Another Great (Continental) Divide Ride Report - this time - 2 up.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by KTM Mike, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Continental Divide Ride (CDR) or as some say Great Divide Ride (GDR) - Two up…



    My photos in this thread were originally hosted at Photo bucket. They stopped free hosting so most pics were gone. I think I now have them all fixed. If not please let me know and I'll see if I can fix them Photo Bucket sucks. Dont use Photo Bucket!
    ,≥>>>>>>>>>>

    If you are looking for a ride report about riding the Continental Divide Ride (AKA Great Divide Ride) the caliber of Cannonshot’s (http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/a-cannonride-down-the-great-divide-solo.603076/) or Big Dogs http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/continental-divide-ride.108842/ http://www.bigdogadventures.com/CD.htm or many others of amazing detail, witty writing etc – you probably should move on from this one. (I do encourage you to read their reports as they are great resources!)

    If you are looking for a ride report where you are amazed with how they bust out mega long days, mega mileage in nasty technical terrain and conditions each day, totally impressed with just how Gnarly of an Adventure Biker Dudes (GABD) the writers are – you probably should move on from this one.

    If you are looking for a ride report which leaves you amazed with how they manage to do it on some little 100cc scooter that seems impossible to do – you probably should move on.

    BUT…if you are looking for a ride report about riding the CDR two up, done at a semi-leisurely, comfortable pace, one that might motivate you to take on a similar ride with your wife, girl friend or significant other, or even solo – this report maybe for you.

    With that in mind, I will periodically include some lessons learned that have helped us make it work better two up or otherwise how to make it a bit less arduous of an Adventure, AND still having a relationship at the end of the ride. For those of you that have been doing this for a while - those points might not be of much interest. In a couple of conversations with other inmates, they felt it might be helpful for those that have not. Watch for the periodic 2 Up Tid-Bits. (2UPTB) for the worthless pearls of wisdom gained over 34 years of riding with my wife as pillion.

    A bit of background on our CDR ride and on us. Mrs. KTM and I have been riding two up together for 34 years – going way back to our college days, (yes Junior, they actually made motorcycles back then) starting out on a 1972 Yamaha TX500. Over the years, we did a good bit of two up touring/sport touring on a variety of bikes. We even logged 50,000 miles hauling two kids around in a sidecar rig. We had a dry spell where we didn’t do any street riding, primarily due to me getting into woods riding and enduro racing and the added logistics of growing boys no longer fitting in the sidecar. We eventually eased back onto the street. We soon realized we were looking for a different sort of riding than what we had done so much of in the past. That’s what led us to ADV riding. In the fall of 2013 we bought our first “Adventure Bike” a 2006 Suzuki Vstrom DL1000. We are now riding a 2007 KTM 990 Adventure. We loved it! We have also done a good bit of back country backpacking and canoeing, including a number of years with our sons.

    Our CDR experience is broken up over 3 years as we live in Michigan so have a good bit of slab dabbing to get out there, plus my time off work would not allow enough in one block to do it all in one sitting. In 2014 we did our first bit of it – riding from near Dubois Wyoming down to Steamboat Lake Colorado, plus some side trips and a visit with our son living in Laramie, WY at the time. In 2015 we did the northern portion, riding from Banff, Alberta Canada down to where we started in 2014, near Dubois, WY. In 2016 we did the remainder, from Steamboat Lake, CO to the Mexican border.

    Here is 2UPTB #1– and this is one of the most critical ones to keep the wife feeling secure and comfortable on the back of the bike: Slow down! Believe it or not, it’s not the Dakar Rally! Leave the GABD stuff to the guys not worried about hurting themselves or worse yet, their wife. Take your time as best you can. There is no shame in putzing along like a newb, feet down and paddling whenever you need to! Hell – I am a pretty damn good off road rider with a garage full of trophys to show for it. One thing I did learn from racing enduros, is that sometimes you have to slow down to go faster. You waste so much time and energy when you drop a bike, all that blazing speed that took you in over your head means nothing. I am NOT going to drop the bike with my dear wife on board. I don’t care how slow I have to go to make that happen. Truth be told, I did drop the bike twice in the course of our CDR ride. Once at zero MPH as a sage brush decided to slow me down suddenly (Mrs. KTM was not on the bike at that moment), and the second time with the Mrs. on board, in some snotty slick New Mexico mud.

    Part of slowing down, is to make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew by planning for too miles each day. Keep your itinerary flexible – don’t let yourself be locked in with “we HAVE to be to XX place by end of today”. Build in one or two extra days to allow for weather conditions, or simply a day off the bike. Go ahead, call me a sissy ADV rider if you want – we can talk after your divorce is finalized.

    Onto the ride Banff, AB to Dubois Wyoming:

    We took 3 ½ days to do the 1,942 miles from our home in Michigan out to Banff. We went around the north shore of Lake Superior, then across Canada. I won’t go into much detail on this part of the trip – not much to say really.

    Day 1: July 18 , 2015: Home to Thunder Bay, Ontario. 575 Miles

    Day 2: July 19, 2015 Thunder Bay Ontario to Winnipeg, Manitoba. 428 Miles.

    Day 3: July 20, 2015 Winnipeg, Manitoba to Medicine Hat Alberta. 662 miles. Our longest day on this trip. Monkey butt time for me. Mrs. KTM actually fared better than I did!

    2UPTB #2. Keep her tushy comfy and cushy– do what it takes – aftermarket seat, or what we landed on was an Air Hawk seat cushion. She loves it! For 2016 I will be using one as well. As the riders of bikes we spend tons of $, time and energy to dial in a bike for us – bar risers, different grips, footpegs etc. The Mrs. deserves the same! Fine tune her ergonomics. Mrs. KTM has long legs. That means the need for more leg room. Footpeg lowering brackets combined with the added seat height from the Air Hawk provide her with nearly 3” more leg room. One thing Mrs. KTM dislikes are bikes where she feels like she is schmucked up too close behind me. (a function of a short(er) seat lengths) Depending on the bike, I have custom fabricated backrest mounts or otherwise shift the mounts (or trunk if trunk mounted ) slightly more rearward than most are, allowing for a bit more roomy ride for the missus. Don’t think this is necessary only for the ummm….larger ladies. Mrs. KTM certainly isn’t – she just feels more comfortable with the added room.

    Day 4 July 21 Medicine Hat to Banff, Alberta. 277 Miles

    After lunch we pass through Canmore, Alberta then roll into Banff proper. WOW – these were the mountains I was hoping to see. After a short stop at the Depot station that serves as a tourist info spot we line up what sounded like about the last place to stay in town, a small bed and breakfast the owner of which was described as a bit “quirky”. We head over to the Tan-y-Bryn bed and breakfast, and are greated by the owner, standing all of 4’ 6” tall on a good day. She looks us up and down, glances at the bike outside and says “Ok…I can give you a room…last one, I won’t enforce the two night minimum…but you have to move your motorcycle over 3 feet to the left… OK! We check into the room as we hear the history of the place. It has been in her family for about 900 years. She actually is a very nice old lady, and we enjoyed hearing of the history of the house. Now it was time to explore town. We walked all over the place. Banff was a rather bustling, upscale tourist trap of a town but looked like it could be fun.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #1
    HumV33, Dago, WDG and 4 others like this.
  2. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 5 – July 22 on the CDR at last! Banff to east of Sparwood, British Columbia. 186 Miles.

    Morning finally arrived. We grab a quick shower, start loading up our gear while we wait for the Breakfast part of Bed and Breakfast to arrive. It finally does. Those coffee cups were all but worthless. TINY – I had to stick my pinky out to the side to manage to take a sip! I want my big old manly GABD coffee mug I have at home! Up Mt. Norquay to our official starting point. At the top, we stop for an official start of the CDR picture and head back down the way we came. It is pavement down to Canmore, then finally we reach gravel road. WOW… beautiful ( I say that often don’t I?). Along Spray Lake Reservoir, a short bit of pavement on route 40, then back on gravel. Damn..this gravel was deep! Fresh, deep, rolling marbles sort of nasty gravel! Total pain to ride in. Guess what I did? I SLOWED DOWN! It worked. I didn’t crash. I’m still happily married. Once we are past the areas with heavier mining truck traffic, the conditions improve. The weather was perfect! Soon we get down to Coleman and back on pavement as we head west on Rt. 3. We end up stopping to camp at Crowsnest Campground. Nice enough – rather boring, straight lane layout, but nice view of the mountains, and a nearby river . One odd thing we discovered, is there is no drinkable water supply! There is a water spigot – marked as not drinkable. We stopped at the camp host’s site and asked if there was some other water source – they tell us, “nope – but here, use these treatment tablets”! Strange. I suspect the water source may have been impacted by the local mining. So, we filtered the water AND used the tablets they gave us.

    2UPTB #3: Plan for the unexpected. In this case, we had a water filter that filters down to 0.1 microns, (a Sawyer filter – very convenient to use – link to Sawyer web site) also had some iodine water tablets of our own in our kit.

    This was our first night camping on our trip, and we were looking forward to it. Temps were comfy, and we slept well.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #2
    HumV33 and WDG like this.
  3. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 6 July 23 Sparwood, BC to Tucheck Campground (West of Glacier National Park). 133 miles

    Did I say we slept well the night before? Yeah…I guess we did. Talk about a late start to our day. By the time we had breakfast, loaded up the bike and were back on the road, it was about 11:15 AM! But remember – this is a vacation, not a race! We ride a few miles into Sparwood proper to stock up on supplies and fill up the bike. Note on our route – we decided to not do the leg to the north of Sparwood that Cannonshot’s GPS tracks show. Mrs. KTM went into the grocery store while I spend a few minutes checking over the bike, and grab a picture of the big mine truck across the road. As I stand there by the bike, this nice shiny station wagon pulls into the spot beside me. An older gentleman slowly gets out of the car, then makes a bee line right to me, stooped over, but very intense. As he approaches I am thinking this might not be a good conversation. He starts the conversation with a finger wagging towards me… “Hey, what kind of motorcycle is that?” I tell him it’s a Suzuki VStrom, as I notice him pulling something out of his pocket. I glance towards his car, and notice the hood ornament. I think this is going to be one of those great biker conversations! Now he is standing close by me, holding out a tattered, faded old picture. He explains “that’s me on my old Harley – it was a left over after the war…I rode it to New York state a lot of times to court the gal that became my wife”. We stood there chatting for the longest time as he relates his years of riding. Eventually, he shakes my hand and says “Ride safe kid – and have fun”. That sort of experience is what I love about traveling on motorcycle!

    It is about 19 miles of pavement down to Fernie, then we are back where I prefer to be – off pavement! Before too long the road narrows. By now it had warmed up considerably, so it was time to remove some layers. As we do so, a bicyclist pedals up to us and strikes up a conversation. We pretty much hear her life story, how her, her husband and son left Toronto a few years ago to move to BC, looking for a new life. It sounds like they found it. Our quick stop to shed a layer turned into a 35 minute break! We clearly were not going to be doing many miles today. 2upTB #1 – be flexible with your itinerary! Give yourself the pleasure of being able to enjoy the conversations like these. It really adds to the experience.

    Back on the trail, it was pretty much all dirt through Elko. We briefly ride near Lake Koocanusa (neat name huh?). Back onto Hwy 93 it is pavement to the US Border. The border crossing was uneventful as we left our drugs and guns at home. ;^)

    2UPTB #4: A brief aside on US/Canadian Customs. We have never had an issue. We don’t have passports, (we’re not much for international travel) but do have the enhanced drivers’ licenses. We don’t carry a weapon so that’s not an issue. We did carry Bear Spray – here is where it is a bit strange. It is illegal to carry the tiny pocket sized pepper sprays meant for use on humans, into Canada. I did some research before our trip – the rational is they are small enough to be concealed and used as a weapon. But…it is totally legal to carry a large bear spray container. Go figure. Any prescription medicines were in their original bottles. Truth be told – we were not inspected going into or out of Canada, so you untrustworthy looking sort of GABDs may have a different experience.


    Back into the US! Cannonshot’s GPS track showed the route breaking off to the west, then running parallel to US 93 for 5 or 6 miles, but somehow we missed where it turned off near the border. No biggie. It’s pavement down US 93 for 8 or 9 miles to Eureka. We fill up then head down Tobacco Road for 8 miles, which as I recall was paved. A 1 mile hop onto US 93 and then we head east on Gravely Creek Road. Early on it is a surprisingly nicely paved, but narrow road. Eventually (thankfully!) the pavement ends, and it soon turns into much more of a mountain back road two track. This was one of our favorite sections so far. While we had stopped to take some pictures, a classic old Ford pickup with an older couple and a dog in the bed pull up to chat with us. It was another one of those learning their life stories sort of chats. They are clearly locals, and very familiar with the area. He asks us “are you going up Trail Creek (NF114a) on that?” Gesturing to the bike. Well, yes we are going all the way through to Polebridge. Last he knew the trail was closed due to a tree down across it, and even if it wasn’t blocked, it was rough and rocky for a big bike like that. I tell him we have a hand saw, as long as the tree wasn’t too big we would be OK. He laughs and says good luck – the tree was too big for most chain saws! We tell him that’s no problem – we can always turn around if we need to.

    At this point the road was fairly rocky and very much a mountain two track. Guess what I did? I SLOWED DOWN! It worked. I didn’t crash. I’m still happily married. We never did find a tree blocking the road though. As we crested a long rocky climb we see two mountain bikes loaded down with luggage alongside the trail, with two ladies sitting nearby. We manage to keep it to a brief exchange, with them telling us they are OK, just taking a break, and that a third bike would be a few miles ahead of us.

    Around 6:30 PM we come across Tucheck Campground. We had originally planned on going on farther, but decide to check out the campground. It is a 7 site campground – the only amenities being a pit toilet, picnic tables and a Grizzly bear proof food storage box. Perfect! We notice the third mountain biker setting up a tent in one of the sites as we ride by. After checking out a nice site along the river, we decide to stay there for the night. As we set up, I hear a bike..sounds like a V-twin…sure enough a KTM 990 is tooling through, and stops to set up in the site next to us, and the other two mountain bikers roll in.

    Through the evening we met all the others in camp. The mountain bikers are all in their 70s and have been riding together for about the last 7 years. From Salida, Colorado, they are currently riding from Banff down to Flagg Ranch, Wyoming. To our surprise they were totally fascinated with us doing the CDR on a motorcycle, not to mention having ridden it from Michigan. We in turn were so impressed with the three of them doing the ride they were. I know I couldn’t! The guy on the 990 is another ADV Inmate (rockitman4x4), and just completed riding the CDR south to north (though he didn’t go up into Canada.) We BSed for a long time, but after seeing Mrs. KTM’s eyes glazing over with the bench racing between Bill and I, we call it a night, and get our food tucked away in the bear box. While it was a short day in terms of mileage, it was a very satisfying day. We really enjoyed meeting the various people along the way, and were excited to now be approaching Glacier.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    2UPTB #5 – Grizzly bear safety: I know many people do worry about the risk of Grizzly’s on the CDR. Fact is, from Banff down to at least South Pass City is prime Grizzly territory, and all of that in the US is subject to special regulations for food storage. You can read about the regulations here: http://igbconline.org/food-storage-regulations/ . Years ago my wife and I did a lot of backpacking in Glacier National Park, as well as in areas frequented by black bears. From that we became comfortable with our bear country camping routines. I am certainly no expert on Grizzly’s – far from it but I can share the steps we take. What it boils down to – keep the food smells 100% out of your tent. NO exceptions. ZERO food, or scented products (deodorant, toothpaste etc) in the tent. ALL food etc. goes into scent proof bags such as these http://loksak.com/civilian/opsak/ – they are supposedly thousands of times more scent proof than a zip lock. According to food storage regulations in, ALL food items must be stored in some sort of APPROVED bear proof container. http://www.igbconline.org/index.php/safety-in-grizzly-country/food-storage-regulations . Fortunately, at least between Eureka and Jackson Lake, there are food storage boxes provided in many (most?) designated camping areas. Put your food there. If that is not available, then it needs to go in an otherwise approved bear proof container. We used the URSack http://www.ursack.com/ as it is much more compact and light vs the hard sided containers. Learn the goofy knot they recommend, then tie it up in a tree consistent with the regs. The point with the storage regulations is that if bears are not able to get a reward (food) when they tear into stuff people leave around, they will not become habituated into that behavior, and will not do it, or at least be less likely to. The next bit relates to the clothing you cook and eat in. Don’t bring it in the tent! We set aside a set of clothing that is designated as our sleeping clothes. After eating and cleaning up camp, change into your sleeping clothes, put your stinky eatin clothing into a big LokSak. We put that into our pannier and locked it. We also put our dirty clothing in here (regardless of if eaten in or not) – keeps everything else from taking on that nasty locker room funk! Make sure you really do clean up camp! Wash up the cook gear. Pick up any scraps or leftovers and put it and your cook gear into a zip lock bag and put it into the food LokSak. All this might sound excessive, but for us it provides peace of mind and easy sleeping. Stay stink free in your tent, store the stinky stuff properly, you will be fine.
    #3
    HumV33 and ONandOFF like this.
  4. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 7 July 24 Tucheck Campground to Kallispel, GNP etc. layover day. 176 miles.

    We had built in a couple of layover days into our schedule to use as we felt the need, expecting to use one for going into Glacier National Park. As we were otherwise on track time wise, we decided to burn up one of our extra days. Knowing this was a layover day, we had an extra lazy morning packing up camp. It wasn’t until 1:00 PM that we got on the bike! We were eager to see Polebridge, as we had fond memories of sitting on the porch of the store there many years ago, eating Oreo cookies after 2 weeks of freeze dried food while backpacking in Glacier. The road was still fairly rocky at times, but very enjoyable to ride. It eventually became wider and well maintained, taking us past a few cabins as we approached Polebridge. Polebridge was a disappointment. It was now much more of a tourist destination, not the backcountry oasis we fondly remembered.

    The route between Polebridge and Whitefish Lake was really enjoyable to ride. We did make one wrong turn where the trail forked, the left leg slowly angling upward the right leg slowly angling down the mountain. I had the GPS zoomed out too far as we approached appearing we needed to take the left leg. it took a while to realize we needed the right fork. On the GPS, my track line was wide enough it covered both legs as they essentially ran parallel I eventually realized it, but continued to ride on simply because we liked the trail! But, we were pushing our time, so headed back down to the correct trail.

    We rode through Kallispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and to West Glacier. We had heard there were fires on the east side of Glacier but did not know the status – turned out they had closed Going to the Sun Road a bit more than ½ across to the east side. A lot of the visitor traffic from the east side was therefore on the west – making for a disappointing visit with far too many people present. Still, it was absolutely beautiful – every bit as we remembered from years past. We had hoped to camp in Glacier, but EVERY campground was full! Outside of the park boundaries we stopped at a couple of private campgrounds – all full. Eventually we were referred to the Western Inn and Campground in Columbia Falls. We got the only site remaining, and were the ONLY tent – everything else was BIG RVs, dwarfing our little tent. Stupid expensive at $48, but it did include a continental breakfast in the morning at least, and we were able to take hot showers and do some laundry.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Charging all the high tech stuff...

    [​IMG]

    our little tent ....mixed in with the big rigs

    [​IMG]
    #4
    HumV33, BobRob and scrapper like this.
  5. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 8 July 25 Columbia Falls, MT to Coopers Lake (not far from Ovando) 183 miles.

    After a pretty decent continental breakfast, we were on the road by 9:00 AM. Heading south towards Flathead Lake, we hit dirt again. While the scenery wasn’t as dramatic as the couple of days before, the route was entertaining. As we approached a fork in the trail, we saw a lone bike and rider stopped on the right fork, while my GPS was indicating to go left. We stopped to check to see if he was OK. He was, but was trying to determine which way to go. He was riding an older BMW GS Adventure that he had owned since new, but now had about 197,000 miles on it. His goal was to ride the CDR to the Mexican border, and reach it about the time the bike turned 200,000 miles. He was from Montana, only about 150 miles away. After a bit of chatting, we invited him to ride along with us as far as he wanted to. At one point we pass a guy on a mountain bike, pedaling at a blistering fast pace. Off we went until we reached a left turn where the trail “T”ed into another – but what we were greeted with was a “road closed “ sign. We decided to see why it was closed, in case we might be able to still get through on the bikes. As you can see from the picture below – there was no way we would be getting two big ADV bikes across that creek!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    After getting some bad directions about an alternate way out from a group of quad riders, we make the decision to back track to a road we spotted that would take us back out to Hwy. 83 and down to Condon. A glance at my ODO and gas guage and realize I may have done a dumb thing! When we left Columbia falls, we didn’t fill up the bike or the Rotopax, as we should have had plenty of gas to get to Condon to fill up. Well…stupid me – I didn’t expect to do a bunch of backtracking. It would be close, but we should make it – barely. At the gas station in Condon, my 5.8 gallon tank took 5.3 gallons!

    2UPTB #6: Don’t Pass Gas! Fill up! Fill your extra fuel container if you ride with one!

    As we pulled into the sole gas station in Condon, we saw that same bicyclist we passed earlier. It turned out Lee had met him earlier in the day. The bicyclist was from Australia, and was riding the entire CDR from Banff to the border, as quickly as he could. Nice guy. He got ahead of us while we were chasing alternate routes, having simply carried his bicycle across the creek we could not cross.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We continue south with Lee. He had not filled up in Condon, so we stopped for gas in Seeley Lake. He reached for his wallet – not there. Checked all his pockets, tore into his luggage NO WHERE! He was crushed – he had brought plenty of cash, but all of it was in his wallet with any credit cards etc. We filled his bike up for him so he would at least be able to get back home. We later heard via email, that he went back to where we stopped in Condon, and found his wallet on the table we had sat at while we ate. (you can actually see it on the table in the picture in Condon) Lucky! After the rough start to his trip, he ended up heading back home, but still hopes to do the CDR sometime in the future. I sure hope he can.

    2UPTB #7 – only carry a day’s worth of cash in your wallet at a time – keep the rest stashed away somewhere, along with a backup credit card and extra set of keys. Don’t lock the spare keys inside your pannier though – your lost keys won’t be of much help to unlock the pannier to get the spares! Mrs. KTM carries our spare set as over the years, I have proven to be, well…less than reliable when it comes to keeping track of my keys!

    Back on track we head down Cottonwood Lakes Road…but only make it about 1 mile before we see this sign:

    [​IMG]


    Uh..really??? We were well into the afternoon, and didn’t want to chance not being able to get through – so it’s back out to the pavement and onward to Ovando. Dirt roads from Ovando get us back on our planned route. In looking at the GPS we see a campground marked just a few miles off the route, on Coopers Lake – sounds like a plan – well until we see this sign:

    Two dogs for every person......

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Seriously? Not knowing exactly where the road was closed, we still pressed on hoping it would be after Coopers Lake. Thankfully it was. On the way there we came across a strange structure we decided was an abandoned alien space craft, worked our way up some switch backs reaching the campground around 8:30 PM. It was another tiny campground, on a lake with a handful of private homes or cabins. We set up next to two younger guys that reminded us of our sons. Eventually we got invited to sit around their fire, and drink few cold Huckleberry beers! This campground did not have bear proof boxes, but the guys let us put our food in their car for the night.

    Abandoned alien spacecraft....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #5
    HumV33 likes this.
  6. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 9: July 26 Coopers Lake to Butte MT. 171 miles. Our favorite day for the trip!

    We woke to a light rain, packed up and headed for Huckleberry Pass Road around 9:30 AM. It was for the most part nicely maintained gravel, great scenery even with the cloudy drizzly skies, (which soon cleared.) It turned out the road closure was nearly to the end of the road. We ignored the road closed sign, and pressed on to the bridge. We were in luck – the cement work had been done, and we could see some tracks going over it. A big log was dropped across the road on the other side, and brush piled up to prevent hooligans like us from doing what we were doing. So what’s a responsible old married couple to do? Go over the bridge, kick aside some brush and ride on.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We stopped in Lincoln (home of the UnaBomber) for a big breakfast, and fill up to head into what was absolutely our most favorite day of our northern CDR ride. Stemple Pass Road was a lot of fun. Not much of a road, more of a two track. A right at the fork onto South Fork Poorman road, then a wrong left turn that we loved! South Fork Poorman Road “T”s into Marsh Creek road. The primary CDR Route goes to the right, but Cannonshot’s tracks do show him having gone left for a little sidetrip we had not actually planned on doing. I misread the GPS, went left when I planned on right. WOW – I am glad we did. It led up a steep, rocky climb up to Granite Butte Firetower. Absolutely amazing views.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is a short video of the approach up to the fire tower. Sorry for it's low resolution - Im a newb to posting videos on YouTube! the original appears much better.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Back to the original route, we head towards Helena on some more fun stuff. Not too far west of Helena is what Cannonshot’s tracks marks as the Rimini Alternative, heading south before you get to Helena. From there we then broke west to Chessman Reservoir. (note: based on other ride reports the route straight south is really rough and rocky and appears to be not suitable for big bikes). The trail up to Chessman was a really FUN. Generally small two track, at times steep, rocky and narrow. At one point we were tooling along with a steep face to our left, and a steep drop to our right. I had just commented to Mrs. KTM “gee, I hope we don’t see a truck come around that corner up the…re….” and yep there was a truck! Damn…. Could we squeeze by? At first – no. The driver realized that, backed up to a slightly wider spot, and edged the truck up onto the hillside a bit. We seriously still thought we might have to remove the inside pannier. We stopped and chatted with the couple in the truck…got their life story (seems that keeps happening?) and went on our way. All too soon we were out to I-15. A quick glance at the weather forecast was not encouraging. Cold, rain and snow in the forecast. We decided to slab dab it south to find a motel. We pressed on to Butte, found a nice motel by 8:00 PM, had a nice dinner and relaxing (warm and dry) evening.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These next two shots were snipped out of my GoPro footage....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    stay tuned....more to come....
    #7
    T0ny and papa ktm like this.
  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    36,344
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Fabulous pictures! Pretty cool that you are riding two-up. :thumb
    #8
    KTM Mike and papa ktm like this.
  9. hansi

    hansi Teurer Abenteurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,158
    Location:
    State of Jefferson
    Subscribed.
    #9
    KTM Mike likes this.
  10. Moto Jimmy

    Moto Jimmy Bushwacker

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    411
    Location:
    New London, CT
    Mike - You're off to an excellent start on this report. Fantastic photos and detail! I now want to go to Banff too on my CDR quest. I give your wife much credit, for me it's an accomplishment if I get my wife to ride for an hour with me.

    Looking forward to the next posts!

    Jim
    #10
    KTM Mike likes this.
  11. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Thanks guys. The credit for 90% of the photos goes to my wife. A number of them she took were taken while we were moving actually! We've developed this odd routine where I might "see" what might be a great shot. I simply roll off the throttle for second - she takes that cue and take advantage of the brief pause to snap a pic. Or sometimes, I see her raise the camera in the mirror, roll off the throttle for the pause and snap.

    I guess I am lucky as she does love riding - we've been riding 2 up since we were 18 years old. Start with some short rides Jim - out to dinner maybe, but do it with little traffic around and stick to pavement without lots of tight twisties. I was a bit surprised when we first started doing the off pavement stuff - any sandy loose stuff that made the bike squirm around a bit really freaked her out. Just 2 years later, now she hardly even takes note of it.
    #11
  12. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    and we're back....


    Day #10: July 27 Butte to Dillon 121 Miles. (sort of a layover day).

    Can you imagine a weather forecast actually being right? Unfortunately the one from yesterday actually was. We woke up to a pouring rain and 39 degrees. We were REALLY not feeling it to get out for a ride. Good thing we built in some layover days. Our updated plan was to laze around for a few hours hoping the rain might stop and temps rise. Hope springs eternal? The rain didn’t stop. The temps only rose by 2 degrees. Yuk. And now we would realize we were stupid to have NOT packed our electric vests! We sucked it up, loaded up the bike and head out to find a store where we can buy another warm layer to wear. It seemed to take forever, but we eventually were cozy in our new fleece jackets, but not until 1:45 pm!

    2UPTB #8 Given our realization of how dumb it was to not bring our electric vests, it seems appropriate to comment on riding gear. Your pillion’s comfort is Paramount! With this in mind invest in riding gear that keeps her comfy – cool when she wants to be cool, warm when she wants to be warm. For us that meant vented gear with zip in waterproof/windproof liners, electric vests (when we are smart enough to bring them!). Carbon fiber (light weight – much less fatiguing) helmet for Mrs. KTM. We are ATGATT riders – without exception. In our defense – our rational in not bringing the electric vests this trip was based on several weeks of record high temps out west just prior to our trip. We wanted to save the bulk, took a gamble and lost. Ironically, we easily incorporated the bulk of the fleece jackets we bought – so it really wasn’t an issue. Based on our years of riding, we should have known better. We won’t make that mistake again!

    Given the weather and the late start, we opted to not follow Cannonshot’s tracks as they head south out of Butte, but to head out on I-15. We had planned on by passing Fleecer Ridge anyhow, (didn’t want to risk it on the Vstrom – a bit too steep of a drop). West off I-15 to Wise River for a late lunch. We got another life story from a customer in the café. Then south down Hwy 73 towards Polaris and Bannack State Park. All of this was paved riding – 73 would be a fun road in better weather, with some nice pavement and open sweepers. As we reached Hwy 278, we stopped to make some decisions on our next steps. While the rain had for the most part stopped, the temp was still barely above 40 degrees. Forecast was for rain turning to snow, with lows of 30 to 36 degrees. Time to head east to Dillon and the comfort of a motel. Our short day ended around 5:20 PM.

    South of Polaris - cold and rainy.

    [​IMG]

    Day #11 July 28 Dillon to Upper Red Rock Lake 165 Miles.

    Can you imagine a weather forecast being correct two days in a row? Yep – it was COLD, about 35 degrees when we got up. We could see fresh snow in the peaks off in the distance. But it was time to move on. We dragged our feet a bit hoping some extra time would allow the temps to pick up a couple of degrees. They didn’t. Bright and early at 11 AM we headed out with our first destination being Bannack State Park. It was cold as we headed west towards Bannack. At least the stop there would give more time for it to warm up!

    Bannack is a ghost town going back to 1862, arising from a bit of a gold rush in the area. By the 1950’s it was pretty much abandoned, and later became a State Park to preserve it. We really enjoyed learning of the history. I think we even more enjoyed the fact that the temps did warm up, and the sun was out occasionally.

    Bannack:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Back onto Old Bannack road, (AKA Medicine Lodge) we continued south, and discovered the mud left from the rain and snow the prior day. Slick, sticky, nasty goop! Guess what we did? I SLOWED DOWN! It worked. I didn’t crash. I’m still happily married.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A quick break at the Dell Mercantile. While it was mid afternoon, we could not resist some Adventure Biker fine dining…Mt. Dew and some of their massive cinnamon rolls! The smile on Mrs. KTMs face tells it all! (happy wife, happy life!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Crossing to the east side of I-15, we ride past the Lima Reservoir, and find more mud. It was rather deceptive – what appeared to be more or less solid ground along the edge would result in the E07 on the back of the bike digging a nice trench. We stopped frequently to scout out the best lines through the muck – which often was in the weeds along the side of the road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We set up camp in Red Rock Lake Campground by 8:45 that evening. Another really small campground. To our surprise, bear proof food storage boxes were provided. As we arrived there was a couple on bicycle, with a young toddler they hauled in a trailer, setting up camp, as well as a solo young guy on bicycle setting up camp. We first struck up a conversation with the young guy – he was from Belgium, planning on riding the entire CDR. It was surprising to learn that the couple were also from Belguim, but it was total coincidence they were there at the same time. The couple was loosely following the CDR, not necessarily expecting to ride the entire thing. Their son was extremely well behaved, and reminded us of when we used to backpack and do back country canoe trips with our two boys as toddlers. It was cold that night, dropping well below freezing – but we slept well.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    2UPTB #9: Keep her comfy in camp! Don’t go with too small of a tent. Our rule of thumb is a 3 person tent works for 2. (but don’t go to big – you do need to have a small packed size and light weight). Do not underestimate how warm of a sleeping bag she might need if camping! For Mrs. KTM, (me too) that means a lightweight, compact, 20 degree down bag. We stuff both of our bags into one compression stuff sack, making for a rather small packed size. At higher elevations temps can drop quickly – hence the lower temp rating. Yeah, there are times where that bag is too warm ...big deal – un zip it! When it is really cold, for added warmth, a well sealed bottle of hot water (use a quality water bottle like Nalgene) put in a zip lock bag, tossed into the sleeping bag can do wonders! Or – a couple of the large sized chemical heater packets. Of course a good pair of long johns can help keep her toasty. Another key part of camping comfort and warmth is a quality, comfy sleeping pad. For us it is the Exped SynMat 7 – well insulated, thick, comfy, reasonably compact and light! Lots of other similar options. Don’t be cheap, buy a good one! Oh – FWIW – when we do the big trips like this, we plan on hotels on the way out and back, and try to camp most of the nights when we are on the trail (though as you can see, we are not above a motel when conditions dictate!)
    #12
  13. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 12 July 29 Red Rock Lake Campground to Grassy Lake Reservoir 117 miles

    Based on the layer of ice on the seat of the bike in the morning, it was indeed cold the night before.

    Wheels turning bright and early at high noon! Today would be a three state day where we would cross from Montana, for a short while into Idaho, then into Wyoming as we approach Yellowstone on Flagg Ranch Road. We would start the day only 30 miles as the crow flies from the western edge of Yellowstone, to end the day 117 miles of riding later, right on the south edge of Yellowstone. (somehow that math doesn’t seem to work – but that’s what it was!) Just west of Idaho Hwy 20 the route on my GPS tracks headed south on Sawtell Road. Just over 1 mile in on Sawtell road, we reach a gate – the planned route was closed off! We attempted to find an alternative on other two tracks, but hit more closed gates. Back out to Hwy 20, we head south towards where the original route crosses Hwy 20 (just north of Macks Inn). After the fact I found out that I must have loaded an older Cannonshot track prior to him having rerouted around that closure.

    2UPTB #10: Make sure you download the most recent tracks!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    4 miles east of Hwy 20 we got twisted around and could not find the route. In looking at our GPS tracks on my computer now, and in discussion with Cannonshot, I determined we actually were on track, but missed the turn onto the railroad grade. No big deal, as that would not have been a fun stretch on a Vstrom 2 up. So, its back to 20 again, and south until we reach Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, then east on N. Hatchery Butte Road until we rejoin the original route. We stick with that until the route turns onto the old railroad grade. The Vstrom just wasn’t feeling it in the loose volcanic silty soft stuff – so we turn around to get out on a road that ran about parallel to the grade.

    Once we were on Ashton Flagg Ranch road we had our first close call. While rounding a tight, uphill right hand turn, my line went out towards the middle of the road to avoid a deep rut that had washed out. Just as we slowly rounded the corner, we see a pickup hauling ass towards us, brakes locked up sliding around in the center of the road! I had to dive the bike into the deep rut to avoid having the truck hitting us – thankfully I didn’t drop it.

    About 7:00 PM we set up camp at the eastern end of Grassy Lake Reservoir. The spot we choose was not a designated campground, but clearly a popular spot for free camping – though there actually was a bear proof food storage box. (Though no pit toilet or any other amenities). What a nice spot this was with a big fire pit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had a great dinner, at least until we had a little visitor stop by:

    [​IMG]

    This little guy circled our site at the edge by the trees, then made a beeline for the open door of the tent! I nervously edged to the tent to zip the door he was heading for shut, only to have him circle around the tent towards the other door! I zipped it shut as he wandered off into the woods. He never did spray….phew…..

    [​IMG]


    2UpTB #11 – Other gear for in camp. You may have noticed we did allow ourselves the luxury of some Helinox Ground Chairs. Fantastic to be able to sit comfortably! They pack up small and lightweight. By packing smart, reducing our weight and volume where we could, we felt we had the room to bring these along. Well worth it. Our cook stove is a little el-cheapo Amazon special - $6! Works fantastic, light, compact. The only downside is the bulk of the Iso Butane/Propane cylinders – but this little cheapo will heat up dinner FAST and is reliable. I have considered something like a MSR multi fuel, but cant justify it when this one works so well for so little money. Our cook kit is a GSI Outdoors 4 person. We bring only the smaller pot, two cups and bowls and plates. This leaves room to put our stove , utensils etc. inside, as well as to bring the nice “kitchen sink”/carrying case. It works well for the two of us, though we could easily reduce the bulk by going with the 2 person version. For food we typically plan on a mix of freeze dried backpacking food combined with food we buy along the way.

    A general comment on what we bring, vs what we observe others hauling along. I don’t mean to offend anyone but damn…I just don’t get it when you see a big ADV bike, ridden one up, massive panniers and trunk, out for a long weekend trip, yet they have have duffles strapped on everywhere, on top of panniers, trunk and massive one on the seat. WTF? That load would likely exceed the combined weight of all our gear plus my passenger! Learn to be more efficient. Your bike will handle better, and yes Martha – you can even bring the kitchen sink.
    #13
    UberKul and bamamate like this.
  14. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 13 July 30 Grassy Lake Reservoir to Duboise, WY to 10 Sleep Wy. (end of this year’s CDR – but we didn’t have enough) 284 miles

    Wow – our last day on the CDR for 2015!

    Up at the crack of dawn (yeah, right!) we packed up to finish off this year’s ride on the CDR. It was both a happy realization, and a sad one as it meant our trip was drawing to a close. Evidently our little skunk friend wanted to encourage us to move on as he showed up just before we pulled out. I had started the bike up to let it warm up and stepped back from the bike for a second as I fiddled with turning on the GoPro. The little stinker actually walked under the bike! Then cruised around the site for a minute to make sure we didn’t accidentally leave any food behind for him, then waddled off into the woods. Mrs. KTM walked part way up towards the road take some pictures. As she did so, that damn little skunk walked within inches of her! (no, she didn’t get any pictures..seems she was a little distracted!).

    Rolling along on Flagg Ranch Road, we head to Flagg Ranch for a brief stop. We parked next to an older BMW GS and met the rider – another inmate here, One Less Harley, and chat for a while. Our paths cross again near Jackson Lake – and he took a couple of pics for us. Soon we are to where we started the CDR in 2014, where Buffalo Valley Road and WY 287? meet NW of Dubois. Here’s our official end of the CDR 2015 pic:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Official end of our 2015 CDR Ride:

    [​IMG]


    More Wyoming Wanderings (Day 13 Continued)

    If you don’t want to hear about some more riding in Wyoming and our ride home, well too bad, you’re just going to have to suck it up and ride along to the bitter end ;^)

    Heading east on 287/26 towards Shoshoni, we stopped for gas and to decide our plans for the rest of the day. Way back in 1983 Mrs. KTM and I were poor college students riding a 1974 Honda CB 750 on our first big trip out west – and our first visit to Wyoming. We passed through the little burg of Ten Sleep on that trip and wanted to see it again. Now was the time to do it, plus we could take in some more miles of Wyoming dirt. At Monetta sp we head north from Hw 20 on CR 176 towards Lost Cabin and Ten Sleep. It was pavement through Lost Cabin. Imagine our surprise when we came across this sign:

    [​IMG]


    It was absolutely eerie seeming when we stopped in Lost Cabin – the town seemed to be abandoned. All of the buildings near us were empty, some boarded up. As we sat there, an older couple riding in a UTV pulled up and asked if we were OK. They are pretty much the only people living in Lost Cabin. The history of Lost Cabin goes back to the late 1800’s when a sheep rancher, John Okie built the town. It also served as a stagecoach stop back then. The guy we were speaking to was a former ranch foreman. In more recent years the area was bought out by gas and oil companies. Natural gas wells in the area created a risk for the release of poisonous hydrogen sulfide that is mixed with the natural gas. When we asked them what they did when the alarms sounded, they simply said “we stay inside”.

    [​IMG]

    The route up to Ten Sleep was beautiful. Totally different in character compared to the stuff we saw along the CDR.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We roll into Ten Sleep about 9:00 PM, found a cheap motel, then walked “downtown” to a local bar to grab a bit to eat. Then off for some Ten Sleep….;^)
    #14
  15. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 14 July 31 Ten Sleep WY to Chamberlin SD 482 Miles

    So we awoke at the crack of dawn ok ok…maybe not…but it was earlier than most other days – got on the road by 8:00 AM, worked out way up to I90 for the boring ride home. At a gas stop in eastern Montana we came across this KLR – really stood out from the Harley’s. The rider’s story is a good one. Young guy from of all places, Belguim (what was it with Belgians on this trip?). He flew to Toronto to stay with a friend and built this bike out of used parts sourced online or from scrap yards – said he had a total of $800 into it! He had dreamed of a ride across the US for many years, and as he had a dirt bike background, wanted it to be more of an ADV sort of ride. He didn’t have any specific route planned really, other than head west, find some mountains, and ride north until into Canada, then west to the west coast of British Columbia. Once there he planned to find a job to save up enough money to return to home! We gave him the Adventure Cycling Association Maps that we had covering up to Banff, and gave him some pointers on the route. I wonder if he made it?

    Hwy. 16 in the Big Horn Mountains.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As we rode east, Mrs. KTM counted 820 bikes per hour heading west towards Sturgis. Stopping for gas was a challenge as it took forever to simply get to a gas pump due to all the bikes pulling in. We stopped in Chamberlin, SD planning on riding for another 100 plus miles. But seeing the endless stream of bikes, trucks hauling bikes etc. pulling in, and the nearly full parking lot at the motel across the street, we decided we would be better off to stop now than risk not finding a place to stay a couple hours down the road. The motel across the road was FULL…they said they only knew of one room available in town. It looked a bit sleazy at best. At least I knew bikers were welcome based on the sign that said “Free Beer for Bikers”. Our $110 got us an absolute PIT of a room. 3 twin beds crammed in, musty nasty smell. I seriously worried about bed bugs! At least it was a roof over our tired heads. I did get a kick out of the hotel sign on a different hotel in town:

    [​IMG]
    #15
    BeemerBOI and Moto Jimmy like this.
  16. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Day 15 August 1. Chamberlin SD to Oshkosk, WI. 578 Miles

    After a rather crappy night of sleep, we actually got going at a sort of early (for us) time – 7:30 AM. We rolled into Oshkosh WI at 7:15 PM. As we approached Oshkosh , I told Mrs. KTM that the first motel we saw that had vacancy was where we would stay – price didn’t matter. Lucky for us we got the last room at the first motel we saw for way less than the night before, and it was their Jacuzzi suite! Best yet, today was mine and Mrs. KTMs 34th wedding anniversary! It only seemed fitting, as we had spent our first anniversary on our first ever bike trip, riding a 1972 Yamaha TX500 up to Copper Harbor, MI.

    Day 16 August 2. Oshkosh to home. 382 miles. Our last day….

    Heading north by 9:00 AM, we could see storm clouds ahead, donning our rain gear north of Green Bay. Through some serious downpours and high winds we came to a traffic back up along US 2 in St. Ignace MI. The Mackinaw Bridge was closed! We later learned a truck towing a RV trailer had flipped on the bridge due to the winds. After it was cleaned up and winds died down, the bridge reopened. Across the Mighty Mackinaw Bridge, we made it home at 5:30 PM.

    Paying homage to the Rain Gods by putting our rain gear before it started (we got soaked still!)

    [​IMG]


    WOW

    What a trip! We had an absolute blast. No issues encountered. Met lots of great people. Saw amazing scenery. Spent lots of time with my sweetie doing what we love doing together. I call that a success!

    Next up will be our ride from 2014 where we started the CDR near Dubois, and ended at Steamboat Lake Colorado. It will take me a few days before I will have a chance to start posting that leg of the CDR - so keep yourself busy reading some other ride reports, but check back here soon!
    #16
  17. MotoChron

    MotoChron Got Dirt?!

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,477
    Location:
    Tip of the Mitt
    Great ride report Mike! Loved the pics and your narration. Makes me want to join you on the next leg of the CDR. Looking forward to the report from '14.
    #17
    KTM Mike likes this.
  18. JT105

    JT105 Let's Ride!

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    465
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Great stuff! Thanks for taking the time to share your adventure.
    #18
    KTM Mike likes this.
  19. Moto Jimmy

    Moto Jimmy Bushwacker

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    411
    Location:
    New London, CT
    Well done! Can't wait for Part II. Surprised on the size / construction of those bear boxes. I had an image in my mind that they would be more substantial, seems like a grizzly could make short work of them. They must vary in size and style based on the campground and volume of users I would think.
    #19
    KTM Mike likes this.
  20. KTM Mike

    KTM Mike Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,518
    Location:
    Atlanta, Michigan
    Thanks JT and Jimmy. I have not made much progress yet on Part II - but I did at least start!

    I did put in the link to Big Dogs thread and website on the first post.
    #20