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Old 09-13-2014, 09:02 AM   #1
lakecntyrider OP
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Beneath the Sacred Mountain - A Trip to the Rockies

I was finally able to carve out some time for another ride with my Dad. For the past couple of years, I wasn't able to find time for a ride, so I was really looking forward to one this year. Hard to top our last trip to Alaska, but this one still had the promise of being a terrific trip.

Once again, time was not on my side for the places I wanted to visit, but I tried to keep the riding to about 300 miles a day. That was a little more than I planned for on previous trips, but on past trips, that seemed to be about the average mileage we would do in a day.

This year, we would be starting from my Dad's house in southern Oregon and head east to the Grand Teton National Park before we headed north to Yellowstone and Glacier parks. From there, we would cross the boarder, head towards Banff before riding southwest through Washington and Oregon back to Grants Pass.



I had considered getting a new KTM 1190 or a GS for this trip, but my current 2007 KTM 990 Adventure has a great setup, so I decided to wait.


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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-13-2014, 01:39 PM   #2
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Day 1

The first day was going to be a long one. I would leave the San Francisco Bay Area at 4 a.m. and tow my motorcycle to my Dad's house in Grants Pass, Oregon. After close to 8 hours, I arrived at Grants Pass, took a short break, and then began getting ready for the ride. We had about half a day left, so plenty of time to begin heading east. Finally, ready to go.



We started to head east towards Silver Lake in the high desert of Central Oregon. It was a hot day, and some fire smoke was blowing in from Northern California to obscure views, but it was great to finally get on the road. We arrived in Silver Lake and rested before heading to Christmas Valley.



Things slow down quickly in the back country. After battling traffic through the Bay Area, a welcome change. We make our way through Christmas Valley. A lot of smoke, as you can see in the following shots.





A number of long straight-aways in the high desert. Things are beginning to slow down.



I'm not too familiar with this area, but as you're on these roads, you'll see people in RV's sitting in the middle of nowhere. Not sure what they are doing, but there is nothing within miles of some of them. Seemed strange to me.

Two bikes ready for the trip to Burns.



We were doing some big miles - more than I anticipated. We finally headed to Burns, but since we weren't sure how far we would go, we didn't have accommodations reserved on a Saturday night. As we eventually found out, there were no hotels available, and even the local RV campground didn't have room for a couple of tents. After some work on the iPhone, we located an RV Park about 20 miles out of town at Malheur Lake. They told us they had room, so off we went.

When we arrived, we expected to be putting up our tents in the dark, but a family in the campground decided not to use the Yurt they reserved. They offered it to us at no charge. A picture of it in the daylight the next morning.



Inside, there was the main bed.



... and a bunk bed.



Neither of us wanted to contort ourselves into the main bed, so I took the top bunk. It was a long day, and time to finally get some sleep after some serious miles.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-13-2014, 03:54 PM   #3
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Nice RR's. have you done HWY 20 across the North Cascades yet? Its a must see, and ride for motorcycles.
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longrides1 View Post
Nice RR's. have you done HWY 20 across the North Cascades yet? Its a must see, and ride for motorcycles.
Thanks. Yes, I've seen pictures. Definitely a road I need to checkout.
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11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:46 AM   #5
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Day 2

We traveled about 370 miles on day 1. I didn't expect such a long trek, but it was good to get this far east on the first leg. Next morning, a beautiful sky.



Still going through eastern Oregon. Some great views, but fire smoke was still keeping things a little hazy.



Well rested and ready to go.



Not a lot of interesting pictures during this part of the ride. Hot, long stretches, and more freeways than I like, but it was the most direct route to Idaho. After getting out of Boise, we rested by the water before going up Highway 21.





With the bad drought in California this year, nice to see all of the water and boating activities. Really missed that this summer.

The ride up Highway 21 is a great motorcycle ride. I highly recommend it to anyone going through this part of the country. The following is the first video I've done for a ride report. I'm new at this, but it does capture some of the feeling riding through this stretch.



We found a nice campground by the river, and given the big miles and the heat, we decided to stop early and relax. Our tents were about 20 feet away from here.





Next up, Grand Teton National Park.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-21-2014, 11:12 AM   #6
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Day 3

Nice and cool in the morning. A welcome change from the heat of the previous days. As we continued towards Stanley, more incredible views.





I'm going to have to come back some day to go fishing on these streams.



We drive along the valley and start up the mountain again. This picture doesn't begin to capture the wonderful views.



As we continue on, we start feeling a few drops, which was quite a change from the previous days of 100F degree heat. The drops turned into a deluge. It finally let up a little when we reached Craters of the Moon National Monument.



Amazing how these lava fields go on and on.



We kept a good pace, even with the heavy rainfall. Not a lot of pictures with all of the wet weather. It rained all the way into Jackson. We were hoping to get a hotel to dry off, but everything was booked. We decided to go into Grand Teton National Park and get a campground. Luckily, some were still available.

We came in through the south entrance by Jackson. The dirt roads past the entrance were a muddy mess with tight passing between cars stopping to take pictures of Moose along the side of the road. As we came into the Gros Ventre campground, the rains letup. It was nice that we wouldn't have to battle the elements as we setup camp. Spectacular views at the campsite.



Looking back at Jackson Hole.



Not long after we turned in for the night, the rain came down hard again. It was comforting being dry in the tent, but I was hoping it would let up as we worked our way north through Yellowstone the next day.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-21-2014, 06:12 PM   #7
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Good stuff! Keep it coming!

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Old 09-22-2014, 11:15 PM   #8
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Day 4

After a rainy night, we woke-up to a dry morning. Like the night before, the rain broke just in time for us to take care of camp. A great view of the mountains with the morning sun, but I was only able to capture it with the iPhone camera before the clouds set in over the peaks.



On the road again. As you can see the clouds set in over the peaks. A little disappointing, but still, a beautiful drive along the mountains.



I would have loved a sunny day, but at the same time, clouds and rain bring their own character to the scenery. Nice pictures along the lake.





A number of Harley riders were riding in the park from Sturgis. Talked to a couple here at the lake. After doing a few of these trips, one of the things I really enjoy is talking to riders from all types of backgrounds and interests. These lake views were right along the road.



Made our way to Yellowstone. I really loved the gorges on this side of the park. The picture doesn't capture the depth, but still beautiful.



On the other side of the gorge was a bear walking on the steep grade. Not sure if I enjoyed that more, or the excitement of the kids standing next to me who probably haven't seen a bear in the wild before.

Yellowstone is packed with tourists. I certainly understand why - it's a beautiful park, but I didn't really have the energy to fight the crowds for pictures. That, coupled with the rain and clouds, meant I didn't take too many pictures in the park. Looking at how few I took, I kind of regret it now, but I remember seeing the turnouts with cars stacked by different sites, and just felt that enjoying the sites from the road would be more enjoyable. I do wish I had one or two of the meadows and streams. They were beautiful.

As you come out of the mountains, particularly as cool as it was, you see the geyser steam over the trees. Very cool. We did turn into Old Faithful. Had to do it, since we were there, but when we drove in, it was like stadium parking. It's that crowded.



You can see the Sturgis bikes in the parking lot. Here is a shot of Old Faithful before it went off.



It was scheduled to go off in another hour, and it was sprinkling, so we decided to continue on. Not sure it was worth the wait and the crowds. Coming out of Yellowstone was a great stream with sheer granite cliffs, but the low clouds hid quite a bit from us. I'm sure on a sunny day, it would have been spectacular.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-23-2014, 11:14 PM   #9
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Day 4 (cont.)

After leaving Yellowstone, we continued along the Gallatin River. A number of fly fisherman along the way.



After quite a bit of rain, the weather started to clear up.



Not long after this, it actually started to get very warm again. The weather swung like this throughout the whole trip.

Some more pictures along the Gallatin River.





Our choice was to stop here, and it was tempting, but with it only being 3:00, we pressed on. A lot of long, hot stretches on this part of the ride. We took a couple of diversions recommended by Butler Motorcycle Maps. The first one took us around Bozeman on Churchill Road, and the second sent us through the mountains on highway 279. Great diversions, particularly highway 279.

Highly recommend these maps when planning a ride. I'm not sure I would have discovered some of these roads without them (www.butlermaps.com).

After you come out of the mountains on 279, you get back into the valley. It was getting late, and we really needed to find a place to stay. We couldn't be choosy at this point, so we decided to camp behind a hotel at a pretty primitive RV park in Augusta. Not the mountains, but the showers were clean, and it was a place to crash after a lot of miles.



A little repair needed, as the bottom of my Dad's boot was coming apart. A little glue, some bungee cord, and we would be good to go the next day.



Long day, and a lot of miles. Next up would be Glacier National Park.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-28-2014, 03:14 PM   #10
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Day 5

Began the morning having to take a 30 mile detour around highway 287. The bridge directly to 89 was closed due to some maintenance. Highway 89 is a long ride through flatlands into Glacier. Knowing that, I had the music cranked-up on my Sena. Old school for this stretch - Van Morrison, Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young - all made for a nice morning ride into the park.

Finally made it into East Glacier, just outside the park, and began riding up Looking Glass Road. Nice little stretch into the park. Here's a shot from the road above Lower Two Medicine Lake.



Looking towards the park. A little hazy with the high sun, but terrific views nonetheless.



Inside the park, quite a bit of road construction on the east side, but every stop is filled with great views.





I was in Glacier a few years ago, but I didn't want to battle traffic and people, so just rode-up the dirt road on the west side of the park. This was my first time on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. We have some great parks in the US, but after this trip, this is my favorite.





You can see the road on the right cut into the mountain. You feel like you're suspended above the valley as you drive through the park.





The scale of the park can't be captured in pictures, particularly this section, but here is my attempt.





As you come out of the mountanins, you run along a terrific creek along the road.





I'm going to have to come back and do some hiking. Going through on a motorcycle is a nice way of experiencing the park, but I've heard that just behind the road are some great trails for hiking. Finally, here is a video through this stretch from my GoPro.



I originally had us riding up the dirt road on the west side to Polebridge. This is the road I went on a few years ago, but it was getting late, and it was going to take some time to ride that route and find a campground. We decided to skip this part and camp outside the west entrance.



... and being this close to civilization, I was able to find some refreshments to help finish off the day.



This was one of the best days I've ever had riding. Good weather, spectacular country, and plenty of curvy roads along the way. The next day would have us continuing north, as we made our way towards Banff.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-29-2014, 11:24 PM   #11
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Day 6

Hard to top the day we had at Glacier, but still looking forward to the ride towards Banff. Modest welcome into Canada at the Roosville border.



The big mountains coming into view at a rest stop across the border.



The high sun makes it difficult to capture the beautiful views along the way.





Entered Kootenay National Park. Big country.





My Dad was able to get a rare picture of me riding.



Great riding with big mountains and the Kootenay river along the highway. We stopped at a rest area along the river.



Across the highway was a campground we considered staying at, but we were a little concerned about bears, so we decided to keep going.



As we continued on, we stumbled on Storm Mountain Lodge in Banff National Park. They had a cabin available, so we decided to take a break from camping for an evening.





Great lobby.



Nice change of pace to have such a nice meal and a glass of wine.



... and unbelievable views outside the lodge, particularly at this time of the evening.







I was really looking forward to riding through Banff the next day, but as we would find out, the great weather was short-lived.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 09-30-2014, 10:52 AM   #12
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Enjoying your ride report. Would like to do a very similar trip in the not too distant future. More, please.
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:36 AM   #13
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Day 7

The next morning was overcast, and over the horizon we could see some dark clouds forming. Not long after we left the lodge, the rain started - not a light rain, but an all-out deluge with thunder and lightning cracking over our heads. Pretty unnerving.

We drove into Lake Louise, but the rain was still coming down very hard. I was looking forward to seeing the lake, but the rain made things pretty miserable, so we decided to forego walking down to the shore. We drove by the hotel, took a picture, and decided to keep going to see if could get to some better weather.



The rain was relentless. All you could see were shadows of the mountains surrounding the highway. It wasn't until we reached Canada's Glacier National Park that it slowed down. We pulled off the road for a break when the weather started letting-up.



We stopped at another rest stop down the road.



It was at this rest stop that we met a couple riding two-up from Ontario (if I remember correctly). The lady jumped off the bike, giddy with excitement. It was her first ride and the rain couldn't spoil it for her. She couldn't believe how beautiful the drive was, even with the bad weather. I was a little disappointed that it rained like it did, as it's not often you can get to places like this, but after talking to her, she reminded me that it's all how you look at it. Her enthusiasm was infectious. One of those little moments that will stay with me on this trip ... and she probably doesn't even know it.

We continued on through light rain in Glacier. At another rest stop along the way.





Views in every direction.



In the bad weather, surprising to see so many ski boats, but not too far down the road were huge lakes and warm weather.



Another lake, as we drive towards the US border.





Eventually, we dropped into the Okanagan valley and decided to stop, as it was getting late. We found an RV park by Osoyoos Lake. It wasn't ideal, as the sites were really packed in. My Dad's tent spike was in the adjacent campsite - that's how packed they were. Nice view of the lake though.



Too bad we couldn't camp closer to the shore.



Last day in Canada. We would begin working our way through the Cascades next.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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Old 10-01-2014, 01:39 AM   #14
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Awesome adventure and great bonding with your dad. My group are planning to visit Yellowstone and Glacier parks this coming month and we're all excited for that. BTW great photographs.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:37 PM   #15
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Day 8

Early the next morning, waterskiing boats were on the lake early before the winds came-up. Not long after, we were back on the road. Nice morning riding along highway 3 to the Nighthawk border crossing. However, when we got there, it wasn't open yet.



We decided to ride back to Osoyoos and cross there. After crossing into the US, we ran parallel to the border and arrived directly on the other side of the Nighthawk border - about a 30 mile diversion. Nice drive on the US side though. Found a couple of places to camp that would have been better than where we stayed. Would have been nice to camp next to this lake.



We continued down highway 97, but the smoke started to settle in again. A lot of fires on this trip.



After some hot and smokey riding, we eventually made it back into the mountains and eventually hooked-up with highway 12. Nice lake along the way.





And a great view of Mt. Rainier.



We eventually made our way to NF-25, one of my favorite parts of the entire ride. Basically, it was 40 miles of twisties outside of Mt. St. Helens. It's about as close to perfect riding as you can ask for. Absolutely fantastic. Here is a GoPro video to capture some of it.



It was getting late, so we decided to camp on the Columbia River. Nice evening shots of the river.





Enjoyed the campground ...



... except for the trains running all night. The train ran under the following bridge, which was only about 50 yards away from the campground.



Trains running through the night couldn't spoil such a great day of riding. That last part through the forestry road was special.
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Ride Reports:
09 RR: Oregon
10 RR: Glacier National Park
11 RR: Alaska
14 RR: Rockies

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