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October 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I have done the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and my head is spinning with it. I write this one day after finishing. I learned some things, I wonder about some things and I (dis)liked some things.
So, time for lists!!!

Stuff I learned
1. I want to do more of this.
2. The USA is an awesome place, full of great people.
There’s more, for instance, I now know how it is to shoot a gun. Or how huevos rancheros taste.
Ah. I forget one other thing.
3. The type of bike & setup you use on this route, doesn’t _really_ matter, as long as you yourself like it. I’ve seen trailers, guys with framebags, panniers & backpack, full-on front&back panniers + rack pack & handlebar bag (e.g. me) and all that on 26″ wheels, 29″ wheels, steel, titanium, aluminum AND carbon frames, front suspension, full suspension, fully rigid, disc brakes, rim brakes, Rohloff, derailleurs, leather saddles, foam saddles… And all of it worked. So don’t worry too much. Just be prepared for all food & water situations, make sure bike & gear are tuned-up and ride that baby. It’s awesome.


4. A kickstand is a thing of beauty. Get one!!

Stuff I wonder about
1. Bagels. Why the hole in them?!? A waste valuable potential space for calories!
2. The generous sunday opening hours of stores, offset against the religious character of many regions I came through. The Netherlands is one of the most secularized countries in the world, but you can forget about decent shopping opportunities on sundays in most places.
3. The default item to put into a gin-and-tonic seems to be lime around here, whereas I was, and am still, of the firm conviction this should be lemon.
4. Classic: by default, no mayonaise is provided with french fries. A sad fact.
5. Choices choices. For instance with eggs: how do I like my eggs? No idea! How do you like them? Over easy, over medium, sunny side up and whatnot… Confusing!

Stuff I disliked
Not much! Just two things.
1. Headwind. Really…
2. People saying it’s all flat/downhill from here. I know it’s well intended, but it’s WRONG. A flat-faced lie. Don’t say these things. Please don’t :-(.

Stuff I liked
1. I really liked the dogs in the back of pick-up trucks, barking up a mighty racket against everything and everyone, made me laugh!
2. All the bullethole-ridden traffic signs. Made me laugh too!
3. Fooooooooood. Om nom nom nom nom nom.
4. All the comments on my blog, emails, tweets, etc. Thank you, that stuff makes it fun!
5. The people of the western USA. Thank you all for making this trip unforgettable.
Peter in Calgary — Fat Tire Ale for life!
Craig in Eureka, first night in USA for me and it couldn’t have been in better company.
The Hall family in Montana City — made me feel SO welcome and hooked me up with friends too.
The Espelin family in Butte, I’d love to pop some more caps with you!
The Plutes in Lima, those burgers and your company were the BEST after a tough day.
Dawn in Jackson — thanks for having me, it was hysterical, and great fun too!
Tara & friends in Pinedale — I’ll never forget that Strohm Bomb Stout.
Huybert & family in Boulder — to be continued!!
The Sideways crew in Colorado, for the copious food and company.
Nita at the Toaster House and actually all of Pie Town.
The crew at the Little Toad Creek Tavern & Inn for letting us camp at their lawn, getting us smashed and building a huge fire with it.
Alyssa in Silver City, for having me one night and giving me a good story by locking me out.
Sam Hughes and Mighty Bear Dawg for providing shelter, beers and transportation in the middle of nowhere.
I’m sure I’m forgetting people… But I love you all!
6. The people I rode with.
Started with Mathieu — thanks for introducing me on the Divide.
Jacob, Emma, Michael & Margaret — awesome riding with you guys. I hope you will find time & opportunity to do the rest of this route.
Mat — so cool meeting you in the desert. And on-and-off riding until the border, hell yeah!
Anders, Colin & Ben — I’m envious of you two Canucks & one Dane, enjoy the rest of your adventures.
Kate & Lee — hope you made it in time to Austin! Very nice to do the Gila with you & to get smashed at Little Toad 🙂

For now, I’m done. I am continuing this website, however. At the very least I’d like to discuss some gear (when I’m back home). And my other bike endeavours will appear here, as well. So… I’ll see you when I’ll see you! Stay safe & keep riding.

Lost Highway

October 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

It was nearly over. All that remained between us in Hachita and the border was a stretch on Highway 81, the Lonely Highway. Although I found “Lost Highway” to be more apt. Surely you know the movie by David Lynch. It is one of my all-time favourites. It starts with images of a highway, illuminated only by the headlights of a speeding car. David Bowie’s “I’m Deranged” plays along with it. In fact, here it is. It was playing in my head the entire time towards the border.

I’m deranged
Deranged my love
I’m deranged down down down
So cruise me babe cruise me baby

(click Read More)

Cruise me, cruise me, cruise me baby.

Smooth criminal (& lots of wind)

October 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I spent nearly 7 hours of October 10th, 2012 updating my blog, somewhere downtown in Silver City. That afternoon, Colin, Anders, Mat and Ben rolled into town, too, and checked into the Palace Hotel. Kate and Lee had left a few hours earlier so now there were “just” five of us. We decided we would eat some good mexican food somewhere and then have some pre-emptive celebratory drinks for getting to Silver City. Click “Read More” to read what happened… (oh — and if the pictures are not sharp, that’s probably because of the software I’m using here. I had to install some crappy software on my memory card to at least be able to resize the images; I hope to upload better ones at home, if only for my own peace of mind!)


October 15, 2012 at 8:45 am

I was getting a bit fatigued, mentally. It was near the end of the trip and I had to go through the Gila Wilderness, supposedly one of the hardest parts of the entire route. But I had already seen so much and I’ve had so many adventures, I was getting stuffed, so to say.

However, it was time to move on. Pie Town had cleaned me out; I left my last cash in the donation box and there was no ATM. Besides, all you could get there was pie so I was eating my own food. Four days of food, to get me from Grants to Silver City. Frickin’ heavy. Across the toughest part. “PFFFFFFFF…..” (click on “Read More”).

Oh yes. Before I forget: there’s two pictures of a dead fox in this post. No wounds, no blood, no posturing or whatever. But it is a dead fox, so watch out if that sort of thing disturbs you.

Some ruins. Who? When? What? I don’t know.

Tune down in Pie Town

October 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

Grants to Pie Town was going to be one day for me if I was going to catch up with the others. Click “Read More” to find out if I did…

A very short stretch went along the old Route 66.

Mission to Mars

October 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

Between Cuba and Grants there was to be more of all good things: desert, volcanic rocks, thorns, sandy roads, cacti, weird outcroppings… you name it. Click “Read More”…

Lava land

October 12, 2012 at 8:45 am

Two turns to three as we were ready to leave Abiquiu and sample some of those sandy New Mexican roads. Things looked good, the monsoonal rains were gone and the roads were probably dried out properly. I had renewed energy and looked forward to see what New Mexico had to offer… (click “Read More”)…

Winter is coming

October 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

This was it. The big one. The bad mother of the Great Divide. Indiana Pass. Biggest climb. Highest altitude (11.910 feet or 3.630 meters). Mount Doom.
And as an afterthought, Stunner Pass right after. I was going to do it. And I was going to do it by myself, because Mat’s rack didn’t arrive. Bummer…. (click “Read More”)…

Not all that glitters is gold

October 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm

After sucking up civilisation in Salida we were ready to go. There were some big, big passes between Salida and Del Norte. However, the grades in Colorado so far have proven to be quite agreeable. It’s just that the climbs seem to last forever sometimes.

Riding out of Salida, Marshall Pass came first. I think this was the most beautiful pass of the entire trip so far. We rode amidst billowing oceans of green, gold and red. I will let the pictures speak for themselves (warning: a whopping 53 of them!). Just click on “Read More”…

An update & some banter

October 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm

So, to everyone reading this blog, it is much appreciated — but as you can see I haven’t been able to update the blog for two weeks. Part of the reason for this is that it’s hard to find a good place & time to update. I would need the following things for that:

– a PC of decent speed
– with available USB ports
– and Internet
– and some image processing software (Windows Picture Manager, Picasa, that sort of thing)

And I would need that for a bunch of hours because usually there’s lots of photo’s to go through. Also, it takes time to tell my story in a comprehensive way instead of rambling on. At least, I like to think it’s comprehensive.

So, right now, I left you hanging in Salida, Colorado whereas I am in fact typing this up in Grants, New Mexico. I have got about 40 minutes left on this PC so I am not even going to attempt to process pictures. It’ll be just text and I’ll type up decent stories later.

Part of this is to provide some detail on what I did, part of this is just for myself, to make sure I’ll remember everything later on when I’m back home! Click on “Read More” to get an update on what happened…