Continental Divide

New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana

June 1


In the summer of 2008 a group of Silk Road alumni and several others took a magnificent trip up through British Columbia, heading north to Whistler then east through the Monashee and Selkirk mountain ranges.  Before the trip was over we concluded that we needed a plan for the next year.  That plan was to ride our motorcycles from Antelope Wells on the Mexican border north along the Continental Divide to Canada.  For me this would be the first part of a trifecta to be completed within the next year and a half.  The second ride will be from the Mexican border to the tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego (approximately 8000 miles).  The third leg of the journey will begin in Montana and head north to Alaska as far as we can go on the Dempster Highway – we hope to end at Prudhoe Bay.


June 1 - 2

Day 1 - I finally got my bags and was able to depart Tucson by 3:30 p.m. (about 7 hours after the guys left)

Catching up was a comparatively boring superhighway trip most of the way - - leaving cell phone messages back and forth as to the gang's current location.  I ended up in the Chihuahuan desert (which covers most of Southern New Mexico) and camped at 3,500 feet on a plateau. There were beautiful vistas in all directions.  I found a place for my tent among razor sharp rocks.   It concerns me to be riding my motorcycle across this open country, I would think there is a great risk of the tires being slashed (not just punctured).


June 3

After breakfast in Pie Town, Frank Floyd and I went out searching for a wireless signal and found one about ½ mile away at the top of a hill.  We completed some correspondence while the rest of the group went ahead to Grants – the plan being to eat in a restaurant, have a few beers, and sleep in a warm bed. More

June 4

We left the hotel in Grants and proceeded up through a variety of ecosystems.  We were mostly in high altitudes where there were desert plants and lush trees.  At two points during the day we could not locate the Continental Divide trail. We had been using small Garmin units to which we had downloaded "breadcrumbs" – the path along the Divide. More

June 5

We broke camp and drove into Abiquiu to have breakfast and meet up with Susan who had been tied up with a radio broadcast and missed the feast. More

June 5 - 6

Now that we are safely into Colorado, we can retrospectively look at our 800 mile trek through New Mexico.   New Mexico has 1/5 of the population of Ohio (2 million vs. 10 million) but is three times the area.  The federal government owns a tremendous amount of the state for military installations, federal labs, national forests and parks whereas the own a very small part of Ohio.  Perhaps the most unique part of New Mexico is that for every dollar that the federal government collects in taxes – it spends $2 in New Mexico, making it the number 1 recipient of federal budget dollars.  An estimated 11% of the state's total employment arises directly or indirectly from military spending. The state hosts three air force bases (Kirtland Air Force Base, Holloman Air Force Base, and Cannon Air Force Base); a testing range (White Sands Missile Range); and an army proving ground and maneuver range (Fort Bliss - McGregor Range). Other federal installations include the technology labs of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. More

June 7

We woke up the morning of June 7th at the Como Depot B&B that was being managed by a young Welshman named Dennis and his wife.  I am always fascinated by people who would want to operate a B&B such as this – an 1800's depot that was run by the company that operated the narrow gauge railroad that connected the silver mines in Colorado (Leadville, Breckenridge, etc.). As you might expect it was difficult to get the answer to what motivated them to run a B&B.  His wife, an IT technologist from Britain, was interested in running a restaurant, but I think he was interested in something else – perhaps it was the renovation of the building; perhaps he just wanted to meet people.  His answer was elusive.  The building required an enormous amount of work to be done.  The tourist season is short at best.  We were the first occupants and as you can see from the photos of the previous day, the accommodations were rough at best – no sheets, artwork not yet hung – still very much a work in progress. The most interesting part was the financial arrangements.  We were intending to camp the night of June 5th and went to this place as an alternative to camping.  In its current condition, our group determined the rate was worth about $15 per person to sleep on a mattress and not have to put up our tents.  So we negotiated $100 for all of us, which included a spectacular breakfast. We all wish Dennis and his wife the best of luck in completing their dream of renovating the depot.  The service was spectacular; everyone was friendly; we appreciated the important part that mining had in Colorado's early history.  It was a terrific stay and the best news is we were not asked to invest!. More

June 8

We left Steamboat Springs after enjoying Roger Hansen's exceptional hospitality – warm showers, a fabulous massage, an opportunity to meet some of Roger's old high school friends.  We got a late start not moving out until 9:30 a.m., but we were fully rested. More

June 9

We had breakfast together and planned the day.  Joe would ride on hard surface because of his injured knee. Steve, who recently bought a new BMW 800GS would travel with him because the front fork on this new bike was leaking oil.  Roger, who is delight to ride with and with whom I will be riding again from Mexico to Tierro del Fuego in January 2010, decided that he would drive to Boulder CO to visit his daughter and new grandchild.  That left four of us for the next dirt road experience. Our goal was to meet the others in Jackson Hole.  Pete replaced Joe as our leader.  Here we are after breakfast about to leave. More

June 10

We stayed in a motel in Pinedale WY listening to the rain.  The motel was a Best Western – neat, clean and filled with an unusual combination of foreign tourists, truckers and construction workers.  The construction workers seemed to be working on the huge oil and gas projects in the area.  The tourists, like us, were on their way to or from the Yellowstone/Teton park area.  Packing up in the rain, we proceeded 70 miles to Jackson WY.  I did not take pictures because of the rain, but we ended up at the $1,000,000 Cowboy Bar in Jackson – a place recommended by Frank.  Notable are the bar stools crafted from saddles and the burled pine trim. More

June 11

The night of June 10th I camped at Jenny Lake.  In '66 after business school, Marge and I took a belated honeymoon for two months before I started work at Sohio.  As I mentioned in the last blog, a twister tore down a fir tree and dropped it down on our tent with Marge in it.  I was trying to find that exact spot.  Below is a shot of our campsite in '66 that Marge emailed to me.  We have it in our scrapbook. More

June 12-14

The group splintered on June 10 – I went to Jenny Lake, south of Yellowstone, and camped; Frank Floyd went to Driggs, Idaho and camped on property he recently purchased; and the rest of the group (Joe, Steve, Peter and Gerry) camped in Lima, west of Yellowstone. More