The Great Continental Divide Ride of 2014
For many years I'v harbored a desire to ride the Continental Divide. I even bought the bicycle rider's guide to riding it and made many plans which I eventually discarded. Then in 2013 I rode to Alaska for the third time and realized that I might still have enough oomph left in me to camp a few nights on the Divide Ride. After reading many ride reports of the CDR as it is known on the Adventure Riders forum, I decided that Colorado and New Mexico would be enough of the ride for me. I then enlisted my friend Colorado Chuck to accompany me. I tried to find a DR 650 for the ride, wanting something a little lighter than my WeeStrom. But as fate would have it, all the good ones were taken. I'd sold my KLR last fall so it was the Wee or nothing. The bike was ready to go except for a new rear tire (AK was rough on my chain and wheel bearings for some reason and I had changed them out before deciding to take the Wee on the CDR.) I pared down my camp gear and bought a nice lightweight air mattress from Klymit and I was ready to go.
I left home on July 17th, overnighting in Dumas, Texas at a motel. I had originally planned to camp at Lake McKinney like last year but the threat of serious storms changed my mind. As it was, I hit big rain just south of Abilene but it was pretty much over by the time I reached Dumas. I used two days to visit with my daughter and grandkids before Chuck and I left for the Colorado/Wyoming border on Sunday the 20th. We had a great ride up through the mountains, staying off the slab and seeing some nice twisties. We crossed the Divide a couple times before camping about 15 miles north of the Colorado border. And it was at the campground that we had a 'small world' experience. We had originally planned on camping right on the ride route but road construction changed our plans and we moved about 7 miles up Highway 70. We had set up camp when three motorcycles came in and stopped at the site above us. One of the guys walked down to say hello and he turned out to be a friend of Chuck's from the ST world! He and his wife are from Tennessee and the other guy with them is from Ohio, also an ST friend of Chuck's. They were on their way back home from an ST gathering and an extended ride around the Northwest. Shortly after we hit the sack we were entertained by a 15 minute rain storm with pretty good wind; just enough rain that we packed our tents away wet the next morning.
Monday, July 21, 2014. This was the first day of our actual Divide Ride and a good one. We took an alternate route to avoid some rough stuff, thinking that we didn't need to start off with several miles of steep, rocky nasties; we would have plenty of that later on. We left 70 near Slater and made our way over a nice dirt road which eventually took us to Steamboat Springs. We forded one creek that had worried us a bit from the ADV descriptions but it turned out to be fine. We wound our way down to the Colorado State Bridge and then hard pack dirt/gravel that was nearly pavement on into Steamboat. This was one of the best days of the entire trip! I had earlier corresponded with a fellow ADV inmate, Paul, and he invited us to stay at his cabin near Kremling. We called him from Steamboat and he met us on the road to his cabin to guide us back into the forest. Great place he has, been in his family for many years and is now owned by him and his three siblings.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Paul led us up and over Ute Pass and by the huge Henderson Moly mill. The tailings pond is HUGE and would make a big mess if ever hit by a flood! We dropped down into
Breckenridge where Chuck found a bolt to replace one missing from his soft bag bracket. Then it was over Boreas Pass to Como and through South Park to Salida. We picked up some food stuff and made camp for the night at the summit of Marshall Pass, just below the Divide. We shared our stealth campsite with several backpackers who were hiking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. They stayed up late sitting by a fire and smoking some funny stuff (guess its OK to do that now in Colorado!) We retired early and were senenaded by a couple groups of coyotes.