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Tennessee boys head for the hills CDR ride report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Sirwrexalot, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Sirwrexalot

    Sirwrexalot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    115
    A few years ago a co worker bought a GS1200 and introduced me to this place and the rest is history. I spent the next 12 months buying stuff that I never knew I needed &#8230; You know .. tank bag, saddlebags, rear bags, waterproof bags, sleeping bags, .. You get the idea I bought a lot of stuff that you don&#8217;t use riding a KTM thru the woods&#8230; and oh yeah I bought a DR650 and went about making it rideable for a 2 week &#8220;Adventure of a Lifetime&#8221;. Now all I had to do was talk 3 more idiots into driving half way across <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">America</st1:place></st1:country-region> to ride gravel roads.

    Enter these 3 idiots: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    Jay &#8220;Citationman&#8221; Willingham<o:p></o:p>
    Weapon of choice KLR 650 <o:p></o:p>
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    Jon RahRah Roberson <o:p></o:p>
    Weapon of Choice KTM 640<o:p></o:p>
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    Patrick &#8220;Paddy&#8221; <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Greenfield</st1:place></st1:City><o:p></o:p>
    Weapon of choice DR650<o:p></o:p>
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    Yours truly Mike &#8220;Sirwrexalot&#8221; Burkeen<o:p></o:p>
    Weapon of choice DR650<o:p></o:p>
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    Now all 4 of us have off road background but none of us have ever done any long distance rides or ANY overnight rides for that matter. This should be interesting. <o:p></o:p>
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    We left Friday Aug 7 heading for our first stop <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Kansas City</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">Mo.</st1:State></st1:place> For anyone who has gone thru lower <st1:State w:st="on">Missouri</st1:State> it is a &#8220;must&#8221; to stop at Lamberts café in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sikeston</st1:place></st1:City>. (Well at least it looked like a Must stop cause the hundred people or so waiting outside.) Yep &#8220;Home of the Throwed Rolls&#8221;. <o:p></o:p>
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    We ate way to much and was making fun of the waiter for throwing a roll on the roof and he challenges Patrick to throw one or two. First one was right on the money and the second one was a bit short. Don&#8217;t quit your day job. On to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Kansas City</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">Mo</st1:State></st1:place> for the night. After a beer and a burger at Hooters it was off to bed. <o:p></o:p>
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    Sat was ALL day in the car. Destination Rapid City SD. Bike week was winding down but we still had probs getting a room. We stopped off at a gas station that had a HUGE room full of stuffed animals. So we acted like tourists and took lots of photos. <o:p></o:p>
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    Patrick got a bit too close to this one<o:p></o:p>
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    Sunday its off to Mt Rushmore to see a bunch of stoners. <o:p></o:p>
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    It was rainy and cold so we didn&#8217;t stick around long. After another LONG day in the truck we make it to Helena Mt. One of the local inmates Justin (jjmyzrider) was kind enough to let us park at his place for the first three days. BIG THANKS Justin. We grab a bite and head to bed cause tomorrow we get to RIDE.<o:p></o:p>
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    Monday we make it to Justins place and it seems to take forever to get going. Tonight&#8217;s destination was Babb Mt and the Canadian border using as many back roads as we could. Having never been in this area before we relied on Mr Garmin to get us to the border. We make good time to Augusta Mt and from there the road turns into a two track running through a field. <o:p></o:p>
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    No problem until we get to a river that is 2 foot deep and about 50 &#8211; 60 feet wide. Paddy goes thru first ,,, no problem .<o:p></o:p>
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    . then me &#8230; no problem &#8230; then Jay &#8230; He gets about 2/3 of the way across and hits a huge underwater rock that stops him dead in his tracks. We wade in and get him going again. 20 feet later he hits another large rock and SPLAAAASH. I guess he was hot cause he just fell right in. No pics cause we were trying to get the big ole KLR upright before she drowned. <o:p></o:p>
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    Jon then makes it across (in a different line) and we took a few minutes to dry off. Now we didn&#8217;t even know if this road was going to come out or not but we continued on and after riding thru a guys back pasture past his barn we get to a road. <o:p></o:p>
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    More beautiful <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Montana</st1:State></st1:place> scenery. Dearborn Creek<o:p></o:p>
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    We make it to the hotel in Babb about 8:30 and decide to make a run to the Canadian border to get the obligatory photo. Big inspection station on the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">US</st1:place></st1:country-region> side and a big inspection station on the Canadian side so being a bunch of dumb ole Tennesseans we ride over the border and THEN turn around to get a picture. Not too smart. We go back thru the inspection station on the US Side and Mr Border Patrol was not happy with us at all. He stone faced asks us for passports and tells us &#8220;You crossed the line&#8221;. Of course we didn&#8217;t have such documents and he asks for license and tag numbers all the while tying up what looks like a ticket. Turns out it was a &#8220;warning&#8221; of sorts and then lightens up a bit. We all thought for a minute that he was gonna stick us with a fine. <o:p></o:p>
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    Tuesday we get out early and head for <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Glacier</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">National Park</st1:placeType></st1:place>. Now for a bunch of flatlanders this was about as pretty a thing as I have ever seen. I know some of yall have been there before and its &#8220;no big deal&#8221; but that 42 miles thru Glacier took us about 7 hours cause we just kept stopping to take pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words &#8230; then we saw a whole books worth. I&#8217;ll let the pictures speak for themselves. <o:p></o:p>
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    We make it to Condon Mt for the night and stay at the Swan Valley Lodge. Nice place and really nice people running it. <o:p></o:p>
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    Weds we make plans to hook up with Justin in Ovando Mt and he rode with us for most of the day. We pretty much stick to the CDR trail except for a quick spin up to a fire tower at 7600 feet. Highest we had been so for. Justin had to go to work that afternoon so he took Jay and headed for the house. Paddy, Jon and Me rode on south to Lava mountain trails. A quick word about Lava Mt trails &#8230; It was probably in the top 5 most difficult trails I have ever ridden. If you take a big bike in there you better be on you&#8217;re A game. If you can make the first 150 yards without much trouble then you can probably make it OK. Watermelon sized embedded rocks and several ledges you had to ride up just to get into the trail. Then the roots started. We took some photos but Paddy erased them all a few days later so youll just have to take our word for it. Sorry. We rode over 200 miles that day and spent the night at KOA in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Butte</st1:City></st1:place>. Had to try some local beer so we grabbed some Moose Drool and settled in for the night. <o:p></o:p>
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    Our guidefor the day &#8230;.. jjmyzrider <o:p></o:p>
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    Morning Mine <o:p></o:p>
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    Thurs we head for the other famous landmark in this area &#8230; Fleecer Ridge. We get almost to it and run into a logging operation that had the road closed so we decided to bypass it &#8230; again trusting Mr Garmin. We head down more 2 track through pastures and come out at a really neat old log cabin. <o:p></o:p>
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    We did go to the base of Fleecer and decided that it was too early in the ride to chance a big bike bending wreck to try to climb it. Wise River Mt must be the trout fishing capital around that area since the river was full of float fishermen. <o:p></o:p>
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    A trip down the CDR wouldn&#8217;t be complete without a stop at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Bannack</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">State Park</st1:placeType></st1:place>.<o:p></o:p>
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    Bannack was founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek. As news of the gold strike spread many prospectors and businessmen rushed to Bannack hoping to strike it rich. In 1864, Bannack was named as the first Territorial Capital of Montana.<o:p></o:p>
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    Days total was just over 200 miles and we stop for the night at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Lima</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Mt.</st1:placeType></st1:place> Some more shots of the area: <o:p></o:p>
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    Friday it was my turn in the truck so I will let the others fill you in on the ride through <st1:State w:st="on">Idaho</st1:State> then south of <st1:place w:st="on">Yellowstone</st1:place>. Destination for the day was <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Dubois Wy</st1:address></st1:Street>. We camped at Longhorn RV park and the bathrooms at this campground were nicer than any hotel we stayed in so far. Highly recommended. <o:p></o:p>
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    Sat it was cold and we woke to frost on the seats of the bikes. We gear up and head to over 9000 feet and would stay at that altitude or higher for most of the day. We pass <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">South Pass</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place> <o:p></o:p>
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    Then <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Atlantic City</st1:place></st1:City> <o:p></o:p>
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    And hit the great basin. <st1:place w:st="on">Great basin</st1:place> was cool but we musta rode over a hundred miles and didn&#8217;t see a tree. As a matter of fact we didn&#8217;t see much of anything except antelopes and scrub brush. <o:p></o:p>
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    Some old timer at Atlantic city told us its only 86 miles across (and we believed him .. first mistake) We had ridden over 200 miles and were about 3 miles outside of Rawlins when Paddy runs out of gas. We lay the DR on its left side and got enough gas to make it to the station. We pull up at the hotel to find a couple guys from Ky that were doing the same trail. Wassup guys. <o:p></o:p>
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    Sunday. I guess this wouldn&#8217;t be a CDR report without a photo of Aspen Alley. <o:p></o:p>
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    Finally we get into <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Colorado</st1:place></st1:State> and it was just as I imagined. Lots of evergreen trees and cool little towns in green valleys. We make it to Steamboat Springs and Paddy pulls away from the gas pump and stalls his bike and after we quit making fun of him he tells us that he broke a clutch cable, Turns out the support truck and head mechanic Jay just happen to be in town, what luck. 20 minutes later we are on the way dodging afternoon rain storms. After 2 road closures we had to detour around we pull into Kremmling at dark and Jay has camp ready. Another cold night. <o:p></o:p>
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    Monday we woke to frost on the bike seats again. Off we go to the ski town of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Breckinridge</st1:place></st1:City> and meet Paddy there for pizza and a beer for lunch. It was kinda cool riding a dusty bike through yuppie town. Felt a little like cowboys riding into town for supplies. <o:p></o:p>
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    We head up to Pass Boreas and then onto the ghost towns of <st1:City w:st="on">Como</st1:City>, Balfour, Hartsel, and <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Como</st1:place></st1:City>. Tonight&#8217;s destination was Poncha Springs and the Heart of the <st1:place w:st="on">Rockies</st1:place> campground. <o:p></o:p>
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    Tuesday Jay wasn&#8217;t feeling 100% so I swapped with him and saw some of the prettiest scenery we had seen in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Colorado</st1:place></st1:State>. I LOVED this area and will definitely be back. <o:p></o:p>
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    We pass over pass Stunner and into Platoro. We rode for about 10 miles through a really cool canyon with a really pretty stream running right along side. Absolutely beautiful. <o:p></o:p>
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    Camped at Elk Creek campground. Primative but nice.<o:p></o:p>
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    Wednesday we head out into <st1:State w:st="on">new Mexico</st1:State> and for the most part Northern New Mexico looked just like southern <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Colorado</st1:State></st1:place> except the roads were in abit worse shape. Now we got lucky and didn&#8217;t see any real rain but this area would have been interesting if it had just rained. Most roads had 3 ruts about a foot deep running down each side and one in the middle just for fun. We head towards the big town of El <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Rito</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">NM</st1:State></st1:place>. Theres supposed to be food in this town according to BigDogs maps. We get to town and they have one restaurant and this is it. <o:p></o:p>
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    Now hold your horses .. she don&#8217;t look like much but we go inside and all over the walls are articles from food magazines and newspapers talking abouth their world famous green chile sauce. Maybe this wont be so bad after all. We had what had to be one of the best burritos I have ever had. Really it was THAT good. We end the day by riding into Cuba NM. <o:p></o:p>
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    Just to say it wasn&#8217;t all nice graded gravel roads. We did hit a few stretches of loose stuff like this. <o:p></o:p>
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    Thursday I am back in the truck. Need to get from Jay Patrick. Ended the day in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Pie Town</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">NM</st1:State></st1:place>. We camped at the Pie Town RV Park (Contrary to popular belief this place is OPEN) and we had the most gracious host. Jay was his name and when I asked him how much to camp he tells us .. &#8220;AWW don&#8217;t worry about it. I have a donation jar in the new bathhouse and if you feel like it leave a buck or two and if you need it, take a buck or two&#8221;. Honesty like that is few and far between. The world needs more guys like that. <o:p></o:p>
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    Pic of Jay from Jon<o:p></o:p>
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    Friday we set out and the scenery is getting more desert-like if that is a word. It was still at a decent elevation (around 6 or 7 thousand) but just getting flatter. We ride through the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Gila</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">National forest</st1:placeType></st1:place> and it was very scenic then we hit a valley that was probably 20 miles wide and no telling how long. <o:p></o:p>
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    As we approach <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Silver</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place> we stop at the Santa Rita copper mine. This thing was HUGE. Over a mile wide and 1600 feet deep. <o:p></o:p>
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    We are running out of time and the last 100 miles or so is mostly straight and paved so we decided to load up the truck and make the run to the border Sat morning in the truck before heading for home<o:p></o:p>
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    Saturday we head for the border <o:p></o:p>
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    20 hours later we make it back to Paddy&#8217;s house and the end of &#8220;A trip of a lifetime&#8221;. We all decided that it was just that &#8230; Except for the next &#8220;Trip of a lifetime&#8221; <o:p></o:p>
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    If you want to see more of the photos that we took you can go to: <o:p></o:p>
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    https://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider-photobucket-images/images/m/mikeburkeen_<o:p></o:p>
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    And see all 700 something of them. All in all it was a GREAT first time ride for all of us. We know we really got lucky on the weather and the lack of bike issues but it was just enough to hook us all for life. I am already planning the next &#8220;Trip of a Lifetime&#8221; <o:p></o:p>
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    #1
  2. Luke wl.

    Luke wl. Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    264
    Location:
    Boulder, Co
    Great report. I am doing the divide on my ride im heading out next friday for 2 months from Mills River NC (Not too far from TN). Did you use bigdogs tracks?
    #2
  3. Sirwrexalot

    Sirwrexalot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    115
    We used a combination of his tracks along with Countdowns tracks that I found at GPX exchange.

    They have closed off a few places in Montana north of Seeley Lake to everything but bicycles so we had a few detours. One is just south of Holland Lake and the other is north of Seeley Lake at Clear Creek road.

    Attached is the GPX file that we used. We started in Helena and went through Glacier Park on our way down. If you dont have any plans in mind yet .. Make a run through Glacier Park that is probaly one of the most beautiful parts and a definite highlight of our trip.

    Enjoy yourself, take lots of photos and take your time 2 weeks wasnt really enough time to slow down and smell the fir trees.

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. DisTech

    DisTech Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    658
    Location:
    Seattle
    Great report, thanks for posting!
    #4
  5. jjmyzrider

    jjmyzrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Montana City, Montana
    my that's a nice looking guide.

    I sure enjoyed the day of riding with you guys. It was hard to head home and go to work, wish I could have made it to Mexico with you all. But, I am very blessed that you guys invited me on your ride.

    I have not made it through all the photos as of yet, but they are looking awsome so far.

    Where is the next ride of a life time? If its Alaska I am so in:ricky
    #5
  6. Rusty Rocket

    Rusty Rocket Life behind "Bars"

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    16,333
    Location:
    Tri- Cities TN
    That was a great report, thanks.
    #6
  7. mklebel

    mklebel Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Idaho
    Nice Report.

    Pictures aren't enough to capture the whole ride.

    I limped into Rawlins too on reserve.
    #7
  8. Hokem Malarky

    Hokem Malarky Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    151
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Great report guys. Looks like you had a blast. Glad you made it all the way to the border without issues.

    I was hoping to run into you guys again cause my rear sprocket didn't quite make it... :rofl
    #8
  9. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,956
    Location:
    Tumalo, Oregon
    beautiful!

    Nice report fellas - gonna do that one some day for sure. :clap
    #9
  10. DR Vader

    DR Vader Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    68
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Great ride report.

    I did a 3500km ride, and went through the National Glacier Park "ride to the sun" on the same week, and it was breath taking.

    Sam
    #10
  11. Sirwrexalot

    Sirwrexalot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    115
    OK Justin ... Here is the Helena to Babb "planned" route. It gets kinda confusing west of Chateau as the "road" according to Garmin just kinda went away and we had to ride through a pasture. Somehow I lost the saved track that we actually rode.

    Hokem, We saw yalls tracks but that was about it. I KNEW your miles on that sprocket were numbered.

    Attached Files:

    #11