Thoughts? US 2 > Kalispell, MT to Duluth, MN

Discussion in 'Americas' started by TwoShots, May 7, 2012.

  1. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    I start a loop late August ... UT > MT > MN > NH and returning to UT a month or so later. No hurry and no way will I do Interstate. The only scheduled stops are Kalispell and Duluth so I'll be doing US route 2 between them.

    Pardon the grainy excerpt, but you get the idea...

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    I haven't ridden that stretch before. Anyone have insights on must-sees, weather, ghost stories or other stray thoughts regarding route 2?

    Thanks.
    #1
  2. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

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    wow.. great trip planned.

    Plan on a night or two minimum in Minnesota. You must be going to see Aerostich?

    Been there.

    It is really warranted to take a day or two and go north from Duluth to Grand Marais, and run the Gunflint Trail to the end (Canadian Border). The Gunflint is paved and just a nice ride. Great campground at the very end.

    There are some ADV dual sport guys (arrrowhead rider?) up that way that will no doubt jump in here and offer to show you around. I'm about 2.75 hours south of Duluth.

    Ps: If you are camping and or staying in motels, plan ahead a bit, the Duluth and Grand Marais area can be totally booked on the weekends. Best to land here on weekdays, arrangements are CHEAPER. You can have some of the roads and eating places almost to yourself on weekdays as well.

    Couple pics from a run that direction last fall:

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    #2
  3. KHuddy

    KHuddy Big Sky Country

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    Plan to ride in wind, maybe very high winds that last for days.

    Lodging in ND can be tough to find due to all the oil workers in the area.

    No trip to MN is complete without a visit to the SPAM Museum in Austin.

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    #4
  5. wilson

    wilson Been here awhile

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    Crank up the volume, and don't forget the hourly mantra for that long stretch of beautifully stark road. 2 is what we do... :freaky Have a great ride.
    #5
  6. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    Thanks. Wouldn't have guessed it'd be so busy. I'll plan accordingly.

    Aerostich isn't on the agenda, but I'll have a look at Grand Marais. I have a friend in Duluth to say "hey" to on the way through and I've always wanted to explore the town some.

    More good stuff, thanks. I'd planned to grab rooms on the fly, but likely I'll bring a sleep roll to catch a roadside snooze here and there if things are booked up. On wind... Looks like prevailing winds would be on my butt if I ride early. Nonetheless I'll have plenty of time if I have to slow to a crawl to stay upright.

    Marked!

    I haven't been on a bridge or in an engine room for over 5 years! Should make for nice flashbacks to my Coast Guard Inspector days. Thanks.

    :thumb
    #6
  7. tjt94

    tjt94 Been here awhile

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    I grew up just south of 2 in Montana and think you might want to consider the following:

    Instead of 2 through the south of Glacier Park, do the Going to the Sun Highway and then pick up 2 again at the east side of the park. You might also want to seriously consider bumping up to Waterton Park on the Canadian side. It is an extension of Glacier and has fantastic scenery. Hopefully you wont have terrible wind that time of the year. There are times of the year where 50 to 80 mph winds, not gusts, are very real. You will want to keep your eyes open for thunder storms in the evening with hail. Again, strong winds and baseball sized hail are not uncommon in eastern Montana and ND.

    Have fun.
    #7
  8. wildknits

    wildknits Adventurer

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    As a Duluthian I have a few things to offer:

    Drove my daughter out to Montana one August (freshman year of college) and battled the wind the whole way - from the south/southwest. Tough in a car, can't imagine it on a motorcycle - be prepared.

    US Hwy 2 in western Minnesota is pretty boring, flat and straight - but per my husband you can ride fast! (brought son-in-law's bike out to Grand Forks, ND when we helped them move west). As you head east you will get into the trees, and bogs/wetlands. Towns are pretty scattered at times as well.

    As pointed out earlier, finding lodging in the Duluth area in August can be tricky and expensive. Major tourist destination and all. There is a retired Coast Guard cutter anchored in the harbor, and an active cutter (Alder) also stationed at the base on Park Point, in addition to the Irvin. Make time to take a swim in Lake Superior - it is at it's warmest in August/September (maybe even 60 degrees!)

    The northshore of Lake Superior is well worth a visit if you have time (can you incorporate the Canadian shoreline into your trip east?). MN Hwy 1 inland from MN Hwy 61 to Ely is a fun, twisty ride; if you turn off on MN Hwy 2 out of Two Harbors you miss much of the tourist (= crazy/dangerous drivers) on 61 and will pass by some old growth white pine that nearly touch the road. This is also a good spot to see moose, as is the Gunflint Trail.

    Enjoy your trip!
    #8
  9. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    No doubt constant high winds would be a show stopper. Or at least it would slow things down considerably. Historical weather stats and trends would indicate the best (low wind) riding time to be the wee hours of the mornings. That will be interesting!

    Clouds and hail are a regular August event here in southern UT. Not baseball size, more like golf balls, but enough to hurt both a person and a motorcycle. I'd imagine finding cover would be a challenge.

    Thanks again for the insights. Especially how to avoid the tourist traffic.
    The Gun Flint looks appealing.
    #9