Part of the revival of the blog is to document this summer's trip. The Great Divide has been on my bucket list for well over a decade. I remember walking into the Bicycle Company years ago and Hampton Hudson had just finished setting a Bob trailer and bike for a customer who was riding the trail and thinking that I want to do that!
Having a partner is good in case of emergencies and to help in cost (expenses) and carry (sharing the weight). But there are advantages to me riding alone. I only have to worry about my own pace. I can linger and not feel bad and can sleep and wake on my own schedule. And, I really like and I am looking forward to the alone time. I need the mental rest from a season in the classroom.
Most of you know that four years ago, I rode from coast to coast. This tour will be totally different. It will be mostly off-road. The Great Divide bills itself as the longest off pavement bicycle route in the world. On the cross country ride, I was basically in a town every night. There were some remote places, but I was never too far from a road and help if I ever needed it. This year, I'll be in some remote backcountry. The Canadian portion is renowned for it's scenery and wildlife. And it is rugged and remote. The Great Divide Basin in Wyoming is lonely, hot and dry. New Mexico is rough with long stretches between water. This ride will be physically and mentally challenging.
I even scored a deal on a great bike for this ride. I was deciding between the Salsa El Mariachi and a Surly ECR or Ogre. A random person sent me a link to a lady in California that was selling an ECR in my size. We talked a little, I found out she's ridden the Divide before (not on this bike though) and she gave me a great deal on the bike and some accessories. This bike is a 29+, meaning it has 29 inch rims but fatter tires (3 inch). That will allow me to float over a lot of obstacles. It's not a road touring bike like my Long Haul Trucker that I took cross country. It's got Jones Loop handle bars for comfort and handling and I've decked it out with Surly rear rack, Salsa Anything Cages up front and Revelate handlebar and feedbags. Rockgeist made me a custom top tube bag for my camera and phone. I'm using the same Ortlieb panniers that I used four years ago, those things have been great.
Below is a photo comparison of my two touring rigs. Bella (top) is a Surly Long Haul Trucker that took me from Oregon to South Carolina. Hulk is the Surly ECR that will carry me over the Continental Divide numerous times and help me navigate the off road terrain between Canada and Mexico. This trip will not feature the Bob, but Baron will come along again.
So, I leave in a week (June 23) for Calgary. I will take a shuttle to Banff (Below) and assembly bike and get ready for depart. The first 3-4 days are in Canada, full of wildlife, rugged terrain and a postcard shot around every bend. Here we go...
You can, of course, follow the journey here on the blog.
I will update through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so find me.
My Flickr page will contain most of my photo albums.