Monday, September 17, 2007

Details, Canada Map

Can-A, 39.4: Mt Engadine Lodge, nice people, has fancy and expensive dinners that looked good. But they don't serve until dinner until 7:00. No camping allowed there, and they told us the Prov Park doesn't allow camping outside the established campsites. We stealth camped at an OK site near mile 43. A couple hundred feet west of road on a small track, next to a creek with a small metal foot bridge.
Can-A, 60.2: Bolton Creek Trading Post. Café & market had staples and OK food - nothing special.
Can-A, 109.6: Race Track Diner in gas station had standard diner food and very good soup.
Can-B, somewhere between 5.9 to 24.2: there is an error in the directions in this stretch. We didn't take detailed notes, but there is a mis-match in the queues and the lines on the map and the roads on the ground - don't be surprised if things don't match up. There were maps posted at several intersections so we could see where we were and could tell that it didn't match the ACA map.

Can-B, ~22: pretty nice rough camp. On north side of the bridge over Fording River, go east about 1/4 mile. There's a cable car over the river, and a worn out fishing camp with table. We ate dinner on top of the cable car platform ~15 feet above ground - nicer view and fewer mosquitoes up there.
Can-B, 36.3: In Sparwood there is a swell monster dump truck and visitor center.
Can-B, 36.4 to 50.7: busy hiway with lots of truck traffic.
Can-B, 103.8: the shop in Grasmere has the staples but nothing more. There's an ice cream stand next door. Loon Lake campground has a pretty nice lake, but when we stopped there the campground was crowded with dogs, ATVs, too many people and too much noise. We rough camped in the hills a few miles from Loon Lake.
Can-B, 105.9: cafe, laundry, showers -- all shut down and abandoned.

Details, Map 1

1-A, 0.0: Ms Pearson at the border crossing loves the GDR riders she meets and gave us lots of encouragement.
1-A, 41.6: USFS Tuchuck Campground had a nice campsite on the river.
1-A, 101.4: high quality bike shop in Whitefish.
1-A, 121.5: Tom Arnone and his wife offer lawn to cyclists. We talked to Tom's wife (forget her name) who was very friendly. They have a nice yard, and this would be a nice place to camp if you are here in the evening. House is on the corner at the turn, with bicycle signs and their name on the mailbox.
1-A, 138.7: excellent breakfast at the Swan River Diner. I'm pretty sure they close at 2:00, so don't count on finding dinner there.
1-A, 210.1: Holland Lake Lodge does not offer showers to cyclists anymore. We ate dinner there on an evening when the chef doesn't work, so the food was not special, but it included good all-you-can-eat green and potato salad which we enjoyed. Lodge is conveniently located ~1 mile from Holland Lake USFS campground. Campground host let us put our food bags indoors for bear protection, and offered to let us recharge our iPods in their trailer.

1-B, 26.0: Excellent deli sandwhiches at the café in Ovando - better food than your average diner.
1-B, 61.6: Lincoln. Municipal campground was pretty nice, but costs $10 and doesn't have showers - don't stay there the third weekend in August when they host a regional softball tournement and is very noisy and crowded. Great rib and steak dinner at the Pondersosa café, where there is a very fine cast chicken scupture sitting on a bar stool - worth stopping there for either the food or the chicken.
1-B, 125.0: Glacier Divide Cyclery was a very nice shop. We stayed at a friendly cheap motel a couple blocks north of the bike store. The motel had a laundry room, and was walking distance to Starbucks, bike shop and downtown restaurants.
1-B, 168: one to two miles west on road 82, then about 200 yards north, nice rough camp in grassy meadow in river valley. We didn't go as far as USFS Mormon Gulch campground because the valley was so nice.
1-B, 191.9: Outdoorsman Store (bike shop) is on the route just at the exit off I-90.
1-B, 264: On right side of road there is an overlook with a picnic table, nice place for a meal. We camped right on the boardwalk next to the river - nicer views and privacy than the nearby USFS campground (although possibly not legal)

Details, Map 2

2-A, 29.6: Jeff Davis Lodge & Café did not open in 2007, and there are no services in Grant.
2-A, 90.3: The store in the Lima gas station is just as extensive as the store in Dell (neither are great, but they have staples). Lima was a pleasant surprise. The Mt View Motel & RV Park is very friendly and oriented toward CDT and GDR travelers - free laundry and use of computer, nice people, set up to receive packages so you can send stuff to yourself and not be limited by Post Office hours. Pete's Bar had the best steak of the trip. Jan's cafe had good breakfast, including locally produced sausage.
2-A, 187.2: we took the alternate route through Big Springs and up onto the rim of the caldera instead of riding the rail trail. The surface of the road uphill was dusty and loose, not much fun, but ridable. There was no surface water, so carry what you need. There were a few places with nice views of the caldera, but it was mostly very dense young conifer forest (post-fire), and it was tough to find a place to camp. The ride downhill on the paved road was fantastic!
2-A, 230.0: Squirrel Creek Elk Ranch has a simple café, cabins, camping. Very nice people, low-key, shade, quiet, $2 for a shower. We enjoyed lunch there, and it would be a nice place to camp.
2-A, 258.1: NPS Campsite #8 is the first one you reach if you are riding south-bound. #8 has only one campsite, bear box, pit toilet, a bit of a view. If you are planning to stay at one of these NPS campsites and this one is available you should stop here, since sites #1-7 are not any nicer than this one and may be occupied.

2-B, 47.0: we had quite a good dinner in the bar at the Togwatee Mtn Lodge. They have a coin-op laundry room so you can wash your clothes while you eat. The USFS Angels Campground/Trailhead is about a mile NE of the Lodge and has bear boxes and a distant sunset view of the Tetons. Dinner & Laundry at the lodge and camping at Angels campground was a very good combination.
2-B, 71.0: we took the alternate route, which was lovely.
2-B, 90: Fantastic rough camp in small grove of trees on top of divide 1/4 mile left of the road; great views over rolling open landscape to distant mountains, totally private and quiet"
2-B, 159.4: Rivera Lodge in Pinedale, a 1942 motel, was a bit expensive, but it was off the main road, our room was 10 feet from the river, really nice people, and it included by far the BEST breakfast on the trip. The motel is a block from a Laundromat. Also in Pinedale, we tried to eat dinner at the Bottoms Up Brew Pub. We waited 90 minutes for a meal, and finally left when they told us it would be at least another 30 minutes - possibly the worst service I've ever had in a restaurant. We ended up at The Stockman just down the street, where we had a reasonable meal with a salad bar and great service.
2-B, 202.2: we ignored the "private property" signs and went a few hundred yards north on the west side of the river to eat lunch under lovely shade tree next to river.
2-B, 224: 1/4 mile off route on a jeep track, on right side of road, stunning rough camp on top of divide with 360 degree views - it was a little tough to find a spot for the tent because it was rocky, but worth the effort.

Details, Map 3

3-A, 0.0: There are no groceries in South Pass City, there is a gift shop with a few types of gift-shop candy, but no groceries.
3-A, 4.4: Terrible meal at the Atlantic City Mercantile & Café, and to add insult to injury, the front lawn at the Café was full of dog shit. Groceries at the Mercantile were extremely limited (about 10 linear feet of shelf space) but we were able to get canned tuna, a box of crackers, and some Little Debbies. If you want a meal in this town, try the Miners Grubstake bar instead.
3-A, 26.2: Diagnus Well had a very strong flow of water from a pipe. Maybe it's pumped and not always running? Call BLM before your trip to ask about this well and also about A&M Reservoir - and don't wait until the last day to call because there is only one person at the BLM office who knows the area, and he might not be in the office."
3-A, 40.7: just west of the crossing of West Alkalia Creek (a dry culvert), turn 1/4 mile north of the road on a jeep track to Sulphur Creek. There is an area with flat sandy/grassy ground next to tiny creek. When we were there the creek was running and had small fishes in it, although we don't know how often it has water. We didn't drink from the creek, but it was very nice to have water for a sponge bath. This was by far the nicest campsite we saw in the entire stretch from the Sweetwater River until somewhere south of Rawlins - a very long stretch with crummy camping options.
3-A, ~95: There's an old tank and old cabin on the left - the site is trashed with cow shit and broken glass, but it does offer the only shade for many miles.
3-A, 118: we camped in a dry pond bottom a few hundred yards north of the road. There's nothing special about it except that we had been looking for a flat place to put our tent for over an hour with no luck, because the vegetation is brushy and the ground very lumpy."
3-A, 138.4: dumpy Rawlins. Grocery store is on the east side of town. Laundry is on the west side of town. The two RV parks are dreadful parking lots next to the interstate. We ate an acceptable lunch at Cappy's restaurant - not memorable, but reasonable.

3-B, 2.5: 1/4 mile west of main road there's a grassy meadow with a small stream and some willow groves, flat grassy campsites. Beautiful place to camp.
3-B, ~30: USFS work center is shut down, but the campground host for the Battle Creek Campground was stationed here, and there is shelter from the rain if you need it.
3-B, 38.2: we took the alternate up the Little Snake River and through Columbine. The alternate route was very lovely.
3-B, 29.5 on alternate: there's a tiny gift shop in Columbine, run by an elderly lady who grew up there. She's a delightful person who served us tea and told us about other GDR and CDT travelers - she has a log book to browse."
3-B, ~105: Steamboat Springs. The folks at Orange Peel Bikes were very friendly. They are in the center of town, one block from library, one block from a bagel shop with a computer, and one block from a reasonably priced motel. The motel, the "Western Lodge", had coin-op laundry. (The laundromat in town is not conveniently located, and I suspect the Western Lodge would let you use their laundry even if you don't stay there). The big grocery store and Walmart are a few miles east of the center of town, and there is a free town bus that runs every ~15 minutes. Excellent dinner at the Mahogony Ridge Brew Pub.
3-B, 148.2: the stream was deeper than it looked and two different motorcyclists we talked to swamped when crossing it. Cross the stream where the approach and exit banks are steeper, just 10 or 20 feet left (if traveling southbound) of the primary road crossing. Nice rough camping in the valley near the stream crossing.
3-B, 181.7: Red Rock RV Park on the east side of town in Kremmling was pretty quiet and nicely set back from the main road. Nice people, laundry, showers. We ate a reasonable meal at a steak house in town. Not a bad little unpretentious town. Note that there used to be free camping behind the fire station, but the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center told us they had to close it due to vandalism.
3-B, 229.2: The Silverthorne/Dillon/Frisco/Breckenridge area is sprawl and condo development run amuck. We disliked the whole area. If you need to spend a night in the region, the Heaton Bay USFS campground is a reasonable choice - it was formally closed for dead tree clearing and reconstruction in 2007, but we camped there anyway.

Details, Map 4

4-A, 66.6: Hartsel. Dumpy tiny town. Barking dogs and broken glass. Great dinner at Dorothy's Homemade Tamales was a very pleasant surprise. (we read a GDR trip report describing the bar next door as "the worst meal of the trip”). We’ve read that the tap water is unhealthy. I don’t know if it is unhealthy, but the flavor/aroma was so bad we didn’t try to drink it. We were told by a nice couple in town we could camp behind the fire station in the "town park", which was a glass-strewn lot with a locked port-a-potty. We have read that some people successfully camped there and others have been "kicked out". In any case, it is a dismal "park". We camped at mile ~69, 100 yards west of road on flat grassy field - probably on private land but we were outside the fence. The "Hartsel Springs Resort" listed on the ACA map is now a sales facility (ranchette subdivision) and the only people who can stay there are clients. Some people reported that the people in the Harsel Springs Resort office allow you to camp in their parking lot, but the people at the office when we were there were quite snooty and uncooperative when we stopped there to say hello.
4-A, 113: Salida. Very nice town. Absolute Bikes was best shop on the trip. Great dinner at the West End Café. Great milk shake / ice cream shop a block from the laundromat downtown.

4-B, 139.9: we followed the route here and turned right onto FR660. But that route eventually leads to a very rough road with sandy, rocky, hike-a-bike stuff (from ~143.9 to 149.8). We didn't think the rough road was worth it, and we recommend staying on 38A.
4-B, 153.4: Del Norte. Nice little town. We stayed with Gary & Patti Blakley which was great - they were very good company. Lunch at the "Organic Peddler" was tasty, but a bit expensive and small portions. Dinner at the "Country Family" was good. Breakfast at Boogies Cafe was good standard pancakes and eggs.
4-B, 195.9: Stunner USFS campground. The water pump here has no pump handle, and somebody camping there told us it has not worked for years. We got water from other campers.
4-B, 202.3: There's a tiny grocery store in the lodge at Platoro where you can buy staples.
4-B, 23.0: the store/café in Horca is not reliable. They were closed for a couple days when we were there. We talked to a nice elderly lady in the trailer park next to the store, who said that during 2007 season the owner of that store has not been reliable and that it doesn't open on 50% of the days. That unreliable shop is the only service in Horca.
4-B, 32.4: Rendezvous Steakhouse had reasonable steak meal, but very limited hours. (I think they are open Wed-Sunday from 4:30-9:00 PM, but might be wrong).
4-B, 145.5: Abiquiu. Bode's store, the only place to buy food in town, had good selection of food - more extensive than most gas-station stores. Abiquiu Inn has an RV park, but it is just a parking lot and does not have bathrooms or showers (you use the bathrooms in the restaurant area). We got a room at the Inn, which was expensive but convenient. Dinner at the Inn was excellent and expensive - a very good meal. The people at the Inn were very nice. No laundromat at Inn or elsewhere in town.

Details, Map 5

5A, 167.9: the campsite described in the book has flat tent sites with fire rings, but is in the woods and has no view or sense of space.
5A, 182: top of mesa has been logged, and therefore has nice views to east and west. We camped up on top, which was worth it for the views, but it was tough to find ground that wasn't really lumpy (result of logging).

5B, 0: There are several restaurants in Cuba. We ate a good meal at the Mexican restaurant called El Bruno's.
5B, ~11.5: acceptable campsite. Not particularly nice, but it's the first viable campsite south of Cuba. 100 yards north of the route in a sandy spot amidst cactus and sage.
5B, 47.6: Ojo Frio Spring had good water when we were there, but also had abundant mosquitos, so we didn't spend any time there.
5B, 66.6: we camped in the bottom of the wash. No views, but a nice sense of space, and there was clean flat sand without thorny plants.
5B, 120: Grants is a big town with many cheap motels on route 66. We stayed at the cheap old Sands motel, which had no laundry but was only 2 blocks from a laundrymat, and one block from the El Cafecito café. Dinner at La Ventana steak house was standard steak fare, pretty expensive and not great. Breakfast at El Cafecito was just fine. We took the eastern El Malpais alternative (route 117) because of recent rains. It was very beautiful, although we can't compare it to the western route.
5B, 207: Pie Town. Very nice free municipal campground, just a block or two from the two cafes. Milk shake and dinner at the Daily Pie was very good. We didn't stop at the Toaster House (Nita, the trail angel) but everybody says she's great. The two cafes have limited hours and neither is open 7 days a week, so call ahead if you are counting on getting food there. www.pie-o-neer.com and dailypie.com

Details, Map 6

6A, 29.4: Valle Tio Vences Spring was a little hard to find. It is just a few feet east of the road, ~100 yards north of the entrance to the campground. There's a box with plumbing fixtures there.
6A, ~96: very nice campsite under big ponderosa pines, about 1/2 mile east of route on dirt road up a lovely little canyon.
6A, 99: Beaverhead USFS work center is a large and active complex (unlike some of the abandoned work centers earlier in the trip). There is a pay phone and a hose.
6A, 124.6: very nice stream with endangered Gila trout, would be nice place for lunch or camping."
6A, 179: Silver City has an old section of town that has nice character, although the ride into town is standard strip mall sprawl. Dinner at LOOK UP RESTAURANT NAME was very good but expensive. Breakfast at "Nancy's" was very slow and dreadful.

6B, ~40: there's a ranch house with several buildings and nice shade trees. We stopped and asked a gentleman if we could eat lunch at the shaded picnic table and he said of course. There was another abandoned ranch house with shade a mile or so further down the road.
6B, 51.2: Separ. There's still a trading post there, but it is 99% junk gifts and 1% food. Not as well stocked as a gas station, but they did have candy and popsicles.
6B, 78: Hachita. The only remaining service is the post office, all shops are shut down. The town is a classic busted mining town, 75% abandoned. We stayed on the lawn at Sam Hughes house, one block east of the post office, sign on gate says "No Tresspassing, this includes snowmobiles". He's a VERY friendly older gentelman who is a CDT trail guide and runs a shuttle service. You can find his contact info using google.