Kurt Williams
Great Divide
Polaris, MT IDAHO!

Finally we reach another state, it seemed like we were in Montana forever.  As I study the maps, I find sections of flat, or of hypothetically boring sections, but almost every time I am surprised by how much I enjoy these sections.  If there is one thing the Great Divide will provide, it's a new appreciation for these states you ride through. Southern Montana which I didn't think would be that fun, was actually incredible both in the landscape and also the other riders we met as well as how quickly the terrain would change from Polaris, MT to Flag Ranch WY.

It seems like every time I look back to write these journal entries, I can't believe how much stuff actually happened within these small sections.  First, the plateau of Red Rock lakes Wildlife Refuge was spectacular, such a simple place, with vast landscapes, but truly beautiful.  This was followed by the border crossing of Idaho, which we wouldn't be in very long, a short 70ish mile section.  I can't explain it in words, but people from Idaho are defiantly different than both Montana and Wyoming, some sort of hybrid cross breed.

I can prove this with the story of "Bitch Camp".  After a couple long long days we arrived in Island Park, ID.  They had a little grocery store and burger joint so we loaded up on food and as we were about to depart back into the woods this very enthusiastic gal engages conversation with us and ask "you guys wanna come camp with me and 15 other girls?"  I'm laughing now just thinking about it.  I think it kind of caught us off guard, well, it just plain caught us off guard.  But hey when the world provides you with drinks and a chance to meet new people(keep in mind we hardly see anyone while we're in the woods) you just gotta roll the dice and see what happens, weather it's a good night or a disaster.  Really it was neither, sort of somewhere in the middle.  

"Bitch Camp" is an outing for 15 girlfriends, all congregating in one place, to let loose, party hard, and have a good old female jamboree.  Basically the night spun out of control, lots of alcohol was drank, way more by these girls, which resulted in a cowboy getting a lap dance out of no where, body shots off a 21 year old innocent bartender boy, and one girl trying to get all coyote ugly, but instead, she just walked her face into a spinning ceiling fan(she got really lucky with that one).  Me, very drunk and tired, put my sleeping set up half together, ate way too much food prior to passing out, which resulted in sleeping on a mini cherry pie and being covered by ants come sunrise. The Ranger boys sure know how to seize the moment!  Needless to say, I had a good hangover, and a tubeless flat to fix the next morning with no tube, pump, or stans to fix it.  In pure desperation I decided to hitchhike 40 miles north to West Yellowstone, to the nearest bike shop and get what I needed.  As I'm walking to the ro
ad, who shows up again, but the same girls that invited us to bitch camp.  Without hesitation, she just offers me her car, WHAT!  And like that, us three were driving her vehicle, entrusting us completely with her mode of transpiration, what a generous person.

Really quick, I just want to mention the bike shop in West Yellowstone and if you are on the trans am route you'll bike right past it.  It's called Free Heel and Wheel and is a female owned and run bike shop in Montana!  I couldn't believe it at first, and the reason I wanna plug this shop into my journal is that first they have an espresso machine, second, I was treated so nicely from both the saleswoman and the owner/mechanic.  In a jiffy I had all the supplies I needed, and since she ran out of stans bottles, she offered to just give me some of her bulk supply in a dixie cup.  Good bike shops aren't always easy to find especially in remote areas, but this place goes well beyond my expectations. Thanks so much for the help and also the bright welcoming smiles, sure beats a testosterone driven bike shop any day of the week.

To wrap it up, the rest of this section was simply picturess. Washboard paths following rich river rapids, camping spots under railroad tunnels, and the view of the Grand Tetons slowly getting larger and more present.  We arrive in Flag Ranch Wyoming, the northern entrance to the Teton National Park and another section is complete, we're half way done with the Great Divide Route.


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Kurt Williams

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

- My Bike Specs -

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Kurt Williams
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? A few years ago I was touring through Central America and through the internet heard about the Great Divide Route. Since then I always wanted to do it, but it wasn’t until I ran across the Blackburn Ranger Program that I started to take it serious. I figured why not apply and see if it was meant to be.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have, done a few shorter bike tours in Oregon. Then, one trip from Denver back to Portland, OR. My most ambitious trip was a few years ago when I biked from California through Central America to Panama, that was a pretty eye opening trip to see where a bike can take you.
  • What is your goal for the route? To have fun with my buddy Sam!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to successfully bike tour with climbing gear and to use the bicycle as a means to get to climbing locations. A climbing trip completely fueled by bike touring!
  • What’s in my bag 1. Cat food alcohol stove - Always works, fuel is super easy to find in any location.
    2. Giro long sleeve button up shirt - Super excited to have this, I’ve always bike with a casual shirt. Versatile and also makes you not look like a cyclist, which helps you connect with people along the route.
    3. Blackburn Oversized Bottle Cages - Really happy to be using these prototypes! Forget the racks, use these!
    4. Tobacco Pipe - For lookin’ cool.

- Great Divide Milestones -