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The Continental Divide (Part 1)

August 3, 2016

So Now it's time to get onto the Continental Divide Trail. We had been planning to take the CDT for some time now. The Continental Divide Trail is 3100 miles and runs from Canada to Mexico. It passes through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. It is mostly dirt roads, and there are actually three parallel trials. There is a hiking, bicycle, and motorcycle trail. We got the motorcycle trail information from a guy named “GPS Kevin” He takes the credit for creating the motorcycle version. The trail actually starts in Banff.

 

So we were off, and hitting the dirt right away. We only rode for a few hours before deciding that the reservoir south of Banff would be a good campsite. Now that we were in bear country we decided to get bear spray while in Banff. The person selling had to give me this be lecture on how to use it. You actually have to wait until the bear is about 10 feet from you before you unleash the spray. The objective is to get the spray right in it’s face. I did ask him if they had any “Angry girlfriend spray”. He laughed. Then with a straight face said “I wish”.

 

We spent about two days riding through the Canada section. Our last night was near the US border. We camped along a river. It wasn’t the best place, but it would do for a night. There was quite a bit of traffic passing through, but a guy who stopped to walk his dogs said that it would be safe here. 


Crossing into Montana we headed to Glacier National Park. We stopped at the Polebridge Mercantile for a snack and some groceries before heading into the park. The Mercantile has become a pretty popular stop here.


We planned to stay for a couple of days in Glacier. Our first night was on the west side of the park. The west side is not connected to the main park, so there were plenty of camping options. The ranger even allowed me to use my disabled veterans pass for both bikes. 

 

(This poster was in the bathroom)

 

 (Arriving to Glacier)

Settling into camp, we got our priorities set. We needed to do some laundry. It had been a couple of weeks now, and things in the dufflebag were getting ripe. So, seeing it was sunny and warm, and that we were camped next to a lovely stream, we decided to wash some clothes.

 

(Washing my Moto Skiveez)

 

(taking a plunge. The water was cool!)

(Hanging the laundry)

The next day we went exploring Glacier NP. One funny thing that we discovered is that there is an entrance on the south side of the park that is un-monitored. You can drive right in without paying! We decided to drive the main road to the other side of the park which would take most of the day.

The road twisted through the park and with every turn a new photo opportunity was available. Clouds were cascading over the mountains off in the distance as the sun warmed the tarmac beneath us. Those mountains would soon be under our wheels. Glacier is one of the oldest National Parks. Historic replicas of the original tour buses take tourist around the park. My brother in law used to drive on here.

At the end of the day we decided to camp in one of the main campgrounds. Something we were not terribly enthused about because they are over populated and noisy. But, we were too tired to go exploring for a remote camp.

It wasn’t too long after we had set up camp that the rains came upon us. The rain was heavy and put our tent to the test. Our neighbors who were there for a 75 birthday party abandoned camp and headed to a hotel. But, before they left, they were kind enough to share some filet mignon. It was, by far, one of the best steaks we ever had! This just goes to show that you never know what to expect on a road trip.

 

(On the Going to the Sun road)

 

 

(Vintage tour bus with open roof)

 

 

 

 

The next day we got back on the Continental Divide. One thing I can tell you about the motorcycle route is that it can be accomplished by anyone with little off-road experience. The majority of the route is on very basic gravel roads. These are public country roads that are used everyday mostly farming communities. There are also options for easy sections and hard sections. Because we were traveling for an unknown period of time and that we need our bikes to survive, we would often opt out for the easy section if was available. Not that we couldn’t ride the main harder sections, but that we need to conserve the bikes and ourselves. There are no signs for the CDT like you would see on the Pacific Crest Trail. The only sign we saw was made by a local gentleman who welcomed people to camp on his lawn. We talked with him for a while and he was actually unaware that there was a motorcycle version of the CDT.

 

Pressing on into the day we looked for our next campsite. We stopped at a store for some ice cream, and a local told us about a nice spot along a creek that away from the main road. Depending on where we are and who we are talking to, we use our best judgement to ask about local places. Being that if you ask someone, and follow their advice, then they know where you are too. So sometimes for security reasons, we don’t ask the locals. Anyways, the campsite was beautiful. There was a small trail leading down to the creek and a small open space for the tent. Just to be sure, I took both our bikes down the trail so that they weren’t in view of the road.

 

With our bear bag hung, and the sound of the creek trickling outside our tent, we had a peaceful sleep, ready for a few more days of riding towards Yellowstone National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

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