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Old 29 Jan 2009
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2009 Continental Divide Trip

A group of about six of us are planning on Riding the Divide this summer, leaving Antelope Wells on June 1st and hope to arrive at the Canadian Border 2 weeks later. I have a couple of questions that I hope some of you locals can answer -

1. We will be traveling to Antelope Wells from all corners of the U.S. (and perhaps one or two from overseas). We are looking for a good rendevous point. Most of us will be riding large BMW GS's on the divide. Some of us will be riding down, some will be shipping. I thought that perhaps a BMW dealer (or other reputable dealer based upon recommendations) would be a good meeting spot. That way those who rode in could get any needed service, parts, etc. Also we need someone who will take delivery of bikes shipped by independent shipping companies. It appears that the nearest BMW dealers are in Tucson or Chandler, AZ. Any recommendations or thoughts?

2. I know that we are starting this trip early in the season and we should expect some snow in the north. I have read some post say that some areas are not open until after July 1st. Could anyone me more specific? Where are we likely to run into these closures and are they weather dependent (i.e.-perhaps open sometime in June weather permitting) or is it a set policy that every year July 1st (or what ever mandated date) is the open date?

3. If we run into these closures, how much of the divide are we likely to miss? The nice thing about this trip is that for the most part there are ways to detour around trouble, but at the same time, we would like to stick to as much of the Divide Route as possible.

Thanks for your time and input.
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Old 29 Jan 2009
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GD in June-ish

Joe...can't help you on rendezvous locations in the south but can make some comments on heading north.

I rode the route in July 05 from Roosville to Salida. Everthing along the way was open - although some of the passes near Buena Vista were still snowed in (e.g Tincup, Tomichi) but they aren't really part of the GD route.

I got patchy snow only in the Union and Togwotee Pass areas east of the Tetons in Wyoming. Pinedale area is known for being cold.

You might get some snow in the Colorado passes but most should be open (e.g. Boreas near Brekenridge) .

Might also be high water in some of the creeks and plateau areas that the route goes through...usually it's a low lying area that muddies up with the melt....as you said, there's usually a work around.

Further north you may also get some patchy snow/water/mud on the Big Sheep Creek byway in southern Montana and maybe in the Stemple Pass areas where things climb a bit.

Lots of the route north of Helena through the Flathead area follows valleys where the snow should be down although passes may still have some snow in the shaded areas.

All in all though you should be pretty much OK although this will depend on the actual depth of this year's snow pack.

The cycling maps prepared for the route give good detail, but are limited for developing work arounds. In my trip I used Michael McCoys' book and the Delorme Gazetteers, which were pretty good in letting me see options and alternatives. I put them in a clear map case and strapped them to the top of the duffle for ready access.

Good luck in your planning....it's a great route....

Here's a A few GD Pics that may be of interest.

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Old 30 Jan 2009
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Thanks for the input! And thanks for posting those pictures....I think. They really make me wish that June was much closer.


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Old 2 Feb 2009
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Hi Joe,

We tried ridding the CD from Canada USA boarder south. It was around July and the tracks were very dusty and because alot of the time you are in the woods with trees right up to the edge of the track the dust hangs in the air for ages, as there is no wind, so following riders have to hang back a long way. These CD tracks are very narrow and the locals can drive a bit too fast, they don´t seam to expect any traffic. We only rode a small section but in the end gave it up as we saw very little as you are always in the trees, the fine dust is choking and sooner or later we wre going to end up planted in the bonnet (hood) of a pick up truck.
Just a heads up as you may want a alternative route if you don`t like it, a fully loaded GS would just add to the down side IMHO.

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Old 2 Feb 2009
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Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
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I notice you mentioned Tucson as a possible meeting place. I have dealt with Iron Horse Motorcycles, the BMW dealer in Tucson, several times and found them to be top notch.

They also offer a storage service which might be helpful.

I noticed a "BMW Number 1 in USA Customer Service Award" on their wall. My experience with them would support that claim.
Bill Atchison
Red Deer, Alberta Canada
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Old 3 Feb 2009
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That is the third thumbs up we have received about Iron Horse. It sounds like they are the way to go. Good to hear about the storage. The guys that will be shipping will probably arrange for delivery a week or so before we are scheduled to depart, just in case there is any delay, we won't be sitting waiting for bikes.

As far as the dust on the trail, I am hoping that by going in June the dust will not be as much of an issue. We were planning on bringing a few two-way radios so we could ride a mile or two apart but still have communication. This should help with the dust issue.

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Old 3 Feb 2009
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Don't really know where on the route Steve was ridin in the dust...but its true that it's no fun....but you sure do get to look like a real traveller....

My experience across southern Colorado and up into and across Wyoming was that the cross winds were often more of an issue than the dust. I was ridin alone though so didn't have to eat any.

In some of the more densely treed areas you can get the 'ridin in a trench' effect which can be compounded by hanging dust ... but by and large, it seemed to me that the route had lots of open vistas, space, and variety etc.

And if it rains at all in Montana, the mud will have you hoping for dust.

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