Chris Ratay, of Ultimate Journey fame and the host for the 2005 Colorado HU meeting, suggested that Horizon Unlimited Traveller meetings are intended to provide inspiration for people to go a little further, and a little different, on their motorcycles. For me, the 2005 Colorado HU meeting provded the opportunity to do just that!
In thinking about attending the HU Colorado meeting in July 2005, I realized I could do two things - get to my first HU meeting and do it following a route paralleling the American Continental Divide.
While I don't think that this is a particularly noteworthy trip, both Chris and Grant indicated that something that seems maybe a little ordinary here in North America may be of great interest to others in other countries.
With that in mind, I thought I'd send along a little info and some photos of the portion of the Great Divide route I followed in July 2005 enroute to the Colorado HU Travellers meeting in case anyone becomes interested in this little travelled, but mighty spectacular route.
The Great Divide Mountain Bike route was developed by the Adventure Cycling Association
(The Continental Divide roughly follows the Rocky Mountains and marks where water flows either east or west)
The route takes you through some wonderful backcounty areas in five states (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico) seldom visited by anyone. Yet, food, water, gas(petrol), camping (or motel if preferred) are all available at key points along or slightly off route.
The route developed by the Adventure Cycling Association is quite specific and is outlined in both a guidebook and a series of maps that they sell from their website. However, many options for route modifications are available and can provide dual sport riders with the opportunity to customize routes and roads to match riding skill or interest. After several days of dirt, for example, a group might just be happy for 20 miles of pavement as a welcome change.
I believe that this route is a great option for dual sport motorcyclists who want a truly unique experience in America's western states.
My experience suggests that some sections of the route in good weather are very suitable for newer dual sport riders while the same section after rain could challenge even the most skilled and experienced. The route also offers options about how much is ridden at any one time.
I did not complete the entire route as I turned back north at Salida to attend the HU Colorado meeting. Next year for the remainder of the route?? -maybe!!
I did a short presentation about the route at the Colorado HU Meeting and thought I'd provide here the some of the same basic info and photos.
I'd be happy to correspond with anyone who would like further info or who may be contemplating tackling this terrific ride.
Day 1 - Roosville to Lincoln
Twas a colorful start passing through Eureka...
Riding along Grave Creek Road east of Eureka getting in to the Western edge of Glacier Park...
Further South now east of Seeley Lake...
Connecting from Cooper's Lake north of Ovando to Lincoln...
Day 2 Lincoln to Elkhorn
The only other motorcyclist met along the route...
The Stemple Pass area was delightful and full of old mining roads that did get a little confusing, but were still fun!
Starting up Lost Horse Creek Road...
The last remants of water on Forest Road 1855...
Day 3 - Elkhorn to Ashton, Idaho
Early Morning Rush Hour, Montana style
The Big Sheep Backcountry Byway...very scenic - thank goodness it was dry...
Canyon Creek Road near Lima
Lima Dam Reservoir
One of only two bicyclists met enroute
Along Warm River the route follows an old railway bed...
Day 4 Ashton to Atlantic City, Wyoming
Camping gives way to the 'indoor ' option...
Fires had their way throughout the Ashton Flagg Restoration Road area...
Buffalo Valley Road ...
Heading up toward Union Pass...just west of Dubois, Wyoming
Union Pass east of the Grand Tetons...
East of Pinedale toward Atlantic City the road flattens a bit...
Atlantic City offers food, and gas...needed on the 225 mile desert route to Rawlins
Day 4 Atlantic City to Steamboat Springs
Route crosses numerous historical trails such as the Californian and Oregon
Getting into Wyoming's Great Divide Basin...water that falls here stays here...
Kinda Strange to see a paved road through the middle of the Divide Basin....
Just after Lynx Pass is the famous Aspen Alley...
Northern Colorado provides a stark contrast to the area just travelled in Southern Wyoming
Day 5 Steamboat Springs to Fairplay
This little beauty was about 3 feet deep...back to the highway...
Pleasant country ridin on FR 212...
Above Radium, near Kremmling and the Colorado River....gorgeous
Inspiration Point from across the valley...the Colorado River passes through Gore Canyon here...
Atop Boreas Pass...over 11,000 ft
Coming down Boreas brings you into some flatter country near Como...
Day 6 - Fairplay to Buena Vista and the 2005 HU Western USA Meeting...
Still some flat county in Central Colorado...
Land Prices seem OK...
A cool celebration on arrival...
The View from the tent at the Colorado HU Meeting at Buena Vista...
Twas a great meeting...much appreciation to Chris Ratay and everyone else to helped organize the event...
The route covered in total about 1600 miles with 800 miles or so still available to travel through southern Colorado and all of New Mexico. The route officially ends at Antelope Wells, New Mexico...which borders with Mexico....maybe next year!!
I rode a 2003 KLR with very few modifications - the best, for me, was the higher windscreen. I used Dual Star Tank Panniers and Tank Bag, GIVI soft saddlebags, and a North Face Duffle for the tent gear. I also had a Corbin seat, supplemented by the ever valuable sheepskin. No mechanical problems were encountered save a speedo cable that gave way 17 kms into the trip. The TKC 80 tires were terrific on all types of surfaces, although the wear over the 5400km travelled seems a little excessive.
Several other have completed the Great Divide Route and have posted pics and stories on the net. Here are a couple...
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