After that, we navigated the trails with both the truck and bikes. I drove the 4Runner first and attempted a respectable climb in Reverse. It required some aggressive maneuvering, but the midsize SUV pulled it off. Another useful feature was the Hill-start Assist Control. It locks all four wheels when moving your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator, after coming to a stop at a steep angle or slick surface. This can be an advantage when a backward roll of a few inches may cost you big-time.

Then we found some engaging intermediate terrain at Trail 1203, where we could further judge the muscle and agility of the new Yamahas. The lighter weight and advanced suspension systems made maneuverability through hard-line, steep, narrow trails less demanding than anticipated. The WR450F actually had more power than necessary for our purposes, and this bike was responsive when pitching back and forth to navigate tight crevasses. Both bikes had firm seats, which can make it tough to sit down after a long day on the trails. But the electric start seemed to compensate by eliminating the difficulty of kick-starting a four-stroke engine.

Steve and I were the last remaining of our team, determined to make a first-class run out of our final day in the wilds. We prepped the off-road Yamahas one more time and proceeded north on Ellis Creek Trail. There was a wide variety of motivating topography the closer we came to the Wyoming Rockies. Then our course took a broad sweeping U-turn southbound onto Trail 1101, following the Continental Divide.

There were all kinds of challenging obstacles and a couple of falls by the time we made it back, but it was a nice finish to another great expedition. Come to think of it, Chevy came out with a new midsize pickup fittingly christened Colorado, and Honda has developed a WR competitor in the CRF. Wouldn't that be an exciting combination the next time out?