Mexico to Canada on Dirt - The Continental Divide Trail

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bwanajames, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. outbacktm

    outbacktm Bullrun Bison Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    679
    Location:
    Bullrun
    Lots of “coincidental” signals
  2. easyrider88

    easyrider88 POsIng PrO

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    clintonville,wisconsin
    ever change the final drive bearing on youre beemer?it looks like youve changed the entire unit before in one of youre previous posts.its an easy fix.ive done mine twice on my K1200lt.
  3. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    335
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Easyrider,

    I'm glad you asked this question. Yes, I've changed the final drive units out as a whole, but never peeked inside.

    The general consensus seems to be that BMW opposed-twin engines will last until the end of time, but that final drives are the weak link. Knowing it would be impossible to source on the road, I carried a Crown wheel bearing rebuild kit with me to Alaska, but thankfully never had to use it.

    How tricky is it? It is just a bearing. So proper fitting should be about correct freeplay/pre-load/shimming, right?

    Funny, as I was sitting at a light that fateful day, I glanced at the odometer which had just turned 75,000 miles. Then looked over the 23-year-old machine with an appreciative eye. I guess it held up as long as could be expected.

    BJ
    ScotsFire and BJMoose like this.
  4. 2WheelNeal

    2WheelNeal F'n Neal Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,962
    Location:
    Apple Valley, MN
    Next stop Choteau? :lurk
    Can't wait to see where life takes you next, have fun and please keep writing. :beer
    outbacktm, Yinzer Moto and bwanajames like this.
  5. easyrider88

    easyrider88 POsIng PrO

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    clintonville,wisconsin
    bwana james,my 2000 bmw final drive bearing went out at 55k.i went on you tube with this info.2000 bmw k1200lt final drive bearing replacement.there were 2 videos that i combined and used to do the replacement.i got the bearing and seal for around $50 from an independent bearing seller.it took afew hours but was an easy fix.it went out at 80k again.did it again.when i went back to the bearing place for another bearing and seal the guy said i probably wouldnt get 25k on the next bearing repalcement since i was only replacing the worn out bearing and seal .i think thats why BMW only replaces the entire unit of the final drive.i just put the original shim back in my unit after changing out the bearing and seal.
    bwanajames likes this.
  6. jathkajoe

    jathkajoe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    308
    Location:
    E WA
    Bwanajames.

    I'd look at moto wrecking yards for a low mile used one, put that in, rebuild the original and have it on hand as a spare.

    JathkaJoe
    bwanajames likes this.
  7. Rich Rider

    Rich Rider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Edmonton, Canada
    I've always loved maps and having one able to display a decent portion of the day's ride is a bonus. Sadly, my Cortech tank bag falls short in that department where I'm only able to display 3 or 4 square inches of map folded/mashed up in the small map pocket.
    Which tank bag are you using here that seems to have a much larger pocket size?

    (I'm reading your report for the second time now because it is just such a wonderful read). Thanks BJ.

    bwanajames likes this.
  8. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    335
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Rich,

    Well, it must be a decent movie if you can enjoy the rerun. I'm honored that you would devote time to a second read. And now that I am a man of leisure, perhaps I can finish the thing!

    I agree. Maps have always held an element of romance. Ever since man started sailing the seven seas, maps have surely been a prime source of inspiration - full of mystery and possibility. Even in this technological whirlwind in which we live, with screens to tell us anything the human brain can conceive, I've never looked at my GPS and dreamed.

    The tank bag on this trip is an older design for the 1150 by BMW. However, for sheer map space, the Touratech bag that came with the F650GS has that one beat. You can almost stick the phone book in there! I'm not sure about availability, but you may be able to snoop around and find one.

    BJ
    Dakar Touratech Tank Bag_Map Window_Resized.JPG
    outbacktm and Rich Rider like this.
  9. spuh

    spuh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    532
    Hint for Rich Rider : I have one too. It's attached to a Touratech tank bag and panniers made for a paralever gs stock tank. It fits lots of other tanks too. I no longer have a gs and might be persuaded to part with the tank bag assembly . And I'm halfway close to YEG too.
    JoToPe likes this.
  10. Rich Rider

    Rich Rider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Edmonton, Canada
    PM sent so as not to clutter up this fine report. ;-)

    bwanajames likes this.
  11. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    335
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    “As our boat approached the coast of England late in the afternoon, I thought about all the well-meaning people who had advised us not to go to Ireland, and wondered if they were related, in some spiritual sense, to the same people who warned us never to ride a motorcycle.”

    - Peter Egan

    CDTMap4_Notes_Helena,MT to Wise River, MT.jpg

    Nightfall found me in the Fleecer Mountain Range south of Butte, Montana. At $5 per night, the Beaverdam Campground was tailored to my budget. Motorcyclists, it seems, have a way of piquing the interest of more conventional travelers. While unloading my gear, I was hailed by a neighboring family sitting around an inviting fire. In my travels, I’ve noticed a charming human characteristic; people feel instantly compelled to adopt solo riders. Before long, I’d had all the hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad and toasted marshmallows I could stand.

    Then the campfire conversation shifted to Butte’s favorite son, a Mr. Robert Craig Knievel - professionally known as Evel Knievel. Born on October 17, 1938, in the mining town of Butte, Montana, the daring motorcycle stuntman didn’t appear to be held in high esteem among the locals. “He was a royal asshole, never tipping at restaurants and demanding that others vacate his favorite chair,” according to the middle-aged woman across the fire from me.

    But after breaking nearly every bone in my body, I suppose I’d be a little cranky too.

    Raised by his grandparents, Knievel traced his career choice back to a Joie Chitwood Auto Daredevil Show he witnessed at age eight. His catchy stage name would come from a 1956 jail cell. Having crashed his motorcycle after a police chase, Knievel was hauled in for reckless driving. When the night jailer made his rounds checking roll, he noted Robert Knievel in one cell and William Knofel in the other. The notorious Knofel was known as “Awful Knofel”. The jailers then joked among themselves that they were “In for one hell of a night, because they had “Awful” Knofel in one cell and “Evil” Knievel in the other.” With a bit of Barnum & Bailey coursing through his veins, the audacious Knievel began referring to himself as “Evel Knievel.” (The spelling crafted to match his last name and to avoid the perception of being “evil.”)

    Better Knievel.jpg

    Moving his family to Moses Lake, Washington, Knievel opened a Honda motorcycle dealership where he offered a $100 discount to anybody who could beat him at arm wrestling. When the dealership went belly-up, Knievel teamed up with a fellow by the name of Don Pomeroy, who ran a motorcycle shop in Sunnyside, Washington. There, motorcycle racer Jim Pomeroy, taught Knievel how to do a wheelie and ride while standing on the seat.

    Thinking back to the Joie Chitwood show of his youth, Knievel wondered if a motorcycle themed version of the “Thrill Show” would be popular. A one-man band, Knievel rented the venue, wrote the press releases, was the set-up man, ticket salesman and master of ceremonies. After doing a few wheelies for the crowd, the aspiring stunt man attempted to jump a 20-foot long box containing rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. He landed short, upsetting the box and releasing the snakes before a nervous crowd of 1,000 spectators.

    However, it was the ill-fated Caesar's Palace jump in Las Vegas that launched his career. While in town to watch Dick Tiger fight for the middleweight crown, Knievel marveled at the casino’s fountains and decided to jump them. As proof of his determination, marketing genius and guile, Knievel went to a pay phone and called the casino’s Executive Director Jay Sarno. Posing as someone from Life Magazine, he asked Sarno about this guy “Evel Knievel” who said he was going to jump over your hotel.

    “Who the hell is he?” Sarno replied and quickly dismissed the call.

    Knievel waited a day and called Sarno back saying he was a fellow by the name of “Larson” with Sports Illustrated inquiring about the big Evel Knievel jump at his casino. “Oh yeah, I heard about that guy yesterday. Call back later…” Sarno replied.

    Knievel waited two days and called Sarno again saying he was “Dennis Lewin” from ABC Wide World of Sports (who Knievel did in fact know). “Do you know this guy “Evel Knievel?” the fake “Lewin” asks.

    “Who is this crazy guy? Everybody is calling me about him. I think we’ve got a deal. I don’t know. Call back…” Sarno replied.

    The next day, Knievel called Sarno masquerading as one of Knievel’s own fictitious Jewish business managers named “Rosenstein”. “I’m representing Evel Knievel. He is going to be in your office today at 2:00 p.m. to see about this big jump. He is going to make you famous. No one has ever heard of this Caesar’s Palace.”

    Knievel shows up as promised. Excited, Sarno’s secretary announces to her boss “It’s him!” Evel Knievel is here! Sarno then runs out of his office saying: “Kid, where have you been? I’ve been looking for you!”

    While December 31, 1967 may have been kind to Knievel’s wallet, it was not kind to his body. The daredevil came up short, landing on a safety ramp supported by a van. The handlebars ripped from his hands, he tumbled like a rag doll over the pavement, skidding into the Dunes parking lot. He suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles, and a concussion that kept him in a coma for 29 days.

    KnievelJump Caesars.jpg

    Evel Knievel Crash_Reduced.jpg

    On October 25, 1975, Knievel successfully jumped 14 Greyhound buses at the Kings Island theme park in Ohio. Although Knievel landed on the safety deck above the 14th bus, the frame of the Harley-Davidson had broken. For 24 years he held the record for jumping the most buses on a Harley.

    In January 1977, Knievel was scheduled for a live nationally televised jump over a 90-foot tank of live sharks in Chicago. However, during rehearsal Knievel lost control of the motorcycle and crashed into a cameraman. Though Knievel broke his arms, he was more distraught over the permanent injury to the cameraman who lost an eye.

    After the failed shark jump, Knievel retired saying “a professional is supposed to know when he has jumped far enough.”

    Over the course of his career, Knievel is said to have attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps, including a 1974 failed attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in a steam-powered rocket called the Skycycle X-2. While his daring career was certainly lucrative, earning him over 60 million dollars (The Mattel toy company alone grossed 250 million in the first 10 years from the sale of “Stunt Cycles” and action figures – which today are selling for obscene prices on ebay) his body paid the price. He is said to have broken over 60 bones and spent a total of 3 ½ years in various hospitals.

    Evel Knievel Injuries.jpg

    Knievel died in Clearwater, Florida, November 30, 2007, aged 69.
  12. Pdrhound

    Pdrhound Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    322
    Location:
    80421
    I was just going to PM you about taking a loaded big bike over fleecer, and boom! There you are. I'm Planning on Bailey Co north for 10 days in July.
  13. Jubalito

    Jubalito n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Kyle
    Swarovski binoculars? Wholly guacamole talk about primo.
    Also, I'm late to this post but really enjoying it.
    I look forward to getting my bike next year. Will use your RR as reference in my travels.
    Thanks for writing.
    bwanajames likes this.
  14. overlander

    overlander Gravel Travel Tours Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    807
    Location:
    Wicheetaw, KS but longing for Texas
    An absolutely excellent RR James! I'm hard to impress on both the writing and travel front and you've elevated the standard for both! Great job! Anxious to hear more! Notice I didn't say I'm ready to hear the end of the story. Hoping thie story can go on for some time to come...
    bwanajames and outbacktm like this.
  15. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    335
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado

    Overlander,

    You are too kind. Should you be in the market for a second helping, I’ve got some new material in the hopper. Back in October, a buddy and I took our GS’s into Mexico, going as far south as Sinaloa’s coastal resort town of Mazatlán.

    Despite the fear-factor associated with our southern neighbors these days, it was a fascinating trip. However, it was not free of harrowing moments, as you will soon discover.

    Some teaser photos:

    IMG_2022_crop_AC_1250 resize.JPG

    IMG_1998_1250 Resize_Sign_MX.JPG

    IMG_2039_crop_1250 resize_MX.JPG

    IMG_2118_AC_1250 resize_MX.JPG

    IMG_2142_crop_1250 resize.JPG

    IMG_2236_AC_1250 resize_MX.JPG

    IMG_2459_Crop_AC 4x6_1250 resize.JPG
    bomose, norton73, Ladybug and 10 others like this.
  16. outbacktm

    outbacktm Bullrun Bison Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    679
    Location:
    Bullrun
    Looking forward to more of your generous artful offerings
    bwanajames likes this.
  17. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    335
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    “If you gotta cry, cry on the bike. If you sit on a rock crying, you are getting nowhere. At least move forward.”

    - Mike Hall (cycling’s Tour Divide/CDT record holder)

    Even in the dead of winter, the 1150 always starts. Not today. A dozen cranks and barely a sputter. A clear, frosty morning, battery growing weak, I push the bike from my shaded camp site into warming sun. Finally it roars to life. Bad gas? Fuel line freeze-up? I don't trust it. If I'm going to have mechanical issues, I want to be closer to civilization. Reluctantly, I opt for the safer green route along County Road 43 to Wise River. Traveling south along the Pioneer Scenic byway is a paved blue route with lovely sweeping curves; so why is there an alternate green route? Sadly, the next blue/green junction at Medicine Lodge Road has a “bridge out” sign forcing me to again select the easier green route. I later heard from a bicyclist in Lima that the bridge was passable on two wheels and the scenery was spectacular.

    Rolling across the broad plains at the foot of the Blacktail and Tendoy mountain ranges, the humble railroad town of Dell, Montana came into view. Little more than an Old West outpost with a handful of buildings, I eased off the throttle. Parched and ravenous, with wind-burned eyes, I shuffled into the Dell Mercantile, whose wooden façade boasted 35 souls and a post office.

    After emptying a Gatorade, I asked the seasoned citizen behind the counter about dining options. Glancing out the window, he pointed a leathery hand across a dusty parking lot towards the Calf-A. Pulling my steed up to the hitching post, I strolled into the converted hundred-year-old, one-room schoolhouse hoping they can cook better than they spell.

    Dell Mercantile_Dell_MT_edited-1.jpg

    IMG_0828_Dell, MT_Resize_Sig.JPG

    It was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. Late for class as usual; all that was missing was my schoolbooks. Walking across creaky plank flooring passed an old wooden piano, the back wall was taken up by a large chalkboard with the special of the day written in colored chalk. Above it, the alphabet set to storybook characters. At ceiling level was the American flag with George Washington on one side and Honest Abe on the other. I felt like putting my hand over my heart and saying The Pledge of Allegiance.

    At a neighboring table were a couple of friendly, engaging fisherman. Kenlee Brown, a handsome, professional fellow pushing 50, and his older buddy, Jim, were both from Utah. If you can believe fishermen, they were reportedly hauling some lunker browns out of Big Sheep Creek. Judging from their broad grins, they weren’t lying. They quizzed me about my travels, with Jim bursting into laughter when I told him my only schedule was getting back in time for Colorado’s elk season.

    “Everybody should have such a punishing schedule…” he chortled.

    On a historical note, Dell once served as a B-17 radar base, guiding the four-engine Flying Fortress heavy bombers north during World War II. Though these sites are rapidly disappearing, the Dell facility is said to be relatively intact, with its original storehouse and radar tower still standing.

    IMG_0830_Dell, MT_Resize_Sig.JPG


    IMG_0829_Dell, MT_Resize_Sig.JPG
    The Happy Hookers...
  18. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    30,914
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    2 years and 8 months since the first post and I am still looking forward to each new one.
  19. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    335
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    I promise to have this finished before the next Ice Age...
    scout68, Ladybug, outbacktm and 2 others like this.
  20. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,305
    Location:
    S-Cal
    Ok, I'm certain I missed it. However, you are, or have, written a book...right? Really good writing.