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Retired and Riding. Northern US Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by danisOTR, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
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    884
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    7/27/2020 Monday Logan, Utah

    Yesterday was a packed full day. Our hostess, Melanie is a “can’t sit still girl. We started out at one of her usual coffee house haunts while she laid out our options for the day. Decision, canoeing on the Bear Rivers.

    Off to Home Depot to buy tie down straps for the canoe to sit on top of the car. Then back to the house where everyone hurriedly pulled our things together and we loaded the canoe on the roof.

    Onto the estuary where we would launch. Quiet!. We set off with the big guy in the back Patti in the middle and Melanie out front and paddled our way in.

    This is a marshy area. We canoed back under the roadway we had ridden on. Under the overpass there were hundreds of mud starling nests. They made quite a racket as we paddled under them swooping back and forth. Fortunately we were not blessed with a “present” from above.
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    We paddled through the murky water weaving in between the reeds that made up islands. Visibility was very limited and it was easy to find yourself in a a dead end and have to make a U-turn to get back into the channel. There were many species of bird including herons. Carp lie underneath but were impossible to see except for an occasional fin.

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    We paddled around for a bit. It was midday sun so not a lot more to see as far as wildlife so we reversed direction and started to head back. The reeds obscured any views of the shore. We paddled in what we though was the right direction only to realize we didn’t know which direction the bridge we had crossed under was.

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    We did what any adventurers do. We pulled out my phone and opened up Google Maps. With Satellite view we could see we were too far East and had to work our way around the maze reed islands that blocked our view of the bridge.
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    Minutes later we were passing back under the road, again dodging birds and their droppings. Quickly we were back at the ramp and had the canoe out of the water and strapped down on top of the car. Then off to lunch.

    We returned to “Crumb Brothers Bakery” where we had been the day before for breakfast. Limited menu, but there was beer. We all ordered and went to an outside table and waited for our beverages and food. The ladies had “beermossa’s”, orange juice and beer. I ordered a double IP which came in a 24 oz bottle.

    As we ate Melanie contacted her friend Preston and invited him to join us. She asked what he wanted and went to buy it while we waited. She bought me another 24 oz IPA. Oh boy!

    Preston arrived the same time as the beverages and we got to talking. He had heard of our adventure and we regaled him with stories of our trip in Mexico. He told us that he wanted to do what we were and was hoping to do it in a few years. We spoke about motorcycles. Then another IPA shows up in front of me. Really now, OH BOY!

    We ended up heading back up to Melanies’ which was just a few blocks away. I uncovered the bikes so Preston could see. He is interested in Adventure Bikes and I did my best to be neutral and share with him my thoughts about brands, etc.

    Preston had to excuse himself and we headed inside where I took a 3 IPA nap. Oy.

    Late afternoon and Melanie was busy planning our adventure for the evening. She was going to take us to “The Spiral Jetty” which is an Art Instalment on the banks of “The Great Salt Lake”. https://www.diaart.org/visit/visit-our-locations-sites/robert-smithson-spiral-jetty

    We headed south west towards the lake through the scrub land. Twist and turn, twist and turn Google Maps calling out directions, “slight left in ¼ mile.

    It was better than a two hour ride. Along the way is “The Golden Spike National Park”. It is the site where the transcontinental railroad met. There is a lot of information here.

    https://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

    The site is now just replicated as the tracks had ceased being used in the early 1900’s and the original tracks were taken up during World War II so the metal could be used in the war effort.
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    Another item I noted was the telegraph poles that paralleled the track. Probably a replica as well. But there was wire running and a wire that came down a pole that was likely used to go to a telegraph. The wire is just bare copper all the way along.
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    History lesson over we again headed south west. Almost immediately we were on a dirt road that Melanie told us was almost 20 miles long and was the only access to The Jetty.

    We moved along at around 35-40 MPH sending up a dust eddy behind us. Occasionally we could see one blooming out in front of us.

    In around 30 minutes we made it to the parking lot that sits proud of the lake bed by around 30 feet.

    The Jetty stretches out on the dry lake bottom made up of the volcanic rock that surrounds the shore. There were another dozen cars and around 30 people and one annoying drone.
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    Melanie had timed it perfectly and sunset was just about to occur. I scrambled down through the rocks to the lake bed and positioned myself on a rock so I could record the sun dropping through a slight cloud wisp and then below the horizon.
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    The sun set and we walked further out onto the lake bottom. It is damp and in some places there are salt puddles. There are also interesting formations of mud and salt.

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    We stayed until well after dark and watched as the planets and stars started to show themselves. At this point we were all alone. Everyone else had long since left.

    Melanie had packed snacks and drinks and with the mosquitos out in force we retreated to her car and feasted on salami, cheese and watermelon.

    We left the parking lot around 9:30 and began the return track to Logan. 30+ minutes out on the dirt road then the twisting and turning was we headed back North East. We finally arrived back in Logan close to midnight. A full and fun day.


    Thank you Melanie!

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    #81
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  2. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

    Joined:
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    7/28/2020 Tuesday Logan, Utah

    Today we are heading back on the road. Our plan is to do a quick overnight in Dillon Montana at an AirBnB. Wednesday we’ll ride up to Glacier National Park. We’ll probably spend a couple pf days exploring there. After that we will begin our track back east, albeit slowly.

    Yesterday we spend the day in a cage. Melanie graciously loaned us her car so we could take a drive down to Salt Lake City where we were going to meet up with a former co-worker who had relocated from the east coast a few years back.

    As soon as she knew we were heading her way Maria was urging us to visit. There were some fits and starts on dates and times and availability. We ended up deciding to take the 90 minute ride down from Logan and meet up to talk and go to dinner.

    Maria had to work until 4 but we left Logan early. Melanie had told us about a mail order distributor just south of Logan that specializes in camping equipment and clothing. FWIW they seem to be getting ready to go out of business so you might want to check them out. Campsaver.com Patti scored a pair of Chaco sandals for 50% off so it was worth the stop.

    We worked ourselves south and were on Route 15 south. Traffic was nuts and the roadway was under construction with the narrowed lanes shifting side to side.

    Melanie had given us a couple of places to drive up to while we waited on Maria. One was Little Cotton Wood Canyon which climbs easterly out of the Salt Lake Valley. After some false starts with a cranky GPS we found the start of the canyon. From there it was up-up-up. The grade was extremely steep with innumerable curves. But the views were fantastic with granite face walls reaching up on both sides.

    It took us around 20 minutes to make the run up. It would have been a great road on a bike. We stopped for a few minutes and took pictures and admired the view. There is also a ski resort at the end of the drivable surface. Being from the east the scale and the vertical drop was a big difference from what we ski in Vermont.
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    We headed down stopping a couple of times to take pictures. We ended up at Marias’ just as she was finishing off work. We were excitedly greeted by her two fur babies which vied for our attention. She had recently bought a new home and showed us through the all the while bringing us up-to-date on her life since leaving Connecticut. It was a whirlwind of information.


    Maria wanted to take us on a ride up Big Cotton Wood Canyon. We jumped in her truck and partially retraced our route back to the entrance. Up we climbed again. There is a reason one is Little Cotton Wood and the other is Big Cotton Wood. The former is large the latter is massive. Again, being from the east where the climbs up to the ski resorts are steep they pale in comparison to these grades.


    Climb-climb-climb. Twist-turn-twist. All the time Maria is telling us about the area and the various activities that people do here. Mountain Biking. Mountain Climbing. Hiking. Skiing and boarding in the winter. It is an outdoor person’s mecca.


    Near the top Maria switched off onto Guardsman Pass Road. This was steeper and more windy. Up we continued with views switching from in front of us to the side of us. Shear drop offs lay just on the other side of the guard rails. This was steeper and more windy than the roads in the Alps we had been on in 2017.
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    We crested the top and were looking down on Park City Utah. Maria sliced down the mountainside where at the bottom we rolled onto Main Street in Park City. Pretty town. Lots of money. I think a cardboard box rents out for $1000/month.

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    After the ride through town we headed back over another pass into Salt Lake City. Maria wanted to take us to her favorite restaurant up in yet again another valley. Up we climbed again ending up at the Log Haven Restaurant. It is tucked into the woods barely visible from the road. Unfortunately, it was raining and cold so we were forced inside to eat.
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    Bison for me, Salmon for Patti and pepper encrusted filet for Maria. All were paired with a nice wine. Too soon we were done and heading back down the road to Marias’.


    It was late and we quickly said our goodbye’s and were back on the highway heading north to Logan.


    Thank you Maria!

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    #82
  3. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

    Joined:
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    Thank you for the nice and totally unexpected surprise.
    #83
  4. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Our sincere pleasure.
    #84
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  5. Omar

    Omar Muddling thru Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    Really loving ‘traveling’ with you guys. Your descriptions are great. Isn’t it wonderful you have made so many friends and met up ‘old’ ones from back east.
    #85
  6. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Little Cottonwood has 2 resorts. Snowbird and Alta. Both great. Big cottonwood also has 2. Solitude and Brighton. I have skied them all. Enjoy Montana.
    #86
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  7. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    We are in Montana with almost no service. Did Riding To The Sun. Every place we go seems better than the last. Scored a BLM spot right on a river.

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    #87
  8. ssilliman

    ssilliman Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
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    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    What a great trip
    Im looking forward to traveling when I retire.
    The members here are generous always helpful
    ADV is a great group
    #88
  9. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Pictures to hold you over

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    #89
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  10. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    A couple of more.

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    #90
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  11. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    From Dillon Montana. My next written post will go into detail.

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    #91
  12. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Tomorrow we begin our trek back East. We will likely be sticking to the northern states. We have 5 weeks to make it. Any suggestions for routes and places to visit? We may run the coast of the Great Lakes. Thoughts?
    #92
  13. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for the maple syrup. It was a pleasant surprise.
    #93
  14. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Edmonton, Alberta
    Ah, the Logan Pass. As it's relatively close I've done it many times. I especially love it the autumn. The traffic thins; the leaves change and accommodation rates go down.
    #94
  15. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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    Spearfish, SD
    Take the SS Badger from Manitowoc WI to Ludington MI - a step back into time on the last commercial Coal Fired vessel in service in the United States. https://www.ssbadger.com/
    Depart Manitowoc 2:00 PM (CT)*
    Arrive Ludington 7:00 PM (ET)

    US 12 is your friend, but remember the Indian Reservations in SD have Roadblocks to non-Native travelers. Lemon to Mobridge could be problematic. https://goo.gl/maps/LbdV7SHxCkk3Wkxx9
    #95
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  16. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Thanks John. We are in Helena tonight after 3 day at a BLM site near Glacier NP. Showers and laundry are in order.

    We are going to slip back into Yellowstone through the NW entrance and ride through the top and out the NE entrance. Missed the good road earlier so we want to make it up.
    #96
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  17. -clinton-

    -clinton- Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2018
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    398
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Loving the ride. Lots of the same route I took in June. Make sure you hit Beartooth pass and bighorn NP on your way east. Also check out the KOAs if you haven’t. Hot showers, laundry and breakfast.
    #97
  18. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    July 28, 2020 Tuesday Logan Utah to Dillon Montana

    We left Logan, Utah on the 28th. We wanted to make it to Glacier in two days. We opted to go half way to Dillon, Montana. Oddly it turned out exactly half way at 294 miles, which is what the next days mileage ended up.

    Anyway, we jumped on Route 15 North and headed through Idaho. The speed limit is 80 MPH and we were at that speed most of the way. Even though being on the highway is boring compared to the backroads and twisties but at least the scenery was nice.

    Arriving in Dillon, Montana we quickly found the address for our AirBnB. It was upstairs from the Dillon Taphouse. Judd, the owner of both bought the building and businesses in in last year. He changed what was a wine bar to a Tap House. Believe me Dillon is no place for a wine bar.

    It was four o’clock and we weren’t going to be able to get in to our room until five. We took a walk down a few blocks. Dillon looks like it wants to become something. Maybe it just hasn’t made it yet. The streets were deserted and there were few businesses open. We walked up to the main street which was mainly bars, bars disguised as restaurants. All seemed to have casino attached.

    We bellied up to one of the bars to quench our thirsts. The place had a few regulars littered about. The beer was cold so it passed muster as a good place to hold up at until five.

    We cleared out tab and walked the block back to get our key. Judd was behind the bar and passed over the keys. The bikes were parked out front on the street and we grabbed our bags and humped them up the stairs to our room. The vibe was the same as watching an old western with the rooms upstairs from the bar. Each room was named for something around Dillon. As I recall we were in The Dillon Room. It was clean and cheap with the only downside of having to share a bathroom. The later didn’t end up turning into an issue.

    We deposited our stuff and headed back downstairs. We thought it would be the right thing to patronize the bar. I ordered an IPA and Patti a chardonnay and talked with Judd for a while. He told us the back story on how he came to be in Dillon and buying the building and business. He said the AirBnB portion was helping him keep things afloat during the pandemic. The bar business has floundered but he is confident things will improve. So, if you find yourself in Dillon Montana stop in and say high to Judd.

    Judd doesn’t really serve food so we asked for some recommendation. He gave us a couple back on the main street where we had been. He told us before we went there we should stop in to the African Safari/Coffee Shop. Weird, but OK.

    This place alone is worth a visit to Dillon even if you have to go out of your way to get there. It is the US branch of a Safari Company in Africa. It is full of African Art, small gift items and books. Also, there are several Stuffed African Animals on display. One of the women was telling us the story about why each animal was “harvested”. None were taken as trophies. They each were taken because they were doing some type of harm to a village or their own herd. The place was closing shortly so we left to let them gets things buttoned up. Patti wanted to go back the next morning but thankfully they didn’t open until nine and were on our way before then.

    Pictures not previously posted:
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    #98
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  19. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I've stayed in Dillon a couple times and yes, it's no place for a wine bar.
    #99
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  20. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    7/29/2020 Dillon Montana to Columbia Falls Montana


    We were out of Dillon at 9 and on the highway heading north. This was another 294 mile day so we wanted to get as many miles under our tires at speed. It was going to be another hot day too. We were on Route 15 to 90 to 93 and lastly 35 until we arrived at Columbia Falls.


    All camping in Glacier was booked up. I had found some BLM camping along the North Fork of the Flathead River on Route 486. We headed north on 486 and in around 5 miles we were in National Forest. I kept looking for the Campsite that I had seen. We had to stop a couple of times for me to check again on Google Maps and basically it was keep going up the road. After another 5 miles the pavement ended and the road turned to nasty gravel. No GS, No nasty gravel.


    It was already a long day and we were hot and getting a little frustrated. As we sat there trying to regroup a local in a pickup came towards us off the gravel. He asked if we were OK. I asked how far the campground was up the road. He said 8 miles and that mostly enduro motorcycles rode it. He offered to wait for us down the road and show us a couple of options.


    We turned around and met up with us. He first stopped in front of a entrance that he described as an old gravel pit. He said a lot of people camp there. It was weed covered with some shade around the edges. There were campers there so it was an option.


    Then he pointed out an entrance on the opposite side of the road. He said we could try it but it was normally packed. I was under the impression it was a formal campground. He then described another location that was back a few miles off a side road that was grassy and near the river.


    We headed back that way. We found the spot he described but it was clearly posted no overnight camping. There was another road opposite that I tried and quickly turned around. It was another GS road.


    At this point Patti was whipped out so we headed back to the sure thing site. Before we went the whole way I decided to change going into “Glacier Edge” site. It turned out to be BLM and I found a couple of sites right off. I turned around and got Patti. We rode down and quickly claimed the nicest spot we could find. We were 100 feet from the river and we could hear it flowing.


    Tent was pitched and Kermit’s assembled. After a bit I decided to go back the 11 miles to town to get some food, water, ice and adult beverages.
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    I was back in an hour and we settled in for the evening cooled off by the river sipping from our cup sitting in our Kermit’s. There were people fly fishing. It was also a spot where people floating on the river pulled in and took their boats out. This seems to be a big sport up in the area.

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    As the temperature cooled off we headed back to our site and were into the tent for the evening.
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