F*** the roses, I'll smell 'em when I get to Montana

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by rodr, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    For a while I've been wanting to do a couple of things on my motorcycle:

    1. Visit Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.
    2. Get an Iron Butt certificate.

    So back in April I asked myself, if I plot a fast route from my home in Fairfield, California to Glacier National Park, where does that put me after 1000 miles?

    Polson, Montana is where.

    Now how awesome is it to be one day into your vacation, with fresh documentation for IBA, an hour and a half from Glacier National Park, and have a week left to explore? :deal

    This is starting to look like a plan. I put together a tentative route.

    Distance Riding

    A lot of people pooh-pooh distance riding. It's a lot of slabbing. It's painful, gruelling, tiring and dangerous. You miss the best roads. You don't stop to smell the roses. Those are all good points, but distance riding has one good thing going for it: you will get to where you're going in a hurry. And that works for me due to my limited vacation time and where I want to spend it.

    Planning

    Now the main road (Going-to-the-Sun) through Glacier was buried in snow and wouldn't open until June 21st at the earliest.

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    So I tentatively scheduled for late June or early July.

    And then life got in the way. Work for my clients got very busy and I couldn't just up and leave. So I rescheduled departure for September 1st, figuring the parks would start getting less crowded after Labor Day.
    #1
  2. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Got up at 2am today so hopefully will be able to sleep starting this afternoon and depart around midnight.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XyOD-ctLXv0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    :clap :ricky
    #2
  3. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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    :lurk
    #3
  4. LittlePosum

    LittlePosum Scrappy Marsupial

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    Hi Rod, Glacier was going to be one of my larger moto trips this season and much like your situation with only a limited time frame I just want to GET there and then spend my time really exploring the park. I took on another job at the end of May and unfortunately had to push my plans out to next summer. :cry
    Excited follow along with your report I'll be taking notes of the highlights once you're up there :deal
    #4
  5. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Welcome UpST8 and LittlePosum!

    Wee is all loaded up; took her for a short errand and test run. She wonders what we're waiting for. :lol3

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    #5
  6. blacktruck

    blacktruck Wanderer

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    This seems like the way I would do a ride like that. Seems a bit crazy but definitely doable and a lot of fun anyway. Haven't been up that way in years. I'm in.
    Ride safe and have a great time. :clap
    #6
  7. Tex76

    Tex76 Motersykle Advntyers

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    I'll be hitting Yellowstone and glacier in about a month, looking forward to your report!
    #7
  8. keithg

    keithg Been here awhile

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    Subscribed!
    #8
  9. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Sorry for the delay in updating! Just made it to Great Falls and finally have wi-fi and some time to kill. And yes, the Saddlesore was successful. :D

    More to come....
    #9
  10. charliefrench2oo8

    charliefrench2oo8 Adventurer

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    :clap
    I've been tempted to do the saddlesore on my V-Strom 650, Once I get better touring tires, Dualsport tires won't like me driving 1k miles in a day. :)

    I have the same issue as you, limited time.
    #10
  11. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Day 1 includes an hour of the day before, as I left Fairfield at 11pm Saturday. I had gotten about 5 hours of sleep and was just tossing and turning, anticipating the things to come. The hell with it, better to leave now and take a "power nap" on the road than to lie in bed any more.

    Here's the route for today: http://goo.gl/maps/Uheh8

    Gassed up in Fairfield to get my first receipt and start the clock. Then up I-505 and I-5 I go.

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    It's a mild evening, and a serene ride to the next gas stop in Redding after 171 miles.

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    Around Shasta Lake there were some nice sweepers. Riding them in the dark was surreal.

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    But then, as altitude increased my ride went into the deep freeze. 2000, 3000, 4000 feet. Brrr!

    After the gas stop in Klamath Falls, dawn was approaching.

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    Not only have I NEVER been this cold on a motorcycle, I was getting sleepy. :eek1

    And, morning mist was becoming a problem on the visor (and camera lens as you see here).

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    I took a couple or rest stops, and each of those helped but not for very long.

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    So then I tried a cat nap. Pulled off here, hopped the guard rail, set my phone timer for 30 minutes and zonked out behind the big tree:

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    That was good for about an hour. But I can't take 15 naps and still finish this ride on time. It was time to pull out the big guns. Drugs. That's right, Diet Coke! An excellent source of caffeine.

    That did the trick. I bought a half liter of the stuff and chugged it whenever I needed a jolt. Problem solved.

    On into Washington State, passing the Columbia River in Kennewick:

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    Idaho was Beautiful. But I knew Montana was going to be something special when I saw the first speed limit sign.

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    Wheee!

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    But the last part of the ride, starting in St. Regis, was the best of all.

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    Now who ever said iron butt rides are boring? :lol3

    Final gas stop in Polson to collect my ride end receipt. 1,035 miles. :clap

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    #11
  12. Godfather

    Godfather Adventurer

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    Great start to a great vacation. Enjoy yourself!
    #12
  13. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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    yeeeehaaw!!! :p3rry Great start!!! Keep er going :D
    #13
  14. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Some riding friends whom I encountered in Polson recommended that I take a little detour on my way to Glacier. This route would take me along Lake Koocanusa, which is a reservoir formed by the damming of the Kootenay River in 1975. "Koocanusa" is an amalgam of "Kootenay", "Canada" and "USA" as the lake in partly in British Columbia and partly in Montana.

    The route for today is this: http://goo.gl/maps/bOqSJ

    Some pics from the ride to and along the lake:

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    And then, passing through the town of Whitefish on the way to Glacier was a small adventure ride in itself:

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    Effect on bike and boots was substantial. :lol3

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    Entering the park, I elected not to wait my turn for a photo-op here.

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    If you are 62 or older, be sure to get the lifetime National Parks Pass. Mine got me past the park ranger babe with a map to boot. :D

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    Guess I better watch my speed in the park. :eek1

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    And so I first set rubber to the Going-to-the-Sun road.

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    Raindrops start hitting my face shield as I approach the entrance to my chosen campground.

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    With half off for senior pass holders, my stay in Glacier came to a grand total of $10. :deal

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    Fearing the downpour that never came, I set up camp in a hurry.

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    Dinner: Sardine tortilla wraps and Pinot Grigio. Camp dining at its finest. :wink:

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    Sunset over Lake McDonald is the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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    #14
  15. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Great write up and pictures.....looking forward to more. My wife and I just got back from Glacier a couple weeks ago and we also spent some time in Waterton Nat. Park.
    #15
  16. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    In the wee hours of the morning I heard the patter of rain on the tent. Since it was not cold this didn't concern me... I've been wet before. :D

    But by dawn the rain had stopped and I packed up and continued up the Going-to-the-Sun road. This posting will be a dump of selected snapshots from the helmet camera in Glacier.

    Here's my route for today: http://goo.gl/maps/IqqbN

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    #16
  17. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Here are some other pics I took when I actually got off the bike. :D

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    Then onward to Great Falls. I found a nice local restaurant in Browning for lunch. And then further on down highway 89, I ran into a spot of construction and my second unplanned dirt ride.

    Flag dude waved me to the front of the line and asked me questions about the helmet camera.

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    Then it was follow-the-leader.

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    One more repeat of that, and then it was smooth sailing to my hotel in Great Falls and a fantastic dinner featuring Montana beef.
    #17
  18. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Taking a break from natural wonders of the world, Day 4 is just schlepping from Great Falls to Red Lodge. Red Lodge will be my resting spot before entering Yellowstone the next day.

    Here's the route for today: http://goo.gl/maps/FQI4W

    The fun part of this is the section of 89 known as the Paul J. Erickson Memorial Highway, which runs through the Lewis & Clark National Forest. Much of it follows a stream called Belt Creek.

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    Here's where I stopped at a scenic overlook.

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    This couple with their camper and a dude on an older Harley showed up right after me.

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    Harley Dude and I took each other's pictures.

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    Scuuusse me... don't want yellow tires... thank you. :lol3

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    I stopped at a boat launch area to get a pic of the Yellowstone River.

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    The rest of 89 was pretty ordinary, but the clouds were very nice! Here I am playing peek-a-boo with the sun, and riding in and out of the cloud shadows.

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    A country boy at heart, I really enjoy all the lush farm land.

    Next: Yellowstone.
    #18
  19. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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    Good stuff!! Looking forward to some buffaloes :thumb
    #19
  20. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    This is the route for today: http://goo.gl/maps/0Mdnv

    Before getting to Yellowstone, we have the Beartooth Highway to ride. :D This posting is a collection of snapshots from that portion of the route.

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    Met a rider with a GS at one off the pull-offs.

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    This is more or less at the top.

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    Towards the West end of Beartooth there's another impromptu dirt ride.
    #20