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Old 10-06-2012, 05:22 PM   #31
Patrick M OP
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Day 7: September 7th, 2012
St Mary MT to Bigfork MT ~ 110 miles

A cold, frosty morning. But that is Montana in early September, and it's awesome. I woke up excited at the thought of getting to finally ride the Going to the Sun road today. The weather was clear and there was no longer the threat of snow. Pretty sure my VFR is not snow-worthy.

My campground was down the road from Glacier's eastern gate. Passing the visitor center, and rounding a curve, you're greeted by this magnificent sight.





The quintessential Glacier National Park shot, Wild Goose Island.


Climbing up the road, the trees break and you get an immediate sense of the scale of these mountains. They rise so quickly trees have a tough time staying rooted.



Logan Pass of the Continental Divide.



I took a stop once I was at Logan Pass, and apparently there was a young Grizzly in the lot at/or near the time I pulled in. Of course I missed getting a look at him and he ran off into the trees across the road. I decided to take a couple hikes. The first was on the grizzly woods side of the road, the Highline Trail. This trail will lead you to the Many Glacier area but was closed because of bear activity. I hiked in a bit and the views were unreal. Along the first few hundred yards, the trail drops straight off. No drunk hiking, please.



I turned around and hiked the Hidden Lake trail. Its an easy going hike that's family friendly. It, as the name suggests, leads to Hidden Lake and beyond. It's surrounded by alpine meadows and small mammals like ground squirrels and marmots.





Overlooking Hidden Lake



This dude rules.



I was really happy to come across a family of mountain goats grazing in the meadows. They really don't mind humans around them. They also seem quite wise and they might have all the answers.







I tried hard to not make this photo look fake, but the sky was crystal clear and everything had an amazing brilliance to it.



Continuing on the Going to the Sun road, time to go downhill now.



As I neared the western entrance, traffic, congestion, and construction made me want to get out. I thought about camping in the park but I felt like riding more. I decided to head towards Flathead Lake in hopes I find a laid back campground.

Nice people at Elkhorn Grill in Hungry Horse, MT. Good food too.



In Bigfork, Montana I found a state park that was right on Flathead Lake. The weather was perfect and I still had a lot of daylight left too. I took the last available campsite.







Tomorrow, Red Lodge and setting myself up for the Beartooth Pass...
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:13 PM   #32
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We hit much of these sama areas in July. We hit St Mary's on our way south from Banff. Banff was cool but Glacier kicked it's ass. Most beautiful place Ive ever seen. It's interesting how different the weather was for you. In July, it was hot, hot, hot. Also, we had a hell of a time finding a room anywhere near there on a Saturday night. All rooms were booked, including Whitefish and Kalispell. Apparently, all the Canucks come down on the weekends to enjoy the favorable money exchange rate. We ended up sleeping in the dirt on a side road. it was epic. Thanks for the great pics, they're way better than the ones I took.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:49 PM   #33
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Day 8



Day 8, September 8th 2012
Bigfork, MT to Red Lodge, MT - 439 miles


Today was my first truly cold morning waking up in my tent. A Jetboil and a coffee press made a quick fix of that though. I was near route 83 in Bigfork. This is the road that runs through the Swan Valley and Seeley Lake area, one of the most beautiful areas in the world (in my opinion). This road is bordered on either side by tall pines with occasional breaks for a mountain view.



There was a lot of haze, unfortunately, from all the fires they have had in this area of the country. Still, the road is stark raving beautiful and just rolls on and on...



A dozen miles or so outside the town of Seeley Lake I was spacing out in my helmet, lost in the wonder of this magical area, when I see what looked to be a dog at the edge of the forest ahead. As I got closer I saw that it was not at all a dog, but a large black wolf. He stayed put as I came closer but it seemed that at the moment we made eye contact, he ran off back into the woods. I couldn't believe I saw such a beast.

In the town I stopped at a gift shop/coffee bar/bookstore to grab some espresso and I told the owner, as well as another local, what I saw. The shop owner, Zia, was in slight disbelief but Eric, from Seeley Lake, agreed. He mentioned that they have been coming down from the north and there have been a few sightings.

I needed a new cell charger after mine fried itself and was hoping to find something in Helena along my way. Surprising, Eric, went across the street for a bit and came back with a charger. I asked him how much I owed him but he hadn't paid for it yet, he just walked out with it. I guess this is cool in Montana? This would get you beat down in Philly. I later found out his sister worked there so it was no big deal. Real nice people that morning...



Continuing towards Helena on Route 200 and 141 you encounter some magnificent scenery. The next batch of photos are from one of the greatest "rides" of the whole trip... Route 200 to 141 then 12 through to Helena and Harlowtown.















Heading south on Route 191 fter Harlowtown, MT. This road takes you to Big Timber MT and is bordered by the Crazy Mountains to the west. I was flying...



After exiting for Red Lodge in Columbus, I was pulled over. I blamed my speeding on beating the deer hang out time. The officer agreed and let me off with a warning. The sun was setting quickly but I made it to Red Lodge before dark. A nice little motel room and some beers were welcomed after a long, hot, dry, and exciting day.





Tomorrow: Beartooth Pass, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:27 PM   #34
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Day 9



Day 9, September 9th 2012
Red Lodge, MT to Colter Bay, WY - 303 miles


Is this real life? Am I going to ride the road that I have been looking at Google Street View of for months? Another early day to get it all in. The owner of the Alpine Lodge cooks his guests breakfast at no charge. You best believe I got the Breakfast Burrito. The Mexican diet has already begun. Tacos were for dinner the night before.

Heading out of Red Lodge, the road was a bit torn up and I was hoping that the Beartooth Pass would not be this shit.



Thankfully, it was not, and I began to climb and climb...





To be honest, this road is a doozy. It's too amazing to keep your eyes on the road. Unfortunately, its a far drop, so you better.



One can really feel like they're on top of the world up here. Physically, not in a show tunes kind of way.







Pilot Peak appears shortly after you descend towards the Chief Joseph Highway. Probably my favorite mountain right now.



The Chief Joseph Highway, in my opinion, is a funner road. You get more varied landscapes, the winds are less, and its a blast to rip down it...





Nez Perce overlook (?) has a great sculpture.







I stopped in Cody for some gas and food prior to heading into Yellowstone. Right before Yellowstone, on the eastern side, is the Shoshone Valley. If you ever find yourself near Yellowstone, go here. The scenery is better than Yellowstone.





I arrived in Yellowstone, and my pace slowed but my pulse increased. I wont say that I hated it, because it is truly amazing. However I did not feel safe riding around it. I saw quite a bad accident where a whole front end was ripped off of a persons car. I wanted to leave as soon as I got there. Still, I checked out the lake, as well as Old Faithful just to be sure.



The sun was setting on me again, and I needed to beat the rush after the Old Faithful show. I decided to head towards the Grand Tetons and find a campground. The traffic was slow going out of the park but it eventually opened up and the most amazing site was bestowed upon me...



In the park, I stopped at Colter Bay Campground for the night. I asked about bears and they had a few sightings in the past couple days. I decided to eat my dinner down near the lake after seeing some sloppy campers cooking near my site. I figured that if a bear was going to wake anyone up, it would be the messier of the two sites.



The rain that had moved in earlier that afternoon cleared for a most amazing sunset behind the Tetons.





I had a hard time falling asleep this night at the thought of bears and camping alone with them. Thankfully, I had some Lagavulin in the flask. Rain returned that night and would last till morning.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:31 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick M View Post
Tomorrow: Beartooth Pass, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons.
Oh Yeah
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:52 PM   #36
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Day 10, September 10th 2012
Colter Bay WY to Heber City UT - 330 miles


The rain that started again in the night was off and on all morning. I found it difficult to pack up my gear without getting rained on and keeping my non-waterproof stuff dry. The bear box helped with some gear though. I eventually loaded up and headed towards the many Teton view points.



The skies were ominous and it took me about 3 hours to ride 30 miles. This was because of the off and on heavy rain and the amazing photo opportunities.





I couldn't decide whether to leave my rain gear on or off because the weather kept changing it's mind. The clouds did the right thing for me here though...



The off and on rain messed with my timing for the day so I had to start making up some time. I stopped in Alpine, WY south of Jackson some and had some lunch... The place was called Yankee Doodles. Very "America, Fuck yeah!". Very good food.



The rains were chasing me all day long but I saw a little break as my route kissed the eastern edges of Idaho.





Ominous skies returned once again as I entered Utah. The ride was surreal, but I wanted to end it and relax.



As soon as I got to Park City/Heber Valley, the rains came in buckets and I needed a room. No shelter in any of the campgrounds nearby and I was beat. There was also Mexican food in the town. I ended my day in Heber City.

Tomorrow, Bryce Canyon and the Escalante Grand Staircase

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:04 PM   #37
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Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us. Very nice camerawork too.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's pictures. We rode that area this spring. Loved every second of it.
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:43 PM   #38
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Wow great pics and a great route. How many hours are you riding per day? Looks like about 10 -11 Hrs. Do you wish you would have done less miles and spent a little more time in each area? I supose thats the trade off in seeing a lot of different areas.

Great report, one of the best to come along in a while. In the sense that it is a dream route of mine also.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:53 PM   #39
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Great ride!

Refreshing report Patrick. Looking forward to more...
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:38 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by madeouttaglass View Post
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Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us. Very nice camerawork too.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's pictures. We rode that area this spring. Loved every second of it.
Of course. I've read my share of other's reports on here so now it is my turn. Im glad you enjoy the photos too!

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Wow great pics and a great route. How many hours are you riding per day? Looks like about 10 -11 Hrs. Do you wish you would have done less miles and spent a little more time in each area? I supose thats the trade off in seeing a lot of different areas.

Great report, one of the best to come along in a while. In the sense that it is a dream route of mine also.
Thanks man! You're right on with your guess. Some days were longer, some shorter, but most were around 10-11 hours. There were certain places that I wish I could have spent weeks at (Montana), but yes, its a trade off...

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Originally Posted by muskeg View Post
Refreshing report Patrick. Looking forward to more...
Thanks for reading muskeg, happy to share...
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:55 PM   #41
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Day 11

Day 11 - Hanging out in the Heber Valley and Park City area


When I had initially arrived in Heber City the night before, heavy rains began to fall for a few hours. They eventually cleared and things were looking good for the ride the next day. That was until I started checking the radar. A huge system was hanging out in the Bryce Canyon/St George/Escalante area. In fact, it was covering pretty much all of southern Utah.

When I woke up the next day this was on radar and would stay there all day. I kept watching but it grew heavier and there was flooding conditions in parts of the area.



I decided to hang out in the area for the day, chill out, and do some errands. Luckily, the weather cleared in this part of the state by late morning. I rode up to Park City and tried to wash my bike in one of those self-service washes but it ended up making the bike dirtier. This area is very beautiful and Im glad I got to check it out without flying right by it...











Tomorrow I will try again for Escalante and Bryce!
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:24 PM   #42
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Nice read!
Spent almost 14 years in Hebert and Park City area, man I miss that place!!!! And wow how it has changed!
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:29 PM   #43
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Day 12



Day 12, September 12th 2012

Heber City to Bryce Canyon to Escalante UT ~ 330 miles




Ok let's try this again. The weather this morning was perfect. Cold, but crisp and clear. I left out of Heber City early as usual. I had a mostly uneventful but beautiful ride down Route 89 towards Richfield. Once you cross over I-70 then continue on 89, the landscape seems to abruptly change. You begin to feel like you're entering a desert.







Nothing was stopping me this morning except for the amazing landscapes around every curve. I detoured off of Route 89 and followed the lesser travelled Route 22. If there's ever a road to make you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, it is this one.... and you can rip down it, in between the dozens of cattle guards.





I got to Bryce around 1pm and it was busy but not too bad. I quickly stopped inside the visitor's center then headed out for the road to the view points.



After the first view point, I saw a herd of Pronghorns crossing the road. As I got closer I saw that it was a couple males with a whole gaggle of bitches (maybe some calves(?) too).

This guy was blocking me from the females and kids off to the right. Real neat animals.







This is another one of the most beautiful places in the world. Strangely, however, I spent only about an hour and half here riding around and checking out the overlooks. This park seems like it would be a great place to get off a bike to hike and camp in the backcountry. I will definitely be back someday soon...

It is about an hour to Escalante from Bryce. I wanted to camp around there tonight and get some food cooked for me too. Route 12 is an incredible ride. So much imagination running wild....



In and near Escalante, mostly all of the campgrounds were full. I stopped at Escalante Outfitters to find out about their campsites. They have a store, cafe, campground, and they also make pizza..... SOLD...... Grabbed one of the last campsites and was quickly over run by chicks....





An early night for me this night.... Tomorrow I'll be headed to Capitol Reef and Muley Point.

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Old 10-08-2012, 07:58 PM   #44
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Bear shit

That is the first pic of bear shit I've seen on ADV and there is some strange stuff on here. I see you were keeping warm with some single malt. My name is in honor of the great Ardbeg. The pics yet again are astounding.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:19 PM   #45
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Great Photos

Great Photos!!




Thanks,
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