Mexico to Canada on Dirt - The Continental Divide Trail

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

  1. ktm690jeff

    ktm690jeff n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Baja, Idaho, Utah, Alaska,Canada- Want to Ride it
    Great story so far. I rode CDR North to South with gpskevin 2006. LIKED it so much we are doing it again this year South to North. Wish I had your story telling skills.

    Sent from my SM-T550 using Tapatalk
    #81
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  2. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Magicland

    Five miles north of the Beaverhead Ranger Station, you’ll approach Mule Canyon. Between distant rimrock, was a sea of tall poppies in full bloom. Like snow in the desert, white pedals blanketed the landscape with astonishing abundance.

    Untarnished by the hand of man, this is what America looked like when the Indians owed it.

    Spotting a solar powered stock tank, I took the opportunity to perform what my father delicately referred to as a “whore’s bath”.

    IMG_0637_crop_Unsharp Mask.JPG
    For you horticulturists, this is the crested prickly poppy.


    Magicland.jpg
    From space, we grasp the isolation of this lonely land. In this vastness, only one house can be seen.
    #82
  3. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Datil

    Continuing on, Bursum Road turned into hellish, bone-jarring washboard. It was like running over 2x4’s. The usual strategy is to pick-up the pace and skim across the peaks without falling into the valleys. Yet the depth and spacing may require a new land speed record.

    Then road crews got the brilliant idea that, rather than grade the road, they’d simply fill the washboard valleys with gravel. Negotiating a deep bed of marbles over washboard was an endless source of delight. Approaching highway 12, I understood why Charlie Boorman kissed the road chanting “Sweet, sweet tarmac…” once he and Ewan McGregor arrived in Alaska.

    Decision time. Continuing north on the blue route promised fine riding. But my gas gauge said, “Hang a right and take the green route to Datil...” Well, you’ll never win an argument with your gas gauge. So, excuse me for driving from the ladies tee, but I need fuel.

    Datil was a fabulous oasis! Having only a cliff bar for breakfast and another for lunch, I was ravenous! The quaint gas station/convenience store had a café, so I threw the budget out the window and gorged on Philly cheese steak, a mammoth slice of cherry pie and two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Heaven.

    To my astonishment, I’m 351 miles into the northbound Continental Divide Trail, and have yet to encounter another rider. I was under the impression this was a popular thing to do.

    IMG_0640_Unsharp Mask.JPG
    Eagle Guest Ranch, Datil, New Mexico


    Datil Gas.jpg
    Fuel Note: My sources didn’t mention this, but there is gas at an unmanned pay station in Horse Springs (on the way to Datil). I normally won't backtrack without a gun to my head, but wish I would have. I suspect the blue route over Mangas and Alegres Mountains was something you don’t want to miss.
    #83
  4. dcwilcox

    dcwilcox Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    751
    Location:
    Pensacola, FL
    Nice report, definitely following along!

    As to things we miss/hindsight . . . I like to think of it as a good excuse to return! :ricky
    #84
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  5. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Oddometer:
    266
    Location:
    Burleson, Texas
    In, with baited breath. Trail Boss has a CDR trip planned on TWT "The Great Divide Ride: June 10-16, 2017" (sorry my phone can't link the post). Me, dualsportrider, Jampad, Simmons1, and quite a few others are doing this.
    What tires are you running, btw?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #85
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  6. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    JoToPe,

    Continental TKC-80's on the way up, TKC-80 front and TKC-70 rear on the way down. (Doesn't make sense now, but it will later). :-)

    Jim
    #86
  7. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    477
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    With this kind of stubbornness I generate my crazy offroad experiments. (My wife can tell :dirtdog)

    #87
  8. CalamariKid

    CalamariKid Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    632
    Location:
    Spring, TX
    In, In, In!!!
    #88
  9. calan818

    calan818 The CarMexican

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,664
    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada (6 months of snow)
    [​IMG]

    Swiped a picture from a local rider's report of a day trip..."it looked dry!"...Take heed on the CDT when you come across a road that looks similar!
    Lovin your ride report!
    :doh
    #89
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  10. canuckAME

    canuckAME Been here awhile

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    Jan 5, 2008
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    822
    Location:
    Thunder Bay Ontario Canada
    Great RR. Keep it coming:clap
    #90
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  11. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Pie Town

    Having gotten my pie fix in Datil, I kept rolling. Researching the trip, conflicting reports existed regarding fuel in Pie Town. I found none.

    I’ve discovered it’s best to make miles early – before afternoon storms start brewing. For arid country, it sure rains a lot. Near Mexico, it was sand. Further north, gravel and rock. At Pie Town, it turned to clay. Guess what happens when you mix water and clay? Yes, the road suddenly turns into Teflon impregnated grease on a hockey rink.

    Nearly dropping the bike, I parked and waited. With the storms passing, I gingerly putted along in 1st gear with poised outrigger legs. After several tense miles, the ground eventually firmed up.

    Most often, these were isolated showers - which was deceptive. One moment you are whistling merrily along, only to round a bend and be hanging on for dear life.

    IMG_1846_Pie Town 2019_resize1250_sig.jpg
    Sadly, the Pie-O-Neer has closed its doors.

    IMG_1849_Pie Town 2019_resize1250.JPG

    IMG_1851_Pie Town 2019_resize1250.JPG

    IMG_1860_Pie Town 2019_resize1250.JPG
    However, a block away, The Gatherin' Place, also located on “PieWay” 60 is continuing the tradition with excellent homemade pies.

    IMG_1854­_2019__resize1250.JPG
    Another tasty masterpiece in the making.
    #91
  12. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Jupiter
    keep it coming BJ! Very nice writing style.
    #92
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  13. Kastenfrosch

    Kastenfrosch Adventurer

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    Nov 16, 2016
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    74
    Location:
    Germany
    I second this. Great read! :)
    #93
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  14. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Decisions, decisions…

    Another fork in the road. One is easy street: blue skies, sunny, birds chirping. The other: brooding skies, whipping winds and rain.

    Idling at the end of the Pie Town road, I looked left, then right. With a heavy sigh, I succumbed to sanity. Letting out the clutch, the big Beemer rolled confidently onto safe pavement.

    A mile later I stopped. I was cheating myself. I did not come to ride pavement.

    Turning around, I headed into ugly adventure. Spitting rain, I pulled over to don rain gear. The winds intensified. When the lightening started, I heard the voice of God: “Jim, you are an idiot…”

    Crap. I turned around again. With night closing in, I pitched my tent on the lee side of a road grader. I’ll reassess in the morning.

    Grants Route_Rain3.jpg
    #94
  15. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    When the voice of God tell you that you are an idiot, you know you are on to something good!
    #95
  16. pzvt

    pzvt Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    118
    Been there in NM. We turned around when the hail was 1"+ diameter. Just wait it will go away. NM so beautiful


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #96
  17. squid22

    squid22 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    I'm in!

    Attached Files:

    #97
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  18. Eros

    Eros Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2014
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    55
    Location:
    Kansas City
    @bwanajames thank for putting together this report. I love your writing style. Keep up the great work!
    #98
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  19. bwanajames

    bwanajames Moto sapien

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    341
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Chain of Craters

    Having rained through the night, the day dawned clear. Climbing out of my tent, I congratulated myself for my commitment to dirt. However, the Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway began with stern warnings from Cibola County regarding road C-42.

    But with the sun beaming down, the road merely appeared damp. The signs warned of this. Bush pilots call it a “sucker hole”, where a patch of blue in soupy weather lures the uninitiated - only to close in around them with a deadly embrace.

    Putting along through grasslands littered with black volcanic rock, in the beginning, it wasn’t bad. Then came a depression with standing water and a short bypass loop. Midway through the loop, the front knobby slid out. Putting down a foot, I inadvertently twisted the throttle while falling off the bike. It surged forward, dragging me along, fishtailing through the mire.

    Dropping the bike doesn’t bother me; it’s picking it up. After unloading, then trying to gain purchase while standing in grease, you realize you may be there a while.

    Less fortunate cars leave deep ruts where they’ve slid off into the ditch.

    During a break to cool the engine, a journal note: “If I make it to Grants, it will be on the ragged edge of passability. Meanwhile, my butthole is puckered-up tighter than a duck’s ass…”

    IMG_0641_Color_Sharp_Cartoon10_.2_1300pix.JPG

    IMG_0643_Cartoon10_.2_1300pix.JPG

    chain of Craters Map.jpg
    #99
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  20. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
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    Sherwood, Oregon
    Hope you weren't too beat up after the bike drug you a bit, don't envy you picking that beast up on all on your onesies. :(

    Way to set the hook for the next installment:thumb
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