When Jeff and I started out on the Great Divide, Montana seemed so far away, an almost impossible distance to ride. But after about a month of pedaling there we were, roiling through Big Sky Country. Montana has a true western feel with huge vistas, lots of cowboy boots, small country stores (I recommend the one just off route in Ferndale), and big pickups with Montana mudflaps. Jeff needed to get back to Vermont by end of August for work and time was quickly winding down.
While Colorado was the state Jeff and I looked forward to the most, Wyoming, specifically the Great Basin, was the section we had the most concern about. Southbound riders told us many stories of fierce headwinds and thunderstorms, but few of sunshine and tailwinds. How much water and food should we carry, will a headwind slow us to a crawl, will a storm come and make the route impassable, etc? This all got put to rest after meeting the inspiring Todd family in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. When I asked Mike, the family ringleader, what his favorite GDMBR section was, he paused for a moment, then said “the Great Basin”.
First off, if you haven’t read Part 1- Arizona and New Mexico yet, you should go back and check it out.
ColoRADo, it’s the state we were looking forward to the most, and after dragging our bikes through the mud along Brazos Ridge, we were glad to finally arrive. With food supplies low we were also glad to arrive in the town of Horca, but that happiness didn’t last long. The one “food store” in town was closed for remodeling, so we scraped up what we could from the restaurant and gift shop, then rode on.
Yes, I know the GDMBR technically doesn’t start in Arizona, but at least in my opinion it should. Logistically Douglas, AZ is much easier to get to than Antelope Wells, NM and while services are limited, it does have a Super Walmart and a pretty good Mexican restaurant. As for getting there, the option I’ve used in the past is to fly into Phoenix on Jet Blue, because they only charge $50 for a bicycle up to 99lbs and take the $40 Transporte Directo shuttle to Douglas. As for a cheap place to stay once you arrive, the Motel 6 in Douglas is clean, not too noisy, and under $40. All this aside, the best part of starting in Douglas is the Geronimo Trail, a mostly dirt road that stretches nearly 80 miles from Douglas Arizona to Animas New Mexico.
While traveling, I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I navigate my routes. While I still use paper maps to get an overview of where I am and where I want to go, lately I’ve been relying on my phone’s GPS to help get me there. I’ve added a page under the Navigation heading describing what I use to find my way and how I use it.
Bikepacking in Newfoundland for most of July on the T’Railway, an 883km Provincial Park linking linking urban, rural and wilderness areas across the island. The plan is to get a ride to the Canadian border (thanks Dad), ride to Montreal, take the overnight train to Truro Nova Scotia, ride to the ferry dock in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, then….. I’m not sure yet. Either take the shorter ferry to Port aux Basques, in southwestern Newfoundland or the longer ferry to Argentia in the southeast. Of course Gros Morne National Park can’t be missed and I plan on hitting the Cape Breton Highlands on my way back through Nova Scotia. Stay tuned.