Most of the route is fairly remote. The mountains are still filled
with hunters, prospectors and characters.
Take a lot of photos, but understand that you can’t get the full
impact of the Rocky Mountains on a two-dimensional medium.
NOVEMBER 2014 / DIRT BIKE 71
Spring is an awesome time in the Rockies. Just be prepared
for some triple-digit temperatures at the lower elevations.
about half of the nights we were on the Divide. We used
motels when the timing was such that they were available
at the end of the day.
Several of the mountain bikers we met would laughingly
ask why we had so much stuff. We enjoyed their good-natured kidding about all of the gear we were carrying
compared to their meager possessions. But, their
questions resonated in my mind as I packed and unpacked
all of my gear every day. It really was too much stuff!
Learning from them, when we reached Tom’s house 2000
miles into the trip, I reassessed every single item and
decided whether it was a need or a want. Then I left about
29 pounds of junk in Ross’ car so he could haul it back to
California for me.
I would suggest starting your planning with the
wonderful maps produced by the ACA, and then
carefully transferring their routes onto Benchmark maps.
Benchmark maps will prove invaluable when it comes time
to figure out reroutes and detours. They are also invaluable
when looking for an overview of where you are and where
you are headed. Additionally, build a track of the route
on Garmin BaseCamp and load it onto your GPS to use
for most of your riding. It’s much easier to glance at the
GPS than to unfold maps at every crossroad. Ross and
I used Garmin Montana GPS units and loved them. They
have a huge track memory rather than the limited 20-track
memories of the GPS 60s and others.
For safety’s sake, and so my wife could tell if I was still
moving, I brought along a DeLorme inReach SE satellite
communicator. These not only have the ability to send
an SOS, but they allow texts to be sent and received
from pretty much anywhere on earth, though I was only
interested in the western U.S. They can also leave a
breadcrumb trail as you travel, and the intervals can be
tailored to your needs. I set mine to drop a breadcrumb
every 10 minutes so my wife and friends could check our
progress online. I also used the device to send my wife
texts since cell service was virtually non-existent for most
of the route.
Logistics for a ride of this length became the priority in
our conversations from the moment we agreed to do it.
Things were complicated by the fact that Tom and I live in
different states, so we decided to meet at Antelope Wells,
New Mexico, on July 3rd. Though Ross lives near me, he
loves work too much to retire (poor devil) and decided to
trailer his bike to Colorado and meet us there when we
rode in from the south, then ride back with Tom after we
After a sleepless night in late June, I saddled up my
KLR, hugged my wife and kissed my cat goodbye, then
started out on what would become the most beautiful ride
of my life.
My Garmin Montana GPS had been given strict
instructions to avoid toll roads, freeways and U-turns, so it
picked the hottest, most indirect route to Bisbee, Arizona,