We trailered to Oak Creek Colorado, and stayed at the Oak Creek Motel, where the owner let us park our truck and trailer there for the duration of the ride for $2 a day. Privately owned placed and seems very secure. The rooms were nice and reasonable. Oak Creek is on the Alt 09 tract. So we gassed up and made Dinosaur National Monument the first day, 225 miles and 9 hrs. Temps did vary, primarily based on elevation. One morning when camping at 10,000 feet, it was 31 degrees, not too bad. I took a zero degree down bag with an R5 pad and got hot when I was fully enclosed. But I would take that again because I hate to be cold. My advice on the time you can allocate for the ride is to eliminate a tract or so rather than pushing it. It's tough to stay on a time schedule since many variables can effect your time. Weather, road conditions, mechanical issues, etc. We were on the trail for 17 days and did not get to ride the last 3 tracks due to weather. Of the 17 days we stayed in motels 4 or 5 days, and never had an issue getting rooms. We found the state parks nice in that they had running hot and cold water and decent restrooms/showers. I washed my base layers in a soft sided cooler when I showered, and then hung the stuff on a paracord line to dry by camp. The National Park campsites were ok, more private and remote, generally only had one source of water that gets cut off around the middle of September, but most had nice fire rings and a picnic table. As DP said, big bikes will do fine, but there were areas where prior rains had made some roads very challenging, regardless of what you were riding. With respect to your friend and not liking gravel, there is a lot of gravel roads you will be on. My bike felt very loose on these as weighted down as I was but you just let it move around under you and get used to it pretty quick. When you got to the deep sandy areas you actually appreciated the gravel. The muddy areas can be very challenging. Just study Tony's tracts and he highlights the bad areas. I did this plus read every ride report I could to get a feel for the ride. From reading, we knew the area between Rangely and DNM was really bad when wet, with heavy sticky mud that you have to clean off just to keep going. So we would watch the bad areas along with the forecast and plan accordingly. This is a great ride and it is very doable on just about any DS bike and any rider skill level. You will have a great time.