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Old Coots on the GDR #102399 09/25/12 07:04 PM
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rohnstad Offline OP
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This was to be my fourth go at the GDR (Great Divide Ride). In 2006, me and my Tucson riding buddy, Lane left around 7/4, going S/N and made it a day and a half onto the Plains of San Augustin where my KLR650 became totally mired in mud and I fried the clutch – that was the end of that. In 2007, I tried a S/N again with Rick Sylvies departing 7/3. This time the monsoons were good to us in NM, and we sailed through that muddy trouble spot (when it’s raining) that is just beyond Collins Park. We joined up, by accident, with Joe Nelson of Madison, WI, in Cuba. NM, and completed the route in 10.5 days. I took a couple of nasty dumps where I got a concussion (I was definitely on queer street for a half hour or so) and on the other dump I had a partial dislocation of my collar bone. Other than that, the trip was smooth with only a brief bit of rain in CO. In 2009, Lane and I tried again going S/N, but this time his BMW had mechanical issues that forced us to give it up by the time we got to Kremmling, CO.

This year I turned 75, and I wanted to do the ride at least once more, but this time going N/S. Originally the group was to be Lane, my brother, Bob and myself, but business conflicts took Lane out of the equation. We had contemplated renting a truck to haul the bikes up to MT, but when it became just the two of us and it started looking like the cost of the rental and the gas was going to be approaching $1800, Bob and I decided to ride from my home in Patagonia, AZ up to Canada figuring we could stay at motels going and coming back for what the rental truck would cost us, and still have money left over.

We were originally planning on leaving about 8/15, after the bulk of the monsoons should be behind us, but my wife ended up having to have surgery to repair a faulty hip implant in the middle of July. So to insure she was far enough along in her recovery we re-set the departure date for 9/1. A little late in the season, but we figured worst case we may have to go around a snowed-in pass or two. The good news being the monsoons in NM should be safely over.

We both have XT225’s with less than 3500 miles on them. Besides the normal maintenance items (fresh oil, set valves, clean air filters, adjust chains), the only thing we did to prep for the trip was to replace the OEM Cheng Shins with Michelin T-63’s. We also installed Clarke 4.1 gallon fuel tanks. We did bring along camping equipment in case we got stranded in the middle of nowhere so the weight my bike was carrying was 207# - me and riding gear, 47# - stuff, and 12# - extra gas capacity, for a total of 266#.

DAY 1 was 9/1, and we didn’t get off early in the morning as we wanted to, but better on the road and free of domestic restraints so we finally left at 1:30 pm!!!


Will we be smiling when we get back?

The start of a long way to go............


When we were immediately north of Tucson in Catalina a big storm was going through so we stopped for 45 minutes for it to blow over – result was we only made it to Globe, AZ – 196 miles.

DAY 2

Ate breakfast and on the road by 8:00. Great ride through the Salt River Canyon on US 60, and up to Showlow where we took AZ 77 through Holbrook and then angled over to US 191, south of Chinle. Bob had never seen Canyon de Chelly so we spent an hour or so riding along the south side of the canyon and taking pics.


Even those this is a National Monument, people who lived there before it became so are still living and farming in the canyon.


Got to Blanding UT and stayed at the Stone Lizard.



We met a couple of guys from Israel who every couple of years take off for the summer and tour a continent – this year North America. Two years ago they did Australia. They were on Suzuki 650 V-Stroms with a real creative footrest.



385 miles for the day.


DAY 3

Rode to Moab bright an early and had breakfast at McDonalds. From there to Green River and then angled on US 191 to I-15 south of Salt Lake City. North of Salt Lake City had a pucker moment when I went on reserve and was frantically fiddling with the switch while a semi was driving up my rear. From then on I switched to the reserve position before I hit reserve with other consequences. Stopped in Pocatello, ID. Went to dinner at El Jacito and had a great special, Chicken Fajita dinner with all the trimmings and a large mug of Dos Equis Amber all for $8.43!

Miles this day: 483


DAY 4

As we’re crossing into MT, it’s becoming more gray, not clouds, but smoke form a huge forest fire somewhere in ID. This goes on for miles and we can’t help but worry that this is going to screw up the MT section of the trail. By the time we get out of the smoke, around Deer Lodge, MT, I have to pay an hour’s delay for having my switch on reserve since filling – I run out of gas.


Bob rides back to Deer Lodge and persuades a friendly lady at a Conoco station to lend him a 1 gallon plastic gas can which bails me out. On the asphalt Bob is always getting better mileage than me, but when we get on the gravel, I get better mileage. And how bad was the mileage on asphalt? – best fill was 55.8, and worst was 39.3, overall on the pavement going up to Canada was 48.1mpg. Contrast that with the ride back to AZ on the backroads: Best was 75.4, worst was 50.2, and overall was 61.5mpg. All this is to say the little bugger doesn’t really like to go much over 50mph. On the level with no wind, top speed was less than 65mph. We make it to Ovando, MT that evening and stay at the Blackfoot Commercial Co.

and go out and have some terrific roadhouse food at “Trixies”.


Miles for the day: 409

DAY 5

We go across the street to the Stray Bullet for Breakfast.



Mighty good, and we also succumbed to a cinnamon roll which was so huge it killed all thought of lunch.

We’re desperate after 1620 miles of asphalt to get on some gravel so we decide nuts to going up to Roosville for the border pictures and join the Trail just a little north of Fortline, MT, at about 1:00 in the afternoon. Here's how the T-63's looked after 1620 miles of asphalt:


How are they going to look when we get home, and will we get home with them?

Our 1st stop on the GDR:



Nice to be back in the boonies.


These ladies gave Bob the lowdown on grizzlies.


And also took his picture.


Very nice homes along Whitefish Lake.

Got into Kalispell and stayed at a Motel 6.

Miles for the day: 289

DAY 6

It's raining pretty good when we get up in the morning so we wait at the motel until the rain stops at about 11:00. Then misadventures begin. We decide to go down MT 83 and bypass the cycling route that is west of 83 (I did that portion of the route in 2007 and found it too boring) and also the single track that goes along Richmond Peak east of 83 mainly because I couldn't locate it on the Garmin Mapsource software. Two things happen: I damn near hit Bambi and the track I had loaded into the Garmin Street Pilot 2720 abruptly terminates!?!?!!! What the.....?


To back up for a minute, I had plotted the entire course on Mapsource software and then had uploaded it to Google Earth where I could compare the Mapsource route with physical reality. Doing this there were at least 4 areas where there was a significant difference between the two. This would mean when I hit those areas the GPS would go into some kind of re-calculate mode trying to get me back on the route that I was actually on. Because of this exercise I knew I had the whole route plotted. However, when I downloaded the route to the GPS device, I got no error message that the whole route hadn't downloaded. One thing I did notice was the GPS device seemed to have broken the route into a northern section and a southern section. After the abrupt termination of the northern section, I did check to see how much of the southern section was in the GPS - it looked to be all there. As back-up I had brought along the book, "Cycling The Great Divide", so we weren't stopped.

Back to the ride: We got back onto the official trail in Seeley Lake and came out of the woods a little west of Lincoln (home of the Unibomber).


Bob, 71, has a case of COPD, so often times when riding behind he would be wearing the mask to minimize the effect of dust.

Great to be in the woods.


This section is fast.




We get to Lincoln and stay at Leeper's Motel and go to dinner at


Miles for the day: 173 - not too bad for half a day.

DAY 7

We go back on the trail and climb up to:

Where at the top of the pass we manage to make a wrong turn and come out on the highway North of Helena, not West of Helena. Back in Helena we pick up the trail again and head towards Basin. We get to this lake

and spend quite a bit of time looking for the route that will take us to Basin (the maps in the cycling book are not always to scale). We do finally find FR 1878 which is a very sporting 2-track, but where it ends we don't have any luck staying on the official trail. We finally come to a 2-lane road that our MT highway maps shows going into Basin, however this is what this road becomes well before Basin:

Screw it. We turn around and head back the way we come, get on I-15 and go to Basin where we stop for supper.

We get back on the I-15, go to Butte and stay at Roggers Motel.

Miles for the day: 174 - not real good.

DAY 8

Beautiful riding today. We're getting near the area where we had seen so much smoke coming north and things are much clearer.

We're heading in the direction of Fleecer Ridge


But that's no motorcycle trail for old men and we quickly decide to bypass it.

We go down the frontage road of I-15, hang a right on MT 43, go through Wise River, then go left on a paved FS road that head us in the direction of Bannack, the original territorial capital of MT. Bannack at this time is a state park and one of the best preserved ghost towns I have seen.


It was a mining town.


The Masonic Lodge:

For well over a hundred years old, pretty intact:


Originally a courthouse then a hotel:

Staircase in very good shape:

A commercial cook stove in the hotel:

And the sink:


One of the homes.

Restored to look as it did:



Time to go:


This is the southern end of what remains of the old Bannack Road. You can just barely see it behind and to the left of the sign. We had taken this road on my ride in 2007 from S/N, however when we going N/S this time and got to its northern end it was signed as private property, no trespassing and with a locked gate. So we took a wide fast gravel road that ran parallel to it for all of its length.



As we approached Deli the road became less straight and much more scenic.



Coming into Lima, Mt.


In Lima we stayed at the Mountainview Motel
http://i1089.photobucket.com/albums/i353/rohnstad/9%20gdr/088.jpg

Ate at:
http://i1089.photobucket.com/albums/i353/rohnstad/9%20gdr/087.jpg
And, I found this!!!!!!!
http://i1089.photobucket.com/albums/i353/rohnstad/9%20gdr/090.jpg

How did the spark arrestor fall out yet the bolt that holds it in place stay in? Did the bolt cut through the sheet metal of the housing that slips into the muffler? The only mechanical issue I had on the trip. Bob had some travails I'll go into later.

Miles for the day: 209


Rich in Patagonia, 68 YM-1, 02 FZ1, 09 KLX250
04 XT225 - it's gone now
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: rohnstad] #102401 09/25/12 07:31 PM
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tugboat Offline
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Well, guys, you may be a couple of 'old coots' but some of the daily mileages you achieve make us (well some of us, like me) younger coots look pretty green.
Great ride report and superb pictures. Looking forward to the next instalment.
You guys have my greatest respect.


Geoff. 2 Serows now gone, best bikes I ever had. 2007 Transalp 650 "Red" Honda Vision and Beverly 350
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: rohnstad] #102403 09/25/12 08:56 PM
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Hi Rohnstad,

nice ride report.

Age is a frame of mind!

Regards


Reggie

Team Cabra, Brazilian XT225, Team Ukulele, Japan import XT225, a 250 to be named and loads of 2 stroke Kawasaki AR's!
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: Reggie] #102412 09/26/12 04:39 AM
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Excellent report! Thanks for taking us along!


Mike|BikeMap|Thread





Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: MikeC] #102424 09/26/12 05:46 PM
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Very nice, one of the best ride reports ive read through on here, great pics as well, and that chicken fajitas and a big mug of beer for only $8 bucks, is the best thing ive heard all week, lol

looking forward to the rest of the report and the pics.


Stock XT225
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: 150ron] #102426 09/26/12 06:43 PM
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rohnstad Offline OP
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DAY 9

We have breakfast at Jan's and then head straight east out of Lima on fast, wide gravel roads. Gaining some elevation we come to Red Rock Pass where you ride EAST from MT into ID!


Not too far into ID you come to an area that looks like midwestern farm fields where in the distant horizon you get your first glimpse of the Grand Tetons.


We ride a section that is just west of the Yellowstone Park boundary where you can still see the effects of the huge fire that swept the park in 1988. Then we turn east onto a FS road that for many miles will test the integrity of your fillings, and if you had false teeth, I don't know how you'd keep them in. WASHBOARD. Towards the end of this section we stop and I allow the cycling book to drop out of my jacket without noticing it until we at least 10 miles further down the road. Luckily, I'm able to find it when I go back to look for it. We finally get to where the road narrows, gains elevation, loses the washboards and becomes fun to ride. Getting beyond the washboards brings a smile to your face.

This comes out on the main N/S road going through Yellowstone, and we head south for some great views of the Tetons.


Further on a pretty lake.



At Moran Jct., I think that there's lodging to the left - my memory's wrong again and we get within 20 miles of DuBois, WY before we stop at Lava Mountain Lodge.

Miles for the day: 274


DAY 10

In the morning we decide to go into DuBois at a cafe Bob knows for breakfast.


Then we head back west on US 26 about 10 miles and then turn south into the Wind River Range and back on the route. It starts to rain and as we gain elevation the rain feels more like sleet.


We're on the trail for at least 20 miles and then something gets mucked up and we get to practice our dirt riding skills.

There's very little of the official route that is as bad as this.


And the worst looking ruts of the ride.

Fortunately there was only 3-400 yards of this and we were able to ride along side the road not in or on the ruts.

We finally found our way back on the route and had pretty clear sailing all the way to Pinedale.


There was a period of time when it was very clear to the west and very cloudy to the east - seems like we were right on the dividing line.


Stayed at the Half Moon Motel in Pinedale.


Miles for the day: 142


DAY 11

Got about 25 miles out of Pinedale when I stopped to read this historical marker.


Got done reading it and wondered where's Bob? Rode back 6-7 miles and there he is on the shoulder. Not happy!



Rear tire is flat.

Time for the magic of the Good Sam card.


We went back to Pinedale to:


The tow truck driver had called ahead and Bucky's ATV had a tube for the rear tire - $38.00, ouch, like buying tires on the freeway. Time for a little rant about the XT225: Having been an owner for the last 16 months and a member of this site, the only problem I've seen consistently identified is broken spokes. Bob got one on the 2nd day on the route back. He probably hadn't been quite as diligent as he could of been on assessing the spoke tightness. After the broken spoke he was very diligent. By contrast, I had a KLR650 for 17 years and 60,000 miles. I think once I thought to check the spokes and made small adjustments on a couple of them. Never broke a one. And it wasn't like I babied that machine. Relative to the flat, it wasn't a puncture, it was some kind of a friction induced leak in the area of the bead lock device. This one a new heavy duty tube (maybe too thick?) installed by a Yamaha shop. Now for some more rant: Why in the world does a 16 hp (who knows how much hp gets to the back wheel)need a bead locker? Getting back to the KLR650, it didn't have a bead locker on it, and I used to air down well under 20 psi without any problems. At any rate when the tube was installed at Bucky's, the bead locker was pitched.

While the repair was being made we went to a nearby park where I saw this sign:


Talk about stamina and endurance and grit.

We’re back on the road heading for the South Park City and the Great Basin.

A shot of the Wind River Range:


Most of the Continental Divide is a jagged, roughly N/S line except in central Wyoming where it approximates a circle that encloses the Great Basin. This shot was taken along a ridge that for about 1/4 mile is exactly on the Continental Divide. The picture looks into the Great Basin. If we'd had a panoramic camera it would have been easy to show across the road at the same time the view into the the Atlantic Ocean water shed.


Going on we come to information about South Pass:


Not much in South Pass City and we worry we won't find lodging in Atlantic City so we chicken out and head for Lander, WY where we stay at the Frontier Lodge (not worth a picture).

Miles for the day: 163, not bad for half a day.


Rich in Patagonia, 68 YM-1, 02 FZ1, 09 KLX250
04 XT225 - it's gone now
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: rohnstad] #102461 09/27/12 05:20 PM
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DAY 12

A waitress at the Frontier Lodge convinces us we must go see the sites at:



So we head off there first thing in the morning. The main attraction there besides the scenery is a river that disappears underground and comes out a few hundred yards later.





It was interesting and worth the 20 miles to take it in, but we're anxious to go back to take some shots of Red Canyon which we saw coming into Lander the night before. I'd never heard of Red Canyon before and I have to say that coming over the pass and spotting it was to me as dramatic as my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon nearly 60 years ago. We probably should have taken the pics the night before when the sun was just going down and the air was clearer, but hope these convey it's impact:









From here we rode back to Atlantic City which compared to South Park City was a thriving metropolis.







We get about 10 miles south of Atlantic City and I have a major brain fart where the route instructions says to veer right and I veer left. This takes us on to the Oregon Trail which is kind of fun for awhile, but.............




We stay on the Oregon Trail going east for quite a few miles before we conclude a mistake has been made. We take a left onto another two-track which becomes even worse. We're on this for what seems at least 10 miles. Interestingly while we're on this road a road comes in from the left that says it's the Oregon Trail. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone.



Finally, we come to this:


You can see me walking back to the gate after I've gone to both houses in the background to ask for permission to cross the property, but no one's home. So we ride through hoping for the best. After crossing through a couple of more gates that are posted along the Sweetwater river, we finally get out to US 287, well north of Rawlins. It's supposed to be an adventure, isn't it?

Time for a rest:



South of Rawlins we're back on the official route on a very straight gravel road going south towards the CO border. Just before we get to WY 70:



We go east on WY 70, to Riverside and stay at the Lazy Acres Campground.



Miles for the day: 281


Rich in Patagonia, 68 YM-1, 02 FZ1, 09 KLX250
04 XT225 - it's gone now
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: rohnstad] #102466 09/27/12 05:38 PM
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Excellent pictures and reports! Thank you for sharing your great experiences with us.

Alexd


(one) 2006 XT225, (two) 2005 XT225, 2006 FZ1
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: rohnstad] #102479 09/27/12 07:30 PM
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DAY 13

We go back west on WY 70, and turn south on a nice FS road that takes us to Steamboat Springs, CO. We stay on the route and nothing adventurous happens.......whew.

Just lots of great scenery:











We get to Kremmling and stay at Bobby's Motel.

Miles for the day: 171


Day 14

We go east out of Kremmling getting on FR 33 that is east of and parallels CO 9. We get this shot of a reservoir that shows it to be down maybe 20' With the drought out west this year this is the worst case we've seen. Most of the lakes and reservoirs were down at least 5'.



Along FR 33:



We ride through Breckenridge and over:



A railroad use to go over this pass:



We're probably above 11,000' here:



We ride some flat fast gravel roads:



I cross this and Bob claims I nearly tipped over - didn't feel like it to me, but he goes around.



We go through Salida, CO and up to:



Nice views on the way down:





An area that was totally washed out on my 2007 trip - put in for the benefit of Rick and Joe:



Stayed in Gunnison at The Seasons.

Miles for the day: 246


Rich in Patagonia, 68 YM-1, 02 FZ1, 09 KLX250
04 XT225 - it's gone now
Re: Old Coots on the GDR [Re: rohnstad] #102481 09/27/12 07:51 PM
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How did the spark arrestor fall out yet the bolt that holds it in place stay in? Did the bolt cut through the sheet metal of the housing that slips into the muffler? The only mechanical issue I had on the trip.



I don't know why this pic didn't show up the first time I tried to post it.


Rich in Patagonia, 68 YM-1, 02 FZ1, 09 KLX250
04 XT225 - it's gone now
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