The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Canada to Mexico.

Welcome! This site documents a two month, solo, unsupported mountain bike tour of the The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Banff AB Canada to the US-Mexican border at Antelope Wells, NM. The trip began in late July and finished 25 SEP 2007. It took 61 days and encompassed 2842.32 miles.

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28 August 2007

Day 33 Rawlins, WY

Hello from southern Wyoming! The bizarre and challenging alpine desert
between Pinedale and Rawlins is now behind me. I rolled into town
mid afternoon yesterday, a little dehydrated and sunburned but
otherwise in good shape.

Having been in this in this area before, I knew what to
expect...relative to what you can see from a vehicle window at 75 mph.
Basically, in S Wyoming, the Divide is not a stereotypic, dramatic,
wooded mountainous's a rolling, dry, desolate, scrub brushy
plain. One could cross the Continental Divide several times and not
even know it. The Divide actually splits in this area forming a non
draining feature (which works with very little rain and snowmelt)
known as The Great Divide Basin. The high range, wooded mountains of
the Divide pick back up near the CO/WY border. The Divide in S New
Mexico is deserty and dry like this as well.

Anyway, started a big day out of Pinedale with a lot of mileage and
some climbing. Almost got hit by a NOLS bus in the middle of a
drainage climb...but it wasn't her fault or mine. Ran into some more
NOLS folks late in the day near the Sweetwater River. The jefe of
the group wanted to confirm that my desert survival plans were solid
before moving on. It was hot and windy that day and the next, so his
concerns were valid...NOLS is a good outfit.

I took on the big open section the next day, starting the ride at 7AM
and finally bagging out, not even setting up camp, some time after
midnight. Some challenges occur when you can see the road you need to
ride extending as far as you can see in front of you, generally uphill
it always seemed.
The next morning I packed up and was moving by daybreak, although it
still took me 7-8 hours to finally get to Rawlins. The last 15-20
miles was on Highway 287...the same road I was tweaking out on back in
the Tetons area, this time with at least a decent shoulder. Although
it was pavement, there was significant climbing in addition to the
obligatory 500 mph Wyoming headwind; so I was on this stretch long
enough to see a well organized trio of highway patrols nab easily over twenty
motorists. What settles for entertainment in the desert...

Moving on to Colorado soon enough...but will likely spend very little
of some previously planned downtime in Steamboat IOT avoid the holiday
crowds. I'll blow through Summit County and hang out some further
south in mellow Salida...which is a really cool and no so touristy

To answer a few recurring questions:
- I have lost weight...15-20 lbs. Some of which needed to go...the
rest is muscle mass lost by not lifting weights.
- Average around 55 miles a day...the most being 95 and the least 23.
I have had one flat in over 1500 miles...mostly due to tire
- Physical problems include some CTS type symptoms in both hands and
some intermittent knee pain..not enough to even need meds for.
- The food I crave the most...watermelon. Strange though, 10 yrs
ago in Ranger School it was Allsup's burritos.
- The weather has been better than I planned for.
- Equipment is holding up really well and logistics planning has
gone, planned. Major unexpected shortage of Chamois Butt'r
though...I have to substitute.
- I think about a lot of things while riding during the day, can't
recall WHAT exactly.
- I miss my friends/family, the animals, healthy Boulder food, and
regular yoga sessions.
- Yes, it has been worth what I gave up to do this trip. I
understand the challenges upon return...they will be worth it as well.

Mileage to date: 1518.85 (yes, over halfway!)
Divide crossings: 14

24 August 2007

Day 29 Pinedale, WY

"Hit upon 'em Joe, raise the barn on yourself...Rain, Rain, Rains
gonna fall...right onto your head"
-Rusted Root, Rain

Howdy all, been awhile since the last post...but then again I am in
the least populated state per square mile in the US... Wyoming.
Regarding concerns about stretches between posting, I AM adhering to
the 3-4 day "safety" communication schedule I established and posted
in the "Route Communication" posting linked in the header and on the
sidebar links. I do appreciate the concern, but when I cannot post to
the blog, I do call one or more of the folks on the rotation, it's
worked well so far.

Anyway, to the fun stuff. I pulled out of Lima, MT and was grounded
about 15 miles out by an intense lightning and rain storm that went on
for about two hours. Since that area is an alpine desert, I dried
off on the move and rolled through some interesting open ranch
country. As the day was winding down..I was still a ways out from my
destination campsite. As luck (or fate, or karma...) would have it,
literally in the middle of the desolation, I ran into some folks in an
SUV who were waching wildlife in the Red Rocks Wildlife Preserve.
They offered me a sandwich, some fresh fruit and some wine. I passed
on the wine, but the rest of it hit the spot and saved me from having
to cook in the dark at the campsite. Much thanks to those
made my day!
The next morning, before I moved out to cross over Red Rocks Pass
and into Idaho, I met some wonderful "Leave No Trace" trailbuilding
volunteers from Cali who presented me with my official trip mascot, a
small, finger puppet owl. This guy now rides looking forward, bungeed
to my front food bag. Those who understand the metaphysical
significance of the owl...or who are just Mulder-types like me... can
appreciate the symbolism associated there.

Idaho, the 35 or so miles I rode at least, was very beautiful. I
rode an old railway bed (now a supersoft ATV haul ass washboard bed!)
that was slow-going high rolling resistance terrain but nonetheless
very beautiful. It had a spooky darkside-ish tunnel that I had to
really use the force to get through (about 80 ft of it anyway) in the
dark...mainly because I was just to lazy to pull out my headlamp
before going in.

The tunnel was not the last time I rode in the dark that day. I
overestimated my ability and the terrain, deciding to ride the
isolated "Reclamation Road" between Ashton, ID and Flagg Ranch, WY.
This road basically took me eastbound over the north side of the Teton
Range and into the zoo of Teton and Yellowstone NPs. Great
unobstructed views of the backside of the Tetons! Anyway, I rode the
last 10 or so miles into Flagg Ranch in the dark, in the rain, with
tunes crankin! Coming into Flagg Ranch in the made me think I was
coming up on a fireworks stand in Tennessee. Look, it's Las Vegas! I
got a campsite (with shower, which was nice) and rode into a scene
similar to the bar scene in Star Wars. Not much sleep that night
amidst the parties, campfires (somebody didn't get the "forest fires
everywhere!" word,) RV generator noise, and Harleys firing up at 5AM.
Take me back to sketchball, bear scare campsites, please!

The next morning I toured the 287 route between Yellowstone and Teton
Parks, which was beautiful but very dangerous riding a highway with no
shoulder crammed full of tourists in huge motorhomes moving as fast as
possible until someone spotted a deer or moose and then everyone
pulling over and taking pics. Never before on this trip had I been
more afraid for my life! I rode that section like it was the Tour De
France, as fast as possible, barely even stopping to eat.

The following day, I ended up back on 287 where road construction and
big gravel trucks were added to the pile of motorhomes and SUVs.
Finally got back on dirt and headed up Union Pass, where I proceeded
to get smacked by a huge thunder, lightning, hail, snow, and
rainstorm. I was hanging out, soaked, waiting under the deck of a
closed lodge for the rain to stop, when a guy pulled up and asked if I
wanted to stay in his vacant camper for the night. Jeff is a great
guy, a shower, dinner, and a warm dry camper was most excellent!
Thanks for the hospitality and excellent conversation, are
truly a wonderful person!

So, I rode the soggy 85 plus miles into Pinedale of
the longest days of the trip...both in miles and in mind. But,
Pinedale has been worth it...I really like this town, lots of
character...the first place on the route that I would consider maybe
relocating to in the future.

The big, open push across the plain is next and I hope to be in
Colorado by the end of the week.

Thanks for all the emails and support! I'm still going strong and all
equipment is servicable.

Mileage to date: 1286.81
Divide crossings: 11

16 August 2007

Day 21 Lima, MT

"Little by little...I can breathe again."
-Robert Plant

After continued super smoky air since Whitefish, I think I may actually be coming out of least for now. The last few days have been pretty smoky, especially around Wise River, where there was actually quite a bit of solid debris in the air.

Otherwise, the last few days have gone well, monster day right out of Butte with a couple of big elevation climbs. Landed in a USFS campsite in the smoke filled Wise River Valley late in the evening and this wonderful family from Seattle immediately invited me over for dinner, which was excellent. Thanks guys for the food and conversation, you are awesome!

Pushed out into the cold (yes nights and mornings are getting cold...fall is coming!) the next morning hoping to hit a Hot Springs spot near Maverick Mountain Ski Resort. The Elkhorn Hot Springs were closed temporarily for maintenance, which was a bummer. Moved on to lunch at the Grasshopper Restaurant (named after the Grasshopper Glaciers, where they find grasshoppers imbedded in ancient ice glaciers)where I met up with, I estimate, four families of kids. Everywhere I go where there are actually people, it seems kids just swarm around me. The kids ask good questions and I have a good time explaining what I am doing to them. Kids have no boundaries and they are totally psyched to hear my story. Anyway, one of the parents was so happy that I entertained the kids for awhile, they bought my lunch! Thanks to whoever that was! And to the family with the National Guard father serving in Iraq, my best wishes and Godspeed!

After passing through the old ghost town of Bannack that afternoon, I rode out the long road to Grant, where I was taken in by Micheal and Barbara...who made me an excellent dinner and let me camp on thier lawn. That was the best surface I have camped on so far...nice soft grass. Moved out early this morning and rode the high sage desert to Lima...which seems to be a great small town.

Thanks all for the emails! Some referring sites are directing to the "About Me" page, which only shows a reference I eliminated the data on that page and set it up to redirect. Please go directly to the main site to see the latests updates at

I will try to fix the HTML script errors when I have more time, you don't see those on Firefox.

I will try to get to as many emails as I can, but realize intent but limited resources. I have been literally overwhelmed by the positive energy surrounding this trip, both by the people I meet along the way and via the folks following my and supporting my journey. I had no idea it would happen this way! Thank You!

Mileage to date: 947.60

12 August 2007

Day 17 Butte, MT

"Traveling to the south will bring you unexpected happiness."
-fortune cookie fortune after Chinese buffet today in Butte...I am totally serious!

Coming down from Helena was interesting yesterday, two big elevation gain climbs and summitting some of the most technical terrain I have seen on the route thus far. Route over this singletrack/jeep/ATV trail was rocky like some of the terrain you find near the divide in Colorado. Way remote as well, as I didn't see or hear another person for about four hours. I succeeded in making it into Basin by the end of the day yesterday. A mountain biker I met just outside of Helena thought the full ride into Basin was ambitious to try, but nonetheless recommended "The Leaning Tower of Pizza" in Basin for dinner...which I tried and it was excellent.

While rolling into Basin, a man pulled over to talk to me as I was checking my map and trying to figure out where I was going to crash for the night. He offered to let me camp on his property and a chance encounter turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip thus far. Tom and Cathy of Basin are wonderful and generous folks who I spent the evening and part of this morning talking and exchanging ideas with. They are in the process of establishing what will be a successful bed and breakfast operation in the canyon just up the FS road to the north of Basin. I would have never figured out on my own that Basin has a "health mine" that folks come from some distance to visit and take in some unconventional healing. I didn't try it out, as I wanted to start heading south before it got hot and the wind kicked up. Regardless, I look forward to communicating with Tom and Cathy and will publish their bed and breakfast website address when I build the site after the big bike ride. Thanks Tom and Cathy for taking me in, you are awesome!

Trip from Basin into Butte was a challenge, as it was open and exposed country uphill almost the whole way with about a 40 mph headwind. I did get to see a firefighter sling load operation taking place just off the route. They were helocopter sling loading containers of drinking water to firefighters on the front fire lines in various fires to the north. An already high level of respect for firefighters was amplified when I saw how well (yes, I've been a part of a sling operation or two) they were handling that sling equipment. Uplifting to say the least.

I have been riding every day except for one over the last nine days, although not all of those days have been full on, bomber climb, 50-70 mile days. Some have been 25-35 mile partials, with nice partial recovery time. I will probably take tomorrow completely off to rest and deal with some life business. The series of climbs coming out of Butte look pretty challenging as it makes sense to me to approach them as fresh as possible. All in all, feeling really good, bike is good, missing family/friends and the Astral Weeks experience...but nonetheless having a great time on the trip. So much has happened, it seems like I have been out here for several months as opposed to several weeks...but I am definetly ready for more!

I think my fortune cookie fortune is already right.

Sorry no pictures this stop, PC I am borrowing is so old it doesn't have a USB port!

Mileage to date: 748.50

10 August 2007

Day 15 Helena MT

Hello from Helena!
All is well and good, biggest city I have been in since Calgary. Actually saw a McDonalds and Starbucks for the first time in several weeks today and realized I didn't miss them at all.

Took off from Lincoln and had to take an alternate route over the first pass, Stemple Pass, because the road was closed. I took a pass to the east, which added about 15 miles to the route and ended my chances for making it into Helena in one day. Crested the second Divide Crossing of the day (my overall third with the one in Canada) and camped just on the west side of Priest Pass. That area looked and smelled like Dahlonega, which was fitting as I was having a Dahlonega type of day...flats, mechanicals and other issues all the while in a phenomenally beautiful area. Overall weather has been cooperative, with a little bit of rain yesterday afternoon and this morning, which is good for keeping the dust down. Dust with smoke tends to inhibit breathing somewhat.

Things are good, morale is high. I keep running into myself as I travel, or a least various selves over my lifetime. I ate at a steak joint in Condon that made me think I'd been beamed back to K-Bobs in Dalhart, with the chuckwagon salad bar and everything. Add to that the NG Humvee (that diesel smell!) travel, CH-47s flying about, small towns, bad diet, etc. etc.

Anyway, mileage to date: 672.06

Oh by the way, I have managed to borrow some computer time and was able to upload parts of the photos from the Canadian Section, I will add captions and the rest of the photos later. Enjoy:

08 August 2007

Day 13 Lincoln, MT

The Ring of Fire

Greetings all! Finally seem to be getting away from forest fire alley
for the time being. Left Bigfork several days ago seeing the smoke
get thicker as I went south.
Kudos to owner of Brookies Cookies in Bigfork for the great chai and
positive attitude!
Ride out of Bigfork was absolutely stunning.
Rolled into Holland Lake that evening to find out that passage into
Seeley Lake was blocked because the #1 growing fire in the nation was
burning southwest of town. Linked up with Bryan and Roland from
Washington and layed over a day in Holland Lake.
Thanks much to the USFS Site hosts, The McCleery's, for their
attention to our situation, wonderful hospitality, and dinner!
Bryan, Roland, and I headed out yesterday early and luckily chanced
our way through the National Guard cordon point and into Seeley Lake
for food resupply. I parted ways with them, as they took the road and
I took the trail. Judging by tracks, they got back on route in Ovando
and summited Huckleberry Pass ahead of me.
I arrived in Lincoln a few hours ago and plan to do a monster three
pass day bid into Helena tomorrow.
Otherwise all is good, I'm heathy, bike is making noise but nothing
other than pivot bearings, and the smoke isn't so bad here. Having
some electronics issues. Tried to charge my tunes player with the
solar panel on layover day and, as I had suspected, it was actually
TAKING power from it. Yes, my MP3 player was powering the sun! I
mailed that POS solar panel back home today, nothing like a pound plus
boat anchor to carry up another 175000 feet of climbing. Anyway, will
reply to more emails when I get to my PDA charger in Butte...which I
am going to start packing with me...but battery power is limited to
posting and jounalizing now.
Until next time!

Mileage to date: 582.39

04 August 2007

Day 9 Bigfork, MT

Short post here, just amazed that I am camping next to Flathead Lake
and picked up a wifi signal! All is well, mellow day riding today,
lots of smoke and ash in the air from local fires. Camped next to to
2 other southbound GDR riders from north of Seattle. Nice guys,
having a good time.
Hung out with locals Tom and Pat Arnone along the route at lunch
today...wonderful, generous and interesting folks. Thanks for the
garden carrots, you are awesome!

Mileage to date: 409.02

03 August 2007

Day 8 Whitefish, MT

Big Smokey Sky Country

Pulled out of Eureka Wed AM full of a fat ham and cheese omelete with
hash browns...mmmm. Mellow climb to the top of Whitefish Divide,
talked to some border patrol guys on the way up who were checking out
a washed out road. Descended down through the grizzly gauntlet. I
found out today that the Tuchuck area is where they send the 'problem'
bears from Glacier NP. Better too know that after, I guess. Anyway,
no problems other than a case of the Willies. I have taken to
chanting cadences I learned in a previous life to keep making noise
and letting the goblins know I'm around.

Camped that night next to the Flathead River across from Glacier NP.
Couldn't see much due to forest fire smoke all around. Red skies at
night though. (wha, ho. wa, ha, ho, ha, ho, ho.)
Climbed up to Red Meadow lakes the next morning and dropped into
Whitefish yesterday evening feeling like I had been riding for 7 days
straight. Oh yea, I had.
Took today off to fix some issues and refit with my mail drops. Mike
from Glacier Cyclery was awesome to help me fix that nagging rack
mount problem and a systemic issue with the front derailluer. Forest
fire smoke is super thick here, it looks like CO a few years back
after the Hayman fire. Anyway, revived my mp3 player, yea! I don't
think I've gone over five days without The Four Horsemen since like,
1997. Yeesh. That will not happen again.

Pulling out for the Swan Valley/Bigfork AO tomorrow.

Mileage to date: 361.7