Timmer's 2016 Best of Montana Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Timmer, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
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    2,956
    Location:
    Burien, WA
    BACKGROUND

    I've been doing these Montana rides since the original Montana 1000 rides that occurred in 2009-10. When the original planners didn't want to plan another ride, I stepped up and planned the first of the rides that have been named 'Best of the Montana 1000' or BOM1000. My first routes were extracts from the first two rides and mixed up to provide a new riding experience. I first met Ron Haraseth (Wansfel) in 2010 when I was the first to come upon him after he had a pretty significant get off up above Canyon Ferry Lake. Over the course of two hours we got his bike in "rideable" condition so he could make it off the mountain. He then acquired the necessary parts to fix the bike and rejoined the ride a few days later. This began a friendship that continues to this day. Ron gradually became the chief route planner with me providing a little cheer leading and suggestion support.

    As we were completed the 2015 BOM, I suggested to him that we consider going east and keep the ride inside Montana (a novel thought since this was supposed to be the Best of the "Montana" 1000 ride and the last few events included some riding in Idaho). Over the winter of 2015-16 Ron dreamed and planned and drew upon his planning resources including prior BOM's, input from Big Dog, some 4x4 routes, other Montana riders, and the ever present Benchmark Atlas. In June, 2016, he pre-rode much of the route and pronounced it worthy of a BOM1000 with a start from and end in Stevensville, MT on Saturday, July 16 and last for 9 days (the longest BOM1000 to date) and cover around 1,500 miles (oops, do we need to rename the route?).

    For me, this year would be the third year I've done the ride on my WR250r. I did change out the fuel pump because of periodic stalling. Otherwise, all I did was spoon on a new rear tire, and pack up. Here's my setup.



    What would change is that I desired to truck or trailer the bike over to Stevensville from my home near Seattle. I was tired of burning off my knobbies on a boring pavement ride. While I hadn't found a trailer yet, a new rider from Lake Stevens, Larry, offered me space in his pickup truck; and I gladly accepted.

    We left my place around 2:45pm on Thursday with a desire to make a big dent in the drive over. In Washtucna, WA, we took a little break. Here's part of the little display they have in the town.



    We camped overnight in Diamond at my Brother in Law's place and got an early start out before 6am on Friday, July 15. The only two trees to hang my hammock from were apple trees and I heard the "thud, thud, thud" all night long. A few even bounced off the rain fly.



    We enjoyed a nice breakfast at the KOA restaurant in Kamiah, ID before enjoying the 99 miles of scenic twisties over LOLO Pass.



    Here's the sign that signifies the end of the 50 mph speed limit and welcome to Montana at the top of Lolo Pass.



    When we arrived at Ron's around 1:30pm there were about 5 or six of us that all arrived around the same time, so we set up camp in the field next to his house and enjoyed renewing friendships and sharing some drinks and food.

    I had the opportunity to transfer the tracks to Scott's Montana GPS.



    Red came fully prepared with a pop up awning which was good to get out of the sun under.


    Here's Red, Big-T, and Dryfuse (Larry).

    Todd, Scott, and Clayton were just arriving and Big Dog's and Road Dad's Transit vans are in the background. Later that whole area in the background would be full as riders continued to arrive until around midnight. We ended up that night at Ron's with 20 plus riders from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Wyoming, Nevada, Canada, Washington, Idaho, & Montana. Other riders stayed in nearby locations and would meet up with us at the starting point in Florence the next morning.



    Ron barbequed some brats and his puppies were clearly ready for handouts.






    The night came and riders began making their way to their sleeping arrangements in anticipation of the 2016 BOM.

    Were we all ready for Day 1 of the ride the next day? Stay tuned.
    #1
  2. Shady Pass David

    Shady Pass David Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I'm watching.......
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  3. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

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    "thud, thud, thud"...:jack
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  4. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

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    Oct 14, 2006
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    Location:
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    Day 1 - July 16, 2016 - Stevensville to to Whitehouse Campground

    Morning came early (actually it comes pretty much at the same time every day) and riders at Ron's were getting up and ready to ride. Since there was a breakfast location nearby in Stevensville, many elected to eat out. Larry and I packed up and headed over to the restaurant. I couldn't get power to my Montana GPS and worked over an hour to diagnose and fix it. But I was unsuccessful, so I mounted up my backup 60CSx powered by C size batteries. I wolfed down some food and we headed up the road to Florence just as most riders headed on out. I didn't get any pictures of the start.

    The first leg of the route over the mountains to Rock Creek was pretty straight forward and I don't think any riders had any issues with that section. I was totally focused on riding and didn't snap any pictures. From Rock Creek, we headed back into the hills along Rock Creek. There was a big bike bypass on this section, but it was blocked by a big tree that fell that morning. So we all took the route up Brewster Creek. At one point before what looked like a rock climb, I came upon Ron and his group who were stopped for a break. Larry and I motored on up a very rocky sections (1st gear on my WR makes it a nice rock crawler) for 3-4 miles. It was a bit tiring getting bounced all over but we reached the top. After a short time on top, we came upon a section of downhill on loose shale scree. One by one we picked our way down it. After getting down I learned that Clayton had dropped his R1200GS, but Larry and I motored on. Finally I had the chance for some pictures.



    Soon (about 2:30pm) we were in Phillipsburg where we refueled and ate some lunch. Keep in mind Ron had noted that we should be in Phillipsburg by noon, but the last section was a bit challenging in places; so we were running a bit behind on time for the day. Clayton and Brian were riding with me (Larry had ridden on ahead to Phillipsburg), and we wanted to see the Granite ghost town, but Larry didn't. So the four of us rode up to Granite. When we came upon the sign reading something like, "Narrow unmaintained winding road, not suitable for trailers" I kind of laughed to myself. Riding this road was like a super highway compared to the Brewster Creek section we had just come over.

    Granite was a nice stop and we visited the union hall which is one of the larger surviving ruins.




    It was now about 3:30pm and I did a quick mental calculation and noted to my ride partners that there was no way we could do the next section of at least 50 miles across unknown road conditions and elevations of up to 8,000 feet. So I figured out a work around route down through Anaconda and up through Warm Springs (home of the Montana State Hospital) where we could intercept the route and ride out to the Whitehouse Campground. So off we rode, droned on the 25mph speed limit for miles in Anaconda, and found the Eastside Highway which was a gravel cattle trail that paralleled the freeway. It was a terrific road and soon we were back on the original track. It was then about a 30 mile ride up into the mountains to the Whitehouse campground. When we arrived there, I was totally surprised that so many riders were already there. It turned out that they had also figured out a workaround after encountering a very difficult track through the mountains. So my decision turned out to be a wise one. Around the campfire, we certainly expressed concern for all of the riders that we were not seeing. There were at least a dozen that were unaccounted for. Around 8pm Rod came riding in having reached the same decision as we had. From that point on, he rode with me and my group.

    Here's my hammock setup at Whitehouse Lake.

    IMG_7120.JPG

    As darkness enveloped us, we certainly wondered where our companions were. We didn't have any cell phone access, so we couldn't access the SPOTWALLA map that showed locations. That would have to wait until the next day.

    Sleep was welcome, but concern was clearly part of our thoughts and prayers. Would we see our friends the next day? Stay tuned.
    #4
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  5. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

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    Day 2 - July 17, 2016 - Whitehouse Campground to Gypsy Lake Campground

    Day two started with the same anxiety that day one ended with. Where were our friends? I decided to give one more attempt at diagnosing why my Garmin Montana GPS didn't have power. I remembered that there was a fuse that the previous owner had installed near the steering head. I checked it and the fuse was bad. With a replacement, all was right with the world (except for our missing friends); and I could now use my Montana for navigating the track of the 2016 BOM. It's much easier to navigate a track on the Montana compared to a 60CSx. So I finished packing up and watched other riders leave. Rod approached me and asked if he could ride with me, and I said yes. So our little group of Rod, Brian, Clayton, and I made plans for the day's ride. Today's route had one bypass and after the previous day's experiences, we all agreed that we'd take it to Raderssburg. So off we headed. The morning ride with pretty with a lot of it on a gravel cattle drive road along the interstate. Away from the interstate, there were scenes like these. Somebody's dream from years ago.

    [​IMG]

    Soon we reached Boulder where we found a group of bikes in front of the Elk Horn Restaurant.



    Here in Boulder we finally had cell service so I checked the SPOTWALLA page and saw that Ron's location had changed and he was now closer to us but running about 1/2 day behind if he were to stay on the track. There were others still showing in their original locations from the previous day.

    So after a sumptuous breakfast,



    several refueled and we headed out on the remainder of the day's track. While our intention was to take the Radersburg bypass, I missed the turn off and we continued on the the track and it turned out to be a wonderful ride through sagebrush and along side old mines and abandoned structures and even a still in use church.







    The scenery was wonderful, but was about to get even better.



    These roads were so reminiscent of the Gravelly Range Road. They just go on and on:



    It was getting a tad warm and a couple riders decided to take a break and take a dip in the local creek near where Charles Russell, famous American Western artist, spent time.





    to be continued.


    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

    Joined:
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    2,956
    Location:
    Burien, WA
    Day 2 - July 17, 2016 - Whitehouse Campground to Gypsy Lake Campground - Part II

    Some (read that many) of the views are simply spectacular. This is another from the Charles Russell viewpoint.



    We made our way off the mountain and down to Canyon Ferry Lake. After reaching the highway there was a sight for sore eyes. But what happens in Montana stays in Montana!

    Kim's Marina was our last gas stop for the day and it was good to cool off. Here's Big Dog and Rod doing that.



    Fortunately the next segment into camp was going to be a short one as I elected to skip one of the loops up into the mountains as I had ridden that section before and given the heat of the day, I wanted to get into camp and cool off more. Rumor had it that the lake was available for swimming.



    There were more spectacular views.



    Little did I know that Ron and his group were actually about 100 yards above us up the hill.

    Arriving at the lake, we met up with Ron and followed him down to a group campsite.



    A little bath was in order.



    But it does leave a sheen on the lake. Later in the trip I found some camp soap and retired the Irish Spring!



    As we are eating dinner we hear some motorcycles and here comes the Nevada Hooligans and Ron's prepared for whatever might happen.



    In the above picture, Bobzilla is trying to explain how much fun he had riding the nearly impossible trail. That left one more rider still unaccounted for: Sam. Soon after he rode in and fortunately he still had a sense of humor. Sam (Sachou) had lots of video about the tough section and it was freely shared around the campfire. Mike (Man Lee) regaled us with his story of having to lift the WR250r around and over so many obstacles single handed. Here's Sam striking a triumphant pose even with a gimpy ankle.



    In the end, all was good, everyone was accounted for except Larry. However, Ron had acquired one of Larry's Pannier's from an ATV rider and transferred it to a Missoula Rider for safekeeping. Tales around the campfire continued until well into the night. And day two was in the books. . . What would Day 3 bring?

    #6
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