Dusty Diller, 2D artist at The Mill in Chicago, decided to take on the Great Divide Trail with his father last summer, riding Kawasaki KLR650 dual sport motorcycles through the 3,000 mile trail. He documented the journey with GoPro cameras rigged to the chin guards of their helmets, capturing the spectacular terrains and untouched wilderness during the three-week ride from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.Dusty edited the footage into a three-minute film, which was then graded by Mikey Pehanich, color assist at The Mill in Chicago, and set to the song "On Trees and Birds and Fire" by the band I Am Oak.
Neither Dusty nor his dad had much experience riding a motorcycle. In fact, he had only ridden about five times before buying a bike and embarking on the trip. The ride also included a third Diller-family member. Dusty's mom drove SAG (support and gear), meeting up with the pair every few days for lunch or a cold beer when her truck could actually get to the remote locations along the trail.
Each state brought a different aura to the ride, beginning in Canada and Montana where the terrain is very dramatic and heavily forested. As they rode through Wyoming, the landscape became more flat and desolate, creating a wide open view stretching several miles in all directions. Riding through America’s least populous state also meant that the riders could go for hundreds of miles without crossing paths with another human being, but they did come across wild horses!
Dusty’s home state was next, and despite growing up in Colorado, there were still new experiences to discover. Dusty shares, “We were kept up all night by a pack of coyotes and bugling elk, and although tired the following day, it was still a great experience. It’s fun to feel that type of vulnerability.”
The trail ends in the beautiful, desert landscape of New Mexico, taking them from the Canadian Rockies to the US-Mexico border. Although each state or province had something amazing to offer, Dusty’s favorite location was Montana as it was remote while also offering some of the most technical and challenging riding of the trip.
The Next Adventure
Now that he’s made “The Great Divide” film, Dusty has an idea of the shots he’d like to capture on his next trip. He’s also looking into different mount systems for motorcycles to document the adventure once the the father-son duo decides on the destination. Dusty comments, “Right now we’re thinking of doing the Trans-America Trail, which runs from North Carolina to Oregon and mostly consists of backroads. The ride is 5,000 miles, so we’re still sorting through the logistics. I’m trying to convince my Dad to ride around and within Iceland, but that one may come in a few years.”