"Well, you're a long way from home..." 21 Days Across the United States

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Patrick M, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    That's a good question... Was 21 days enough to see every place I planned on seeing? yes. Was it enough to fully experience the best places that I visted, like Glacier and Utah? Definitely not. I averaged around 375 miles a day for the whole trip. That left me with a small amount of time to do much more than ride. If I were to do it again like this, one more extra week would be perfect!... I also missed my woman so 21 days alone was a long time too. But every one is different I suppose...

    The main gear that I brought was a full set of camping equipment for sleeping and cooking, a few days worth of clothes, tools, camera equipment, 1 pair of warm gloves, 1 pair of winter gloves, down mid layer, heated vest and grips.

    I hope you're able to do something like this someday soon! You'll never regret it.
    #21
  2. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Your images are absolutely stunning! My wife and I spent a few days at Glacier in 2010, and we're planning a longer stay next Summer. It truly is a magical place.

    Your report is a breath of fresh air, as it contains the kind of wonder that is all too often missing. Thanks for taking us along. :clap
    #22
  3. John Nash

    John Nash Bluenoser

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    I was also on a cross country trip last August 2012. 8300 miles in 16 days.Glacier was one of the top spots of the trip..what scenery! Whow.I went through Road to the Sun from west to east on a beautiful sunny day.Next I went north to Banff,Alberta towards Jasper and west through British Columbia to Whistler and Vancouver Island. Your pictures are very nice..what camera are you using? looking forward to the rest of your RR..thanks for sharing this trip with us.
    #23
  4. hambone79

    hambone79 n00b

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    This report encouraged me to make my first post! Awesome trip and the pics are amazing! I was fortunate enough to land a college internship in the CO Rockies 10 years ago and these pics are bringing back so many memories of the beautiful sights. I am currently bikeless after owning several cruisers and reports like this are making me want and ADV bike so bad!
    #24
  5. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    Definitely a magical place. It's high on the list for a return trip. I'm hoping to take a trip there soon and spend a couple weeks camping & hiking with my wife.

    I appreciate your comments. I really enjoy ride reports that focus on photography and the details of the destinations. So im giving back...
    #25
  6. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    I wish I could have made it to Banff, or parts of Alberta, but the weather delays prevented that. I shot the photos with an Olympus EM5 using a 12-50mm and 40-150mm lens. The RAW files were processed in Lightroom 4.

    Thanks for reading, Im glad you are enjoying the report!
    #26
  7. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    Well Im glad ive inspired you! Thanks for reading. I would love an internship in the Rockies, or anything that planted me there! Philadelphia is old news for me after this trip...
    #27
  8. gmtech

    gmtech Adventurer

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    how much do the heated cabins run in glacier park?
    and room for how many to sleep?
    thanks
    doin a lewis and clark retrace next year and might head further up to there
    #28
  9. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    The cabins were at the St. Mary KOA, and were a little steep at $99 a night. However, they were warm and worth it. The cabin I stayed in had a bunk bed, as well as a full bed. So, technically, 4 people could fit in the basic cabin.
    #29
  10. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Great RR! Reminds me of a very similar trip I did about 20 years ago from Chicago to Glacier on an old Kawasaki Vulcan 700. I might have to do that one again. Glad to see that after 20 years you can still find some very sparsely populated areas and good old dirt roads and trails that go on for hours and hours. Thanks for posting.
    #30
  11. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    Day 7: September 7th, 2012
    St Mary MT to Bigfork MT ~ 110 miles

    A cold, frosty morning. But that is Montana in early September, and it's awesome. I woke up excited at the thought of getting to finally ride the Going to the Sun road today. The weather was clear and there was no longer the threat of snow. Pretty sure my VFR is not snow-worthy.

    My campground was down the road from Glacier's eastern gate. Passing the visitor center, and rounding a curve, you're greeted by this magnificent sight.

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    The quintessential Glacier National Park shot, Wild Goose Island.
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    Climbing up the road, the trees break and you get an immediate sense of the scale of these mountains. They rise so quickly trees have a tough time staying rooted.

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    Logan Pass of the Continental Divide.

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    I took a stop once I was at Logan Pass, and apparently there was a young Grizzly in the lot at/or near the time I pulled in. Of course I missed getting a look at him and he ran off into the trees across the road. I decided to take a couple hikes. The first was on the grizzly woods side of the road, the Highline Trail. This trail will lead you to the Many Glacier area but was closed because of bear activity. I hiked in a bit and the views were unreal. Along the first few hundred yards, the trail drops straight off. No drunk hiking, please.

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    I turned around and hiked the Hidden Lake trail. Its an easy going hike that's family friendly. It, as the name suggests, leads to Hidden Lake and beyond. It's surrounded by alpine meadows and small mammals like ground squirrels and marmots.

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    Overlooking Hidden Lake

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    This dude rules.

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    I was really happy to come across a family of mountain goats grazing in the meadows. They really don't mind humans around them. They also seem quite wise and they might have all the answers.

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    I tried hard to not make this photo look fake, but the sky was crystal clear and everything had an amazing brilliance to it.

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    Continuing on the Going to the Sun road, time to go downhill now.

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    As I neared the western entrance, traffic, congestion, and construction made me want to get out. I thought about camping in the park but I felt like riding more. I decided to head towards Flathead Lake in hopes I find a laid back campground.

    Nice people at Elkhorn Grill in Hungry Horse, MT. Good food too.

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    In Bigfork, Montana I found a state park that was right on Flathead Lake. The weather was perfect and I still had a lot of daylight left too. I took the last available campsite.

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    Tomorrow, Red Lodge and setting myself up for the Beartooth Pass...
    #31
  12. lookatdirt

    lookatdirt Been here awhile

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    We hit much of these sama areas in July. We hit St Mary's on our way south from Banff. Banff was cool but Glacier kicked it's ass. Most beautiful place Ive ever seen. It's interesting how different the weather was for you. In July, it was hot, hot, hot. Also, we had a hell of a time finding a room anywhere near there on a Saturday night. All rooms were booked, including Whitefish and Kalispell. Apparently, all the Canucks come down on the weekends to enjoy the favorable money exchange rate. We ended up sleeping in the dirt on a side road. it was epic. Thanks for the great pics, they're way better than the ones I took.
    #32
  13. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    Day 8, September 8th 2012
    Bigfork, MT to Red Lodge, MT - 439 miles


    Today was my first truly cold morning waking up in my tent. A Jetboil and a coffee press made a quick fix of that though. I was near route 83 in Bigfork. This is the road that runs through the Swan Valley and Seeley Lake area, one of the most beautiful areas in the world (in my opinion). This road is bordered on either side by tall pines with occasional breaks for a mountain view.

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    There was a lot of haze, unfortunately, from all the fires they have had in this area of the country. Still, the road is stark raving beautiful and just rolls on and on...

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    A dozen miles or so outside the town of Seeley Lake I was spacing out in my helmet, lost in the wonder of this magical area, when I see what looked to be a dog at the edge of the forest ahead. As I got closer I saw that it was not at all a dog, but a large black wolf. He stayed put as I came closer but it seemed that at the moment we made eye contact, he ran off back into the woods. I couldn't believe I saw such a beast.

    In the town I stopped at a gift shop/coffee bar/bookstore to grab some espresso and I told the owner, as well as another local, what I saw. The shop owner, Zia, was in slight disbelief but Eric, from Seeley Lake, agreed. He mentioned that they have been coming down from the north and there have been a few sightings.

    I needed a new cell charger after mine fried itself and was hoping to find something in Helena along my way. Surprising, Eric, went across the street for a bit and came back with a charger. I asked him how much I owed him but he hadn't paid for it yet, he just walked out with it. I guess this is cool in Montana? This would get you beat down in Philly. I later found out his sister worked there so it was no big deal. Real nice people that morning...

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    Continuing towards Helena on Route 200 and 141 you encounter some magnificent scenery. The next batch of photos are from one of the greatest "rides" of the whole trip... Route 200 to 141 then 12 through to Helena and Harlowtown.

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    Heading south on Route 191 fter Harlowtown, MT. This road takes you to Big Timber MT and is bordered by the Crazy Mountains to the west. I was flying...

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    After exiting for Red Lodge in Columbus, I was pulled over. I blamed my speeding on beating the deer hang out time. The officer agreed and let me off with a warning. The sun was setting quickly but I made it to Red Lodge before dark. A nice little motel room and some beers were welcomed after a long, hot, dry, and exciting day.

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    Tomorrow: Beartooth Pass, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons.
    #33
  14. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    Day 9, September 9th 2012
    Red Lodge, MT to Colter Bay, WY - 303 miles


    Is this real life? Am I going to ride the road that I have been looking at Google Street View of for months? Another early day to get it all in. The owner of the Alpine Lodge cooks his guests breakfast at no charge. You best believe I got the Breakfast Burrito. The Mexican diet has already begun. Tacos were for dinner the night before.

    Heading out of Red Lodge, the road was a bit torn up and I was hoping that the Beartooth Pass would not be this shit.

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    Thankfully, it was not, and I began to climb and climb...

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    To be honest, this road is a doozy. It's too amazing to keep your eyes on the road. Unfortunately, its a far drop, so you better.

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    One can really feel like they're on top of the world up here. Physically, not in a show tunes kind of way.

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    Pilot Peak appears shortly after you descend towards the Chief Joseph Highway. Probably my favorite mountain right now.

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    The Chief Joseph Highway, in my opinion, is a funner road. You get more varied landscapes, the winds are less, and its a blast to rip down it...

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    Nez Perce overlook (?) has a great sculpture.

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    I stopped in Cody for some gas and food prior to heading into Yellowstone. Right before Yellowstone, on the eastern side, is the Shoshone Valley. If you ever find yourself near Yellowstone, go here. The scenery is better than Yellowstone.

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    I arrived in Yellowstone, and my pace slowed but my pulse increased. I wont say that I hated it, because it is truly amazing. However I did not feel safe riding around it. I saw quite a bad accident where a whole front end was ripped off of a persons car. I wanted to leave as soon as I got there. Still, I checked out the lake, as well as Old Faithful just to be sure.

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    The sun was setting on me again, and I needed to beat the rush after the Old Faithful show. I decided to head towards the Grand Tetons and find a campground. The traffic was slow going out of the park but it eventually opened up and the most amazing site was bestowed upon me...

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    In the park, I stopped at Colter Bay Campground for the night. I asked about bears and they had a few sightings in the past couple days. I decided to eat my dinner down near the lake after seeing some sloppy campers cooking near my site. I figured that if a bear was going to wake anyone up, it would be the messier of the two sites.

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    The rain that had moved in earlier that afternoon cleared for a most amazing sunset behind the Tetons.

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    I had a hard time falling asleep this night at the thought of bears and camping alone with them. Thankfully, I had some Lagavulin in the flask. Rain returned that night and would last till morning.

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    #34
  15. houndawgg

    houndawgg Been here awhile

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    :norton
    Oh Yeah
    #35
  16. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    Day 10, September 10th 2012
    Colter Bay WY to Heber City UT - 330 miles


    The rain that started again in the night was off and on all morning. I found it difficult to pack up my gear without getting rained on and keeping my non-waterproof stuff dry. The bear box helped with some gear though. I eventually loaded up and headed towards the many Teton view points.

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    The skies were ominous and it took me about 3 hours to ride 30 miles. This was because of the off and on heavy rain and the amazing photo opportunities.

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    I couldn't decide whether to leave my rain gear on or off because the weather kept changing it's mind. The clouds did the right thing for me here though...

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    The off and on rain messed with my timing for the day so I had to start making up some time. I stopped in Alpine, WY south of Jackson some and had some lunch... The place was called Yankee Doodles. Very "America, Fuck yeah!". Very good food.

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    The rains were chasing me all day long but I saw a little break as my route kissed the eastern edges of Idaho.

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    Ominous skies returned once again as I entered Utah. The ride was surreal, but I wanted to end it and relax.

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    As soon as I got to Park City/Heber Valley, the rains came in buckets and I needed a room. No shelter in any of the campgrounds nearby and I was beat. There was also Mexican food in the town. I ended my day in Heber City.

    Tomorrow, Bryce Canyon and the Escalante Grand Staircase

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    #36
  17. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    Subscribed.
    Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us. Very nice camerawork too.
    I'm looking forward to tomorrow's pictures. We rode that area this spring. Loved every second of it.
    #37
  18. jesionowski

    jesionowski Chicagoland Burgman

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    Wow great pics and a great route. How many hours are you riding per day? Looks like about 10 -11 Hrs. Do you wish you would have done less miles and spent a little more time in each area? I supose thats the trade off in seeing a lot of different areas.

    Great report, one of the best to come along in a while. In the sense that it is a dream route of mine also.:clap
    #38
  19. muskeg

    muskeg Been here awhile

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    Refreshing report Patrick. Looking forward to more... :lurk
    #39
  20. Patrick M

    Patrick M Been here awhile

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    Of course. I've read my share of other's reports on here so now it is my turn. Im glad you enjoy the photos too!

    Thanks man! You're right on with your guess. Some days were longer, some shorter, but most were around 10-11 hours. There were certain places that I wish I could have spent weeks at (Montana), but yes, its a trade off...

    Thanks for reading muskeg, happy to share...
    #40