A chocolate box finish

We were warned by those heading south that the views were going to be stunning on the last days of our trip – and they were right. Sadly many south bounders had to tolerate bad weather thru this northern section but in the style we were accustomed to, we had good weather and no rain while riding. From Elkford we had a long ride up the Elk valley – it was a roller coaster of a road adding extra climbing to an already uphill day. Our reward was a gorgeus lakeside camp at … Continued

Canada – big mountains, big mines and big tyres

From the Canadian border north there are two options – the alternate, lower route that goes thru Fernie or the main route that tackles 3 significant passes and traverses thru the Flathead mountains – said to have the highest concentration of grizzlies in North America. Many Dividers go for the Fernie alternate (for obvious reasons) but we had the time (and the bear spray) to take the longer route. A couple of miles after our passports were stamped we turned off the highway and started the 1500m steep climb up to Galton Pass – … Continued

Eureka – only 6 miles from Canada

Just before the town of Bigfork we were befriended by motorcyclist Steve, who lived up the road in Whitefish and offered us a spot on his back lawn to pitch a tent when we got there the next day. Whitefish is an old logging town turned ski resort/summer lake destination so it was nice to stay with a local. Ski instructor/assessor and ex-cycle tourer Steve was kind enough to get up early and cook us breakfast to see us on our way up and over our next high point, Red Meadow pass. … Continued

Beating the bears to the berries

We have been enjoying some lakeside camps – Coopers Lake, Lake Clearwater, Seeley Lake and Flathead lake and they have varied from no people, no lakeside houses, no motor boats to lotsa people, privatisation of the shoreline and motorboats. At Lake Clearwater I was introduced to huckleberries which is a major food source for the bears – the berries are similar looking to a small blueberry but with a much stronger flavor. We wonder why we bother hanging food when we are camped in close proximity to huckleberry patches, but we do … Continued

The kindness of strangers

After our holiday in Bozeman we were ready to spin the wheels again. With forecasted bad weather we had a big day to Park Lake. Starting on paved roads, gravel roads followed for the first climb of the day. Then down  into the old mining town of Basin for chicken and taco soup, followed by apple pie – doing it hard, I hear you say… We headed up our second climb with threatening skies and the road deteriorated to a fun track around Lava mountain with a few pushes and then a great 4 mile … Continued

You’ll have to wait for Whitefish

Between flat cell phones and a lack of libraries, I am a bit behind on the blog front. Rest assured we are still making progress north and have not been held up by beers bears tho the beers we had with a late lunch when we got to Seelly Lakes yesterday almost flattened us! We get to Whitefish in a couple of days so will get things updated there.  

Bears, bison and a break in Boseman

We embraced our time off in Bozeman and had a good break from biking enjoying dog walking, great eating, shopping for fat bikes for E & D to replace stolen bikes, catching up with Elissa and Grum and resting. As well we had a mini journey from Bozeman up to Paradise Valley where Ellen and Drew have a cabin and from there we visited Yellowstone NP for a day with Drew. In the height of the summer season you have to go up to the park early. Our first animal sighting was … Continued

Steep hills and good food in southern Montana

It is not all about food but we quite often plan our days to camp 15-20 miles out of a town then ride in for a big cooked breakfast at a small diner. At the rate we are travelling this happens every second of third day. From our lovely campsite near the historic town Banack we started biking at 6 and enjoyed a great b’fast near Polaris. Then it was up and over a pass and a beautiful forested downhill to the small town of Wise River. Within an hour we had … Continued

Brief interlude in Idaho

We enjoyed our ‘zero’ days in Jackson Hole. I am not sure I even left the house on our first day, but I clocked a few kms mountain biking with Pam on the second day, and we both enjoyed a raft down the class 3 Snake river with Mick in the afternoon. The days are warming up so it was a perfect activity. Next morning Mick kindly dropped us off back where we left the GDMBR and it felt a little like going back to work. The first 20 miles were on … Continued

Riding into our first National Park – the Grand Tetons

There is a perfectly good paved road from Pinedale to Jackson Hole – of course the GDMBR doesn’t take it – much nicer to take the circuitous route over Union and Togwatee Passes. Jackson Hole is a diversion from the route which we took in order to visit friends, and have the treat of 2 days in a row off. It is also a stunning ride from Moran Junction along the eastern side of the Grand Teton mountains. After doing chores in Pinedale, we had a short day with a tail wind … Continued

The racers and the sloths

It is fun to be heading thru the riders on the Tour Divide – the north to south race that follows the GDMBR. It puts us to shame as these super athletes at the front of the pack are riding 200 miles a day (sleeping 4) tho’ I know I’d rather be a sloth! We met Mike Hall, out in front by a country mile, at the Grubstake in Atlantic City. He got in just before the kitchen closed at 7, and then was heading out for another 90 miles to Warmsutter. Next day we … Continued

Wyomings Great Divide Basin

We have written off Taco Johns fast food, but were pleasantly surprised by the McDonalds breakfast – from our 5 am sampling! Sadly there was already wind out of the west when we struck our way SW then W into the Great Divide Basin. Heads down and grinding into it. After an early lunch we turned onto gravel and a NW road direction change saw us cruising till the road swung W again, then NW, then SW…We were surprised to cut out 65 miles by the time we camped that evening, tired … Continued

Blown into Wyoming

Steamboat was our last Coloradoan town. We were surprised to hit a lot of snow on the next pass we crossed given that it was not very high and the days were getting a lot warmer. We tried being smart by camping high but there was not a good enough freeze so we did a bit of pushing. In Steamboat we had reshoed our steeds with some fresh rubber and we were pleased we had done so in time for this pass. We also purchased a bear bell which dings cheerfully on … Continued

Diving in and out of the Colorado river

We left the hecticness of the Breckenridge/Frisco area on the lovely paved cycle trail that we had followed all the way between Breckenridge and Silverthorne. A cyclist caught us up and on chatting found he was married to a kiwi and had spent 3 winters working at Cardrona ski area (small world). We enjoyed a big breakfast at a Silverthorne diner before some highway down the valley and a turn off to a short steep climb over Ute Pass. On the other side we came across the ugly mining site of a … Continued

Breakfast in Breckonridge

The beauty of this ride is the ever changing terrain and circumstances. One morning we are eating breakfast in the comfort of our tent vestibule with not a soul for miles and 24 hours later we are enjoying eggs benedict and coffee at a cafe on the main street of the very upmarket town of Breckenridge.. It was hard to leave Salida and our great stay with Caitlyn and her dog Easton. I was looking smart (according to Alan) in my new outfit purchased at two of the many recycled clothing shops. Biking … Continued

Sliding into Salida

Refreshed after our stay with Enrique and Taco we left town early on a sunny morning, 3 days of food on board for the stretch to Salida. We planned a scenic day, visiting a natural rock arch then camping at Penitente Canyon, a reknowned rock climbing area. We loved the sandy, low key track that took us north to the Arch, before detouring into the Penitente area. We had most of the afternoon so we had time to explore the canyon and watch the climbers (that was us a lifetime ago). We had a good … Continued

Rocky Mountain high, Colorado

We made it to Horca (the town with no food for sale) just in time to miss a wee snow blizzard. There are more shops and restaurants closing down in the small towns we pass thru than are setting up. Luckily we had a nights more food so we could stay at the Ponderosa CG on the banks of the popular trout fishing river, the Conejos (or Rabbit river). We opted to camp as there was a warm guest lounge where Jack the owner said we could hang out. With no fuel … Continued

New Mexico makes it hard for us to leave

We left Cuba with full tums from the popular (and very good ) Mexican restaurant Bruno’s. Alan, Rob and I climbed out of town, initially on black top, then up lovely dirt roads, and for the first time, with running streams crossing our path. Rob was able to educate us on the local flora and fauna. We were biking through the upper elevation forests of the grand Ponderosa pine and the white barked Aspen groves. We camped early (it was meant to be a rest day after all) and after dinner enjoyed … Continued

Buttes, mesas, plugs and arroyos

We arrived in Grants just as the storm hit with rain and wind and hail further south, but soaking in the Travel Lodge hot pool we were oblivious to it! Grants is a former mining town – it was the centre of the uranium mining industry for a while and the famous Route 66 goes thru the main street. Now it is a service centre for the traffic off the huge interstate I40. We left the next afternoon, as the weather was clearing, with a big climb up and around Mt Taylor. … Continued

Packin’, pies and politics.. a day in Pie Town

In the 1920’s a man starts a general store on Route 60 – one of the first coast to coast US routes. His doughnuts were no good so he started making and selling pie. Business took off. When they tried to open a Post Office in town they applied for the name ‘Pie Town’, initially refused but then accepted. There are now 4 pie cafes in town – we were initially disappointed as we were hanging our for savoury pies but it didn’t take long to embrace the choices of pie: pecan, chocolate, … Continued

The Bike House (Silver City) to the Toaster House (Pie Town)

We enjoyed paved roads out of Silver City for the climb into the mountains. The Gila hot springs and Cliff Dwellings National Monument were far enough off route that we decided to hitch in. The RV driven by an Alaskan remote pilot and his wife let us take our bikes, which meant we could stay overnight at the hot springs. The historical Cliff dwellings were great to see and the hot springs campground by the river, under the cliffs were superb. There was a price to pay – a big climb back … Continued

First days on the road in New Mexico

The on-ramp of Interstate 10 has a bunch of signs, one of them (amazingly) aallowed us to ride on the shoulder of these 4 lane ‘motorways’. We had to get back east 20 miles to a little place called Separ and there was no alternative but to ride the interstate – a trifle intimidating but there is a healthy sized shoulder to ride on and Americans are some of the politest drivers around. We joined the large trucks and cars racing along, pushed by a healthy tail wind, so made fast time. At … Continued

Our new 11kg life

New trip and new bike setup. We have ditched the carriers and panniers and our home is strapped to the frame of our fat bikes – following the growing ‘bike packing’ scene. We have had an awesome summer of bike packing trips, our fat tyres inspiring us to explore the high open Central Otago tops as well as classic rides like the Old Ghost Rd, St James Cycleway and the Clutha Gold. Our shakedown trips have helped us sort gear carrying options and get fit for the long GDMBR journey from south … Continued

Eat, sleep, ride, the Great Divide

The Great Divide Route in the US is a 4300km route from the Mexican border to Banff in Canada. It crosses the Divide many times and has a height gain/loss of 60,000m. People race it in a record 14 days, we have the length of time our platinum card will give us free travel insurance..just under 3 months! Most people ride it north to south, but because of our timing we are starting in the south. Check out an interactive map of the route under the Maps -> Great Divide MBR menu … Continued