Trip Overview

This blog will follow two totally inexperienced bikepackers, Geoff and Cam, and their journey from Banff to Mexico via the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. The route follows the Continental Divide, exposing riders to high altitude, diverse wildlife, and solitude. To learn more about the route, check this out. Randy will be the official bookie so get in touch with him if you'd like to place a wager on how far we will actually make it.

In the mean time, you can track our progress here thanks to our SPOT device.

This will be a site where we will try our best to post some pictures and stories along the way. Happy reading!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Day 43 - Cuba to Grants

A very interesting beginning to today's ride... As we were leaving Cuba Cam was out in front. Riding on pavement allows your mind to wander a little bit more than if you were on dirt because you don't need to be overly careful where your tire line is because there are no giant potholes or ruts.  But a lesson was learnt this morning concerning biking in New Mexico...  Not even five miles in, Cam was riding and his eyes were checking out the nearby canyons.  He heard a little hiss but thought nothing of it until Geoff yelled something along the lines of "AHHHH". Apparently Cam rode within inches of a fair sized rattle snake who coiled up and went for a chunk of Cam's leg.  Luckily the rattler didn't get to C as he was traveling at mach 3.  It was a pretty big wake up call and from there on out the guys were on rattler duty.  (Thanks mom for the snake bite kit!).

The area of New Mexico (western, NM) where our route takes us is pretty desolate and void of straight roads.  Today's venture lasted 120 miles but really only 60 miles or so as the crow flies.  I guess this is what the Divide is all about though.  This winding road enabled us to ride through some pretty neat terrain.  We dropped in and out of a number of canyons and mesas, and spent most of our day in a Navajo reservation.  We stopped a couple of times at gas stations to get some snacks and gatorades and had lots of chances to talk with the locals - what friendly people!  Up until this point, most people in cars that would pass us would do the classic lift-the-fingers-off-the-wheel-wave.  In NM, most people would raise both hands off the wheel and wave as if we had a T-Shirt cannon with awesome prizes to be won.  Two guys actually passed us today and slowed down to yell out awesome words of encouragement. To top that off, an old lady at one of our stops offered us a spot to crash.  This was before noon so we had to decline.

We made it into our destination of Grants by about 7pm where we were on the hunt for a dive of a motel.  We found just the place. C walked in to talk prices with the manager.  One bed room was 27 dollars.... He just about took it until he was told two queen's were only 34.  What a deal. Well kind of...  If you like the decor of black mold, the aroma of who knows what, and your shower heads at 5 feet elevation.  This was just the spot for Geoff n Cam.  The only tough decision was how to sleep. Do we go under the covers? Do we use our sleeping bags and run the risk of getting bed bugs in them?  We ended up just sleeping on top of the sheets being awoken every 25 minutes to the giant industrial trains that rain outside our door. At least we had McDonald's breakfast.

Riding in a canyon.  Cam forgot to take pics of the better canyons... this is the best he could do!

New Mexican's aren't actually this short.  This motel was simply a dive.

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