Featured

GDMBR Wrapping up our Border to Border Great Divide Ride

Tom and I wrapped up our southbound border to border Great Divide ride just a little over a week ago and have some final thoughts we’d like to share, some numbers and finally one last video. Thanks so much to family, friends, neighbors and followers for the love and encouragement along the way. It means the world!

Tailwinds,
Tom and Deb


From Tom:

I am sitting here in my kitchen thinking about this past couple months of riding the Great Divide and reviewing my notes from our Northern Tier from three years ago.  It all kind of seems like a dream, an experience of a lifetime and hard to put into words.  Here’s a list of my thoughts:

  • NT – It took about two weeks to peel away the layers of a lifetime of work and not think about work, emails, projects, etc.
  • GD – No layers to peel this time around.  I hit the ground riding with little sense of thinking about work. 
  • NT – Going to bed at night thinking about the upcoming weather, wind direction and knowing it is totally out of our control
  • GD – Same sort of feelings with this ride.  Added thoughts of grizzlies as we rode through grizzly habitation for the first few weeks.  Making noise during the rides was essential to our daily riding as was singing jodies, making up songs, reviewing states capitals as we rode through huckleberry patches on single track
  • NT – Looking at the maps and planning out our next weeks of riding with a goal of averaging 70 miles a day.
  • GD – same at daily looking at the maps and planning our next days of riding.  This time shorter mileage and checking out our climbs/mountain passes for each day’s ride
  • NT – Looking at the next day’s ride and planning out our second breakfast about 20 miles down the road
  • GD – Much the same here, but much less opportunities for second breakfast with the remoteness of our rides.  More looking for water sources to filter for our day’s rides
  • NT – Walking into the saloon in our spandex and every cowboy’s head turned at the same time to give us the eye as we walked through the front door
  • GD – Total different bikepacking set up for bikes and attire.  More relaxed attire when it comes to our bikepacking as we walked into breweries when we arrived to larger towns
  • NT – Pulling out of our campground the third day and going the wrong way, about 8 miles the wrong direction down a big descent. Turning around and now going back up in the right direction.  Learning to never start a ride without turning on my Garmin and finding the course first
  • GD – No issues of getting lost this time around.  We both had Garmins and much more experience using them 😊
  • NT – Getting our morning camping routine down:  1)Tom pack up the sleeping bags, thermarests, tent, 2)Deb fire up the stove and cook up coffee, and oatmeal with craisins and walnuts, 3) 100 pushups and 4 minute plank, 4) Prayers of gratitude for yesterday’s ride and prayers for today’s ride.
  • GD – Same routine, but no stove/pushups/planks this trip.  Get packed, do our prayers and get on the road.
  • NT – Eating Paydays and peanut M&Ms which are not on the post riding diet
  • GD – This trip was more cliff bars, protein bars, but also Twizzlers, and Sour Patch Kids 
  • NT – My 15 mile chats with God, praying for so, so many things that were absolutely answered
  • GD – Always wanted/needed my 15 mile chats with God which has continued daily since our NT three years ago.  Can’t start my day without them.
  • NT – Waking up each morning for the first few weeks with a little uneasiness of riding on the busy roads with little shoulder with semis/logging trucks. By the end of the ride, having no fear, and 100% faith that God is sheltering us from drivers, mechanical issues, and providing us with mental/physical strength to finish each day.
  • GD – The good news with this ride was the lack of traffic.  Some days we would ride with only seeing maybe one car.  We would see more side by sides/ATVs than cars this trip
  • NT – Applying layers and layers of sunscreen
  • GD – Got to wear the sun sleeves
  • NT – Getting the blog done at the end of each day (hoping we had phone connection)
  • GD – Same with daily blogs, but more remote ride and less cell service.  Deb did a great job getting them ready daily so she could upload once we had cell service
  • NT – The comfort of getting into the tent while camping and being so comfortable and the wonderful satisfaction of a good day of riding.
  • GD – The tent was our comfort quarters at the end of a successful day of riding. 
  • NT – Making the decision to get Deb a front rack and having her front bags shipped to us in West Glacier. Also getting her new touring tires:  A no brainer after the fact.
  • GD – Our bikes were perfectly setup from day one.  Of course we have had over two years of practice rides to prepare.
  • NT – Looking back at our daily videos and seeing our happy, happy faces totally enjoying our journey
  • GD –  Super happy faces/smiles 😊
  • NT – Doing a Fred Flintstone down the final short hill to our finish line, brakes fully engaged, but having to stop myself with my shoes. Perfect timing for my brake pads to expire with over 5000 miles on brake pads and tires
  • GD – only one Fred Flintstone moment getting ready for a large descent over Gore Pass.  I am a much more knowledgeable bike mechanic this time around and know how to adjust my brakes
  • NT – The greatest memory will be all the wonderful, kind people we met along the way!!!!
  • GD – Don’t watch the media telling us how screwed up things are.  Meeting the wonderful people and knowing how great things are in our country.
  • NT – It was an experience of a lifetime seeing God’s creation at 12 miles an hour with my true love.
  • GD – It was an experience of a lifetime seeing God’s creation at 8 miles an hour (with all the climbs/gravel roads) with my true love.

From Deb:

Transitioning home this time as opposed to when we returned from our coast-to-coast Northern Tier ride has been easier since I knew what to expect. 😊

Extended bike tours have a way of changing a person (if they are open to change) and some of the changes that came naturally during NT stayed with me so again, that transition home went more smoothly. For example, I learned to be more resourceful, waste less, live more simply, presume the best in people and not to sweat the small stuff. Time spent riding the Great Divide provided nothing new in these areas and instead confirmed what I’d learned riding NT. However, I’m still overwhelmed when I enter my closet and see more than five shirts from which to choose. It’s just too much to decide what to wear. #firstworldprobs

What I am most surprised about and learned about myself was that I could do hard things that I was super anxious about trying, which on this ride, was getting up and over all of the elevation. I mean, I’m an awful climber. But I did it! The fact that right out of the gate we averaged over 50 miles a day on ratchet roads and over 3,000 feet of climbing everyday was a huge surprise to me. And I never got sore. And there was never a day I wanted to quit and go home. And we only took two official rest days. And I’m 62 years old. That gives me so much confidence in other areas. What the heck? What else might I choose to do?

Couple other random thoughts:

  • Wish I would I have cut my toothbrush in half like Tom did not to cut weight but because the darn thing is awkwardly shaped and it was hard to pack in my small ziplock bathroom bag and subsequently stow in my sweetroll or fork bag.
  • The only things I lost were my buff (which I didn’t really need anyway as my bandana worked equally as well and was more versatile) and my Oofos sandal off the back of my seat bag. I lost it twice. The first time Tom recovered it and the second time it was lost for good.
  • I shouldn’t have sent my headlamp home with Dan and Christie from Salida. Ya just always need one, even though they are rather bulky to pack.
  • We live in an amazing country! It’s not without its warts, scrapes and scars. It’s not perfect but my hope is that it’s constantly improving. We have setbacks but I still love our country and proudly, yet humbly flew our flag on the back of my bike.
  • What state did I like the best? It’s like trying to pick your favorite child. Each are unique and their qualities bring out the best in me, when I choose that approach. And again, it’s a choice right?
  • What did I miss the most? Concretely loving all of our bigs, littles and making dinner for them. And I missed my buds. I also missed inside potties at night. Kinda missed those a lot.
  • I wouldn’t change my packing list and I’m super happy we didn’t bring a stove, fuel and all that goes with it.
  • As always, I’m so grateful for God’s remarkable creation… both the people he puts in our path and the trails he leads us down (and up on this ride😆). Having time on the bike to continue conversations with Him was the most important part of my day.

Tom and I always like to have adventures in the hopper, especially me. We keep a list, lol, and it’s frequently updated and added to. As far as solo travel, I could do it, but I sure wouldn’t want to. Planning, executing and reflecting on riding the Great Divide with Tom is something that we’ll savor together for the rest of our lives. We work, ride and worship exceptionally well together. I’m just so grateful we were able to share this lifetime “smilestone” (not milestone) with one another.



Click on the video below to view one last video from our border-to-border ride on Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

Featured

GDMBR Day 52 | Hachita to Antelope Wells | 45 miles, 558 ft elevation | That Last Day

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Here’s how it all went down.

Although the Biology students left the Hachita Community Center after dinner for a little overnight camping trip they came back before midnight because of lightning (sans snakes). Soooo the last night alone was over. 😂

It was hot in the building and we weren’t used to that. Plus, Anne and John decided they’d push through and drive to Las Cruces so we could finish on Thursday which meant no zero in Hachita 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻. We were a bit restless because of the heat and concerned about their safety driving so long… and it turns out it would be our last night. All this contributed to a restless night.

We got up at our usual time at 6am, packed up for the last time and got to the Food Mart by 7am when it opened and we coffeed up.

The plan was that Anne and John would leave Las Cruces and meet us along the way and it worked beautifully.

We savored every mile, even enjoyed a little tailwind at the beginning and kept pinching ourselves to ensure we weren’t dreaming… that we really did this… rode our bikes southbound, border to border, 2,594 miles and climbed 153,610 feet of elevation, averaging 52 miles a day.

Just as planned, they came cruising up behind us with about 15 miles to the Mexican Border!

We, hugged, chatted a bit and then cruised that last 15 stretch of road to the finish with smiles as big as Texas.

At the border we gave that security fence a righteous slap, snapped some pics at the Antelope Wells sign and loaded the bikes on the Sube, but not before giving each other and our Cuttys a big ole kiss. We all performed and got the job done.

As with recalling our Northern Tier ride, we’ll do a summary post after we reflect, run some numbers and try to get our civilization brains working again. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. What a grand ride! We. Are. Grateful.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 51 | Silver City to Hachita | 77 miles, 2,096 ft elevation | Same and Different

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

So long Silver City… you treated us well. After a 2.5 day logistical rest we said our goodbyes to Silver City. We’ve only taken two days off from riding since July 4th so we hardly knew what to do with the extra time.😂

However… we managed. We ate at our fave restaurant four times, did laundry, toured the local bike shop, walked the city, went to a lovely Mass at St Vincent de Paul, took a lot of naps and watched three movies which we never do at home. If you haven’t seen Rush, the true story about Formula 1 racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, I highly recommend it. True story… with some good themes.

Two of our seven kids, John and Anne are pushing hard to get close to pick us up tomorrow instead of Friday at the border. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 It’s hard to coordinate the 23 hour drive with their work schedules and our cycling but that’s what we came up with.

You can do the ride to the border in a day from Silver City. It’s only 123 miles but it can be tough if the weather is sketchy (wind, rain, hail). Or the ride can be broken down into two days, even three if you really want to stretch it. John and Anne are safely “Formula One-ing” it to pick us up tomorrow. And we can’t wait to see them!!!

The ride today was spectacular, especially through the Chihuahuan desert. There were blue bird skies, pronghorn herds dashing by us and stout succulents stood like sentries along the dirt roads as we passed. We were just soaking it all in as this would be our last off-pavement stint. No more washboard, deep sand, babyhead rocks, badger holes, or peanut butter mud to contend with – kinda not mad about all that.

A little over three years ago we finished our bike tour across the country on Adventure Cycling’s Northern Tier (NT) Route. Although the route was a lot different and longer than the Great Divide we often find ourselves comparing the two. They are kinda the same… kinda different.

NT was all paved, almost 4,200 miles long and we traveled east bound, coast to coast. The GDMBR is mostly off road, about 2,500 miles long we are traveling southbound, border to border. It typically starts in Banff but you know… COVID 🙄 #hateit

Every day on NT we each did 100 pushups and a four minute plank. That idea came out of the blue on the first day in Anacortes, WA and we this practice up everyday. Not so on the GDMBR. It’s kind of a total body workout in itself. 🤣 Especially the hike-a-bike sections. So in at least those aspects the two rides are different.

One habit we’ve kept up each day on both rides is beginning our ride with prayer. Every. Single. Day. We take turns but we always ask God for mental and physical strength to complete the day, to keep drivers alert, keep our bikes mechanically sound and to give us the desire, wisdom, courage and perseverance to overcome obstacles we encounter. We also ask for blessings on and protection for our family and friends. Many times there is a person we have met, a local, a fellow cyclist, or a situation (i.e., rain for farmers) we think might benefit from a prayer. It’s the most important habit we’ve formed.

So it looks like tonight will be our last night on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. We are here in the Hachita Community Center in our tent. The Biology students that were here when we got here left with their snakes and went camping, so we have the place all to ourselves. Kinda nice since this is our last night.

Good night, Hachita. Antelope Wells… we can’t wait to meet you tomorrow.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 50 | Lake Roberts to Silver City | 31 miles, 2,720 ft elevation | Forever Young

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Great Divide riders know once you hit Silver City it’s pretty much a slam dunk to the end of the ride. All of the big climbs are finished and most of the rough terrain is in the rear view mirror. There’s still the possibility for mud, excessive heat, rattle snakes and scorpions but the finish line is in our sites! 🏁🏁🏁

The ride this morning out of Lake Roberts provided stunning views of forested land and mountains on such a clear morning. It was a ride to enjoy not just endure. It was so nice to let loose on the paved descents, something we haven’t done in a while.

We rolled into Silver City about noon, checked to see if our room at the historic Murray Hotel was ready and it wasn’t yet sooo… down to Little Toad we went for food and bevvies.

We returned to the Toad for a farewell feast with the posse. John, Steve, Tylor and Alex are all staying at the hostel in town and strolled in wearing borrowed hostel clothes (due to laundry logistics). We exchanged stories, a lotta laughs, discussed how much weight had been lost (there’s a scale at the hostel) and even the best way to apply chamois cream. I did not weigh in on this one. Everyone at the table had the brownie sundae! It was delish – thanks Tylor. They will all be finishing in the next day or two.

And… we learned that John is the same age as us! We are, and will be, Forever Young.

We will be in Silver City a couple days until the final push to Antelope Wells on Thursday and Friday. Until then… hugs!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 49 | Black Canyon to Lake Roberts | 29 miles, 2,175 ft elevation | A Short Ride!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

It takes way too much energy to be grumpy and it’s always best to live the present moment so today we put on our happy faces and started up the seven mile climb right out of the canyon. And you know what… it is wasn’t nearly as gnarly as anticipated. And it was so beautiful!

We are still processing what it’s going to be like once we finish. At times when I’m riding I have many, many flashbacks from the past weeks. No it’s not PTSD – they are all good flashbacks. Long term bike tours can be real perspective changers. #highlyrecommendthem

We’d planned a short ride to Lake Roberts today and are staying at a hobbit like cabin property just two miles out of Lake Roberts. Newest posse member Ethan was here when we rode up.

Tomorrow we will ride just another 30 miles or so for a three day stay in Silver City until our family uber comes to pick us up at Antelope Wells. Many thanks to Anne and John who are picking us up at the border! That’s a 23 hour drive for them. We’re planning on an August 27 finish. 🤙🏻

We appreciate all of the prayers, comments on FB and Insta and the blog. Means the world!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 48 | Y Canyon to Black Canyon | 60 miles, 3,556 ft elevation | Separation Anxiety?

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

We awoke to sunny skies and a dew wet tent. It was chilly out with skies their typical blue bird color.

Per usual we packed up quickly and got to it. Only 3.75 miles of cycling and I had to make a wardrobe change as it was getting warmer fast. Really Deb? You couldn’t be cold for 3 miles?

Once on our way we were in for a quick 35 mile mile ride to the Beaverhead Work Station for a water refill and lunch stop. We actually mighta had a tail wind for a bit of it. #shocker

Climbs came at the end of the day near Black Canyon. The second to the last, a six miler was 90% fluffy gravel and washboard and that’s hard. I was kinda ready to be done. It was just a grind but we got to it and found a perfect tent site right by a creek which made for the best night sounds and a quick “bath” before bedtime.

Both of us were in a bit of a funk today. Not sure if it’s Tom having to wait for me at the top of some of these climbs, if it’s cycling too close to one another up or down rocky roads (‘cause you need room to maneuver) or what, but we weren’t our perky selves and that’s rare.

It might be because we both realize the adventure we’d planned is almost over. It’s been life consuming for 48 days (less our two zeros) and soon it will be over.

We are both SO looking forward to seeing our family and friends, getting back to the garden and all but it’s that transition. And it’s dealing with the emotions. Sometimes emotions are hard to nail down and even harder to name and deal with. And sometimes they are difficult to communicate to each other. We’ve been each other’s constant companions this whole time. All day, every day, close quarters at night and that’s going to change. Well we will still be close companions at night but no more sleeping quilts and tenting for a while.

What in the world will it be like to be in a car again? How about planning and cooking a family meal for 19? Tom back to work? I think we are both beginning to separate from the trail as we are nearing the end point. Maybe it’s separation anxiety?

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 47 | Pie Town to Y Canyon | 64 miles, 3,166 ft elevation | Pie Town!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Tom was the first one up today. Jefferson at the Toaster House (we ❤️ him) put coffee on early so Tom snagged a cup and took the map out on the front porch with his headlamp since it was still dark and everyone was as still sleeping. He felt a critter (maybe a kitty?) snuggling up to his leg and was getting all friendly. He looked down with his headlamp on and his first thought was how pretty it was. Then he saw the tail and realized it was a skunk. Startled, they both jumped and went their separate ways. #ptl

We got a bit of a late start today because we wanted to get some pie at the Cafe in Pie Town. I mean ya don’t ride your bicycle over 2,000 miles without stopping for pie. And oh it did not disappoint. We also got a burrito to go for later.

We’d have left earlier but our riding buds started rolling in from the Toaster House and it again was like another reunion even though we’d just seen them.

That late start tho… and the strong head wind today… and that 70 miler the day before with part of it being mud. All of it wiped us out a bit. We didn’t set up our tent until about 8pm and it was almost dark. We always find the best of dispersed camping when we aren’t looking for them. When we’re desperate we can’t seem to find anywhere.

When the wind was about the strongest and we were feeling uber tired we came across this kind rancher who put water and snacks out for Great Divide riders. So kind and so appreciated!

We both agreed to plop down just short of another Continental Divide crossing. Tent up, quick dinner, brush teeth, hang food, route rap and done! We were asleep in no time.

Heading towards Black Canyon tomorrow about 60 miles away with most of the climbing the last 25 miles. Dang that’s tough on the legs at the end of the day. Food and water are scarce on the route however we have plenty of food including beaucoup oatmeal pies. 👌🏻

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 46 | Grants to Pie Town | 70 miles, 3,356 ft elevation | Toasted

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

We weren’t able to outrun the rain today and got caught in it at about the 50 mile mark. We were trying so hard to get to Pie Town to get our slice of pie by 5pm but the heavens opened up and made a giant peanut butter mud pie out of the dirt roads. At that point we knew we were toast.

We ditched into TLC ranch where they have a shelter for hikers and cyclists. The thunder, lightning and rain lasted only about 40 minutes and then the sun came out. Unfortunately the dirt roads were trashed with peanut butter type mud that sticks to everything and clogs the bike drivetrain. Instead of staying put we decided to give it a go pushing our bikes towards pie after we waited and hour or so.

At first we pushed. Then we’d manage a couple peddle strokes of riding. It was mount, dismount, scrape mud with tent pegs, peddle, repeat.

Good news is the sun was out and it was windy. This helped dry the dirt roads out somewhat. Within an hour we were peddling without stopping. However, it was impossible to clip in as our shoes and clips were caked with mud which was turning to what seemed like rock hard cement.

We got to Pie Town an hour after the Cafe closed but found the Toaster House hiker/biker hostel and quickly cruised in. Philly Steve, John and Alex were there, showered, and bikes cleaned. Steve was in the kitchen cooking a meal! With vegetables! And there was salad! #miraclefood Soon Tylor rolled in and the posse was once again together.

Jefferson, the host of the Toaster House explained how it all worked. There was a shower with hot water, a meal would be served and there was coffee in the morning. Donations welcome. Jefferson heard we were coming so he saved the bedroom on the ground floor for us. So nice! After hugs and thanks yous were exchanged I hopped in the shower and Tom got to giving the bikes a good cleaning.

Toaster House is another oasis on the GDMBR and is not to be missed if you’re biking or hiking by. There’s such a peaceful and joyful vibe there.

Verdict is still out whether or not we stay until 9am when the Cafe opens. Pie for breakfast sounds AOK to me!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 44 | Chaco Trading Post to Grants | 73 miles, 2,310 ft elevation | Ambassadors

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Oreo, the Trading Post mascot, was waiting for us when we rolled out of our tent at the Trading Post. Since the security gates and the store didn’t open until 7am, Tom hung up the tent on Ditch Witch to dry out from the rain the previous night.

We had another all-pavement riding day today as we were on the Chaco Alternate Route and although we were on pavement, traffic was sparse nearly all the way to Grants until we got to historic Route 66 when it picked up just a bit. We were also able to once again avert a threatening thunderstorm.

Once in Grants we decided to make a quick stop at a local brewery before checking into our motel.

Henry, the owner of Junkyard on 66 Brewery, was kind enough to let us in early and we learned more about how he started the business. As an Air Force veteran we were especially happy to support his endeavor. 🇺🇸

While there we mapped out the next few days of cycling and discussed taking a zero day the following day. Grants is a historic little town and we had some extra time banked so why not? Plus we had a few items to take care of before the final push to Antelope Wells. We will start our last map when we leave Grants!

After checking into the Super 8 Motel we scooted over to Taco Bell (we never eat like this at home) for some dinner and then ambled over to Elkins Brewery which was also close. I mean why not? Zero day tomorrow! 🤙🏻

There we met Joe, a local who grew up in Grants, left and then returned and also Steve, a native Pueblo who spent the day canvassing for ancient artifacts in cooperation with a historical organization. We could have listened to these two all night. There’s so much to learn about our country’s heritage. My life is not long enough to learn everything I want to learn.

We said our goodbyes to Joe and Steve and realized we were still hungry. We have insatiable appetites these days so we ordered Pizza Hut and had it delivered to the room. Again… we just don’t do this at home.

We feel so welcomed and well taken care of. The folks at Chaco Trading Post were uber amenable to us hanging out during the thunderstorm yesterday and treated us to coffee in the morning. While cycling, several locals stopped to see if we needed water, food or a place to charge devices. The crew at the Super 8 Motel could not be more welcoming and helpful. We appreciate all of these people who take care of us. They are true ambassadors of human kindness.

Happy to sleep in the following day we quickly called it a night but not before making our to-do list for our day off. That included: laundry, haircut for Tom, grocery shopping at Walmart, drying the tent out, and not one but two visits to Denny’s (breakfast and lunch). We got it all done too. That and other visit to Taco Bell.

The next 3-4 days we will likely be remote with little access to services. As we’re starting the last map, we feel like we’re beginning the final push to the finish line in Antelope Wells with about 400 miles to go.

And oh most importantly… Happy Birthday to our daughter Missy who celebrates her birthday tomorrow. 🎉 Can’t wait to give you a big hug and your birthday spanks when we get home!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 43 | Cuba to Chaco Trading Post | 50 miles, 1,604 ft elevation | Just A Taste

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

From Tom:

We must of really got lost to end up in Cuba last night. Just kidding, Cuba, NM. I had the opportunity to talk to a couple guys riding their off-road motorcycles northbound from the border on the Great Divide (opposite direction of us) so they are just getting started.

I also ran into a motorcyclist this morning as I was walking to Speedway to get us a couple of coffees. He was limping and had a box of Advil in his hand. He and three other buddies also started in Antelope Wells (our destination) and were headed northbound to Canada. Two of the four bikes broke riding in the mud and sand and had to drop out. The third went down in the mud and the rider broke his foot. A farmer let them borrow a car to drive him to hospital. That left just the one who went down in the mud yesterday and hurt his leg although he is still planning to head north solo.

There is an alternate route out of Cuba that is all asphalt for 120 miles to Grants, NM. After hearing these stories and others on our ride and checking the forecast, Deb and I opted to ride the alternate route today which is all pavement.

There are stories of riders just leaving their bikes in the mud and hiking out. Not the way we want to risk our ride since we have heard from other riders ahead of about all the rain 😁👍🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️.

We enjoyed our 50 miler to the Chaco Trading Post with Convenience Store, laundry, and a place to camp. Soon after we arrived a late afternoon thunderstorm blew in. We threw in a load of laundry, grabbed a bite to eat and hung around under the front awning until they they shut down at 8 and we had to go out back and set up our tent for the night.

The rain stopped just in time and all we had to do is deal with a little mud on the shoes walking to the tent site. This mud in NM is clay that sticks to everything and hardens quickly as we got just a taste of it walking our bikes 100 yards to our campsite and having mud clumped on our tires and shoes. Now we understand how those motorcycles went down and broke.

We look forward to our 70 miler into Grants tomorrow and a bike ride on Route 66 for a couple of miles. Also looks like Junkyard on 66 Brewery in Grants will be within walking distance. 😁👍

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 42 | Canone Creek to Cuba | 43 miles, 2,661 ft elevation | So Long 10,000 Feet!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracker

Accommodations

Hard to believe we said goodbye to 10,000 feet for the remainder of our ride. It seems like we have been hovering right around that elevation for weeks. No more! And not mad about it.

Let’s start with last night. We found a sweet campsite on one of the summits of the day. Dinner eaten, food stowed, teeth brushed and we crawled into the tent. We do our usual, blow up sleeping pad, layout sleeping quilt, route rap, elevation preview and exchange pics routine. Then lights out.

Cloudy skies made for a night that was black as coal. Not long after lights out we heard a sound we didn’t recognize. It was if something, an animal, was going to stomp on our tent. And maybe more than one. 😳 We figured elk and soon it (they) bounded off. It’s a heavy sound. They’re big. Then came a few cows. They did their business and then left. With the company gone we finally went to sleep.

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning and we knew we had a relatively short ride with the last 10 miles on pavement and downhill. However we met with more rocky roads and I just didn’t have the mental capacity to navigate (for me) the technical riding or the explosive strength in my legs to power peddle over them. I was just spent – and it was in the morning.

Tom felt good and was riding well. He patiently waited until my body decided it was time to go to work and then we rode, when we didn’t have to wrestle the bikes down the rocks.😂

Once in Cuba we landed at Bruno’s where we again sat on the patio and thoroughly enjoyed food and bevvies while rehashing the day.

A word about the Frontier Motel – we love our little local motels and like to support them. I mean $67 a night – what a bargain. And there’s no late night company tromping through your bedroom (recall the elk and cows the previous night). They satisfy our every need. One funny thing tho… we need to step into the shower in order to open the door to get to the toilet. Kinda funny.

Thanks for following along… we are grateful for every moment. Even the tough ones. ❤️ #characterbuilders #relationshipbuilders

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 41 | Abiquiu to Canone Creek | 35 miles, 5,187 ft elevation | Are We Hiking or Biking?

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracker

Accommodations

Oh man… one of the toughest days. But still grateful! There is a stretch on the Great Divide between Abiquiu and Cuba that is known for its ratchet road and elevation. Most riders on tour take two days (which we did) but some ride that 77 miles in one day. #respect

We had such a delightful and unexpected respite at the Abiquiu Inn. It’s that juxtaposition that gets ya. It’s like BAM! Here you go… do this 25 mile climb on ratchet roads after being served homemade lemonade and ice cream on the patio in the shade.

I will say we are getting better about food procurement. Tom secured a breakfast burrito to go and we made it last until dinner.

We met a rider from Midland, TX while climbing up Indiana Pass. His name was Clif and he had a heart as big as Texas. He was also a southbounder but rode that section of the GDMBR before to scout it out. His comments were so helpful. He said the route would be ok for a while but would quickly deteriorate and it would repeat that scenario for a good while.

I won’t bore you with the details but Clif was absolutely spot on. We only rode 35 miles today but we (especially me) were spent. Lots of hike-a-bike and technical climbing.

Not sad we did it. We saw some beautiful sites but dang… so much respect for riders and racers who complete it in one day.

Riding to Cuba tomorrow on the hunt for Mexican food and tall boys. And maybe even a Catholic Mass because you know… it’s Sunday!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 40 | Hopewell Lake to Abiquiu | 55 miles, 2,582 ft elevation | Feast or Famine

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

We packed up quickly this morning and got an early start feeling a little anxious about not having much food for a 55 mile ride with elevation. And if the road surface was anything like yesterday we would definitely bonk before an opportunity to resupply.

The roads were actually in better condition today and it seemed like New Mexico was starting to show us her sweeter side.

The first store was open but it was a little stand and no one was there to sell us anything. So we headed toward El Rito. There was a small local restaurant that was about to open and a convenience store but they only accept cash. Whoops! We hadn’t counted on that one. No banks, no ATM, cash only. We had $14. After purchasing some drinks and snacks we started toward Abiquiu.

We were starting to worry… really? No one takes cards? We should have thought about that. With a storm chasing us (again) we saw a Family Dollar about three miles out of Abiquiu. Problem solved. They take credit cards and do cash back. We’re back in biz!

We cruised into the Abiquiu Inn where they wanted to know if we’d like a couple glasses of homemade lemonade while they ensured our room was ready. What? Yes please!

It’s an oasis of comfort on the Great Divide. We ate at their restaurant… twice in the same day.

It’s feast or famine on our ride it seems with regard to food, water, road conditions and weather. And we’ve learned a lot about expectations. Maybe not to have any and then we will always be surprised. 💁‍♀️

And oh about the bike riding… more downhill than uphill today. Yay! Not what we expected.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 39 | FR 87 Summit to Hopewell Lake | 46 miles, 3,793 ft elevation | Rockfest As Expected

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

From Tom;

What a wonderful night “wild camping” at 10,600 feet at the summit of a big climb. We awoke to a tremendous sunrise looking out over our feet in the tent.

As we packed up for our ride a huge herd of noisy sheep came over the hill heading our way directed by several sheep herding dogs. Off we went before we were trampled 😁👍.

During the first 15 miles New Mexico greeted us with some gnarly, steep, roads that involved some hike-a-bike. After that our day was spent as usual with some ups and downs and several climbs. Our day ended with a five mile climb to our campground.

PS from Deb:

We are working well together as a team and learning more as we go forward. There are a couple things that cross the line however: washing each other’s bike shorts out by hand and carrying anyone’s used TP but your own. 🤣

We’re learning we also need to be carrying a lot more food and water here in New Mexico. We’re about out of food now with a 55 miler ahead of us tomorrow before we resupply in Abiquiu. There might be a C-Store in 25 miles. Fingers crossed. 🤞🏻

Old grandpa and grandma are holding up well though, and so is our equipment. If you want to know more about our light weight, compact sleep system, see below. It’s not your standard sleeping bag. #alwaystheteacher

Headed to Abiquiu tomorrow for a hotel stay and resupply!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 38 | Platoro to FR 87 Summit | 42 miles, 3,490 ft elevation | So Far We’re Enchanted

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

New Mexico is known as The Land of Enchantment. So far we’re enchanted! Maybe it’s because of the sweet camping spot we have at 10,600 feet. Such a beautiful view after a semi-easy day. Or maybe it was the stellar views you gave us on the way in during our twilight ride.

We started the day eating breakfast burritos with our cycling buds Jonathan and Lauren. We met them just after Boreas Pass while camping in Como. They are section cycling the Great Divide and finishing up in Abiquiu, NM. They are another example of interesting people to chat with. Lauren has completed several Ironman Triathlons (and podiumed some) and they are both training for the Pioneer 400 bikepacking race in Idaho in September. We’ve been leapfrogging with them ever since Como when we all camped in the pouring rain.

Jonathan let us know there was a place nearby with wifi and smoothies – less than two blocks away. Actually there aren’t any paved streets in Platoro, only dirt roads. Good thing too. They get over 30 feet of snow a year (not at one time) and most everyone leaves town in September and does not return until May. The cute little cabin we slept in gets covered up with snow. 😳

We stopped in for a rare second breakfast and met some more folks from Kansas, Rachael and her family and also enjoyed chatting it up with Joe and his son Jake who happened to be in the cabin next to us the previous night. All great peeps to visit with.

Next we got on the road toward Horca. We’d heard it was a lovely 20 mile ride down through the valley along the Conejo River with spectacular views. And that it was! Sometimes ya don’t put the GoPro on or take pics. Instead ya just enjoy the ride.

Once in Horca we stopped again for another long break. The Red Bear Welcome Center is particularly welcoming to Great Divide riders so we took advantage of a nearby Amish pie vender and the welcome center’s robust bandwidth to get caught up on the blog. The days begin to run into each other while on extended bike tours so if we didn’t blog we’d not have some of the details of our ride to look back on.

LaManga Pass started right after Horca and once that was complete we started looking for the New Mexico state line. It was a simple welcome.

With plenty of much needed downtime in Platoro and Horca we finished our shorter ride with a climb to our camping spot.

Below is a 180 degree look. The view is wicked awesome and at times we even get one bar of cell service! 😂

Click on the image below to view the video.

Happy to have made it to the last state line on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route!

Featured

GDMBR Day 37 | Cow Camp to Platoro | 37 miles, 4,715 ft elevation | Birthday on Indiana Pass

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

We couldn’t have planned it but it turned out that I’d spend my birthday climbing Indiana Pass, the highest pass on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

Yep it was kinda hard. We had a 10 mile jump start since we began the ride from Cow Camp but it was still challenging. And then throw in Schintzel Flats and Stunner Pass for good measure and it was a full day although our mileage wasn’t high. The views were some of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. And it was a stellar day to view them weather wise.

Stomping on pedals all day in the mountains gave us a lot of time to think about how we got this far and who helped us along the way. So many times when we got a weather break we would say “Thanks Mamaw” (Tom’s mom who is probably still worrying about our bike travels even though she’s in heaven). And for my dad, Fred, who’s always been a fellow adventurer and lifelong learner, thinking about what he would take from this ride. Gosh both of us are so grateful for our parents who have been (and continue to be) positive influencers in our lives. Hats off to Morris, Mamaw, Fred and Carol. We’d never gotten this far on Indiana Pass or in life without you.

We are staying in a cute retro cabin in Platoro with a stream running right off our back porch. Although there is no cell service or wifi but they happily share their staff laundry with divide riders (no charge) and sold tortillas and peanut butter from their kitchen since we’re out. The comfty bed, shower, freshly laundered clothes, and tasty town food topped off the day. Thanks to Tom for making it one of the most memorable birthdays ever.

Tomorrow we cross into New Mexico, the last state on the Divide. The outlook for the next 700 miles or so is very rocky and very remote and probably really hot. ✌🏻

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 36 | Storm King to Cow Camp | 50 miles, 2,438 ft elevation | A Little Bit of Everything

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Ya just never know what you’re gonna get on the Great Divide. The places, the people, the route, road surface and weather are most always unpredictable.

We woke up in our tent at Storm King Campground and it was so, so cold. However the tent seemed dry so we quickly packed up, including retrieving our food bag on top of the privy.

It was a beautiful ride into La Garita. Bummer the cafe wasn’t open though. We could have used some hot coffee.

Prior to hitting Del Norte there was a double track segment that was fast and flowy. Tom had the GoPro on and mighta had a little crash – take a look at the video. He’s all good although we had to mute the vid.🤣

Once in Del Norte we decided since it was Sunday Funday we’d stop at Three Barrel Brewery and take a mid day break with a couple local IPAs, salad and pizza. We could have eaten twice the amount.

Sometimes those midday bevvies and pizza work out and sometimes it’s a little rough. We decided to go another 10 miles or so to shelter at Cow Camp. That would also give us a 10 mile head start on Indiana Pass the following day.

Cow Camp was so out of the ordinary from any place we’d seen. The owner’s great grandfather homesteaded the property years ago. We had a lot of questions but there was a party going on so we went on our way to the shelter, but not before Tom picked up a golf club and whacked the golf ball almost into New Mexico. Apparently the owner built a 7 hole golf course and he wanted Tom to take a swing. So he did!

We slept so soundly… ready for Indiana Pass tomorrow – the highest pass on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and it’s my birthday.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 35 | Sergeant to Storm King | 78 miles, 5,052 ft elevation | Rising Up

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

For a “no news” blog day, it ended up a bit newsy for us. There was considerable forest fire smoke so the views and the ride were a bit off.

Early in the morning I was riding along, uphill, listening to Garth Brooks singing Rodeo (and singing aloud), when I got bucked off my bike. Actually I downshifted to climb and the chain popped off. No chain. No power. Going uphill forward motion stops. Couldn’t get my foot out of the clip so down I went. Onto the gravel road. Not on the derailleur side though so all good there. But ouch! Nothing hurt but my pride. 😂

Right before Cochetopa Pass we met Apple who has been a trail Angel for 18 years. He posts up with shade, food and water and waits for hikers on the Continental Divide Trail, and riders on the Great Divide and Colorado Trails. Again, the man is a patron saint of bikepackers. He lives in Cincinnati but comes out to stay in Gunnison for two weeks every year to support riders and hikers.

We finished Cochetopa Pass at 10,067 feet and arrived to Luders Campground but it was too early to quit cycling. The plan was to press on to another campground at the base of the next pass which was was Carnero Pass at 10,166 feet and tackle it first thing the next morning.

Just before entering Rio Grande National Forest and about five miles from our planned campsite two ladies in a car stopped us and informed us there was a bear ahead. Just one they said, but it looked hungry and it didn’t appear to be scared of people. She showed me the pic they took while sitting in their car. Yep, it looked skinny. And I didn’t want to meet Mr. Friendly Skinny Bear so up we peddled.

We’d seen a grizzly bear our third day out near Swan Lake Wildlife Refuge. That bear, however was not skinny and very big. He was as afraid of us as we were him. No we didn’t get a pic… we pedaled on putting distance between us.

Once again we continued riding as we wanted to put as much distance between the bear and us. We peddled up and over Canero Pass and cruised into Storm King campground. We like to call it our twilight ride.

The campsite was sweet! We were pretty tired and had to dry the tent and fly out from the night before because it was dew wet. Simple dinner, stow food, set up tent, tuck in the Cuttys and we said good night.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 34 | Salida to Sergeant | 43 miles, 3,724 ft elevation | Magnificent Marshall!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

We left Salida with full bellies, quenched thirsts and hearts that were overflowing as we were so well taken of care by our friends. Christie even brought her Indiana home grown Brandywine tomatoes. Yum!

Ahead of us was our longest climb ever – 20 miles up to Marshall Pass – and it was magnificent! That was easier than the first five miles on the highway, uphill and in a fierce headwind. Ouch!

Marshall Pass Road is also used by motorcycles riders and ATVs so we didn’t have the road all to ourselves as many times we do, but we kept a steady pace and before we knew it we were at the top of the Pass celebrating with a snack – one of Christie’s delicious bars made with spent grains, oatmeal etc.

Once again rain clouds rolled in as we bombed down the Pass. They didn’t catch us this time though.

Once in Sergeant, our destination for the night was Tomichi Creek Trading Post and we were hoping they had a camp site and maybe a hot meal.

We hit the mother lode. Campsite by a creek with a view of the mountains (and a picnic table), a bathroom/shower (exceptionally clean), a store, cafe, a saloon, wifi, electricity. I mean it doesn’t get any better than this and it was right on route.

If y’all are sending positive vibes our way or praying for us, it’s working. Doesn’t mean obstacles won’t occur, but we are finding the wisdom, courage and perseverance to handle them. So thanks for that my friends.

As far as near future, we have a mountain pass a day on the route for the next three days with the biggest pass to climb on Monday, Indiana Pass (go figure). 😂

We are averaging 52 miles a day, have about 900 miles to go and have pedaled up over 102,000 feet of elevation. Love this route, love the people, looking forward to what the next few weeks bring.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 32 | Hartsel to Salida | 47 miles, 2,480 ft elevation | Rendezvous on the Mountain

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

This is going to be a quickly post ‘cause we have friend bidness to tend to but what a stellar day! Descending into Salida in anticipation of meeting our friends, Dan and Christie, was unforgettable.

The rain moved out of the area last night leaving clear blue skies, green grass, white clouds and cows with horns (yes big horns) which all made for a peaceful, memorable ride.

Everyone said the ride into Salida was a treat and we were looking forward to it. Not only for the scenic descent but also we knew our buds were on their way up to meet us.

Tom was filming an overlook having no idea Christie was riding around the corner. That girl rode eleven miles ⬆️ to meet us. All the way up. Impressive! And we were so surprised to see her at the top.

Dan rode over halfway up and then selected the perfect place to take pics and vids of us coming down. Not only that, he had a celebratory ice cold beer selected for us. These two… they could not have made it more special.

Down into Salida we rode with Dan leading the way to a comfty condo with a 360 rooftop view of the town and mountains.

Today is our first zero day. Cheers!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 30 | Blue River to Como | 52 miles, 3,704 ft elevation | Boom! Boreas Pass in the Bucket

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Well there is one thing I need to make perfectly clear. Boreas Pass is only 11,482, not 14,000+ feet as noted yesterday in the blog. Sometimes I fall asleep with my phone in my hand and I wake up in the middle of the night and continue blogging. That’s what ya get, typos. Hate ‘em!

But I do love a stellar bike trail, climbing higher on a bike than ever before and listening to rain falling gently on the tent. And all three happened today.

We kicked off the day riding on an exceptionally scenic bike trail that connected the towns of Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge. It also skirted around Dillon Reservoir. It was well marked, well traveled and for us heading to Boreas Pass, all uphill from Frisco to Breckenridge. Seriously though, could we have more bike trails in Indy? So many people were out using them.

After a quick snack break in Breck we began our 10 mile ride up Boreas Pass. I was definitely anxious about this one and for good reasons. Rain was expected later and I wanted to avoid a repeat of the chilling ride down Lynx and Gore Passes two days before. Also we’d never ridden above 10,000 feet before and it was our fourth mountain pass in three days.

But up and up we peddled, Tom leading and waiting for me to catch up every so often. Like pennies from heaven, before we knew it we were at the top! And Tom must be making it look too easy. Twice today (once in Silverthorne and once at the Pass) someone asked him if he was riding an e-bike. 😂

No time to celebrate our good fortune, however. Yep… the rain began. Again. It was a windy, wet, sloppy descent down Boreas albeit a shorter one than Saturday’s ride in the rain.

The route took us to Como, a tiny town with the only shelter options for cyclists at the Community Center – outside. No water or food options were available but… there is a pit toilet, plug outside the old building for charging devices and cell service! Pennies from heaven!

Gary and Kurt who are section riding the divide also landed in Como. They considered continuing on 30 miles into Hartzel but then opted to stay. We chatted it up for a while exchanging stories before we hit the sack – at about 6pm because of the rain.

Just an easy ride into Hartzel tomorrow where rumor has it a pizza place offers free camping in his yard and pizza to hungry cyclists. 🍕

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 29 | Kremmling to Blue River | 42 miles, 3,097 ft elevation | “Sh’Ute” That Wasn’t So Hard

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Today’s “main event” was getting up and over Ute Pass. It sure was easier than yesterday’s ride: paved, no rain, and just one pass. Maybe we are getting stronger?

Tom saved his Oatmeal Cream Pie as a treat for reaching the top of the Pass. I need little perks along the way so ate the rest of my Goetz candies on the way up.

We did a celebration dance at the top. We’re over half way completing the ride, we’ve cycled in a new state and Ute Pass is ✅

The view at the top of Ute was stunning with a line of high, jagged mountains as far as we could see. They look like clouds in the photos.

We have a couple short days before meeting our pals in Salida so we delayed our start this morning and took all the bags off our bikes and cleaned them up. They were wicked nasty from yesterday’s ride. We kicked around town, purchased a few provisions and devoured sausage breakfast burritos. #delish

We also had the first opportunity to hit Mass up while en route to New Mexico as their was a small Catholic Church right across the street from the Budget 8. So much to be grateful for and so great to be back at Mass!

We planned on camping at Blue River Campground about 10 miles north of Silverthorne but as luck would have it, a gentleman stopped us on the side of the rode and offered us a place to stay for the night. His son and daughter raced the TransAmerican trail a couple years back and he knows Great Divide riders can always use a favor. Thanks for the night’s stay and the Mexican food, Paul!

Tomorrow’s menu includes Boreas Pass (the second highest on the ride at almost 11,500 feet) with of course… a side of rain.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 28 | Steamboat Springs to Kremmling | 65 miles, 3,655 ft elevation | Now We Know Why Colorado Is So Green

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

After we had breakfast and Tom made himself a sausage sammie to go from the breakfast bar we headed out of Steamboat. The route immediately took us to bicycle Nirvana. Gorgeous bike routes! The first half hour we must have seen close to 40 cyclists. The local bike club even arranges porta potties so cyclists can take bio breaks.

Soon we were off pavement and on a sweet dirt road that followed a stream populated with Saturday morning fly fishermen.

An easy path that led to single track took us around Stagecoach Reservoir, the dam and a picturesque mountain home community around the water.

Then the climbing began. Again. Nothing new here. All good. It was a subtle but longish grade. On the way up the first assent I told Tom we should give ourselves credit since it’s pretty hard to train for all this elevation living in flat Indianapolis. Tom answered, “True but why are you talking while we’re punching pedals up the hill?” 😂

Less than a week before, Lynx Pass was closed because of forest fires. Grateful the fires had been extinguished we continued up the pass and saw so much community support for the fire fighters. Very cool!

After 30 miles we stopped for a quick roadside snack and noticed the clouds moving in. We were still about six miles from the top of Lynx Pass.

Shortly after, not only did we begin seeing evidence of the burn, both vegetation and some structures, the cold rain began. And. It. Did. Not. End.

Up, up and up we went. There was no shelter and the steady rain kept coming. We put on rain jackets shortly after it began and the constant grind of climbing kept our body temps warm but we wondered when the rain would quit following us.

Another concern was our cranks. We both have Salsa Cutthroats and they have been performing well but both of us were beginning to feel and hear grinding as we pedaled hard up the pass. The muck and sand seemed like it was seeping in with all the rain. Hummm what to do if it doesn’t go away. The grinding sounded destructive.

After hitting the top of Lynx Pass we found shelter under the eave of a pit toilet building and put on a warmth layer and rain gloves. We wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible since we could see more nasty clouds moving in.

The route said that the Watershed Divide would be impassable if wet so we had to detour to the pavement. That meant another pass… in the rain.

By the time we reached the top of Gore Pass, it was raining even harder and the wind had picked up. Without shelter, we knew we had to keep moving or get colder so we had a quick snack at the top to ensure we didn’t bonk. I had my sites set on the bar-b-q Vienna sausages I’d been carrying around in my fork bag since Rawlins but we opted for the quicker choice of Cliff bars. And I popped a couple of the Goetz’s chewies in my mouth. Then we began our descent.

That’s when Tom noticed his brakes weren’t working properly. Seriously? He was Fred Flinstoning it dragging his left foot on pavement trying to stop his bike while descending Gore Pass in pouring down rain and relentless wind. We quickly pulled off the road and he adjusted his brakes. Not sure how he did it with such cold fingers but in less than 10 minutes we were back on bikes coasting down ginormous descents. In the rain, only this time we weren’t peddling, just coasting wicked fast and we were so cold!

We were off route, had no cell service but we had our Adventure Cycling map and found our work around to Highway 40 which was another adventure in itself. Apparently rock slides on I-70 shut it down so traffic was routed through Kremmling, our destination for the day, via Route 40.

We just rode our gravel bikes off the side of the road when we saw traffic approaching from the rear. Those little helmet mirrors are life savers.

We rode a couple more miles than expected, and opted for a budget hotel room for the evening to dry out but at least now we know why Colorado is so green. It rains!

Tomorrow it’s Ute Pass. And there’s no rain in the forecast. Plus Tom still has his sausage sammie to look forward to!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 27 | Brush Mountain Lodge to Steamboat Springs | 54 miles, 3,251 ft elevation | Recalibration

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

There’s nothing like a bikepacking trip to help one recalibrate. I mean the juxtaposition of simple meals and bountiful meals, clean clothes and wicked dirty clothes, brown, barren landscapes and green, wooded landscapes, sandy sleeping bags and clean sheets, dust and sunscreen laden skin and a fresh shower. It just makes you appreciate the little things so much and take nothing for granted.

We said goodbye to Kirsten at Brush Mountain Lodge and started our day with a solid uphill and then a lovely ride through high meadows with stunning views of Colorado peaks.

Our climb up the Watershed Divide was manageable until the steep and rocky hike-a-bike at the top. The other side however was ratchet downhill with rocks and washout that made it hard to let loose and bomb down the other side, unless you were Tylor who raced pass me on the descent. He was a man on a mission.😂

About six miles from the top, the route finally opened up and we had sweetest downhill all the way into Clark where we stopped for a snack and met up once again with Tylor and Alex.

Steamboat is apparently a fave destination right now and shelter for bikepackers, whether it be camping, hotel or someone’s backyard was difficult to find. We could see a storm was coming and with our daughter’s help, we scooped up a hotel room for the night. Not mad about it. Another night of clean sheets and tasty food. Thanks, Anne! Not getting too used to this fine living though. It’s back to the tent the next few nights.😊

Another downhill, a favorable tail wind and speedy riding took us all the way into Steamboat before the storm. We ended the night with a dip in the hot tub and ice cream.

Tomorrow we shoot for Lynx Pass. Fingers crossed. 🤞🏻

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 26 | CR 602 to Brush Mountain Lodge | 44 miles, 3,297 ft elevation | Hello Colorado!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

And just like that… the topography changed as we entered Colorado. There was only a sign that let us know we were LEAVING Wyoming. The green trees around us and distant daunting mountains let us know we were in Colorado. It’s a new state for us to cycle in!

After shaking our bags, sleep pads, clothes and tent out from the dust storm the night before we were on our way to Brush Mountain Lodge which is an iconic stop on The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

We watered down at the remote Sandstone Work Center Cabin where we met Elwin and Roxie who are hosts. Roxie goes through 125 pounds of sugar in four months feeding the hummingbirds. Elwin built his own seven hole golf course. These two are livin’ their dream.

After a lunch stop off the side of the road we set our sites on BML. More climbing, more scenic views, and a lot of Jolly Rancher chewies for me.

We turned the corner on a climb and there it was! The Lodge! Kirsten welcomed us with hugs, a shaded porch and a pizza cooked in her wood fired oven (one large pizza for each of us). And yes we ate it all.

BML is a magical place that welcomes hikers, cyclists, motorcyclists, and hunters in the winter – really anyone! Cool thing is… if you arrive under your own power (bike or hike) Kirsten offers a 50% discount on rooms. Pretty awesome. Thanks Kirsten. She also did a load of laundry for us. I’d say she’s another patron Saint of Bikepackers.

Kirsten, another patron Saint of Bikepackers. Doing what she loves to do – take care of people. She’s the best!

Northbounders refer to Colorado as the “high peaks” state – lots of mountain passes. We are feeling stronger and so grateful.

We’re also very much looking forward to a rendezvous with our Indy buds Dan and Christie in Salida in a few days. Probs gonna take a zero day (maybe two)! Whooo hooo 🤙🏻

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 25 | Rawlins to CR 602 | 43 miles, 2,913 ft elevation | Oh “Why”oming

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Wyoming we love you but what’s up with the send off?

The best part about today might have been late checkout at the Hampton Inn. 😂 We did laundry, updated the blog, backwashed the water filter, did some bike maintenance, ate a huge breakfast, bought more food and water for the road and even stopped at McDonalds for some lunch.

Late checkout was clutch after arriving later in the evening. We just took our time getting out.

Although we left Rawlins in the heat the day we were totally revived after our ride out of the Great Basin. It was super smooth riding on a newly paved road.

This was our last night in Wyoming so we had our eyes peeled for a scenic yet convenient camping spot. It looked like weather was coming in so we began to get a little more serious about finding one.

Finally we just pulled off a county road and plopped the tent down ensuring it was anchored down well with the storm coming. Dinner, stowing food, brushing teeth, securing bikes were finished so we hunkered down in our tent thinking what an easy day of riding it was and that we were both actually still somewhat clean. 😂

Next thing we know a huge gust of wind came and picked up all the dust (and whatever else is mixed in since we are in a cow pasture) and blew it up under our tent fly all over our clothes, skin and sleeping bags. It was like laying out in the beach with all the sand. Why Wyoming would you want to send us off like that? Until next time…

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR South Pass to Rawlins (Day 23 and 24 | 140 miles, 5,300 ft elevation | The Great Basin: Legs Back to Work

Monday Riding Stats | Tuesday Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Where to begin describing our ride through the Great Basin? I would say it’s a love hate relationship. We loved it, but it was tough mostly because of the relentless headwind and being anxious about adequate drinking water.

We resupplied at Wild Bill’s with Carmella and Chris taking good care of us. This was especially helpful as on Monday it appears most everything is closed in Atlantic City (population 57).

As much as we celebrated the tail wind the previous day we lamented over the persistent headwind. I thought a lot about tailwind metaphors in life and advantage but won’t go into it here. #toodeep

It’s beautiful in the Great Basin; the landscape rarely changes, there are herds of wild horses racing across the land and it’s pretty much all sun, no shade. The pronghorn thrive and we never tire of seeing them.

In late afternoon on Monday we just plopped our tent down when we’d had enough and enjoyed a simple dinner while sitting on our old maps sparingly drinking water.

Tent fly free camping gave us an unforgettable view of the stars.

On Tuesday it was just 30 miles to the next water source and if we were gamblers we would not have thought we would make it to Rawlins which was 80+ miles away but we did! Don’t think I’ve ever been so spent and thirsty.

Thanks to Tom for being my constant cheerleader. There comes a point when you’d do just about anything for an ice cube or cold drink. Making it to Rawlins was a big incentive for us.

We rolled into Rawlins, got something to drink at the Sinclair gas station and promptly rolled our bikes over to the local steak and burger joint for some real town food.

We are celebrating that the Basin is behind us and very much looking forward to Colorado in about 50 miles.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 22 | Pinedale to South Pass | 79 miles, 3,465 ft elevation | Leg Vacay

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Even though today was our longest day of riding yet and we didn’t start until 10am this morning it felt like a vacation for our legs. It was the combo of friendly road surface and the tailwind! Yes sometimes Wyoming plays nice. 😉

We planned on stopping at 60 miles at a sweet camping spot Chere mentioned but it was only 4:30pm, and although scenic there wasn’t a lick of shade so we continued. So glad we did. Gotta just go when you’re feelin’ it. We spotted so many pronghorn today and I was able to get a short video of them.

I forgot to mention yesterday that this isn’t our first bike experience in Wyoming. Back in 2016 we rode the Tour d’Wyoming and had so much fun. Amber is the ride director and if the saying “good things come in small packages” is true, it was written for her. She’s a sweet little lady with a heart big as the state of Wyoming itself, not to mention she’s a kicka$$ cyclist. She’ll be back at it in 2022 highlighting some of the best cycling roads Wyoming has to offer. Check it out here. It’s a super popular multi day tour so sign up early.

I don’t think I’ve ever cycled though such desolate landscape (although that’s probably going to change tomorrow as we enter the Great Basin). I mean it’s hot, dry and dusty but it’s absolutely stunning. And again, pics don’t do it justice.

Along the way we met Marshall the horse and his owner (don’t know his name). Marshall carries his owner 12 miles a day and loosely follows the Continental Divide Trail. Cool! Sometime Marshall brings a buddy horse to carry camping gear. Sometimes Marshall gets a break and gets to ride in the horse trailer when his owner’s wife sags for them. Who knew that was a thing? 🤷🏼‍♀️

We’re just a short distance from South Pass City so that means we may find our way to a coffee first thing. Until then…

And thanks for the follow and words of encouragement. It means a lot.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 21 | Strawberry Safety Shelter to Pinedale | 58 miles, 1,572 ft elevation | Hold On! I’m Coming!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Today’s theme is “Hold On, Tom! I’m Comin!” If it wasn’t the narly rocks coming down Union Pass, it was the headwind. And if it wasn’t the headwind, I needed to make a clothing change, or change my Spotify playlist or grab a snack. Thank goodness Tom was behind me at one point, because my Oofoos sandal fell off my seat bag. #bikerideprobs Thanks for your patience, Tom!

We said so long to Chere and passed Mosquito Lake, the place we were were thinking about camping. Gorgeous!

We stood in awe of a beautiful herd of elk as they moved on up to higher ground. The high meadow at daybreak was breathtaking.

Our roll into Pinedale was punctuated with scenic views, fellow bikepackers and of course ATVs with a few prancing pronghorn thrown in for good measure.

Pinedale did not disappoint. We resupplied, showered up, did laundry, new rear brake pads for my bike and hit up the money spitter.

More of Wyoming to come!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 20 | Lava Mountain Lodge to Strawberry Safety Shelter | 36 miles, 3,924 ft elevation | Hovering 9,000 feet

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

The day started with Tom finding a dollar bill on the road. I thought about my running bud Mary Beth who would bend over in the middle of an eight mile run for a nickel. MB he hit the jackpot! 🎰

Not gonna lie. We were anxious about today’s ride over Union Pass, especially after having just crossed over Towgotee the day before. And it was tough but we did four of the five climbs before noon.

We bounced up and down around 9,000 feet most of the day amid what I know would be spectacular views had the skies been free of haze and smoke. It was still such an amazing feeling to be riding up there!

We’d planned on riding to Mosquito Lake (that name tho, not enticing). Northbounder Ben told us about a sweet safety shelter near the top of the pass so we were watching for it.

When we arrived we knew we were done for the day even though it was early. The shelter was just about brand new! And so comfty.

I immediately took a nap. And Tom puttered about and then napped. We awoke to company. A couple of ATVs stopped at the shelter and soon the shelter was filled with visitors including one of the cutest little toe headed toddlers.

We stepped out to chat it up. We must have looked thirsty, hungry and tired because they offered us a couple of Coors Lights and some… wait for it… homemade beef jerky. It was SO tasty! And they kept offering and I sure kept taking. Jane, her daughters and their husbands and of course Baby Brock were a lot of fun to hang with. We shared our blog info, said goodbye and sure hope they share that jerky recipe.

Before they left they mentioned they saw another solo female rider headed toward the shelter. That’s when we knew we’d be having a slumbie with a friend we hadn’t met yet.

Chere, is a northbounder that started in New Mexico and will end her journey in a couple days due to time constraints. I was so inspired by her courage, perseverance and outlook. And y’all her IG snaps are da 💣 You can see them on IG at BlueEyesMTB

Looking forward to rolling into Pinedale for a hotel stay tomorrow. I love cotton sheets!

Featured

GDMBR Day 19 | Colter Bay to Lava Mountain Lodge | 55 miles, 3,717 ft elevation | Up and Over Togwotee

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Last night we didn’t know how to pronounce the name of this Pass and tonight we can say it correctly and say we did it! For these two Hoosier flatlanders that’s something. Again… we’re not fast but we’re deliberate.

We began our morning by setting our alarm early so we could get coffee and charge up our devices at the restaurant at Colter Bay. They also have Wi-Fi. 😉 There are key variables when deciding if and where to stop and most times wi-fi and electricity ranks higher than showers.

Blog posted, devices charged, and bellies full, we took off and headed for the hills to tackle our first eight mile climb. It was on gravel but it’s always easier in the morning when the legs are fresh. Another bonus? It was overcast and even rained a little. We’re thinking Mamaw was looking out for us.

We said goodbye to the Tetons and hope next time we see them it will be a bit more clearly as haze and smoke somewhat hid this majestic view.

We stopped in a C-store in Togwotee and then went on to pedal six more miles to the top of the Pass on pavement. The views both up and down the Pass were spectacular.

After a steady downhill on pavement we rolled into the Lava Mountain Lodge where we are tenting in their back yard. And the bonus? They have a wi-fi extender that reaches our tent. 😉

Tomorrow we take on Union Pass and will likely be out of range. But guess what…. We reserved a hotel in Pinedale so yahoo! That means town food, bevvies, electricity, wi-fi and showers.

Hope your day was extra special. Ours sure was. 🚵🏻‍♂️🚵🏻‍♀️

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 18 | Squirrel Creek to Colter Bay | 52 miles, 3,235 ft elevation | I See You Wyoming!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Just when you think things can’t get any better, they do. We realize not every day is going to be a good day but every one that is, is a gift!

Some places are like a vortex. You could stay there forever. Like the Llama Ranch, Jeff and Jill’s and then Squirrel Creek. We had so much fun visiting with LeAnn and her dad, Sheldon, and then we ran into them on the trail. Bikepacker Ben from California let us know what to expect on Union Pass. All good!

We had another stellar day of riding. We crossed the Wyoming state line without fanfare and a small sign for such a big state. And that brings us to map three which will take us to and through The Great Basin and the end of Wyoming.

A heavily forested gravel road took us through the area where the 1988 Yellowstone forest fires took place. New growth abounds with wildflowers and trees even though several areas are still scorched.

After stopping at Flagg Ranch for lunch we hit Rockefeller Memorial Highway and entered Grand Teton National Park. The traffic was nuts though!

Drivers were courteous and we safely arrived to the biker hiker camping area in Colter Bay. There’s lots of bike tourers here as Adventure Cycling routes the Great Divide and the Transamerica Trail through here. Alex from the Ukraine, a westbounder on the TA Trail rolled in late to the campground with some stories to share.

Again, our bikes are holding up well (and surprisingly these old bodies of ours 😉). Our Salsa Cutthroats (named for the state fish of each state we pass through) has a map on the frame of the Great Divide Route. Yesterday it was Flagg Ranch. Cool!

Wishing our dear Rosie the happiest of birthdays today. She’s 3️⃣! ❤️🌹❤️

Tomorrow we tackle Togwotee Pass and we will reach our highest elevation yet at 9,659 feet. Woohoo! ⛰🚴🏼‍♀️🚴🏼‍♂️

Featured

GDMBR Day 17 | Island Park to Squirrel Creek | 40 miles, 1,381 ft elevation | A “Nero” Day Cycling Along the Warm River

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

From Tom:

We debated last night whether to take the alternate route to avoid riding in the deep lava sand on the 15 mile Yellowstone Brach Line rail trail. We decided to always “Float the main stream” and keep to the Great Divide main route when possible.

The deep lava only lasted a couple of miles and the remainder rode along the Warm River below and the view was absolutely breath taking.

We planned on a short ride today with a stop at a local golf course for lunch. I wanted to take some time to play the 9 hole course built up in the mountains, but decided we better head on down the road 😁.

Our final stop at Squirrel Ranch was just a few miles ahead. We were in need of a soft bed in a cabin, shower, and laundry followed by a good meal sitting and talking with our new friends Leeann and her dad Sheldon. Sheldon is a walking encyclopedia (google for the younger crowd).

We are looking forward to entering Wyoming tomorrow and heading to the Colter Bay area on Jackson Lake.

Click on the image below to view the video.

This is Nick. He does it all at the Squirrel Creek Ranch and he understands customer service. Thanks for everything, Nick!
Featured

GDMBR Day 16 | Lakeview to Island Park | 48 miles, 1,496 ft elevation | Well Hello Idaho

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Today we drop into Idaho for just a couple quick days and then on to Wyoming. The Idaho state line is actually at the top of Red Rock Pass. How cool is that?

Had a little snafu today. I was getting on my bike and commenting that I think there are cows at the top of the pass (saw fresh cow stuff) when I lost my balance and fell over with my loaded bike on top of me. I make it all the way up and over Lava Mountain and Fleecer with nary a fall and I fell over while getting on my bike. How embarrassing. Gratefully I didn’t fall in the cow 💩.

We had nice easy riding with spectacular views in the morning.

And then we got to Big Spring and Island Park. The community of Big Spring is experiencing somewhat of a water emergency as their drinking water has been contaminated. Ya can’t drink the water! So instead of filling water bottles we bought water and ate ice cream. First it was grizzly bears, then the wildfires and now water issues. I’m not going to ask what’s next. 😂

At Island Park we could drink the water but dang… the ATVs are out of control. These aren’t farmers or ranchers using them for work. Its mostly youngsters and a lot of them. I think I know why businesses can’t find employees. It’s nuts! We got out of Dodge as fast as possible.

We’re camped at Buffalo campground just outside of Island Park and on the hunt for some fried chicken today. Thank you all for following! It means a lot. Sending hugs and good vibes your way today. 😘

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 15 | Deadwood Gulch to Lakeview | 65 miles, 2,336 ft elevation | Until Next Time Montana

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Today began most ordinarily and ended with the most exceptional people. Here’s how it all went down.

We woke up camped in Deadwood Gulch to fierce wind knocking on our tent. Our first thoughts were, “Oh please God, let that be a tail wind.” We planned a 70 mile ride to Upper Red Rocks Campground just past Lakeview.

Having packed up, we started peddling in a TAILWIND toward Lima to get breakfast and resupply. Tom said maybe we should keep going because with this wind we could be in Colorado by noon.

Right out of Lima we ran into northbounder Mark who shared some stories, gave us some helpful ride intel and shared a few laughs. I could have listened to him all day. Cyclists find all sorts of booty on tour… everything from food, money, ride mascots, etc. but Mark topped them all. He found, and still carries a sheathed saber. I kid you not. Below he’s pictured with his riding mascot, a rubber Flamingo.

Alas the tail wind was short lived and shifted to a full blown head wind. The roads were rough and the sun was was out without a spot of shade all day. We outran another afternoon thunderstorm and spotted another forest fire we later learned was burning about 15 miles away.

I “mustache” you a question, Tom. When in the heck is this wind going to stop?

Thirsty, a bit tired and ready to call it a day we stopped at an outfitter where we thought we might be able to get a cold drink before riding on six miles to Upper Red Rocks. We’d been fantasizing about how cold the water might be. They were closed.

A little dejected, we rode ahead through the community of Lakeview, and noticed a woman and a man carrying an empty growler walking down the gravel road. As you know, Tom and I love our beer, cold beer especially and could only imagine what it might taste like after a windy, dry, dusty day of riding.

Tom jokingly said, “Don’t be twirling that around in front of a couple of thirsty, tired riders. He replied, “Pull over by that camper and we’ll fix you right up.”

I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced such a well timed bit of trail magic but I know this family sure threw out the red carpet for us. Jeff and Jill, both scientists, live here in Lakeview with their daughters. Jill’s brother Andrew and his wife Jen and their two kids travelled from Vermont, with camper and mountain bikes in tow. Jill and Andrew’s mom, Sandy was in from New York. We chatted all evening. They fed us, kept our red solo cups filled and let us throw up our tent in their back yard. Tom and I kept shaking our heads at the welcoming bunch and how grateful we were to have met them.

We didn’t take many pics today. It was a longish ride and with nothing extraordinary, except maybe Lima Dam. 😉 And we were certainly too rapped up in the convos to take pics. Unless one is snapping pics, without Internet or cell, ya just don’t pick up your phone.

To give you some perspective on riding verses racing the Great Divide, we just finished our 15th day of riding and finished Montana. Jay Petevary, winner of this year’s race, finished 2,500 miles and won the race in the same amount of time. I can’t imagine the athleticism, mind set and maybe a little bit of luck that involves. Hats off to JP.

Tomorrow we leave Montana and say hello to Idaho. Here‘s what I’ve come to learn and love about Montana: I’ve never seen more American flags flying, friendly doggos, tasted thirst quenching craft beers, encountered helpful folks, especially those riding ATVs. It’s a land of vast spaces, mountain vistas, and sweet mountain cabins tucked away. Montanans love their land. And by the way, did you know one can experience snow in any month of the year and that there’s likely more cows than people in Montana? That’s according to Mike at the Silver Saddle in Basin so don’t quote me.

Click on the image below to view the video.

We have crossed Montana latitudinally (in 2018) and longitudinally on bikes during the last two weeks. It’s a pretty magical place. So long Montana. It’s not “goodbye”, it’s until next time.

Featured

GDMBR Day 14 | Grant to Deadwood Gulch | 56 miles, 2,999 ft elevation | Holy Cow It’s Windy!

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Today was all about the cows. And the wind. I think that Montana is slowly introducing us to Wyoming, the state known for its strong enduring winds.

We also saw a badger and a nice sized herd of big horn sheep. They blend in so well with the landscape they are hardly noticeable. And oh yea I accidentally ran over a small snake. Didn’t mean to. Just happened.

Both of us are salivating in our tent right now for a LaCroix. We have been drinking lots of water but it’s just not quenching our thirst. It wasn’t super hot today but the route over Medicine Lodge Divide was all day sun and sun wind.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Looking forward to hitting Lima tomorrow in about 15 miles for some carb loading – like carbonation. We need some COLD bubbly water.

Had pepperonis and string cheese on tortillas for din din with assorted other snacks. Not missing the stove. Not one bit.

Featured

GDMBR Day 13 | Wise River to Grant | 60 miles, 2,808 ft elevation | A Day Off But Not Really

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

It was an easy roll up and down paved Scenic Pioneer Highway so we decided to call this our “rest” day even though we are still riding. Both of us feel good! Legs, lungs and hearts are full and feeling strong.

Before we fell asleep last night in the tent (sans fly) we noticed ashes falling on our tent from the nearby Wise River forest fire. We quickly put the fly on – good thing we did as we got rain overnight (and no holes). While packing up quickly Tom asked me if it was Friday today and my reply? “Yes honey. Yesterday was Thursday our normally scheduled date night and you took me down the Fleecer Ridge death march.” 😂

We heard a tremendous amount of racket up the way – didn’t know if they were slaughtering cows or tickling them. However the closer we got, we saw cowboys moving a herd of about 75 cows to a new pasture – 12 miles down the road. What was most intriguing to me what that the 10-12 herding dogs knew exactly what to do. Good puppers!

Since it was our “day off” with lots of pavement and mostly flatish roads we decided to be tourists today and stopped by Bannack State Park. The Park features a historic village and we missed the festival by just one day. But… it was worth a stop to hang around for the afternoon and tour the village.

On to Grant, MT to the Stage Stop Saloon, Cafe and Hotel. The saloon is over 150 years old and originally rolled down the road to its current location. It could not have come at a better time. After leaving Bannack we were chased by storms late afternoon and a nice tail wind pushed us all the way into Grant.

Tomorrow we return to gravel and more climbing over Medicine Lodge Pass. 🚵🚵🏻‍♀️

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 12 | Highland Trailhead to Wise River | 46 miles, 3,560 ft elevation | Unforgettable Fleecer Ridge

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

From Tom:

The day started not with my phone alarm but the from the coyote’s yipping and the cows mooing around our tent. We packed up as usual and started our day with a few unexpected steep climbs but then a wonderful descent down the mountain we climbed last night.

We knew all about the huge challenge ahead of us with the 10 mile climb up Fleecer Ridge, and the bigger challenge of descending the other side. This part of our map offers an alternate route to bypass Fleecer, but that is not the way we roll.

The climb was not too bad for the first 9 miles. We also got to see Butch on his ATV twice during our climb. He is local to Butte and comes RV’ing with his family. He was out for a 17 mile drive this morning in the mountains. He warned us what was at the top of Fleecer, and said don’t even try to ride down the other side, it was at least a 30% grade down and totally washed out. So we made it to the top after a “hike-a-bike” up the chunky, too steep last .25 mile. Time for the fun (not). With both hands on the brakes, we started the descent. It reminded me of wrestling a steer down a mountainside. I was never so happy to get to the bottom. The rest of the decent in Wise River was much deserved.

As we rolled over the actual Wise River, we stopped to chat with a fly fisherman who told us about the forest fire six miles away. The town was on alert for possible evacuation. It was definitely a smoky day for us but extra smoky in Wise River.

We stopped at H & J Saloon for pizza (Butch’s recommendation and finally connected to WiFi to open up our forest fire app (thanks Dan). We were going 13 more miles south which seemed safe from the fires.

Prayers go out those up on the mountain fighting this fire to keep it out of town. Thirteen miles later we found our campground named 4th of July Campground. (Since we started our ride July 4). We found the perfect camp spot along Wise River, a perfect place to take a dip and get cleaned up from a very trying day 😁👍

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 11 | Basin to Highland Trailhead | 57 miles, 4,465 ft elevation | To and Through Butte

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

It was a quick pack up this morning since we were sleeping in the Basin Community Center. Once out of Basin we noticed the geography was again changing with the addition of lots of rock formations.

We thought it would be a quick peddle to Butte but the ride ended up taking longer. I think Lava Mountain the day before sapped some of our energy. After lunch and getting supplies for the night in Butte we headed to our campsite. Our target was an “informal” campsite at a CDT (Continental Divide Trail) trailhead. We weren’t sure what “informal” meant on the map but we took our chances.

It was twenty more miles to our campsite with the last 10 miles uphill. Camping at 7,300 feet! A first for both of us. There were two CDT section hikers camping there – “just” doing 1,000 mile section this summer.

It was lovely up there although a little hazy from all the smoke. Apparently there is a forest fire just six miles away from Wise River, a little town we will ride through tomorrow.

After a quick dinner, we stashed food in a bag and tossed it up on the roof of the privy. Seemed like as good a place as any to keep Yogi away.

Woke up about 9pm and we were surrounded by cows. They’re quiet when they sneak up on ya! They left us alone though.

At some point in the night I had to leave the tent for a bio break and noticed the Big Dipper positioned right over us. And so many stars. Just perfect!

Tomorrow we tackle the infamous Fleecer Ridge.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 10 | Helena to Basin | 39 miles, 5,069 ft elevation | So That’s Lava Mountain

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Ya know how Dorothy says she’s not in Kansas anymore? Well today it became REALLY apparent that we’re no longer riding the flat Monon rail trail in Indy. What a great day of riding and at our highest elevation yet! We didn’t go long but we went high.

We were a little apprehensive about Lava Mountain based on other rider’s experiences. Even our grandson Archie who loves volcanos said, “I don’t think Lava Mountain is a good idea” when we checked in last night. But it’s on the route…so there’s that.

We rolled out of Helena and stopped at a gas station for our usual (food and bio break) and within just a couple miles we were already into our first climb, just an easy six.

And for the first time we got a little rain but it was nice as it cooled the temps off and settled the dusty roads a bit.

The 12 mile climb up Lava started easy enough but the last few miles were ratchet with cascades of boulders, deep erosion, downed trees and extremely steep inclines. There was quite a bit of hike-a-bike at the top.

The descent was the same at the top – lots of hike-a-bike but before we knew it, we were bombing down a road that ran adjacent to Cataract Creek – gorgeous.

The route took us right into Basin where Mike served us some dinner and bevvies at the Silver Saddle. #tacotuesday.

It seems like we are getting in our groove now as far as packing up, finding our way and resupplying when necessary. Hoping for a little more mileage tomorrow as there aren’t any ginormous climbs.

No animal sitings today – not even deer flies. 🤙🏻

Sleeping in the Basin Community Center tonight on the carpeted stage. It’s been here since 1908 and costs cyclists just $5 a piece to sleep here. There’s electricity, cell service, water and a bathroom. What we else would ya need? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Heading to and through Butte tomorrow. Camping destination unknown.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 9 | The Llama Ranch to Helena | 39 miles, 3,166 ft elevation | That’s a Wrap on this Map

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

And just like that… we are finished with the first map. When we first loaded our Garmins with digital maps we had 371 miles to go and 28 climbs. All done with those now. ✅

Lemme tell ya… there were MORE than 28 climbs. I don’t know who’s doing the counting but they need to check themselves. 😂 An added bonus – we are out of grizzly country so no more singing and states and multiplication review to alert bears we’re in their lane.

The morning started with a very peaceful ride to the beginning of Mullan Pass.

Another chunky climb lead to majestic open countryside at about 6,500 feet. Soon after, we dropped down to open cattle grazing until the route brought us to Priest Pass. This wide open Montana is different from what we experienced last week but equally spectacular. It’s so vast.

Next as luck would have it (‘cause we’ve been pretty lucky 🍀 on this ride so far), we ran into the Dicksons, a northbound couple I’ve been following on Instagram. It’s a lot of fun running into these folks in the middle of nowhere. I feel like I already know them.

In Helena this evening sleeping with pillows and sheets yay! Tomorrow we ride to Basin.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 8 | Lincoln to the Llama Ranch | 23 miles, 2,100 ft elevation | Barbara, Patron Saint of Bikepackers

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

We are both in heaven right now sitting in the shade on Barbara Nye’s front porch at the Llama Ranch. The hummingbirds are buzzing around and the breeze is blowing. She’s lived here 32 years and a few years back she decided to host Great Divide cyclists. It is an oasis for cyclists in every way and she provides it ALL at no charge. Her only request is that we “pay it forward” and return the kindness she has shown us to others.

There are 5-6 different sleeping structures or bikers can pitch tents with the llamas if they wish. Each structure is like a tiny house, well except for the Teepee.

In each tiny house are beds, a way to cook, food, snacks, drinking water. Heck there’s even butt butter and a bottle of wine. Barbara has truly been thoughtful about taking care of our needs.

She had cold drinks and sammies (Turkey for Tom and tuna fish for me) and she just walked out with half of a freshly baked cake for us. I’m telling you, she’s Saint status in my book.

I’m blogging and Tom is checking out the map. I’ll take couch over concrete any day for blogging as concrete outside the gas station was it for me this morning.

Ok… so the ride today was short as we knew we wanted to stop at the ranch. However the climb up Poorman Pass was steep, rocky and hot with a lot of big biting flies. I know it’s the same old story but that’s what it was. And you know what? That’s what we came out here for (except the biting flies lol)

The thing about the flies is, you’re pushing your loaded bike up steep rocky paths and you can’t swat the flies so they just gnaw on you. #hateem

If you’ve followed us in the past you know jigs or dances are part of our gig. Today was my turn to do the Victory Dance atop Poorman. Tom that means you’re on deck.

We have seven days of riding in and have camped every night. At this point we are averaging 57 miles a day. #statfacts

A little info on the SPOT tracking link above. Because the route is a lot more remote than our cross country Northern Tier ride in 2018 Tom opted to buy a SPOT which is a device that tracks our movement and location and also has an SOS panic button should we need immediate help. As it is, cell service is infrequent and the SPOT uses satellite signal. So all good here!

When you click on the link you can see where we are now, the last hour, day or week.

Tom also sends a text via the SPOT to our kids when we start the ride and again when we finish. Isn’t it funny that we used to want to keep track of our kids and now they want to keep track of us. 😂

And on the blog posts and videos… we try to blog everyday. For one it’s a way to bring our family, friends and neighbors along on our adventure. It also serves as a travel journal for us. There is a video at the end of every blog post with many more pics from the day. If you’re not seeing it, ensure you’re actually going to the blog site, not just viewing in an email. They are kinda fun to make and view. I apologize in advance for the typos. As a former teacher they drive me nuts… but I’m doing all this on my iPhone and cell service is sketchy. So proofreading is scant.

Tomorrow we saddle up and ride to Helena, the state capitol but not before going over Mullan and Priest passes. And a motel stay is scheduled!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 7 | Seeley Lake to Lincoln | 69 miles, 4,265 ft elevation | Surprises Around Every Corner

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Although there were a couple “longish”, straight, dusty, gravelly roads there were many twisty turns that presented some surprises today.

We woke up to a chilly 45 degrees at Seeley Lake. After quickly donning puffies, getting food out of the bear box and packing up we peddled down to the gas station for coffee and breakfast sammies. Delicious!

Many of you have seen news of the freak and tragic event that happened in Ovando last week where 65 year old retired nurse and cycling champion Leah Lokan was killed by a grizzly bear while camping. Our route took us right through Ovando today and we wanted to stop to support the community. It might seem like a odd thing to do but riders on the Great Divide and the communities that support us are like family so it seemed like the right thing to do.

After putting away a second breakfast of pancakes and bacon at the iconic Stray Bullet we were off to tackle Huckleberry Pass and a couple of unexpected surprises.

As mentioned before we cyclists are a bit like family. Before we ventured out on our ride I followed several riders already on the route. Most I never expected to meet but today, as we were climbing up the rocky road to the pass, here comes Marion and Fred! They are northbounders who started in Antelope Wells which means they are almost done. They are speedy riders and putting in some high miles most every day so I’m glad the route was rocky at that point otherwise they may have whizzed by on their decent. They are lovely people who post about every other day on Instagram. Their advice for us to was to slow down because the ride goes much too quickly. Not sure if I could go any slower than I already was riding up that pass. 😂

It’s hot, dry and most of the roads we cycle on are gravel so when cars and ATVs go by they throw up a lot of dust. Here’s our solution to getting dusted.

Once up and over the pass we headed to Lincoln, Montana where we planned on tenting in the city park. Turning the corner to head in to town we were surprised to find… wait for it…

The Lincoln Bike Rally! I mean there were hundreds of motorcycles everywhere! We were pretty hot, hungry and tired and anxious about finding quick food and bevvies and a place to bed down down for the night. Certainly all of the motels in the small town would be occupied and it seemed like many of the events were held at the city park. What to do?

We asked our waitress at the Steak House if she had any ideas besides the city park and she suggested The Wheel Inn down the road.

Sure enough the owner said we could throw our tent up with the others in bar/restaurant’s back yard. Owner Doug and wife Laurie have four grown children and eleven grandchildren and have made Lincoln their home for many years. Laurie has worked with local government to get Lincoln to support the many Great Divide cyclists who ride through as well as many Continental Divide hikers. I mean these are goooood people who like to give back.

Doug let us know that the event organizers, The Tenacious Dames, were headed back his way for the event’s wet tee shirt contest and we would get to see who won “Best Bike” at the 2021 Rally in the Valley. Doug actually got to be on the panel of voters! (For the motorcycles not the wet tee shirt contest.)

Soon we found ourselves in the midst of more leather, motorcycles and unique tattoos than we’ve ever seen and it was a blast to see. We didn’t take part in any contests mind you, but enjoyed spending the evening with folks we might otherwise never met.

Tomorrow we tackle our highest pass yet and then on to the Llama Ranch miles north of Helena. Thanks for following our ride!

Me trying to finish this post this morning. 😜

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 6 | Holland Lake to Seeley Lake | 34 miles, 2,940 ft elevation | How Do You Eat an Elephant?

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Just take one bite at a time. This advice comes from one of my fave books about the Great Divide. Written by Grace Ragland, Divide by One provided not only inspiration but lots of laughs and some ride intel. I resonate with this particular quote because today I was anxious about the single track and its preceding climb. Thanks for the advice, Grace… I chewed both up, just one bite (mile) at a time. And I most enjoyed it with the love of my life.

There was little hiccup this morning when packing up. We were all ready to go and I was getting ready to load the course for the day and I couldn’t find my Garmin. Crap! Was it lost? Was it in the tent that was already packed up? 🤷🏼‍♀️ Tom remembered I slept in my puffy the night before. Sure enough… it was there in my coat pocket. #allgood

And then there was the other day when I thought I left my riding glasses at the last rest stop and I was wearing them. 🙄 Thank goodness for Tom’s patience and Grace’s sense of humor. For sure she’d say something to make light of it.

Early during the ride today an elk bounded across our path. Sorry no pic but believe me, she was grand.

Because the brush was so thick today, we’re in bear country and we were on a bit of single track in a fairly remote area we are practically hoarse from naming our states and capitals, playing rhyming games, reviewing multiplication tables, and seeing who could name the most Indiana breweries (so glad Dan and Christie aren’t playing ‘cause they would surely win) all ALOUD and loudly. Does anyone know any military jodies they would like to share? #lemmeknow #scarethebearsaway

Our Spokane amigos consisted of five friendly riders that happened to be parked at the RV camp a couple nights ago. They were riding the same route as us but are exiting via the Missoula Spur.

We were leapfrogging all day, applauding for each other when we hit a summit. Then came the navigation snafu. The Garmin said left and the paper map said straight. What to do?

Tom and I opted for the Garmin directions and went down into the abyss and unknown to us, so did dos amigos. It was trail ratchet most of the way. We had to get off bikes frequently to navigate the steep ditches and rocks. #notfun But the road spit us out after about five miles and soon we saw our buds again. We’ll miss them and wish them well. Nice peeps.

When we got to Big Larch campground it was bike maintenance, a swim and dinner. Is there such a thing as a routine when riding the Great Divide?

Tomorrow we head to Ovando for some pancakes and resupply. Then perhaps on to Lincoln. We’ll see how we feel. We sure appreciate all the follows, comments and prayers. We’re having a lot of fun!

Featured

GDMBR Day 5 | Swan Lake to Holland Lake | 55 miles, 3,780 ft elevation | Roly Poly

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

It was a roly poly type of riding day with frequent ups and downs with all the riding on forest roads. Well there was that one part of grassy single track and all that makes for a slower day than on pavement. We only saw two cars all day.

But we did meet this sweet couple from Denver who is riding a small section of the Divide in western Montana. They are leaving the trail to close on their first house in Denver. Congrats to Andrew and Anna!

Although it was a roly poly type of day it ended up with us finding the sweetest campsite yet atop a hill overlooking beautiful Holland Lake.

Our friend Finn tipped us off about Holland Lake Lodge. We popped in and the best news of the day was was they had Chicago style popcorn. It was like a oasis in the middle of nowhere. Christian filled our water bottles and then we Adhirondacked it with a couple of bevvies overlooking the Mission Mountain range. Pictures do NOT do it justice. Well not our pics anyway.

Shorter day tomorrow due to shelter availability. Heading to Seeley Lake.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 4 | Columbia Falls to Swan Lake| 57 miles, 2,989 ft elevation | Tom Gets Chicked

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Any. Other. Day. Tom rides ahead of me and patiently waits until I catch up. He never complains. Today I had the chance to wait on him! Not sure if it was the bag of Sour Patch Kids or that we had overcast skies during our climb, but I actually cycled up front today on our climb.

There were scattered showers today and our Montana farmers need rain badly. Today we cycled through beautiful bucolic fields before hitting the high ground.

We are camping at Swan Lake tonight and didn’t anticipate any services but found a wonderful RV Park with a local tavern less than. 200 feet away. It was taco Wednesday tonight so you know… we did that. And a pork chop sammie.

Heading to Holland Lake tomorrow. Fingers crossed. 🤞🏻

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 3 | Red Meadow Lake to Columbia Falls | 43 miles, 1,526 ft elevation | It’s All Berries and No Bearies

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

This morning’s ride provided one of the most fun gravel riding experiences yet on the descent from Red Meadow Lake. Downhill, twisty turny roads with a few obstacles to avoid every now and then. Both of us were out of our seats all the way down keeping our feet at 9 and 3. (thanks to Sally and Liv). And again, the scenery did not dissapoint.

The highlight of the day, however was meeting Deb and Marilyn who were scouting huckleberry patches. They picked and rinsed a healthy portion for us to eat a trail breakfast and even gave us quick huckleberry picking lesson. I could have stayed there all morning. Searching for the berries is addicting although more go in my mouth than in the bucket.

The riding was easy and short today. We stopped back in Whitefish for a pizza for lunch. It might be the first time I’ve eaten more than Tom. He does have one more piece stashed for tomorrow. Hummm I’m sure he’ll pull it out before noon. He’s known for stashing leftovers.

Many friends and family ask about the bears. Yep they live in the woods especially around these parts. Both of us carry bear spray right in the cockpit and we make a LOT of noise on the trail. I think you heard evidence of that yesterday with the mountain melody. Food is stored safely in bear boxes and we don’t cook at the campsite.

Tonight’s campsite is in an RV park…Not quite the view that last night’s had but we do have clean clothes and full bellies from town food. And that works nicely for us.

Aiming for Swan Lake tomorrow. We’ll see what we get!

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

#GDMBR Day 2 | Eureka to Red Meadow Lake | 61 miles, 5,899 ft elevation | Now We Know We’re Riding the Great Divide

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accommodations

Today we finally feel like we are riding the Great Divide. The scenery, the elevation and of course, we are beginning to give our legs something to think about.😉

The day started a little helter skelter when we heard the sprinkler system going off early in the city park before they were scheduled to go off. We found out from Kai his sprinklers started at 3am. He immediately evacuated to a dry spot.

We were on our way quickly enough, however and chose Red Meadow Lake as our destination for the day.

There’s plenty of water to filter up here so we didn’t have to carry so much. Our Sawyer water filter is super easy to use, inexpensive, and lightweight. And oh did that cold water quench our thirst.

Chunky roads on Whitefish Divide made for a little tougher going, definitely on the inclines but also on the descent as there was so much shaking. Gotta tell you though, it was a lot of fun bombing down those hills when it wasn’t chunky rock.

And who doesn’t like to have a little fun in the middle of a climb. #eternalsoundofmusicfan #debonthemic

Then at the end of the day, the route challenged us with a 15 mile climb to Red Meadow Pass. Let’s put it this way, I’m not fast enough to out cycle the horseflies, mosquitoes and bees. It was pretty uncomfortable the last two miles where it was steepest but when we turned the corner, and saw spectacular Red Meadow Lake we knew the order of business would be to filter more water, jump in the lake to bathe, eat dinner and stow food in the bear box.

We pretty much dove into our tent as quickly as possible, murdered the mosquitoes that followed us in and called it a night. Stellar stargazing and crisp mountain air made for a lovely tent fly free evening.

Tomorrow we head back down toward Whitefish and Columbia Falls.

Happy birthday to our sweet Anne! 💐🥳❤️

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

GDMBR Day 1 | Whitefish to Eureka via Roosville | 78 miles, 2,858 ft elevation | Getting To the Start

Riding Stats

SPOT Tracking

Accomodations

It seems like we’ve been gone a month already but it’s only been four days. 😂 Happy July 4th everyone! 🇺🇸❤️🤍💙

Going to try to squeeze four days of pre ride events into one post. And we have internet access here while camping in the city park and not sure if we will have it again for the next couple days so there’s that.

For the benefit of future riders (and as a way to journal our bike adventures) here’s how we found our way to the start line of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in 2021. Remember… it usually starts in Banff but well you know… COVID. This year southbound riders started at the border of Canada. 🇨🇦

For the first time ever on an extended bike tour we were able to leave from our house, ride to our daughter’s house and then catch the Amtrak to Chicago at 6:30 am.

After a three hour layover in Chicago we were in it to win it for a 36 hour train ride to Whitefish – Coach class. Like steerage on the Titanic 🚢 😂

Honestly tho, Amtrak is a reasonable solution for getting your body and your bike to the start of your ride.

Coach Class. Wouldn’t have it any other way. We met some fascinating peeps and appreciate fresh bed linens even more. You can find pics in the vid of Lance and Vince. Too bad I didn’t get one of Tammy, a bada$$ half iron man finisher, Helena cattle rancher, mom and grandma. She taught us why you want to keep bull snakes around the farm and more about best practices in farming.

Vince, on the other hand spun a yarn about how a rattlesnake jumped off a rock and bit his buddy while riding by on his bike. #ikidyounot Thanks for that bit of advice, Vince. 😊

Once in Whitefish we took a day to poke around town at a community art fair, visit a local brewery (thanks Lauren), hold puppies, get some trail food and a good night’s sleep. And oh yea, we even hit up Mass on Saturday night.

Early Sunday on July 4th we took off from Whitefish on bikes and headed north for the border. It was a perfect day for riding – a little warm in the afternoon but just about perfect.

This guy is FINISHING his northbound ride tomorrow! It’s Kai’s last night of the ride and our first. Pretty amazing… we had a nice long chat. He shared lots of stories for which we were grateful. I asked the most important thing he learned over the last month. He said #waitforit “Don’t ride with your mouth open.” He got stung today in the mouth. Of all days. Ouch! Kai also mentioned that if your bike starts making funny noises just turn the music up. Alrighty then! Thanks Kai!

Free camping in the city park, Internet access, and a 24 hour gas station right across the street. What more could we ask for? 🤷🏼‍♀️. Maybe flushers? 🚽

Tomorrow we go off road… 😳

Click on the image below to view the video.

Featured

Farewell Family Feast & Bike Touring Advice 😂

In keeping with tradition we got the whole crew (all 19.5 of us) together for dinner before we left.

Grandchild #6 is due in late September. We aim to be back well before then so if we’re not, dispatch the cavalry. 🆘🐎

Per usual we ask a lot of questions and seek advice from fellow riders. Everyone is super friendly and eager to help and we in turn, love to share as well.

Although we have a few bike tours under our belt and have cycled a lot longer distance, cycling the Great Divide is like nothing we’ve ever attempted.

But I always say…

If you only do what you know you can do, you don’t do very much. 💁🏼‍♀️

The fam had some advice to share and we’d like to share with other riders. You’re welcome.

I mean… there’s a lot of folks on bike tours right now. #postCOVID Maybe they can benefit as well. #sharingiscaring

Click on the image below to view the video.

We’re on our way… finally

We’re going to miss our family, friends and neighbors. And we keep wondering… what person or place will inspire our next adventure. We have a few more states to hit and we haven’t cycled in Europe, Asia or South America yet. Australia? Iceland? #opentotravel

If you’re following along, thanks! More to come… we’re finally on our way.