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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DYNOBOB, Jan 17, 2014.
I'll kick this thing off with some shots from our ride!
You could say this trip began in July 2008 with a ride I cooked up through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. Covering 2500 miles over nine days, it took in the Rocky Mtn Nat Park, Mt Evans, Million Dollar Hwy, Four Corners, Monument Valley, North Rim, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Cedar Breaks, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Beartooth Pass. Wheew! Being from Ohio, this experience left quite an impression on us! Adding to the coolness was the fact I'd recently gotten Dad into motorcycling and my sister/her family followed along in my truck (and carried our luggage!). Every year since, Dad's asked when we're going to do phase two.....The Northern Rockies.
Some absolutely amazing photos in that set.
Thank you for sharing!!
Fast forward to Jan 2013. Hard to believe five years have passed.....we're not going to put this off any longer.....and what better way to celebrate Dad's 70th year! I got serious and drew up a plan that would pick up where we left off in 2008, taking us through Glacier, Waterton Lakes, Banff, and Jasper National Parks. As we did in 2008, we'll trailer the bikes to a jump off point (Billings, MT) and ride from there. Knowing that reservations for the historic National Park Service lodges book up 6 months in advance, I got busy setting dates and making calls. A post in the Canadian regional thread brought lots of route advice from fellow ADVers and resulted in adding the Kootenay Region and Smashed Head Buffalo Jump to the route. I'll add a detailed breakdown of our daily routes/mileage in a bit.
Route segments. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2sfqqyymhxnghn1/89-Bs4LCoU
Itinerary. https://www.dropbox.com/s/yen5vgg7a27hu4t/Northern Rockies Itinerary 1.xls
The resulting plan looks like this...
At some point during my planning, the idea came to me that it would be fun to share the trip with another couple(s). Knowing Tom was about to retire, I put it to him and Laura. Jim and Vicky both ride, have the right equipment sitting in the garage, and have never done an epic ride....so there you have it. What could be more fun than a group of seven, 3000 miles, and 13 days on the bikes? Both couples said yes within 24hrs of first mention and started mirroring my reservations. We depart July 20th!
The additions to the group also gave me an excuse to reshaped the trip to include Yellowstone/Chief Joseph/Beartooth Pass (ok, twist my arm) since most of them had never been there.
So this is us...
Bob Sr (Dad): Has racked up many trips now on the '06 FJR. His pestering is why our western trips get off the ground...
Bob Jr: I'll be two up on the Goldwing with my main squeeze Wynette on back. I love to plan trips!!!!!
Wynette: She took the MSF course 10yrs ago with Dad. With some cajoling, she's ridden most of my bikes.....even the Wing! :eek1
Jim and Vicky: You'll remember Jim from my CO/UT dual-sport RR . This trip he'll be two up on the white Goldwing. I think our only regret on this trip was that Vicky didn't bring her own bike (my fault for talking about Beartooth Pass). That won't happen again I can tell ya!
She used to ride a Harley, but 2013 brought a new CanAm Spyder and she loves it! It's going next time!!!
Tom and Laura: Tom was also in the CO/UT RR. He brought his Harley "police special"(?) for this trip. Fortunatly, he didn't abandon us for Sturgis! Laura has tried, but just doesn't enjoy motorcycles (is that possible?). Simple solution...let her tag along in the car (and carry some of my tools).
Interesting twist: One piece of the planning puzzle is what to do with three trucks and trailers while we ride for two weeks? I started fishing around on my forums for someone near Billings with room to park our rigs and struck gold on "The Rockies" regional forum. Fellow ADVer Pat not only had room for the rigs, but after hearing our plan insisted we all stay overnight while departing and returning from the ride. ADVRider for the win! This baby is coming together!!!!!!
Well, five months flew by and it's time to load up and head west. Fresh oil and tires, trailer bearings repacked, gps routes built and stored......We're rarin' to go !
I know some are asking "why trailer bikes like these?". We're going to knock out the 1600 miles to Billings in one shot. Getting there earlier on the second day will give us time to relax and prepare for the main part of the trip. Besides, four 800 mile days on the bikes (two on both ends of the trip) just doesn't sound like fun...
This is the route to Billings. To put the distance in perspective, Omaha Nebraska isn't even 1/2 way to Billings for us. We depart Saturday morning and arrive around 5pm Sunday.
Actually, I love these drives across the country. The wide open space of the West is so different than what we're used to.
The ladies get the sunrise shift.
When we hit South Dakota we decided to stop and have brunch in Sturgis. A week later the madness will begin...
Jim fits right in with this crowd.
Next stop: Devils Tower. This get us off of I-90 and on some awesome two lane roads (34 and 212). 212 is our first taste of remoteness on the trip.
Montana 212 reconnects to I-90 at the Little Bighorn Battlefield Site.
The views where the battle occurred.
Memorial to the horses used as breastworks...
Taken at the restaurant in Sturgis
Thank you sir,
From Little Bighorn, we had an hour to our destination and arrived at Pat and Jill's beautiful home to a welcome of pizza and drinks (they rock!). After introductions, we got the bikes unloaded and ready to depart the next morning.
Our Hosts. I can't say "Thank You" enough for their generosity and how much easier this arrangement made our trip!
Monday (Riding Day 1) - Billings to Great Falls - 236 miles
Up and at 'em, today we ride!!!! Our first day out is an easy one to get us in the groove and Pat is going to ride with us to visit Jill's Father in Great Falls. Our route is all remote feeling two lane with very little traffic and passes one gas station. We will intersect historic US 89 (cool road) near White Sulfer Springs and travel north thru the Lewis and Clark Natl Forest.
Ready to roll....as soon as Dad finds his keys.....
A note about our approach to meals on the trip: I'm carrying a stove, Vicky a grill, and both trailers have a cooler. We'll stop every third day for groceries and besides being healthier, we'll be able to eat when and where we want. You'll see at dinner tomorrow how this pays off with one of the most memorable moments of the trip!
Cold cuts for lunch at a cool little rest stop.
At Great Falls we bid Pat goodby and head to our hotel.
I spent a lot of time looking at lodging for this trip. My preference is always unique locations over big boxes and tonight's accommodations did not disappoint. The O'Hair Motor Inn is like stepping back into to the 60's and the age of novelty. Their claim to fame is the Sip & Dip Lounge where you can watch mermaids swimming in the windows behind the bar. They are also motorcycle friendly, offering security and washing facilities/supplies in the parking garage.
The mermaids unfortunately had the night off........ Merman Tom was not the same.
haha mermaid Tom scared all the regulars right outa the bar!
Was a great first day of riding. Was expecting bears but someone convinced me the mermaids were a better choice. Wow was I surprised when all I saw was mermaid Tom. We'll the food was good and I slept like a baby, got my bike clean and was ready for day two. Great trip so far. Can't wait till tomorrow.
Looks like an awesome ride! Thank you kindly for sharing
Great start to the ride, looking forward to the complete report!
From a Fellow Buckeye....subscribed!
Tuesday (Day 2) - Great Falls to Glacier Park Lodge - 138 miles
If you are ever in Great Falls and enjoy history you must stop at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. I've planned low miles today so we have time to take it in. If you're not into history, you can skip this post...
I've read the Ambrose book and seen the IMAX but standing on the actual ground makes it real. Without a doubt, Lewis and Clark were true ADVers!
Overlooking the Missouri, it would have seen the Corps of Discovery float past. I'll let the pics tell the story....
The Great Falls as L&C saw them.
Your landscape photography is stellar! I would love just a short caption with each shot for those of us who are not familiar with the west but would like to journey there ourselves someday.
It looks like you were able to share a great trip with some close friends with similar interests, and that is a rare and wonderful thing which I am sure you will always treasure.
Thanks for this ride report!
Back to the riding.
We jump on I-15 for a short distance to rejoin US Rt 89 and head northwest to East Glacier Park. While Glacier Natl Park is a big tourist destination, our route there must not be the popular one...we nearly have the road to ourselves. And what a road it is! Wide open space all around and big sky above. It's one of my favorite stretches on the trip!
Finally remebered to turn on the gopro. Ride along for three minutes... (if you have the bandwidth select 720 or 1080)
For lunch we found an awesome little city park in Choteau, MT. Located along a river, Choteau looks like a green oasis of trees as you approch.
and then watched the mountains get closer.
One of the two places we're most looking forward to staying, Glacier Park Lodge was built in 1913 by the Great Northern Railway to encourage and house visitors to the park. Our easy day today and tomorrow gives us time to soak it in....... and is without a doubt my favorite hotel of the trip.
Walkway to the railroad station. You can still take Amtrak from anywhere in the country and arrive here....
Up next: Dinner cookout at Two Medicine Lake with a special guest(?).......
After check in, we hopped back on the bikes and rode up to Two Medicine Lake to make dinner. We debated taking the jetboils/Mountain House and hiking to the upper side of the lake, but settled on the more tradition motorcycle fare of bbq chicken and fresh green beans. There is a sweet campground with picnic area on the east side of the main lake.
Our picnic area is about 30' from the lake so we wonder around as the food cooks.
A little dinner entertainment arrives...
and after dinner we settle in along the lake to play in the water and watch the sun disappear. Can it get any better?
Can it get any better? Actually....it can! About two minutes after ^ this ^ pic, we looked to our left and got quite a surprise.
with the deafening roar of cameras around me, I click the RX100 into video mode (again, I recommend 720 or 1080)
A perfect case for why we took our kitchen along, we would have certainly missed this having a burger at the lodge....
Some final shots before heading back
Back at the lodge we took an evening stroll out to the train station.
and took in some Woody Guthrie...
From Lewis and Clark to dinner with a moose. What a day!