1 – Day 17
    Billings, MT to Deadwood, SD (Sort of)


    We awake in Billings in no kind of hurry to get going. Wes’s bike is back at the dealership (Hi Tech Motor Sports) and they aren’t open yet. Once we can get someone on the phone, we find out that they have no more tires. We call everyone in town that we can think of, and no one has anything that can fit. We were looking for pretty much anything for an 18 inch rim…didn’t care if it was street or dual sport. Still nothing. They offer to overnight us a new tire, but that means sitting in Billings for another day.

    Meanwhile, Wes has a wife and 2 kids back home that he wants to get home to ASAP. So, we call Enterprise and see about getting a van. They have one for him, and we take it. They pick him up at the hotel. He drives to the dealership to get his bike where they refund the price of the rear tire and the installation. He takes off down the Interstate towards Indiana. It’s all over for the 690.

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    We originally planned to go to Mt. Rushmore, then part ways. Now, we are parting in Billings. I have about 1,100 miles to get home. I get back on the 250 and try to knock out some highway.

    Through Wyoming again...

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    And into South Dakota...

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    I made it to Deadwood, SD for the night. I think Wes made it all the way to Sioux Falls in the van. Luckily for me (not really), Sturgis was almost in full swing when I pulled into town. I got some funny looks when I pulled up to the hotel. I scored another free night at a Holiday Inn. As I'm unloading the bike, a woman walks by and says she likes my bike. She said I probably had some good stories. I said thanks, and then looked over at the Harley dude she was with who seemed quite unimpressed with the exchange. After an awkward pause they kept walking though. No real trouble.
  11. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer

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    Anyone feel sorry for you and put change in the pot on the back? :rofl

    Bummer about the tire problems. I probably would have just rode on it at a slower pace until the next available tire. I wonder what chunked them off.

    Anyway.. diggin the RR. :beer
  12. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    Are you referring to my coffee mug/chili bowl/bean pot? Very important piece of equipment!

    We would have probably toughed it out but we were starting to get into a time crunch..
    I think Wes was getting work calls on Day 3 wanting to know when he would be back...dont think they really believed we were gonna ride dirt bikes 5,000 miles!
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  13. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer

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    I like that coffee mug/chili bowl/bean pot hanging on there, adds a certain character to the whole rig. :pope

    I think I'll get me one and carry it like that. Wonder if I can find one with Starbuck's logo for my GS, may never use it buy hey! :toney
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  14. TaZ9

    TaZ9 Been here awhile

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    I really enjoyed your wonderful ride report and inspiring photos! I lived in El Paso for several years, and now live in Northern Colorado. I have ridden much of the CDT, and as you have discovered, the scenery and open spaces can be almost overwhelming in it's beauty. Glacier National Park and Going to the Sun Road was the highlight of my trip for me. Sorry to hear about your tire issues. I have several friends that own motorcycle dealerships and they constantly tell me how hard it is to hire and keep good, knowledgeable employees, especially mechanics. That is one of the many reasons that for the past 45 years, I have done most of the maintenance on the more than 20 motorcycle I have owned. I don't enjoy changing tires on my bikes either, but when I'm 100 miles out in the middle of nowhere, I like the peace of mind that they were installed properly and the condition of my motorcycle gives me the best opportunity of getting home safely.

    Ride safe,

    Taz9
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  15. Scott Parish

    Scott Parish Adventurer

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    Did Enterprise know the van was to be used for motorcycle transport? Just curious since some rental places will refuse if they know you are moving a motorcycle. Tough way to end the trip; but at least you got to ride all the fun parts together.
  16. wheatfield

    wheatfield Adventurer

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    Loved the ride report. Just going that distance is feat in itself. I wonder though why the 690 ate up tires and you finished on the ones you started with ???
  17. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    August 2 – Day 18
    Deadwood, SD to Lamar, CO

    I’m up early with the intent to put some good mileage down today. I decided that I was making it home in 2 days from Deadwood. I hit the road right about sunup, and go by Rushmore.

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    A quick air filter clean in the parking lot, a couple pics, and I’m back on the road. No time for messing around. I go down the road a few miles to Crazy Horse.

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    Again, I snap a couple picks and get back on the road. I’m into Nebraska soon enough.

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    And then Colorado. I didn’t even stop to get a pic at the Colorado border this time. I found myself falling asleep in the mid afternoon and pulled off at small town park for a nap. But before I could doze off, I noticed weather moving in. I was 300 miles down for the day and needed to get quite a bit more. So I jumped back on the road with the storm behind me. I managed to make it to Lamar, CO and snag another free hotel for the night just as the storm finally caught me. 540 miles today…a new high for me and the 250. I believe Wes made it all the way home to Indiana this day in the van.
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  18. bluemtnridr

    bluemtnridr Been here awhile

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    Great RR. I also like the pot/cup thingy on the rear of your WR. How in the world do you get free motel rooms. You must be quite the charmer. Thanks for taking us along.
    JD
  19. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    August 3 – Day 19
    Lamar, CO to Lubbock, TX


    Not much excitement on the last day…just another pavement run to get home in time for my normal weekly appointment at my neighborhood bar with my buddies. First, I run due east out of Lamar to hit the Kansas border…the 250 has never seen Kansas, so why not?

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    It’s all south from there.

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    And that’s it! 5,370 miles total in 19 days for me and the 250. Wes knocked out 4,197 miles in 16 days on the 690 before getting the van.
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  20. dbradford

    dbradford Been here awhile

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    I'd like to think the better tire wear has to do with my superior riding abilities :lol3, but it probably has to do with the fact that the 690 has about 3x the torque and horsepower of my 250. Bike weight was pretty similar in our setups. Rider weight not so much...:hide.
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