Mexico to Canada: Solo on the Continental Divide

After having one of my motorcycles confiscated by a band of illiterate, Ecuadorian customs officials in early July 2014. I returned home and started piddling around with my 2007 BMW G650 X Challenge. Changing the oil, oil filter, air filter; installing new tires and some other modifications and tweaks. The bike had previously received no love from me. I just rode it, never washed it, rarely changed the oil, never changed the filters. Every time I rode it I would try to rag the motor out. It never complained. Never boiled over. Never leaked. Anything.

I usually like white bikes but the paint on THIS one (yes, its paint not just white plastics) always bothered me so I sanded the plastics down and put a few coats of green paint on it. The bike seemed to say “Jeez, finally!” I let it set for a few weeks. Only riding it down to the river a few times to go fishing.

On July 20th I woke up, made coffee and walked outside. It was foggy; pretty thick. “Ya, I think I’m going to ride the Continental Divide”.

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Mex to Can GPS data download link

Five days later, July 25th both the X-Challenge and I were riding through the border town of El Paso Texas then working our way into New Mexico where we would meet up with the Continental Divide trail near Hurley/ Silver City. As far as planning and preparations went, well; I “prepared” for maybe two hours. I had some containers for extra gasoline, one pair of socks, one pair of underwear (wearing both ), a rain jacket, batteries, flash light, small air compressor, some tools, a knife, a lighter, harmonica, protein bars, a trash bag and a camping rig the size of a football. Basically the same shit I’ve carried with me for eight or nine years now.

New Mexico is a beautiful state. The mountains and canyons are excellent riding areas and the Continental Divide goes right through the best of it. I saw a herd of elk and had two coyote pups running next to my bike through here. Other than the mountains and rocky canyons, New Mexico also has what I call “flats” (not sure what the locals call them). They are high elevation “flat” areas that hold water.

It had been raining a lot in New Mexico lately (something that I didn’t know because I never checked the weather). If you have ever ridden a motorcycle or been in the desert when it rains then you know what happens. “Special” mud happens. New Mexico has its own type of special mud. Its chocolate fudge, clogs everything, is membranous.. and once it dries can be used as a foundation for a single family home.

I’d been riding on nice, rocky and gravel mix roads earlier and was hitting 70-80 mph is some of the straights. Once I arrived in the “flats” that changed. The first time I encountered the special mud I ate shit. Like riding out onto a ice rink covered in KY Jelly. wheels just slide on top, bike floats on top, turns unpredictably in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction then suddenly I’m collecting soil samples. I crashed in the mud three times that day. No matter how slow I tried to go, the bike was just on a lazy-susan of mud. After being impressed with the quality of mud the place possessed and laughing at my inability to understand its dynamics I decided the best way to handle the stuff was to just stay off the god damn road. I just road through the rocky, scruffy desert.

The sky was overcast all day long and the Sun was setting so I pulled off the side of the trail about 20 miles south of Pie Town (GPS waypoint “CAMPSWAMP1”). There was absolutely no sound and zero wind. Very peaceful. I would have slept like a rock if it wasn’t for my sleeping pad that had a slow leak in it which required me to wake up every 45 minutes, roll to the side then blow it up. After that night, purchasing a sleeping pad was on my shopping list.

hover craft mud

this was the first time i hit the stuff. “oooo!” the bike did a 180

notice tires

the mud flats lasted for a few hours but were followed by nice gravel roads.

camp. just off the side of the road. somewhere south of Pie Town NM. yes those are turds in front of my front tire.

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Camp to Cuba New Mexico July 2014         250+ miles 

While I was sleeping in my bivey I had a dream. I that dream I crawled out of my bivey and there, next to a large pine tree was an older white man sitting on his knees looking at me.

Man: “Mornin”

Me: “.. Hi”

Man: “You speak the language?”

Me:   ….

Man: “You from here?”

(coyotes screaming, headed this way)

Me: “… Sounds like I need to get moving”

Man: (nods) “… sounds that way “

I think I was visited by a ghost.

The ride to Cuba was definitely a desert ride. Nothing brutally rocky or mega sandy. It was fun, with large sections that could be ridden at high speeds. When riding in deserts it is possible to learn to read it. Meaning, you can tell whats coming up by the color of the ground. Sand, Mud etc.  It is very remote here. If I were to have been injured or the bike had broken down it would have taken a while for someone to find me. As in any desert, the Sun is intense and the helmet should stay on unless it absolutely needs to be removed.

After riding for a few hours I came upon an abandoned BMW R1200GS with a Quebec tag and a sticker that read “UNSTOPPABLE”. It was parked next to a relatively mild muddy corner. The bike was pointing North so I figured the rider was headed North (same direction I was headed). After inspecting the bike I noticed that the whole front end of the machine was severely damaged. The headlight housing, gauge cluster/ computer etc. were all busted. The GPS unit, hard bags and key were all left on the bike.

Since the key was in the thing I figured that I should try to start it up. I owned one of these bikes a few years ago so it was fun fucking around with it again. Key on, turn the red thing to the right, pull in clutch, lift up kick stand, push the starter AND… nothing. I also checked to see if the abandoned bike had an inflatable sleeping pad stuffed inside the hard luggage. Nope. Oh well. Sleeping pad still on the shopping list.

Eventually I came up on three more guys riding BMWs: One on an F800, one on an R1100GS and one on an R1200GSA. They were all from Quebec, all carrying TONS of shit. By “TONS of shit” I mean: Aluminum boxes on the sides of the bike with water-proof duffel bags strapped to the top of the aluminum boxes, aluminum box on top of the tail, giant tank bags, and bags strapped to the crash bars.  The riders were wearing full “adventure” suits, gauntlet gloves and full face helmets. “These guys have to be sweating their asses off, they are going so slow that the wind doesn’t even pass over them”.

When I rode up on them they were discussing amongst themselves the best way to negotiate a mud puddle. I killed the motor next to the well equipped F800 guy.

Me: “Hey!”

Them: “Hello!”

Me: “I’ve been seeing your tracks for a while now. I thought there would be more of you.”

Them: “Yes, we are from Quebec. We are 19 in our group but some took the highway to Cuba”

Me: ” Hey was that one of your guys on the red GS back there? The one left in the desert ? Is he OK?”

Them: ” Yes, he is with us he is ok, we have a sweeper truck that follows the group, they will meet us in Cuba… do you know how to get to Cuba from here… ?

Me: “Yes, we are very close now. Just follow me I’ll take you there”

Them: “Thank you. Beers on us when we get to town!”

I rode ahead and waited on them for a while until they arrived at the next turn which was in view of the highway. There is a nice power-wash in the center of town in Cuba. There were 8-10 Adventure bikes parked outside the wash that didn’t have a spec of mud on them. Nice bikes, many of them brand-spanking new!

The X-Challenge was absolutely PACKED FULL of mud. It was so bad that I had to hold the power-washer wand as close to the mud as possible in order to get the shit off. 20 of mud, at-least fell out and off-of the bike.

The Quebec people never bought me a beer, guess I looked rough or something.

The first hotel (on the right) as you enter Cuba is across the street from a little cafe that serves breakfast. Stay there. Its $45 / night. Grandpa doesn’t habla engles so you just have to listen to him mutter incoherently as he calls his daughter who will give you the room price. Pay grandpa $45 in cash. Then, go to the end of town where you will find a nice Mexican restaurant (strange to find this here). Order a margarita.

This R1200GS had been abandoned in the desert next to a mud hole. The whole front end of the bike including the gauge cluster/ computer was smashed. The key was left in the ignition so I tried to start the bike but it wouldn’t fire, major electrical issues going on with it. The bike had a “Quebec” tag… it also had a sticker that read UNSTOPPABLE.. funny. I would later find the rest of the French speaking turtles crawling north on their way to Cuba.

Unstoppable. . maybe he just needed a few more Touratech accessories

there were a few washed out sections through here

This is some of the group from Quebec. They are on a Touratech Quebec guided ride. There were 19 of them. The only small bike I noticed was the KTM there in the picture. They were being followed by a sweeper truck that carried EXTRA supplies and collected any failures, such as the R1200GS in the previous picture. That bike was part of this group.

I lost my tag somewhere on the way to Cuba New Mexico. The tag is a Barber Motorsports tag that has “SWAMP” as the number. if you find it send me an email: swamp@enduroearth.com

 

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Cuba New Mexico to Salida Colorado 

330.9 miles   9hrs:20min

crash score total: 3       New Mexico 2   Colorado 1

New Mexico was getting old. “I’m tired of this fucking desert, muuuh”. All I wanted to do today was get into Colorado.

Day In Brief:

Cattle drive, Weed ! , new sleeping pad, good food, good beer,

Prairie dogs, marmots, aspens, muskrats, ground squirrels,

mud, perfect roads, perfect dirt, sand, sand wash, rain, hot, cold + rain,

elevation 12k ft, natural arch.

There was a man named Ray riding a BMW 650 Dakar near Del Norte. I rode up next to him and we both pulled over to talk. He had just finished his SEVENTH Continental Divide ride. “Wow! That’s impressive!”. Ray was from Arizona, he had already been up into Canada and was on his way back to Arizona. His wife and two dogs were in a mini-van behind him. They were meeting him here then continuing back home. Super nice people. Seeing their dogs made me miss my blue heeler.

It was fun chatting with Ray and his wife Jenny but I had to get moving if I was going to get to Salida in time to find a hotel and a new sleeping pad (Ray told me I could find one there). If you have some time to kill you should check out Ray’s website, he has done some pretty amazing things during his life: Ray’s Website Link

When I meet people like Ray and his wife I always wish I could get to know them better. One good thing about the internet is that it makes staying in touch and “dropping in” much easier.

Upon arrival in Salida I got a nice room at the super 8 (I marked it in the GPS DATA file, i also marked the weed store!!). There were some guys BBQing next to my room, we smokes a joint then I rode my bike into town to find a new sleeping pad. I was in luck, there is an outfitter store in “historic downtown salida” called Salida Mountain Sports (see GPS DATA). I picked up a Big Agnes “air core insulated mummy” pad. It was beefier than the Thermarest that failed so I figured it would probably last twice as long as that one did.

While I was showering I noticed that I had developed a knot behind my left ear. The muscle on the left side of my neck that runs up behind my ear was super tense. I hadn’t even realized it until I touched it while washing behind my ears. I took four Advil then fell asleep watching FOX News, something about Israel kicking the shit out of that country where they are all decedents of a prostitute.. I think its called Palestine?  Ya, they’ve only just figured out how to bake bread there, and its not even a loaf-form yet, its more like a flat cracker. . and they still wipe their asses with their hands.. which means they haven’t figured out toilet paper yet. If they would stop putting jihads on people then they would probably have time to invent toilet paper and loafed bread. Personally, I think we should napalm the shit out of them until there is nothing left then go take their oil.. but that’s just crazy and will never happen.

really no need to go all the way to South America to see lamas in the road; we have them here. This guy was curious about the bike. (GPS LAMAS DIRT)

 

My GPS track will take you over the dam on the El Vado Reservoir. its a dirt road. El Vado Reservoir

Welcome to Colorful Colorado. I was looking forward to a change in climate, scenery and people.

Colorado, USA

These guys were driving their cattle over Stunner Pass. They had a dog with them, the young boy in the middle was poking cows with a stick. i love this stuff. i just turned off my bike and watched them work past me. love it. what a life that would be.

The X Challenge was made for this kind of riding. 250 – 320 miles of THIS per day

 

stunner pass marker. also shows my packing set up. (GIANTLOOPMOTO.COM)

 

 

 

Met this guy, he told me that he had ridden the Continental Divide seven times ! I forgot his name but gave him one of my stickers. Hey man if you see this send me an e-mail: swamp@enduroearth.com

hmmm…

 

oh yes

splat

Natural Arch

Into Salida Co

Get your weed here!

330.9 miles

9H:20Min:47 probably could have shaved off a few hours if i didnt stop so often to take pictures, eat that protein bar and smoke a few cigarettes. . but whatever.

 

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Salida Colorado to Steamboat Springs Colorado

miles: 235.8

time: 7hrs

Rode through heavy, ice-cold rains today containing hail. Was soaked then dried out twice. The worst storm was the last seventy miles riding into Steamboat springs. Large muddy sections today but they were nothing compared to New Mexico.

Had breakfast at the hotel in Salida (see GPS data) then spoke with a man named Bob who was riding a brand new KTM 1190. He had made an aluminum top box for the bike that he put his dog inside. The dog seemed to want to be put inside the box, which contained pink padding and had plexiglass windows.

The bike is solid. All I do is put gas in it and oil the chain. Yesterday I noticed that the bolts that hold the left footpeg to the frame were loose so I squirted some blue Locktite on them then re-tightened them. No leaks, no over heating, no funny sounds. Great machine.

The last 20 miles into steamboat the muscle behind my left ear was bothering the hell out of me. Like anyone would do, I began massaging my neck as I was going down the road. I believe the muscles became tight from my helmeted-head banging around over the past few days. I’ve had this happen before but not so bad.

After arriving at the Nordic hotel I scheduled a massage. After an hour my neck was back in shape and I was ready to relax.

Dog top box

Bob the dog box creator

the dog in the box

 

Aspen trees

 

 

Yaks

alone in space

 

shades of green and blue

 

High and Dry

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Steamboat Springs Colorado to Camp near Atlantic City Wyoming

264 miles , 8H:20 minutes (i think i forgot to stop my watch… also had beers and food at the atlantic city mercantile)

Beautiful, baron, expansive, solitude. A memorable day on the Continental Divide.

North of Steamboat Springs Colorado

Wyoming roads are super fast dirt. Literally 100MPH through here

I think that they are going to pave this section (maybe 40 miles). They had plenty of heavy equipment out here prepping the surface.

 

faster

bike porn. i love this machine.

Rawlins Wyoming. Last gas for 230 miles

This sunk into my brain

 

into the void

Into the Great Divide Basin. Red Desert Wyoming Complete solitude.

Forever is a long time, but nobody lives forever and nothing lasts forever.

these guys were headed south on their bicycles on the continental divide. they didnt really have much to say. they told me to enjoy my “kickstarter”. I told them to enjoy their girly shorts.

A.C. Mercantile (Atlantic City Wyoming). Old bar. they had pictures of when men used to line up outside of the bar to visit the whores.

Hank the Tank. he was scared of the camera. i think that he thought it was a gun.

Hank the Tank on his 4-wheeler

Had to use all of the spare fuel that i was carrying. it was nice to get it off my back ! pretty sure ill never buy one of those super-tanker gas tanks for my bike ever again. i’ve found that this method is much better.

 

Camp near Atlantic City. I woke up sweating with a fever. Not sure why. since i didnt have anything better to do i thought that i would try inflating my pad using my little tire compressor. it worked but i could have blown it up much faster just using my lungs. . knowing is half the battle.

264.2 miles for the day

8H:28:07 not sure but i think i forgot to stop my watch. its probably an hour or so more, but maybe not. I take lots of pictures.. oh, i know what it was. I hung out in the A.C. Mercantile drinking beer, eating french fries and talking to the bar-tender about the towns history for a few hours.

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Atlantic City Wyoming (camp) to Island Park Idaho 

Miles: 312.5

Time: 8H:5min

 I slept well considering that when I crawled into my bag I was shaking with a fever and woke up around 03:00 covered in sweat. I wasn’t sure how I came down with a fever. My only explanation was fatigue and bad diet but surely there was something else going on. I must have caught some sort of bug from someone (gas pump handle.. had to be one of those nasty gas pump handles!) as it takes a lot to wear me out.

There was another incredibly long desert section at the start of the day. Motorcyclists know the feeling well: the yellow reserve light has been on for thirty minutes (or you have flipped the petcock to reserve) and your eyes have been searching the horizon for signs of life, life that could possibly have a little red gas can hidden away in the back of a garage that they may let you have. I hate asking people for help. Its like begging for mercy. In my helmet I say “here it comes… I’m going to fucking run out of gas..” Just as I was picturing myself walking down the road a gas station appears. America.

Inside they were serving breakfast. I had “The Hunter’s Omelet” with a side of giant hash browns. I was only able to eat a few bites of it before my stomach tapped out.

There was a fine-ass female working the cash register. I severely wanted to see those titties. It’s almost scary how strong sexual urges become when traveling alone through deserts, wild lands, over long distances and thousands of miles from home. To say that I devolve into some form of beast would be an adequate description. Just club her in the head then drag her by the hair back to the cave. Then,   Her: “Anything else?”     Me: “mm. ya, Skoal Straight… ya the one in the red can”

The route cuts through Grand Teton National park (where I had to pay $20 to get in because its so close to Yellowstone) then runs west between Grand Teton and Yellowstone into Idaho. The dirt section of the route was fun. It had some double track mixed in with heavily graveled roads. I suppose the locals here refer to this area as a “forest” as there were more trees here than what I saw earlier in Wyoming but everything just seems so rocky and dry when compared with the forests of Appalachia. The forests of the East are lush, thick and dense to the point of being impenetrable; people from other regions of Earth would call some areas of Appalachia “the jungle”.  Here, there is relatively no undergrowth and nearly every tree is some form of a pine tree. But its the mountains and deserts that I’m here to ride and these are the features that The Divide is rich in.

After riding through a small thunderstorm I entered the town of Island Park Idaho and found a nice little hotel/bar/restaurant on the Snake River called The Angler’s Lodge (see GPS DATA). It is a family owned and run establishment. The owner’s name is Dave (he built the place, which is a giant log cabin). His sons and daughters work in the bar and restaurant. They are all very nice people. Apparently, people all over the world come here to fish for salmon and trout. I spoke with a man at the bar who told me that they caught so many fish that he just stopped counting. Sounds like my kind of fishing!

good morning sun

Big Sandy

 

 

grow your own dope…

 

 

to union pass

 

nice fence. if you have ever stripped bark from pole trees using a knife then you’ll appreciate it.

The mountain road that winds down through here is a blast.

now those are some mountains !

need more hunters around here

all i could think of when i saw this was: ” how did these people keep warm in the winter? there are no trees to burn for firewood”

 

mileage for the day: 312.5

Time: 8H: 5m

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Island Park Idaho to Butte Montana

Miles:    299.6

Time:    8H:22M

A motorcycle ride up the Continental Divide route; I suppose there are numerous ways to go about it. Ride alone, ride with another person, ride with a large group of people, take seven days, take a month, go this way, or go that way. Any way that you ride it, as long as you can look at a topographic map and draw a line up or down the relative center of the Rocky Mountains you will have a memorable journey.

Big Sheep Canyon was an interesting place, I got the feeling that I was being watched; kind of a “The Hills Have Eyes” moment.

As I rode this leg of the trip, again I found myself thinking “Its all just a big desert with mountains everywhere and a few pine trees every now-and-then. I suppose this is what the world would look like if it was in a perpetual drought with short summers and long winters”. Amazing how different the Rocky Mountains are compared to the Appalachian Mountains.. Its also amazing that we have Both of these inside the USA.

What make the Continental Divide such a good ride is that the dirt roads that carried me up it are both fast and very remote. Another plus is that on numerous occasions I felt like an ant crawling around on a Super-Earth. I attribute this to the wide open spaces here. It takes hours and hours and hours to ride to the horizon here.

Nearing Bannack, there is a long, strait sandy, rocky road. In the distance I spotted a motorcyclist wearing one of those day-glow green jackets. “Blood!” When I came up on the two BMW 1200 they were moving pretty quick for big bikes, doing probably 50 mph. I passed them doing close to 90mph like they were standing still. Eventually the dirt ended at a paved road that had a spur which led into Bannack state park. I stopped the bike removed all of my gear, ate a protein bar then put all my gear back on. About that time the two guys (canadians) on the 1200’s pulled up. They looked slightly pissed that I had passed them and were wearing those dorky flip up chin bar helmets with microphones in them. “Hey, I haven’t seen many people heading North, you guys are the first people heading North that I’ve spoken with ! Where are you stopping today?”

“No, There are many riding North. We are going to Bannack”.

“..ok.. well nobody has passed me so they all must be ahead then. See you at Bannack”

When I pulled into the Bannack parking lot there were quite a few cars there and it was friggin hot outside. I saw two other guys standing in the parking lot next to their bikes (Yamaha WR250s). These were the first (and only )bikes I’d seen that were of smaller displacement. The two guys were from Washington and had also picked up the divide route starting in El Paso (basically Juarez Mexico). We talked about the huge amounts of mud in New Mexico and then decided to hit the road.

After getting gas at a little gas station near Polaris we headed up into the mountains on nice, twisty paved roads. I got out in front and started really grooving. I kept looking back but they were nowhere to be seen. I slowed waaay down but still nothing. Inside I felt that one of them may have crashed in one of the turns. Possibly because one of their luggage racks may have hit the road. They never turned up. Either one of them malfunctioned, they stopped to camp or they simply took a different route (really not many options through there).  ‘Suppose I’ll never know what became of them.

Before entering Butte there is a large railroad trestle that has been decommissioned. I saw a female laying down on the seat of her red four-wheeler reading a book just off the side of the road before going under the trestle. I pulled off the road and put the kickstand down. When I dismounted the bike there was an old, dry, used condom next to my foot.

I started talking to the girl. “Hey howzit goin’?” “Great! Hey do you have a lighter?” Her name was Miranda, she was from Colorado and was now living out here with her father who owned a cattle ranch in the area. I asked her if she had any pot to sell; she didn’t but she told me that if I wanted to wait for about thirty minutes her friends were supposed to meet her here and they would probably have some.

As I rode away I thought: “I bet if I had asked her to show me her titties she would have”. Damn, another good thought just a few minutes too late. I need more practice.

This is a quilingnian vorbus. when a large stone is sunken then re emerged from the same ground over millions of years, over and over again. .

I think this is a reservoir. It was looking pretty dry when i rode around it. on the North end of it there is a dam. I think it may be called Red Rock. not positive though.

 

Big Sheep Canyon , Tendoy Mountains , Montana

 

 

towards Medicine Lodge

This is an old Canadian tour bus that someone had parked out in the desert. I didn’t see anyone inside. looked abandoned to me. there was a large crucifix painted on the side and a bible verse painted on the back.

 

I met these two guys at Bannack. They were both from Washington and were both riding Yamaha WR250s. They had started in El Paso. I had been seeing their tracks for a while. Its funny, when I see motorcycle tracks its like smelling blood. I ride faster. We rode together for a while, after Polaris we headed into some pretty twisty pavement sections in the mountains. I took off in front and put in a big gap. I stopped near the town of Wise River and waited for ten minutes but they never showed up. In the back of my head I thought that one of them likely crashed on that twisty road. I forgot their names, the guy with the blue shirt is on advrider.com but i forgot his screen name. If you guys are reading this, send me an email: swamp@enduroearth.com hope you made it home safe!

 

There is an old “ghost town” here at Bannack. Its a tourist attraction. I didnt go check it out. wasn’t really interested. That is one loaded down WR !

above the bar you can see all the cattle brands from the ranches that are in the area. they have gas at this little place. price per gallon was SUPER high but i willingly paid it. on the pump there was a piece of paper that read “price x 2”. so whatever the price was on the pump, you multiplied it by 2.

it was absolutely beautiful through here.

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Butte Montana to Whitefish Montana 

Miles : 283

Time: 6H:58m

This leg of the ride had some super nice mountain double track sections that were pretty rocky. It was one of maybe 5 sections (a section does not equal an entire leg) on the Continental Divide Route that I would call more “trail” than “road”. Not at all difficult, just rocky and skinnier than the rest.

There are people living out there in the mountains, down these rock roads, faaaar off from anything. I love seeing it. Gives me hope. Made me realize that there are still some (but not many) tough-skinned people here in the USA. However, that way of life is pretty much extinct as are the skills that those people posses. Its a shame that those skills necessary for living-off-of-the-land are being lost and forgotten by modern society. Trapping, hunting (skinning, tanning, curing meat), woodsman-ship, rope skills, edible plant identification, water procurement, canning… all these skills are not being handed down or even demonstrated to our youth. Instead, parents buy their children Playstations, Barbie Dolls, Football Jerseys and flat screen televisions. Instead of taking their kids outside they take them to shopping malls, Out-to-eat and let them wear their pants below their asses. The parents of today teach their kids that guns are bad, “say you’re sorry”, “don’t argue”,  “don’t hurt the trees”. On top of all that, we as a nation have become so wrapped up in political correctness and law that people are being sued for saying the “N word” or calling someone a god damned faggot. I saw on the news today, a race riot in Ferguson Missouri. A black guy steels cigars from a convenient store, assaults the store clerk, walks out into the streets and blocks traffic by walking in the middle of the fucking road (I see this all the time in downtown Birmingham). The cops come up behind them, tell them to move onto the side walk. The thug who stole from the store and assaulted the clerk then tries to take the cop’s gun while punching the officer in the face INSIDE THE COP CAR! The officer shoots the guy. Hell yes, one less thug on the streets of Ferguson Missouri. Now, ALL of the THUGS in Ferguson Missouri are rioting, burning businesses, looting, shooting at cops, coons chanting “KILL WHITEY”. I think that the cops should just open fire, it would save time, tax payer dollars and cut crime by 90%. I think that the business owners in Ferguson should be allowed to defend their businesses from rioters with force when threatened (if a thug and his children burn down your business YOUR children starve). Its depressing for me to see the pussification of The American, what real Americans we have left are living outside the cities, deep in the woods and I guarantee you they wouldn’t and WONT stand and watch or run and hide if a band of greasy,  saggy pant wearing inner city thugs come marching up the dirt road. . However this “marching up a dirt road” scenario is unlikely because the rioters don’t want to get their stolen Air Jordans muddy and even if they did go up the dirt roads they would likely starve to death, die of heat exhaustion, dehydration or heart attack before reaching their destination. Democrats and liberals have ruined the country and shit on the constitution; if you happen to be either of the two, please proceed with drinking a large helping of Liquid Plumber and / or hang yourself with a belt.

Ah yes, Whitefish Montana

I was pretty wore out when I arrived in Whitefish so I stopped at a hotel near the downtown area, showered then headed to the Bulldog bar. Grabbed a few beers and a burger then headed back to the room. There was a BMW 1200 parked behind my bike so I left an EnduroEarth sticker on it with a note on the back. Eventually I met the two riders; a man and his wife from England. They had shipped the bike over after the two of them had retired. They had ridden all over the United States and Canada; East Coast, Central, West Coast, Alaska , Canada. They were planning to head down to Central and South America soon. They had been on the road for a long time now. Super nice people.

I asked them “What is it that you enjoy most about traveling by motorcycle?”. The man seemed shocked that I would ask such a question. I don’t think anyone had asked him this before. He got this thoughtful look upon his face. His response was something like this: “What I enjoy about riding in the United States as opposed to Europe is that there is relatively no traffic, there are very few people here. There is plenty of wide open spaces. In Europe there are just so many people confined in a small space that there are no open roads. Its very nice here, the people are friendly. We are very much enjoying ourselves here”.

Excellent. It made me feel good inside that these two were enjoying their retirement on a bike in my country. In the back of my head i thought “.. you guys are going to fucking HATE Central America !” but I kept my mouth shut because hey, they may like being hassled at every border crossing and they may enjoy worrying about having their shit stolen off of their bikes and they may enjoy the difficulty of trying to buy an air gauge, spare parts, tires etc. I hope they enjoy themselves and are able to still love each other after their trip South.

oh.. here are the pictures from the day

 

to priest pass

 

 

 

very dirty

 

Down Towner Inn. Downtown Whitefish Montana. . i do not recommend this place.

 

I spoke with the man and woman that were riding this bike together. they had an interesting story…

 

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Whitefish Montana to Canadian Border (Roosville), then back to Whitefish Montana

Miles :   177

Time:  not sure, I forgot to start my stopwatch 

Last night (around 03:00) I woke up in a pool of sweat with a high fever. The worst it had been so far. I jumped in the shower to rinse the sweat off of me, took my last two Advil then switched over to the other bed and passed out again. “Maybe I have Ebola or something…”

 The next morning I got a late start (around 10:30). 

The ride was nice, but I still had a bad fever. I found myself missing a lot of the turns because I wasn’t paying attention. 

I made a wrong turn (actually missed the turn by 5 miles) and ended up at the Polebridge Mercantile. Man, they have some awesome food here. They make their own bread, pastries etc. I ate a sandwich and DR Pepper. I was looking for the trash can then I saw a sign that read “NO TRASH SERVICE PACK IT OUT”. Ok , to me that meant “stick the trash under your bungee cord and run down the road until it falls off somewhere”. Easy enough for me. They should at least have a burn pit.. oh wait, open fires are illegal now. 

Since my tag had broken off in New Mexico there was no way that Canada was going to let me in and if they did let me in there was no way that the USA was going to let me back in without a tag. I was carrying my title, registration and insurance but it just wasn’t going to happen and I really wasn’t feeling like arguing with two different countries today. I’ll see Canada when I ride across the whole thing later. 

When I got back into Whitefish my fever was through the roof, it was so bad that I was shaking and sweating heavy. I checked into the Hampton Inn (got the last room) then walked down the road to the grocery store and bought Extra Strength Tylenol, Advil, Nyquil, two Snickers bars, green tea and a giant water. I ate six extra strength tylenol, four advil and took two nyquil. I fell asleep watching Tombstone on the AMC channel. I love that movie. 

 

 

almost to the Canadian Border

looks like a fire came through here and killed all the pine trees

20 minutes or so before i took this picture i passed a mountain biker. he was riding in the middle of the friggin road and i was doing at least 60 mph so i passed him on the left hand side. as i was nearing his rear wheel he looked back at me and started screaming / cussing at me then tried to grab my jersey. what the hell is up with that shit?! the preach this “share the road” mantra but they ride in the middle of the god damned road. whatever. it probably took him 3 more days to reach the end of that road.

 

 

conclusion

It was nice to see the West again, air out the X-Challenge and ride a few states that I’d never ridden before; but I was for sure happy to finally get home and back in the Appalachian Forests that I love. Traveling alone like this, on a larger displacement dual-sport motorcycle  is entertaining because it allows me to carry a little extra gear, go a little crazy in the head, ride for as long as I want and never ride the same road twice all while watching the scenery change and encountering the elements of nature. Another thing that traveling does for me is that it makes me appreciate my life, my country, my state, my home and my family. Yes, there is good riding and amazing places all over the world (and those places are worth a visit) but in my opinion the best riding on the planet is just outside my backdoor. 

Gear reviews: 

Giant Loop Coyote bag (giantloopmoto.com) : I’ve had this bag for a few years now and its still holding up despite having the hell beat out of it. The Giant Loop guys have treated me well and have always answered the phone and returned my calls and e-mails. Their customer service is excellent and I believe that their products are excellent. The bag is just that, a bag. Put whatever you can fit in it, its not complicated. On this ride I lashed an extra 1/2 gallon of gas to the top of the bag with no problems using a set of pronghorn straps. The Coyote is the perfect size for this ride.. however I found it strange that I rode The American Flesh Eater Route from California to Alabama (1 month ride) using the smallest giant loop bag (the mojavi) but used a larger bag for this ride. 

BMW G650 X Challenge: I felt like this bike was made for this kind of riding. Wide open, fast dirt roads and some double track. All I did was oil the chain. The bike leaked nothing, required only gas. It is an excellent bike and the motor is so friggin’ sweet. The bike has an Ohlins shock and stiffer front springs. The bike handles excellent on road and off. Its fuel injected so elevation and climate do not effect it like a carbureted machine. just push the button and go. Compared with the “window liker” bike (my YZ fork converted BMW Sertao) the X-Challenge corners waaay better. The X handles more like a dirt bike. The problem with the Sertao / Dakar bikes is the placement of the footpegs and the large tank. The large tank on the Sertao/Dakar does not allow for “climbing on the tank”. 

Heidenau Rear tire: Some people claim to get 5,000 miles out of this rear tire, I suppose you can do that if you baby it and never have any fun with it. I had mine pretty much spinning and sliding the entire time and chunks are missing out of it. Still, I am super impressed with it. I also had one of these on my “window licker” bike in South America and I was impressed with it on that bike too. If I’m going to be doing dual sport travel on a heavy bike then there will be a Heidenau on the rear. 

TKC 80 on the front: Been running these on the front on my travel bikes. I like them, they offer good dirt road grip, high mileage and resist “cupping”.  Sure, the Heidenau/TKC combo is not cheap but if you don’t rely on your wife to give you pity money and to be the sole provider of your household then who fucking cares. 

Riding gear: I wore a jersey, chest protector, enduro pants and had a packable rain jacket. When it rained my legs,  feet and dick got wet. . then they dried out. 

Valvoline 20/50 motorcycle specific oil: I run the standard, non-synthetic stuff. It works well. Clutch shifts nice and I can get it at any auto-parts store. 

well thats it. if you have any questions just e-mail me:

swamp@enduroearth.com 

-DG   8/17/2014