PA-Grand Teton-Yellowstone-Glacier...

Discussion in 'Americas' started by rockinrog, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    I have a basic plan other than that open to suggestions.
    Basic plan is leave from PA and make my way to Grand Teton NP then Yellowstone then Glacier and then turn towards home and catch Mount Rushmore and the Badlands on the way home. Perhaps the biggest question .. can I do this in a 2 week vacation window...then the next is weather..I am thinking maybe 1st 2 weeks in September.

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    #1
  2. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

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    I would think your plan is doable, but I80 is going to suck big time. I know, I've done it a couple of times. Look for alternatives to break the monotony and traffic congestion, especially nearing Chicago. I have bad memories from my time spent riding through there.

    IMHO, you should at least have a couple of r&r days in there, for sightseeing and rest. Yellowstone requires more than a day, as does Glacier. And don't forget about the Canadian side of Glacier. Must do. (bring passport)

    Black Hills and Badlands (extremely hot during day, best visited early or late) is another area requiring more than a day.

    Best check on road construction along your planned route ahead of time. Don't ask me how I know.

    Traffic in the parks can be frustratingly slow (and dangerous), with all the gawkers stopping in the road to ogle wildlife, and then there's the construction issues within the parks themselves.

    At some point or another, weather will cause you some delays. Count on it.
    Anything from afternoon thunderstorms to snow at higher elevations, with cold mornings and mid-day heat, and everything in between can be had where you're headed.

    If you've never been to these places, you're in for a treat. Plan on taking lots of pics, which also eats up your time, but then that's why you're there. Enjoy, as you may never get another chance.

    Keep an eye on your gas, as there are a few places where it's not as readily available as back east. I'll also assume you're starting with new tires which are up to the rigors of extended time droning along the interstate.

    Hope you have a great time.
    #2
  3. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    That's exactly what I was thinking/looking for..any recommendations for roads that go in the right direction but arent interstate?
    #3
  4. * SHAG *

    * SHAG * Unstable

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    I'm leaving for Yellowstone, Glacier on Sunday. Going to ride the Badger ferry again http://www.ssbadger.com/home.aspx, go to stitch then Red Lodge on the way to YS. After Glacier, Lo-Lo pass to Ontario and end up at the national in Redmond. will be gone 24 days.
    #4
  5. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    Thanks, I like the idea of the ferry to bi-pass Chicago. ... Help me out a little with the other places you mentioned.... Stitch? Red Lodge?
    #5
  6. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

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    I forgot to mention Beartooth hwy (212), between G.C. and Red Lodge,Mt. Worth a day of your life. Moto-friendly motels in Red Lodge, and good food/beer. Camping also available nearby.

    Chief Joseph hwy (296), which intersects 212, is also worth your time.
    #6
  7. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    I'm guessing here, Stitch may be Aerostich in Duluth MN. Red Lodge is in Montana, near the Beartooth Highway, which comes out of the northeast corner of Yellowstone. It's a must do!
    Your trip is do-able in 2 weeks. IF you average ~ 550 miles/day. I've done pretty much the same trip from State College to Glacier, Idaho, Lolo Pass, Yellowstone, Beartooth, and Mt. Rushmore when I went to BMW Int'l Rally in Missoula MT in '98. Also, instead of I-80, I went up thru Michigan to the UP and then west, same thing coming back, just to avoid Chicago and the flat boredom of corn and soybeans from Ohio to Nebraska. If you haven't been west, the Plains of North and South Dakota and eastern Montana are very humbling. Also did the trip last year with my wife riding her bike. Took 3 weeks, ~6500 miles. More relaxed, more picture taking, later starts. Did it same time frame as you're looking at, VERY HOT!!!! Only rain was coming back into PA, last 160 miles or so coming home.
    Have back-up plans for road construction in the parks. Get parked before dark in Yellowstone, not like us traveling at dark with ALL kinds of animals at the edge of, and ON the road! NOT recommended!!!
    Can give you lots more info if you want, tell me what you need.
    Going alone, with other bikes or what?
    It will be MEMORABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    #7
  8. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    Thanks scootac... I am interested in your UP detour... did you take the ferry mentioned above or another route? This is one of those trips I have thought about but finally did the rough mapping and decided to gather info to see what others like yourself had to say about the time frame routes etc. As of now the plan is to go solo doing a mix of camping and hotels. I like the space/weight waving leaving the camping equipment at home makes but I also like camping and it saves quite a bit of $$$.

    I run TKC 80s on my f800gs but I am not sure its worth sacrificing them to a trip like this... Also interested in tire recommendations ... Most of the trip will be pavement, but I have read of some great scenic routes in montana that are gravel http://www.scenicdrivesusa.com/montana?page=1 and I would like to do some of that as well.
    #8
  9. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    Went clear up thru MI and across the Mackinac Bridge into the UP of MI, no ferries.
    Once you get to the UP, it will feel like your finally on a journey,,,,, different scenery, different climate, different pace. Take Rt. 2 or 41 I believe west into Wisconsin and MN. 41 and 28 will get you to Duluth, (and Aerostich) and if you're that close, go across the bridge to Superior WI, stop here


    [​IMG]


    and order up one of these bad boys!!!!
    [​IMG]

    It will make a burger from Denny's Beer Barrel taste like cardboard!!!!
    #9
  10. jesselyb

    jesselyb Adventurer

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    Sounds like a great trip! Apart from the occasional thunderstorm, this route should be just fine as far as weather is concerned for early September. I'd second everyone's advice about staying the hell away from I80... it's a complete bor-fest :bore, with the exception of getting pissed at truckers who take 10 miles to pass one another... :ddog (and I'm originally from Nebraska...)

    The UP idea sounds like an amazing one, stay north to avoid a bit of heat, the lakes have great scenery and more fun roads. You'll still have to cross the great plains at some point, so I'd suggest US2 through ND and MT. Again boring, but way less traffic and less trucks. Then I'd say do your Glacier, Yellowstone jaunt and hit up the Black Hills and stuff on the way back. :clap

    My $.02
    #10
  11. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    US 2 thru ND and MT can be flat and straight and boring, but the WAY it is flat and straight and boring, makes it NOT. Sooo different than here in the east, so little traffic and people. Huge fields of sunflowers in bloom that time of year,
    [​IMG]

    huge combines in the field.
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    Real cowboys, not just guys with a pick-up and a hat. You have to use the 2 laners to experience America!

    Do I have you convinced yet?:evil

    If you HAVE to, use I-80 to come home.
    #11
  12. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

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    With your time constraints, you're pretty much stuck with the interstates.

    Chicago is a piece of cake. You just have to understand the interstate system and DO NOT follow a GPS.

    I-80 through Lake Station/Porter Indiana has construction at the 80/94/65 interchange. On 80/94 that's the only pinch point nowadays.

    Indiana is a cake walk if you stay in the left lane and maintain flow of traffic. Trucks illegal in left lane.

    Illinois, trucks are outlawed in left two lanes, but only the far left is enforced.

    Unless you actually WANT to see downtown Chicago, stay OFF of I-90/94. If you DO want to see it, take the Skyway, which is I-90 from Indiana. Then follow Lake Shore Drive instead once on the Illinois side. No trucks due to low overpasses.

    To bypass Chicago entirely, peg I-80 west to I-39 north back to I-90 at Rockford. Highway 47 also works to head back north, but during rush hour, there's a lot of Chicago commuters that far out.

    I-355 is completed to I-80, but under heavy construction between I-88 and 290.

    Highway 30 is a stop light heavy alternative to all of this.

    State Routes 10 and 17 from Demotte Indiana to Kankakee Illinois are a simple alternative if you want to stay rural, but the mileage increase can equal the traffic delay anyway.

    If you don't know about August at Sturgis and the Black Hills, you've been living under a rock (or singing in a church choir) or riding for less than 2 weeks. Good luck finding a place to park.

    Route 2 is an awesome road if you like rural America.

    Highway 30 west of Joliet Il, to Nebraska is another great ride with a little faster pace.

    Highway 20 (or 120) through Nebraska, follow the Niobrara River as close as possible is a step back in history and an awesome experience.

    Be prepared to ride in wind anywhere along the great plains. I mean, WIND!!!
    #12
  13. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    I wasn't able to make this trip last year, but it is on for this year!!!
    If anyone has any additional info/thoughts please post.

    One thing I am wondering is, if I stay north after Michigan should I do the parks north to south? My original plan was to go south to north.
    #13
  14. oneiros

    oneiros n00b

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    I'm leaving for Glacier next Friday from Raleigh, NC. My buddy and I will trailer the bikes (V-Strom 650 and f650) to Yellowstone and start the bike portion there. I too am looking for fantastic routes, and a solid, rigorous 3 day hike in Glacier itself. Trying to absorb as much as possible prior to (in a very limited amount of time) the trip. This thread has been fantastic. Any suggestions coming south from Denver through Yellowstone then to Glacier?

    Thanks
    #14
  15. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    I was looking into the ferry to cross lake Michigan, but man $172 bucks for a 2.5 hour ride. No doubt a time saver if you have the extra $$$.
    If you go after Sept 6 motorcycles are free, just an fyi for those planning.
    #15
  16. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    You guys will be ahead of me trailering... but if you see a guy that looks lost on a sunset yellow f800gs it will probably be me.
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  17. manx_20

    manx_20 Been here awhile

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    did you get a change to do this? a friend of mine and I are planning a similar trip that would include yellowstone/glacier/Teton .. hopefully the last 2 weeks in june. i think we'll try to slab it on I80 till we get to the nice parts then fart around till we decide how we're getting home.
    #17
  18. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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  19. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    You need to keep a check on the weather, especially in Glacier. I was there in August. The Going to the Sun road opened the last week of July because of snow. Mount Rushmore was hot, Yellowstone and Cody,Wy. were perfect. Make sure to do Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph highway.

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    #19
  20. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    2011 was an EXCEPTIONAL snow year, with the runoff (rivers) running high and roads opening about a full month later than normal.
    #20