Missouri to Banff...and Beyond!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by findlj, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    June 7 2016 is the roll-out date for a trip that's been floating around in my head for a long time. The original idea was just to do a long motorcycle vacation to cool places. I let work always get in the way. But, I retired from a database admin career in 2012. The family and I took a roots trip to Scotland/Ireland in 2013 so the initial plan was to go to Alaska in 2014. Then a couple discs in my lower back decided to change my plans by needing a three vertibrae fusion. So now it's moved back to 2015, and a rotator cuff decided it needed some attention and the plan was set back again. I guess 42 years of sport, mostly motorcycle racing, bicycle racing and adventure racing decided to tell me it was time to pay part of the bill.


    Roll forward to this year, I'm kinda healthy but definitely outta shape. However, It's time to …


    Do the Ride.


    Here are the current plan(s). Yes, it's plural. The reason for multiple plans is I have a weird anatomy in that I have an achilles heel in my neck. That is, much of it's fused and it can give me troubles on a long ride. So sometimes I end up shortening days.


    I've got about 3 weeks to work with, but can fudge on that a little. But I digress, back to “The Plan(s).”


    Plan A

    Jeff City Missouri to D2D in Dawson, Yukon via Devils Tower Wyoming, Glacier National Park and Banff National Park. I plan to put on full knobs in Whitehorse. Weather permitting, pie-in-the-sky scenario, ride the Dempster to the Arctic circle. However, if the weather or time ain't co-operating, I can pass on the Arctic circle. Then take the Top-of-the-world highway into Alaska, work my way to the Cassiar highway and ride a scenic route back to Missouri.

    [​IMG]


    Plan B

    If I find my neck isn't up to the extra milage, I ride shorter days and go to Hyder AK, via Banff and Jasper National parks following the same early route as before.

    [​IMG]


    My ride on this trip is a '12 Triumph Tiger 800 XC. It too, has a story.

    [​IMG]

    I bought this bike new in Oct. '11 from a good friend I competed in trials against for many years who just happened to be the Triumph dealer in El Dorado Springs Mo. His name was Randy and we rose through the trials ranks together over the course of about 10 years in the mid 70's to early 80's. I left motorcycling for about 20 years after that, but when I knew I wanted back in, I called Randy. Even though I was considering about 10 bikes, one test on the Tiger and I was a buyer. I knew if I was in the Yukon and broke down, Randy'd strip a showroom floor bike to get me going. He and I discussed this Alaska ride a couple of times, but as fate worked it, Randy died in Aug. '2013. He was about 60 at the time and still winning Hare Scrambles. His number is 123 and you can find it on the front of my Tiger today as a meager tribute.

    I don't have any dust, but still I think it's appropriate I give a real good shot at making Dust-to-Dawson partly cuz of my buddy, Randy.

    It's a solo journey this time. The preparatory trip for this one was to Overland Expo East in Asheville NC last October with my good friend Aaron. We were just in time to ride into the edge of hurricane Joaquin to make things interesting. You can find the RR on that here at advrider entitled ..
    “The Road to Jupiter, OR How to ride straight into a hurricane!”
    See it here...
    http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...traight-to-a-hurricane.1119931/#post-28568655

    June 7 is almost here. I wait, a lot excited, more than a little anxious. Any of you that want to come along on this journey, I'll do my best to document it here. I've got a brand new GoPro from my family I know almost nothing about, but, who knows, I may get a viewable video up at some point! I've got a still camera I know a little more about and definitely expect to put some decent pics up.

    I'm also hoping those of you who have done rides similar, or want to do them, will join in and become part of the conversation. I have only one lodging reservation so far, the Devil Tower Lodge, so I could use suggestions for good places to ride, stay (camp and hotel) and restaurants.


    Two days to go, the bike is loaded. The wait begins...
    #1
    dedad71, KLRalph and B10Dave like this.
  2. nibz

    nibz n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1
    you've got a great plan - my wife and I made most of your ride last year on a BMW K1600GTL - we rode to Bellingham WA - rode the ferry to Haines AK then got on the road - ALCAN is fine except the last 60 miles before the Alaska/Yukon border - it's been in construction for years - after Tok we road over to Anchorage then up to Denali and Fairbanks before heading home - on the return trip we took the Cassier down before cutting over to Jasper - then - Lake Louise - we actually stayed in Canada until North Dakota due to the fires in Glacier...it will be a great ride - for us - it was 39 days and just a bit over 9k...we departed from Warrensburg MO - best of luck - our's was a ride of a life time...
    #2
  3. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Thanks! How many miles a day did you guys do on average would you estimate? Did you take days off from the bike?
    #3
  4. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,707
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    I like Plan A. I suggest you will too. Best of luck and enjoy.

    Logan Pass in Glacier is a must of course. Crews are still plowing near the summit and hope to have the 40' left down to pavement by the end of the week.
    #4
  5. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Day t-1. Took a step outside the night before I left. Not really sure what the clouds are trying to convey here...[​IMG]
    #5
  6. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Day One. Left Jefferson City around 7 am. Took a leaving town pic of the Missouri River Bridge at Jeff City.
    [​IMG]


    Then met up with my buddy Dan O, who volunteered to ride part of the way out of the state with me on his big Victory.
    [​IMG]

    We rode a couple hours to Chillicothe where we were to part ways after grabbing breakfast. While in downtown Chillicothe I spy'd this very cool rebuilt R60 Beemer with PIA lights. Just so happened the owner comes strolling out to it while we cross by. I asked him where a decent place to eat breakfast is, he gives us the scoop, and we start shooting the bull. Jim is his name, (I know from being a former volleyball coach you can never have enough Jim's, or is that gyms?) and he tells us his son and he have done the Dalton to the Arctic Circle and cruised Alaska on the their bikes. Also, they were leaving for Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, next Monday! We just happened onto to this guy, on the street in a town 120 miles from home. Crazy. Very good guy. Jim, if you read this, best of luck on your adventure...

    I ride on via 36 to I-29, finally onto 50 west to Yankton just above North Sioux City SD. About 505 miles for the day...
    [​IMG]
    #6
    MotoVentures and dedad71 like this.
  7. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Day 2. So the plan was to hit the Black hills, set up camp in Deadwood. Check out the Black hills area a little before moving onto to Devils Tower the next day.

    I started out the day running up hwy 81 to 44, which would have been a much more scenic route than I-90. But, the wind was a bee-atch, and with 44 being two lane, every semi I met coupled its blast with that strong northbound wind and it hit like a sledgehammer. A little of that and onto to I-90 it was. At least those semis are going my direction there.

    While on 90 I run into another guy riding a really nice 90's era Harley who's meeting up with friends in Washington to ride to Hyder. Another guy on a Kawasaki Vulcan was riding from Knoxville TN to the pacific coast highway and back taking a month for the trip. Lot's of people getting out there doing cool stuff.

    With an 80 mph speed limit on most of I-90, the Tiger spent a lot of time at over 6K on the tach today. Outside temp went to 92. So I made several stops to get a break from the heat and wind. Made Deadwood a little before 6. Was ready to eat some dinner, get a shower and crash...
    #7
  8. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    I agree, plan A is the shit. Gotta see how things are going when I get to the Banff area and decision time. Is Logan Pass the "Going to the Sun" road?
    #8
  9. Unit 91

    Unit 91 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    Behind The Orange Curtain, CA
    I'm also headed towards Montana (I'll be in Missoula in two days) and Calgary, Banff, etc. Maybe we'll cross paths.
    #9
    findlj likes this.
  10. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,707
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Indeed they are. US Hwy 2.

    I'll be between Banff and Lake Louise this weekend. Ride safe.
    #10
    findlj likes this.
  11. Sfinds

    Sfinds n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Missouri
    Sounds like its going well so far!
    #11
    findlj likes this.
  12. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,464
    Location:
    Idaho home of the fiesta bowl champ BSU bronco's
    #12
    findlj likes this.
  13. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Unfortunately, Logan Pass is closed right now. May try on the way back...
    #13
  14. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    End of Day Two.
    Opted for a KOA cabin at Deadwood, looked majorly like rain in a short fashion, so I didn't want to mess with a tent up in the rain.
    Got in the Cabin and after my stuff exploded, it looked like this...
    [​IMG]
    #14
    TrailBlaster8 and dedad71 like this.
  15. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Day Three:
    The word of the day is...
    HOT! Real Hot. Damned Hot! I'm talking Pitchfork/Pointy Tails/Horns-on-the-head HOT!

    I made a major tactical error this morning. Knowing that it was going to get HOT, I still opted for checking out the Black Hills area, Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Sculpture before heading out to Devils Tower. My saving grace was that this was my only scheduled short day with the destination of the Tower.

    So I blew the morning checking out all the above and heading for Devils Tower early afternoon, putting me on i-90 in what became 100 degree heat. I passed a bank in Spearfish with the digital temp displayed showing three figures. I just caught it out of the corner of my eye as I passed so I didn't get the actual temp. At that point I did not want to know.

    Anyway, made it to the tower, ready to be off the bike and out of the heat.
    On the road into the park, I found these guys guarding the tower, they thought it was hot too!
    [​IMG]

    Got put in my room at Devils Tower Lodge.
    Here's the Lodge...
    [​IMG]

    Here's the view from my bathtub! (Yes, I took a long leisurely bath today, no shower for this boy this time)...
    [​IMG]

    So the Devils Tower Lodge is a B&B that also does climbing guiding up the Tower. A couple of guys had just finished climbing to the top and repelling back down this morning. They started at 3am due to the advice of their guide, Gabe, so they could beat the heat. Both guys described as a highlight in their lives.

    Gabe tells a good story about the tower. In the 30's a stunt man decided that he would parachute on top of the tower. This is back in the days of the old round chutes with much less control, so in fact, this would be quite the accomplishment. Now the rest of his plan was less impressive. This guy planned on a rope being dropped to him, he would drive a stake in the ground at the top, throw the rope over and climb down, hand over hand, for all 600+ feet of the Towers height. He has zero repelling experience, so he's just gonna hand over hand it! Right.

    So, the plane drops the rope, it bounces and promptly hops over the side down to the ground. A second rope is dropped. This time it stays up. But the stunt man says "It is tangled beyond fixing". It is strongly suspected that once he looked over the side from the top he knew he couldn't climb down. So the boy stays on top. No food, No water.

    Locals pay to airlift this guy food in the form of canned goods and water. Many of this guys cans are still on top. They are protected by law, you can't remove this trash, it's part of the heritage of the place!


    Enter the park service. They call in the Rocky Mtn Rescue Team in Colorado. At this point, the Tower has only been climbed three time. These guys show up, plan to climb up and repell this guy down. But, they can't climb the Tower. They get part of the way and have to turn back. Too Technical for some of Americas top Mountain Rescue personnel at the time. The solution was to call one of the guys who had climbed it, but he lived on the east coast. So the park service paid the train tickets to bring this guy and his team in from New England. They repeated their climb and repelled the stunt man down. Gabe tells that the stunt man went on to become a well known Hollywood stunt man. Gabe didn't know who he was.

    Anyway, Frank Sanders is the proprietor at Devils Tower Lodge. He's also the main climbing guide and piano player. The boy can play...
    [​IMG]

    If any of you guys are climbers and think you wanna tackle the Tower, Frank is your guy! In addition, he and his staff are some super nice folks.

    That evening a rain storm hit for a short while. Once done, we were treated to this...
    [​IMG]
    #15
    Jayell, RJ44, MapMaster and 12 others like this.
  16. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Day Four.
    Got fed a great breakfast at the lodge. Said my goodbyes to Frank and the crew and headed for Montana...
    [​IMG]

    A new state for me!

    Got as far as hwy 87 west of Lewistown when huge black clouds filled the horizon west and north of me. Lightening started striking in the distance. I booked it for Lewistown and a hotel.

    Tomorrow into Canada...
    #16
    dedad71 and KLRalph like this.
  17. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    Day Five:
    Spent the evening in Fort Macleod Alberta but the internet connection is poor and can't upload pics to photo bucket. Will update tonight hopefully....
    #17
  18. Sfinds

    Sfinds n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Missouri
    Wow!
    #18
  19. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Missouri
    More Day Four....
    I'm backtracking a little...
    So when I started loading up my bike to head into Montana, I see this little guy lounging in the parking lot at Devils Tower Lodge, contemplating what to do with his day, until I so rudely interrupted him by clicking the camera. He then got up and walked off, probably cussing me out for bugging him
    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,365
    Location:
    On your way to everywhere, IA.
    In for this one.
    Looking good.
    #20
    findlj likes this.