This is my (and yet another) personal account of my ride down the GCDT (Great Continental Divide Trail) in July of 2016 on my 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R. Only when writing this post have I just realized that I've had my motorcycle license for 25 years. Pretty awesome :) This is my first big dual sport bike, and also my first big on- and off-road trip on this kind of a bike. I'll try to provide as much detail as I can for any other riders out there thinking about making this trek. The Route Similar to many other riders I met along the way, I used Kevin's GPS route for this trip. I found it to be around 95% or better in terms of accuracy. The rare instances of error could have been attributed to my GPS at the time. What's important is it saved me a *ton* of time in route planning, and it worked! (Thanks Kevin!) I reside in the Bay Area of California, so [fast forward] here's what my final route looked like once it was all said and done... That loop is around 5,000 total miles. Right away, I'm inclined to mention that there were several sections of the official (blue) GCDT route that were extremely challenging on a big bike (especially while riding solo). I learned quickly to pay attention to the green routes. While not always easy, they were easier than the blue route, and rarely disappointed when it came to scenery and fun. There are some sections of the blue route that even the bicyclists find an alternate route for. (Mainly south of Helena, Montana and south of Abiquiu Lake, New Mexico.) I never once tried a red route. The Machine As I mentioned, I chose to ride my 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R. It's a bit on the big side for the GCDT. There's a lot of stop-and-go, getting off and on, and generally throwing the bike around that makes for a much longer day. And that's not even counting the riding. But don't let my thoughts deter you. It can be done. I did it. The big bikes will destroy the asphalt stretches between backroads and trails. They'll also destroy the fire roads. All from a much more comfortable seating position than say a DRZ 400. And with a much larger stock fuel capacity. I fitted my KTM with several essentials: 1. SPOT mount 2. Montana Garmin GPS handlebar mount 3. Rotopax 1.75 gal spare gas can 4. Rox Risers (I'm tall) 5. Blackdog lowered/larger footpegs 6. Renazco seat 7. Hepko Becker rear racks (Wolfman saddlebags and Mosko 30L tail bag) - also added bicycle water bottle holders to them, which worked great. 8. Wings shortie exhaust - so my racks/bags would fit how I wanted 9. KTM Bad fuel dongle - so I could always keep the bike in the same ("offroad") riding mode The Tires I had a TKC80 on the front, and decided to stick with that since it had a good amount of tread left. For the rear I decided to go with the much discussed MotoZ Tractionator Adventure. For the entire GCDT ride never had any issues with this tire setup. No flats either. The TKC80 front lasted around 4,600 miles. The Tractionator Adventure lasted the entire trip and still has almost a 1/2 inch of evenly-worn knobbies left. I'm happy! The Gear I'm no stranger to adventures. I like to think that I pack pretty light these days. I carried a tool set that the folks at Adventure Designs came up with for me. It worked for about 99% of what I needed along the way. The one area where it failed was when I needed to break the rear axle nut to adjust the chain slack. The torque settings call for around 65 ft lbs and the tool kit's idea of a breaker bar to get that loose almost ruined one of the better tools in the kit (by bending it). Instead, in the future I'll invest in a good torque wrench like Lyndon Poskitt carries so I have real peace of mind and don't waste any unnecessary time or energy. I also carried: 1. Spare clutch and front brake levers 2. J-B Weld 3. Maxima Chain Wax 4. Spare work gloves & towel 5. Manual air pump 6. Med kit 7. Head lamp 8. Warm layer of thermal underwear 9. Hot weather riding jersey and pads 10. One pair of light hiking pants, sneakers, and hat Starting out, I wore a jacket and pants from KLIM. As things got hotter, I switched to jersey/pads combo. I didn't pack much by way of clothes. I had one t-shirt, one pair of socks, and three pair of spandex shorts. That was it. I washed everything by hand whenever possible. For that I carried a bar of soap I picked up from a motel (chop it up into pieces and you don't have to worry about putting a wet soapy bar back into your bags). I also packed a laptop, but I found I shouldn't have even bothered. Camp vs Hostel/Motel I camped about 50% of the time. I enjoy camping, however it was downright cold in many of the places I stopped. A couple of mornings in the tent it was 29 and 32 degrees. I awoke to a frozen bike and gear. I didn't set any fires unless I stumbled into an already established encampment, or an old (but still warm) fire. Some camping spots were around $10 for the night. There are some hostels for free, but often full of bicyclists. Motels along the route run $85+tax per night (unless you find a Motel 6 [$60+tax]) The Photos This is my first post on advrider.com -- I can't upload a lot of photos to this thread, so I'll just link you to my Instagram. (Hopefully that's ok) Here are a few of my favorites: This is Doug! I met him on my way to Eureka, Montana and we were able to ride together briefly one morning after some beers the night before. Hell of a guy! This is in the Great Basin desert of Wyoming, just north of Rawlins. One of my favorite places in the US. This is near Dillon Lake, Colorado iirc. Spectacular views. The Fuel The KTM has a 6-gallon tank. I found I never needed more than around 3.75 gallons of fuel between gas stations along the GCDT. I averaged around 45 miles per gallon for the entire trip. There's a lot of ethanol along the way, too, which some folks believe is a bad thing. Your call. My daily fuel costs were around $6. Problems I encountered 1. Fatigue - regardless of which end of the GCDT you start from, they're both quite challenging. Drop any bike after 6 hours of off-road riding and it's suddenly sucky, if not impossible (when it's a napping pig). 2. Big powerful bikes + awesome terrain = faster wear - this is my experience, but flogging on big powerful bikes in tough terrain and conditions wears the parts out exponentially faster than lighter, lower powered bikes, which still have spectacular power-to-weight ratios. Not a complaint, just an observation. 3. Leaky clutch - after some excessive usage of the clutch it started leaking hydraulic fluid. I couldn't tell if this was due to elevation or not. It's at the shop now and should be covered under warranty. I never lost hydraulic pressure. (Update: the shop says there's no issue, likely elevation related.) 4. Loud chain slapping the swingarm - my KTM has a giant heavy chain. When you flog this thing on all kinds of surfaces for hours in the day, every day for a few weeks, the chain stretches quickly, and grinds through the chain guard really fast. Hearing the loud knock on every bump got old pretty quick. Adjusting the chain would work for about an hour. Finally I just lived with it and kept flogging. My suspension was setup correctly, I promise. Things I learned 1. Riding at night - is crazy dangerous on the GCDT. There's a ton of wildlife. You will hit it. If you ride at night, make sure to have plenty of light to light your way. 2. You really don't need to pack much food - there are a lot of options as you go day-by-day. My daily expenses were around $7-$10 for food. I'd wake, find coffee, find a snack for breakfast and get going. I was a walking Cliff Bar. Remember, this trail is regularly traveled by bicyclists traveling at much slower speeds. Your never too far away from food/snacks. 3. You can get stuck on a big bike - there are areas along the GCDT where you can start down or up a trail and find you can't turn around on a big bike. Once you're in, you're in. 4. I'd like to try this trail on a 500cc or 690cc bike - this trail has some seriously awesome sections for lighter bikes. I just might have to do the trek again in the future. 5. You'll find yourself in the middle of nowhere quite often - and if you like this kind of thing, you should do this ride. I was pleasantly surprised. There's no way I've mentioned everything, so feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to recall the info and respond quickly. Especially for you riders looking to embark on this same ride soon. It's an awesome ride.