Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Fort Fraser BC
Day 18 Oct 4 459 kms Livingston MT to Superior MT
When I checked the weather reports last night, it said the morning would be about 30F, but no precipitation, Warming up to above freezing by 9, and approaching 40F by noon. When I woke up, I checked again, and the weather report said the same thing. I looked out my window into the parking lot, and it was snowing. I checked the hwy cams for Bozeman pass, and it looked ugly.
Checkout time was 11:00 AM. I had already made arrangements with the hotel staff to stay longer if needed. I got comfortable and settled in to wait. I went for breakfast, back to my room to check the weather and hwy cams. Still looked bad. I packed up to be ready if and when I was going to leave. The internet was up and down, so, while it was down I went to do my checks on the bike, pack it partially, and see if it would start in this cold weather. She is a true Canadian girl. Started up like it was summer.
While outside, scraping ice off my seat, I met Corey, who had just ridden his sportster over the pass. He said it was blizzard, white out conditions. He was colder than hell, and, was like me yesterday, ready to give up and get a room or rent a truck.
He highly recommended I did not try it, at least for a while, anyhow.
We talked, and he decided to go for a bite to eat, and see what the weather was doing in a couple hours. I went back to my room, tried the internet, it didn’t work, watched TV for a bit, and said screw it. I am going for it. Corey had said it was cold and snowy, but not slippery, and I had more cold weather gear than he did ( he was, in fact, going shopping for more clothes)
So I loaded up, gave the hotel staff my key, told them I might be back, and hit the road. It had stopped snowing and had warmed up enough that there was no longer ice on my bike.
It was 23 miles to Bozeman, and a vertical rise of about 1800 ft. to the summit, then down to Bozeman. As I climbed it got colder, and it started snowing, but traffic was light and visibility was good. I hit the summit, my fingers were cold, but the rest of me was doing OK.
I rode down to Bozeman, and the skys were looking a bit better. I stopped to rub my fingers and got a shot of the weather following me.
I rode towards Butte, the weather not all that warm, but dry, and the sun poked out occasionally along the way.
I still had to get over Homestake Pass. It went up to over 6000 feet, and although the hwy cam wasn’t showing snow, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be warm.
I stopped for gas just before the climb, and then I rode up and up and up. I got to the top, and stopped briefly for a quick break.
The official height of the summit is 6,339 ft. My gps was only 100 ft out J
The old bike had taken me to elevations approaching 8,,000 feet on this trip, but it was warm. 6,000 ft in the cold gave me more of a sense of accomplishment (or something )
I went down and down and down and into Butte. The big flashing sign by the big hotel said 33F. It felt good!!
I carried on and by Deer Lodge MT I was ready for a break and to warm up. I was thinking restaurant, but then I saw a sign for a car museum. Sweet. I pull into Deer Lodge and find the museum. It had the unlikely distinction of being a car museum AND a prison museum….. all for the same price.
Lots of cool stuff in the Car Museum
I finished up there and went into the prison museum
I took a lot more pictures. To view some of them, click HERE.
By the time I saw all there was to see, I was a lot warmer, and the day had warmed considerably. I went back to my bike to leave. I had parked next to a BMW 800GS loaded down for travelling with European plates (Norwegian or Danish or something) and I had hoped for a chance to visit with the rider, but there was no one wearing riding gear in the museum and when I came back out the bike was gone.
I carried on, and by Missoula it was getting almost comfortable out. I was seeing a few more bikes on the road (surprisingly, considering the weather, I had seen quite a few bikes along the way)
It had cooled down a bit by the time I reached Superior MT, and I needed gas, so I took the offramp, stopped at the stop sign, and started shaking from the cold. All right then, Superior it is. I saw a reasonable looking motel by the gas station, pulled in and got a room, cranked the heat and climbed into a hot bath to warm up.