Chicago to Glacier on a Harley

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by hoser54, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    I have enjoyed reading ride reports for years so I thought that I would try doing one. I am going to load it with pictures because I am not very good when it comes to writing. I have taken 3 long distance motorcycle trips the last few years and everyone that I went with wanted to go home early. Although the second trip was on adventure bikes and the only reason we went home early was because the other rider busted the oil drain plug off of the bottom of his bike on a rock. After the third one I started to think that it was me so I figured that I would just go it alone from then on. Then this past year I started to talk to my cousins father in law, Jim at a family gathering and we seemed to have the same feelings when it came to riding so we decided to do a trip out west. Now I have planned trips before and it always sounds great until the time comes to go, then everyone has an excuse and they will pull the plug. Not this time, Jim was as excited about going as I was. We decided to go out west to see Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Chief Joseph Highway and Beartooth Pass. We had 17 days to complete before we had to get back to work so on September 6 at 0630 our adventure began.

    Here is Jim on his 2009 Ultra
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    And this is me, Mike on my 2004 Road King Classic
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    Jim lives abut 30 miles from me so we decided to meet in Galena Il. to start our trip. I started taking these extended motorcycle trips when my daughter was 6 and she had this little penguin that made her feel safe since she was little. So she gave me her penguin,waddles, to keep me safe while I was away and he hasn't missed a trip yet.
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    The thing that stinks about living in the Chicago area is that you have to travel a long ways to get into any scenic riding so the first day this is what we saw
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    Riding through Iowa on Rt 20
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    We finally made it to O'Neill Ne. at about 6:00pm and checked in to our least expensive motel of the trip. Note the extra chair against the door lock!!
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    It even came with its own fly swatter!! But really not a bad place
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    The one thing that we would try to do for the trip was to find a motel near a bar/restaurant so that we could walk back to the motel after dinner/drinks. Jim's idea and it was a good one!!
    Day one stats:
    Home -O'Neill Ne.
    582 miles
    Day 2
    Today we were finally going to get into some scenery. Our plan was to go throughout the Badlands and stop in Deadwood.
    On our way out we talked to some locals and they told us to go to Valentine Ne. and then take Rt. 83 north into the indian reservation and head west on 44 into the Badlands.

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    Somewhere in Nebraska
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    Getting into South Dakota
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    Riding through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
    The one thing that I noticed about the houses on the Reservation was that they all seemed to come with big parking lots in the front yards with a lot of cars in them.
    I came up with the theory that the people that live there must just buy the same model car and when it breaks down they use pieces off another one in their front yard. I didn't get any pictures of some of the bigger yards though.
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    After a morning of riding we finally made it into the Badlands Park
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    and since it was getting warmer Jim decided to dress down for the ride through the park
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    After the Badlands we decided to check out Sturgis and the Full Throttle Saloon
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    Nicest ass I had seen in days!!! Jim too
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    As a Firefighter I had to take this shot, wonder if they have any job openings?
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    Where's Angie?
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    The place is not as big as it looks on TV but still pretty cool looking.
    After that we made our way to Deadwood Which is a very cool town and called it a day. We couldn't get a hotel Downtown because Don Williams (country music star) was having a concert that night so we had to go out of town a little ways to the Best Western. However, sticking to our no riding after getting our room plan Deadwood has a Trolley that goes into town every 20 minutes from our motel. Perfect so we went into town had dinner and a few frosty beverages.

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    We went to Saloon no. 10 where Wild Bill was shot. We met up with a local and she told us that this is not the original site of Saloon No. 10. It seems that the town has burned to the ground a number of times since then and no one is sure where it was exactly.
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    Day 2 stats

    more to come.....
    #1
  2. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,464
    Great start! Looking forward to the next phase!
    #2
  3. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    Correction Day 3
    This morning we were up at 0700 and decided to ride around the area of Deadwood, Mt. Rushmore, Needles etc. Last night a thunderstorm rolled in late and there was still fog hanging around the area so we hung out until around 0900 waiting for the fog to burn off, it didn't. So we started out anyway. We headed south on 385 south towards Hill City.
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    Pactola Reservoir
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    While we were at breakfast another local came up and started talking to us. Now I love when this happens because this is how you find the coolest rides in the area or getting to your next destination. When they ask where we are headed I always answer "not sure where do you suggest?" This tactic has not let me down yet. So this guy suggests a road near Hill City, Old Hill City Road. It runs along an old steam engine train line and you cross the tracks about a dozen times. He was right very cool road low speed though but scenic. Unfortunately the train was in the station between runs. Sorry no pics.
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    Getting closer to Mt. Rushmore
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    After Mt. Rushmore we rode Needles Highway and then took the Wild Life Loop
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    I was hoping to see some Buffalo but only saw some wild donkeys.
    I was a little disappointed with the Wild Life Loop Road. I didn't see too much of anything. Other people that I have talked to have said it is great. I must have just caught it on a slow day.
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    More pictures along Needles Highway
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    On the way back we dodged some major rain. Boy did we get lucky as the sky ahead of us looked like it was about to open up. We pulled over to put on rain gear and it ended up that we didn't need it.
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    Once back in town we had a great steak dinner at this place. Very reasonable
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    Stats for the day
    Not many pictures today as I was trying out my goPro camera. I'm still working on that video to put on youtube. I will post here when it goes online.
    #3
  4. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    #4
  5. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    Today was a travel day. We were originally going to stop in Harlowton Mt. but decided to go to White Sulphur Springs. We left Deadwood around 0700 and rode through Spearfish Canyon on our way to Belle Fourche. Spearfish Canyon was a spectacular ride, highly recommended. Since it was a travel day I put the camera in my saddle bag. Big mistake.
    But I did take some video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNcr6GK3m7w
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    Finally into Wyoming
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    You can't see it but I have an ear to ear grin
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    This is the first of many of these that we saw, more on that later....
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    riding along highway 212
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    Gas stop at the entrance to the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Chief Plenty Coups
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    After we left the 212 we jumped on I-90 to make up some time for about 170 miles. We then headed north to White Sulphur Springs Mt. There were only a couple motels here and road crews had taken most of the rooms, something we didn't think about. We got lucky and found a nice motel with 2 rooms on the edge of town. Unfortunately we had to ride into town for dinner and adult beverages.
    Stats: 500 miles for the day.
    Tomorrow Glacier National Park and a new meaning to the quote "you can't get there from here"
    #5
  6. Geobeemer

    Geobeemer Extra Pieces?

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    :lurk Great report! Keep it coming
    #6
  7. VTWIN-The Real VTWIN

    VTWIN-The Real VTWIN ZEPHYR

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Maryland
    I'm all :ear
    #7
  8. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    cool road trip! and i counter with:

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    #8
  9. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    This morning we were in White Sulphur Springs, up at 0630 had breakfast and we were on the road again. One thing that we figured out is to make sure that the motel you stay in has some kind of breakfast, this saves you stopping and some money. It was cold this morning so I put on my Gerbings jacket liner and gloves. This stuff really works great, highly recommended. This was one of my best purchases for the trip. I was originally going to have Harley install heated grips but they wanted over $500.00 installed!! I checked out the Gerbing stuff and the cost for the controller, jacket and gloves were around $375.00. Much better investment I thought. While we were eating breakfast a local truck driver warned us that he saw a lot of wildlife on the road to Great Falls.
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    We didn't see any wildlife, just a lot of the beautiful state of Montana
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    Nothing around this guy for miles
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    Getting closer!!!!
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    Changed the settings on my camera for more vivid colors
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    A perfect day for riding
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    A view from the cockpit
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    and then about 75 miles from Glacier we ran into more road construction. Now being from Chicago I am used to road construction and the roads out here are in great shape, but, I don't think that I could get used to one lane of traffic and waiting for a pilot car all of the time. Now at this particular stop it was down to very loose gravel. On my dual-sport bike this is the stuff I look for, but not on a 700lb Road King. Then to make matters worse a water truck came through and wet down the entire road in front of us making the roadway more slippery than black ice. As we pulled up the guy in the pilot car suggested that we
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    1, turn back and take another way but there really wasn't one(you can't get there from here) plus there was construction behind us and the water truck was headed there. That wouldn't work. 2) just go for it and be careful, oh by the way the last group of 3 bikers all dropped there's going through. 3) wait for the road to dry and go through then.
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    Well this was a nice spot for a rest and it was a beautiful day so I guess it's break time.
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    I suppose there are worse places to be stuck in.
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    So after about 30 min we decided to give it a go, no problems so on to Glacier
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    I really love riding in this part of the country. Absolutely gorgeous scenery
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    First of many close encounters with free range cattle.
    Coming up, Glacier National Park and the Road to the Sun
    #9
  10. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Northern Illinois
    I love it!!
    #10
  11. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    195
    Location:
    N California
    Subscribed.

    going to GNP in July this year from North. Calif.

    great tip about the road being slick like black ice due to the watering and dirt mix. :clap
    #11
  12. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Elgin, IL
    Enjoying the trip report, waiting for more.
    #12
  13. Gnslngr

    Gnslngr Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
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    Great report so far! Keep it coming!
    #13
  14. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    Location:
    Eastern Montana
    Glad you enjoyed your trip to my home state.

    David
    #14
  15. RuckedUp

    RuckedUp Long timer

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    Hunstsville, AL
    Thanks for the good read. I cant wait for the warm weather to come back Sooon!
    #15
  16. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    Sorry for the delay but other stuff came up that needed to be attended to. So at around 1430 we arrive at Glacier National Park.
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    I have always wanted to see this place and I finally made it. Let me just say this, it didn't disappoint. We entered at St. Mary and followed the Going to the Sun Rd.
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    Just entering the Park
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    More road construction. These guys were down from Canada (Vancouver I think)
    Nice bunch of guys we got to talk for a little while at construction stops
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    St Mary Lake
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    These pictures don't do the awesome beauty of this place justice. Riding through here is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it!!

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    Another picture from the cockpit.

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    Lake McDonald

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    Happy Rider!!!
    #16
  17. out rider

    out rider You Go First

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    967
    Location:
    IN PROTECTIVE CUSTODY
    You should have gotten a room at the motel with the spring in White Sulphur Springs, MT. After being in the saddle all day those pools are well worth it. That and the chicken at the Mint Bar just up the block is to die for. Just don't go durning the Labor day weekend as the rodeo is in town as it is packed!

    I've been over Glacier about a dozen times and you are so right, none of the pictures taken by anyone do justice. Every time I've seen it it's like seeing it for the first time.

    There, now you have a reason to go back. Not that you need one.

    Nice ride report by the way and great pictures.
    #17
  18. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

    Joined:
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    Off route, recalculating
    Fantastic! More please. :clap
    #18
  19. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    We tried all of the hotels in town and they were booked up from road crews. We ended up just on the outskirts called the All Seasons Inn. Nice place and very friendly service. It did have a Hot Tub and you are right that does help with relaxing, especially with a couple of frosty adult beverages::evil
    We are planning another trip this year so you never know, we may go back.
    #19
  20. hoser54

    hoser54 just havin' fun

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    Kalispell - Bozeman
    So we finished up our ride through Glacier and rode out to Kalispell. Once again our first 5 hotels that we tried were sold out so we ended up at a Motel 6. Very accommodating to bikers and the rooms were clean. While we were unpacking our bikes another group of bikers rode in. As I was walking down from my room to say hello to them one of the guys dropped his Ultra on its side. By the time I got there they had the bike on its stand. I asked if he was ok and he didn't seem too talkative at that point. I understood so I left him alone. Up early and on to Bozeman:
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    Riding through Seely Lake on September 11, we passed the Fire Department Paying tribute on to the fallen firefighters from 9/11. I don't know how long they stood there for but it was at least for the 25 minutes that i was there.
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    One of these days I'll learn to shoot with the sun at my back!!
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    Absolutely perfect day, not a cloud in the sky and perfect temperatures
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    We stopped for gas in Avon (i think) and we came across these Dual Sport Bikes.
    I have a KLR 650 that I rode out to Colorado last year (A soon to be coming Ride Report) so I started talking to the owners of these bikes. They were from Canada and were on holiday also. They said that they got caught in some heavy winds and they did not enjoy that part of the ride. I knew the feeling as last year I rode my KLR across Kansas at a 45 degree angle.
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    In fact it was so miserable that I bought my Harley in Colorado and shipped the KLR home!
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    Have I mentioned how beautiful Montana is?
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    We made it into Bozeman stayed at a Comfort Inn, bought a 12 pack for the hot tub at the local WalMart, did some laundry and ate some Bar-B-Que.
    It doesn't get much better than that. The perfect end to a perfect day of riding.
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    Stats for the day. Tomorrow on to Yellowstone and still no Buffalo sightings!!
    #20