Author: craig kerwien

I slept here

Snapshots of some fun places where I spent the night…

Grounded in Ellensburg at the rodeo
Wind is blowing the hammock sideways at Wenatchee State Park
On a gazebo in Lind WA
Cowboy camping in the Palouse
Tekoa WA city park — hammock pitch in the back
Ovando MT in the sheepwagon
Canyon Creek MT at Barb Nye’s trail angel haven. Thank you to Barb and John for helping me sort through my GPS issues!
Hammock pitch south of Wise River MT
Another shot of the cattle drive passing through my site on Big Sheep Creek MT
Hammock hang in the Lima MT city shelter — two big storms came through that night!
Hammock hang at Red Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge MT. So…many…mosquitos.
Set up tarp here in the back of the saloon in Hartsel CO. The porta-potties had just been delivered.
Hammock hang in Del Norte CO
On the picnic table at Mamacita’s
Tarp set up at Chaco Trading Post, Pueblo Pintado NM
Armijo Canyon in El Malpais National Monument NM, just north of Pie Town

Finale

Now out of the mountains, the terrain shifts to desert and the road follows the continental divide for a few miles south of Silver City.
Big skies, long roads approaching the border
65 miles…
…need a rest break?…
…45 miles…
…many dung beetles working the street…
…final mile…
…closer…
…closer…
…touchdown.

Antelope Wells is a ‘no drama’ border crossing: no wall, no lines, no nearby towns, only 1 resident (who invited me over for a celebratory beer). Border security presence is evident by patrols on road, scrub, and air, as illegal crossing attempts happen even in this remote area. Apparently smugglers have tried to pose as Divide riders, they plant bike caches in the scrub…just cheapo Walmart bikes spray painted black…to be picked up after a crossing and they ride as ‘thru-bikers’. Border patrol is totally on to them.

Achievement unlocked: Seattle – Missoula – Antelope Wells.

New Mexico

Afternoon thunderstorm started 2 minutes after I snapped this.
Mamacita’s in Abiquiu…
…best pizza in the state…so true. Thank you Marta!
Busted Knuckle Garage at Mamacita’s
New Mexico roads can sometimes be unfriendly to cyclists – no shoulder, lots of sand and weeds, RVs and trucks whizzing past at 70 mph. And every state, including NM, has it’s share of pickup drivers who liked to roll coal at cyclists.
Morning rollers into Chaco…
…lead to afternoon rains…
…before bunking down for the night at the Trading Post (two thumbs up to Dennis and his staff…thank you!).
Pavement route to Grants…long, warm, and …
…good visibility…
…before touchdown on Route 66.
Rattlesnake sunning on the road in the El Malpais National Monument
First signage of Pie Town…
…but first…
…there is some work…
…to do…

…before running into Brad and his wife who treated me to a Coconut Crème slice on their day off as they headed to town for supplies. Fantastic!
Can’t miss their sign. As well as the enormous cell phone tower to finally get a signal.
Gathering Place was open during my stay…
…this is the Black-and Blue pie with vanilla on top. Yum.
Stayed at the infamous Toaster House…
…hosting a wall full of CDT treads…
…robust kitchen…
…and now a fantastic bike stand in memory of a biker who passed away with cancer. One of the best bike stands I’ve used…thank you all who contributed!

Colorado

Quickly landed at Brush Mountain Lodge, hosted by the wonderful Kristin, where I took a much needed rest day…
…visited my namesake town and the local Walmart…
…to help Kristin stock up on supplies.
If you’re riding the GDMBR…stay on the ACA route, don’t take the alternate, stop at the Lodge and be human again.
Sun gear attire #1: OR bucket hat, Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail shirt, Buff UV arm sleeves, Pearl Izumi gloves, Zoic Ether shorts.
On the way to Steamboat through the Routt National Forest
Is it the forest or the trees?
Little Piece of Heaven Ranch
Boreas Pass outside Breckenridge – it’s the second highest pass on the route at 11,482 feet
Rode the Como to Hartsel section through heavy rain, and the road was covered in freshly applied Magnesium Chloride…needed to power wash the yuck off in Salida…
…as well as the bike.
Shout out to Subculture Cyclery in Salida for a fantastic shop: bike wash, chain swap, and the bathroom converts into a shower!
Two thumbs up for the Simple Lodge & Hostel in Salida
Wild goats on the way up Marshall Pass. They were obsessed with a 4 inch hole in the ground, and ignored me as I rode past on the left.
Shout out to Susie, a CDT trail angel who greeted me at the top of Marshall Pass in her decked out jeep with fried chicken and a drnk. Thank you Susie!
Riding south from Doyleville, just east of Gunnison. There’s a rider on the far slope for scale comparison, hard to see at this resolution.
Northern section of the La Garita Wilderness, heading south to Del Norte
I ate lunch here. La Garita Wilderness, just south of SR 114.
The view from Indiana Pass, elevation 11,910ft and the highest location along the entire trip. Bummed that the location doesn’t have sign for a merit badge photo after a 25 mile uphill climb. Yeah…TWENTY FIVE MILES OF CLIMBING. The downhill was…just okay.
2019 Tour Divide racers who stopped in the café at Platoro.
Prime fly fishing south of Platoro
Reminds me of the Edward Abbey quote:
“May your trails be crooked, winding, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
Final climb in Colorado

Wyoming

Approaching the east side of the Tetons
Morning shadows along the Rockefeller Memorial Parkway
Western view of the Tetons
All the sun gear is on…
…and the rear drying rack is full.
Pedaled up most of this…
…and the downhill reward was underwhelming…neither long enough or steep enough. Phhfft.
Let’s start another climb up to Union Pass
This section was brutally tough — 100 yards of huff and puff and pushing the bike up two feet at a time…
…and this was the payoff. Lovely high ranch land plateau at 9000ft..
…with more incline.
And finally descending into Pinedale a day later. “All the civilization you need.”
Artist mural at the Pinedale Post Office, where I picked up a resupply box.
Then cycled down to…
…Atlantic City. Population: “about 57”.
Then it was time to cross the Great Divide Basin, along a 96 mile route with little water. So I camped at the…
…Diagnus Well for the first night to load up on water…
…and added to the roadside cairns for easier spotting from the road.
These are old wagon tracks through the basin…
…that sometimes turn into roads…
…and drift into hillside ridgelines…
…sometimes accompanied by wild horses…
…and dusty construction traffic. So not fun around Wamsutter.
Wyoming finally ended with steep inclines…
…and a brief sign off.

Southwest Montana

More highlights from the GDMBR in southwest Montana…

These next 4 shots show a 10 mile downhill towards I-15 from Butte…
…as I raced down this section…
…to beat out the incoming…
…thunderstorm. I still got wet.
South of Wise River.
A storm came through as I neared the top of this steep climb near Bannock Road…
…and quickly passed through.
~7200 ft elevation at the top.
Morning after descending from Bannock…a cattle drive came by as I was breaking down camp. One of the cowboys said they’ll need an hour to get the cattle to their pen, so take your time packing up.
Big Sheep Creek southern entrance outside Lima…also popular for birders and fly fishing.
Centennial Valley east of Lima
Centennial Valley — that’s a Golden Eagle on the telephone pole.
Centennial Valley cattle gate – I ate lunch here.
Montana was long and hard, I was glad to be done.

Idaho part II was a quick 1 day scoot, then I was into Wyoming.

Start of the GDMBR

Began the trail in Ovando then headed south for 2100 miles.
Deep into big sky country now
All-in-one: Grocery, shower, laundry, motel, and water
Bikers can stay in a jail, tepee, or sheep wagon. Local tip is to pick the wagon – it’s warmer and has fewer bugs. Night time temps were in the 40s.
Lots of climbing to do…here’s a view of the upcoming elevation profile
Delighted to spend a rest day at Barb and John’s Llama Farm – they are wonderful hosts for Divide riders!
Trail goes past an old abandoned silver mine
Wide open country throughout SW Montana
Lava Mtn trail – this section was stupid hard, lot of hike-and-bike-and-puff. I saw a wolf cross the trail ~30 yards ahead of me. It took a quick glance over and kept going.
Landed at Big Butte peak…
…the day after it was used to shoot off fireworks for the Fourth of July…
…to this view of Butte.

Riding through ID and into Missoula

State line between Tekoa WA and Plummer ID
Western terminus of the Coure D’Alene Trail – a gold standard example of Rails-to-trail conversion – all paved, great condition, just 5 miles of incline at 3% grade. Lovely.
Coure D’Alene Trail – bridge crossing over Chacolet Lake
Eastern trail terminus in Mullan
Nor Pac Trail – saw a bear cub here. No mama.
Route of the Olympians just after a hail storm – a hail pellet is just smaller than an M&M
Adventure Cycling Association HQ in Missoula – beautiful offices…
…complete with secure bike parking…
…cyclists lounge with wifi, desks, beverages, ice cream…
…and visiting rider wall.