Monday, May 15, 2006

Tickets purchased

Well, sort of. The car has been reserved. We ride (in the car) on Friday at 10 AM. Mapquest says it the trip will take 23 hours, 15 minutes. That leaves exactly 45 minutes for eating and fueling and we can still return the car on time. Then we ride (on the bikes) at 10 AM Saturday, just when it starts to get hot.

The one sure thing in all this is that we're getting our money's worth out of this rental. I wonder what the record is for miles put on an unlimited miles rental car in 24 hours. We have to be up there somewhere.

Boo to Amtrak

The original idea here has always been to take Amtrak down to El Paso to start. That was the whole reason El Paso is the starting place, even though the official route starts/ends in a place called Antelope Wells, NM (a place even Google has never heard of). El Paso was the closest we could get to the start place and it was on the border, so we figured close enough.

But here's the rub. The train starts in downtown Chicago. This makes sense. But, the train from parts north (like Minneapolis, where Tim is at) gets there at 4:30 or so. The train leaving for El Paso leaves exactly one hour earlier -- and they only run once a day (and sometimes zero times a day). So, to get to the station you have to cobble together some sort of bus/car combination. Then, it takes over two full days on the train to get to Texas. (I have a feeling they did that on purpose so they don't have to pay when the northern train gets in late and people miss their connections.)

So, like true red-blooded Americans we are renting a car in Minneapolis and driving down there. And get this -- you can get an unlimited miles, one way rental for right around $100 a day. And we will do the drive in exactly... wait for it... one day. Add $170 in gas, and it is both cheaper and three times as fast to drive than to use the train. Somewhere, an Indian is crying on Hertz's shoulder.

Someday, gas will be $6 a gallon. Until then, those trains won't be good for anything but graffiti.

What we're up to

Hi All --

This blog is going to be a trip log for my Divide Route trip. My good buddy Tim and I are going to be riding from El Paso to Roosville, Montana, primarily on the route that Adventure Cycling put together. (For their info on the route, go here.) The idea will be to write something that includes both the feel of the trip and the technical information needed to do it yourself.

The only other person who has written about going south to north, like we will, is a guy named Scott who did it in 2004. You can see what he wrote and some nice GPS work here.

My claim to uniqueness here will have to be that this may be the only account of a S to N early season trip. There is a vague consensus that early in the season, the best way to do a Divide Route trip is to start in NM like we will. But, it seems like few people do it, and the ones who have done it have yet to write about it. So, maybe this will help establish whether the early season S to N trip is a good idea and even open that route up a bit.

Anyway, enjoy.

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