Yaak, because I've never been there.

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Snr Moment, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Snr Moment

    Snr Moment Unafarkler

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    There exists in our minds the names of places we've heard and wondered to ourselves, "What's it like there?" Some bring connotations of the worst, like who wants to go to Sioux City to visit the stockyards?

    Yaak, for me anyway, has had an allure since I first heard the name 15 years ago when I moved to Montana. It's about as far away as you can get in the state and is just up the road from the lowest point in Montana at 1,820 feet above sea level on Hwy 2 at the Idaho border. I have now been there and to the top of the Beartooth Pass. No sign posted to mark this topographical milestone, consequently, no pic. A motorcycle parked under a sign that says Hwy 2 just doesn't do much for me. Why waste a pixel on an SD card for that?

    I have some on the Beartooth, but those are pretty commonplace on the net. I find it a holy obligation to ride the Beartooth and Chief Joseph Highway at least once a year.

    About 95% of this mini-trip was done on two lane highway and dirt back roads. I've made a commitment to myself to see as much of Montana as possible before shedding expensive rubber on other states' roads.

    To Yaak & beyond:

    I left Billings via Hwy 3, running north to Hwy 12, then west to Townsend. High upon a hill overlooking the town and Canyon Ferry Lake (a wide spot in the Missouri River), I saw this:

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    A fitting tribute, since it was this site that got me off a Road King and into the wonderful world that exists beyond the tarvy.

    I passed up some chow just before getting to camp and settled for my own cooking:

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    Short story shorter, I stopped for the night at Placid Lake State Park, just south of Seeley Lake.

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    Morning, or how Placid Lake got its name. Pic taken from my campsite:

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    Next day, it was off to meet up with Chains45 in Thompson Falls and go on from there. I took the back road (FR349) out of Placid and rode up the Jocko River Drainage. About 40 miles of one lane, beautiful scenery, gravel, pot holes, freshly repaired washouts and bear scat.

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    Once out, I hit Hwy 200, the Garmin wasn't kidding:

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    #1
  2. Jimr80gs

    Jimr80gs Adventurer

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    That is beautiful country. Eager for more.
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Nice ride!! I like that green sign too, I could think of someone here to give it to :lol3
    #3
  4. rusty43

    rusty43 cruzincariboucountry

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    I hope you had a beer on both sides of the road while in Yaak. Gorgeous loop to ride, I'm waiting for the rest of the story.
    #4
  5. AZ_ADV_RIDER

    AZ_ADV_RIDER Demons In My Helmet

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    How do you like your Buell? It is a beautiful bike!
    #5
  6. Snr Moment

    Snr Moment Unafarkler

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    Met up with Chains45 in Thompson Falls late in the afternoon. Found a free campsite on the Bull River about 50 miles south of Yaak. No pix - cloudy, gloomy. Hit the road the next morning with clear skies and abundant sunshine. First stop of note was Yaak Falls on the Yaak River. Stream flows in the area were seasonably low, but the Falls were still scenic.

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    There were rumors afloat that the Dirty Shame was closed. Untrue. Met Gloria the owner, and, after a free cup of coffee, a tour of the remodeled interior, and some local history, she took our pix. You may notice that Uly riders tend to be "mature" and prone to over-packing.

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    I had been advised by an inmate, also "mature" (Dale the old Fart) to seek out Hensley Hill. A five mile long, twisted, one lane gravel road running up to about 5,000 feet led to this view:

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    A little rocky for tent camping, but what a view.

    We departed Yaak on Hwy 508. On the map, the road looks pretty begign. Holy crap! The twisties through the mountains are so tight that they don't show up in map scale. A bit of Uly heaven as these beasts ride on rails through this stuff, even fully loaded. Too much fun riding for pix.
    We came out near Rexford and rode south down the the west side of Lake Koocanusa to Libby and then to Kalispell where we parted company. Chains45 had to get back home and I headed to Whitefish to see my oldest daughter and 2 grandsons. While the kids were in school, I headed for Glacier Park to ride the Going To The Sun Highway, cuz I've never been there either.

    The start of the really good stuff:

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    Climbing higher, as into the clouds:

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    For a moment near the top, the clouds parted:

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    A little further up the road, constuction is underway. It's one lane, follow the pilot vehicle. If the guy in front of me would have driven off the mountain, I'd have been right behind him.
    Logan Pass Visitors Center - fog & snow:

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    Going down the mountains was a real treat. One lane, greasy mud for about a mile.

    The east side of Glacier is a completely different terrain - high plains:

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    Law-abiding cattle:

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    When it says "Open Range", be aware. The road from St. Mary on the east side of Glacier is a twisted one, but you have to take it easy. There were several instances with cattle that were not so law-abiding and a horse out for an afternoon stroll.

    The next day, I traded two wheels for no wheels and ventured out fishing on Whitefish Lake.

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    Got Google? One of the Google Guys has a cabin here:

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    Main house up top, lakeshore house below. Heaven forbid you have to walk all the way up the hill for a beach towel.

    Fishing sucked, so it was time for some little guy football at the base of the Swan Range Mountains:

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    Another day of quality time with my daughter and grandsons, and it was time to ride home and go to work.

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    #6
  7. Snr Moment

    Snr Moment Unafarkler

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    AZ - thanks. I really like the Buell. It fits me to a T physically, packs like a mule, does twisties like a sport bike, tours like a cruiser, and goes about as far off road as I want to go. I don't know that I could do better for an all around bike. There's a tremendous amount of support among Buell riders and I'll be riding it for a long time to come.
    #7
  8. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

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    :clap
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  9. stoney4vida

    stoney4vida Semper Fidelis

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    I love Montana. Beautiful country and great looking Buell
    #9
  10. Snr Moment

    Snr Moment Unafarkler

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    Thanks. It's a beautiful place to ride.
    #10
  11. nvdlboy

    nvdlboy Been here awhile

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC (right beside the forest)
    He owns the whole hillside and had to build a pricy overpass to cross the RR tracks. I stayed across the bay from that property on my friend's brother's property in 2009. While the town was apparently not pleased with Mr Google's development, at least he's keeping most of the property in its natural state and his lodgings do blend in pretty well.
    This was the view from our lodgings (Mr Google's place is outside the left of the frame) -
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    It's a beautiful spot!
    #11
  12. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    Great looking bike. Beautiful pics. I love your state.

    I love my mother-in-law too. Four years ago she retired from here in So. Kali and moved to Bigfork, MT. Now when I go see here, I can enjoy it a whole lot more. :happay

    Thanks for posting.
    #12
  13. Snr Moment

    Snr Moment Unafarkler

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    Thanks for the compliment. Bigfork is nice, love the river through there. Ride in that area quite a bit as one of my kids lives in Whitefish.
    #13