5,300 miles, 17 days, 1 tent, 14 states and 1 province. What a trip! I packed up my R1200GS and headed out from Rochester, NY with a desire to go West. I met a buddy in St. Louis, MO and we continued on towards Denver. Once in Colorado the pavement ended. Wide Open Spaces and the dirt road adventure began.
The GS handled like a dream on both the hard pack and loose gravel two tracks. Climbing to an elevation of 12,126 feet, I crossed the continental divide in Cottonwood Pass. The snow began to fly and the temperatures began to drop (33°F). Thank goodness for the GS's heated hand grips!
Continuing on through Cumberland Pass, the road deteriorated to a narrow, rocky, ATV type trail. My progress came to a halt when I ran into a four foot spindrift wall of snow across the road. I took all the luggage off the bike, laid it down and then spun it so that I could retreat to a lower elevation and find an alternate route to Grand Junction, CO. The road was so narrow I couldn’t think of a better way to turn around. Once on the western slope of the Rockies, I reunited with my buddy and we headed for the deserts of Utah.
I met up with a friend living in SLC so we could launder our clothes and have a shower. A shower was greatly appreciated because the nights in the tent were beginning to be Black Hills Tunnel repulsive! :-) Turning North we toured Wyoming with all its splendor. Making a right turn we began heading back East. South Dakota offered fantastic twisties and unique road conditions. The Black Hills in SD are definitely a highlight of the trip. We also ran into the occasional bison.
Throughout the trip I had no mechanical failures, accidents or mishaps (well, at least nothing I couldn't fix). The GS ran beautifully and the top/side vario cases worked perfectly. My gear stayed dry and protected. I also really enjoyed the comfort and protection the Rallye 2 gloves and Summer 2 pants provided.
I want to thank all the folks at CRM for their knowledge and advice. The gear recommendations were spot-on and the shared excitement for travel on two wheels made the trip planning that much more enjoyable.