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Old 07-09-2010, 03:13 PM   #1
goldenrev OP
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All The Way Around

I am less then 24 hours from starting my next trip… “All the Way Around” (the Great Lakes that is) and wanted to get this ride report stated. I will be leaving Northern California early in the Morning tomorrow 7/10 to state on a 9,000 trip across the US, around the Great Lakes, then back west across Canada. My plan is to only use back roads for the entire trip unless there really is no other way to go from one place to another.

My bike is a 2009 BMW GSA


I will be traveling through Oregon to visit Crater Lake and then up along the Columba Gorge to Washington to visit Mt. St. Helens and then over to Montana and Glacier National Park, then down to Wyoming to visit Yellowstone & the Tetons. From there I will start across the Great Plains and then on to Milwaukee & Chicago. From Chicago I am planning on making my way over to Toronto and then head west around the Great Lakes and across Canada stopping at many National & Provincial parks over to Banff & Jasper National Parks. From there I will be traveling west, to Prince George then over to Hyder, Alaska. I will then travel by ferry from Prince George over to Vancouver Island and then head south to return home. It looks I will be back home the first week in September.

Here is a general map of the route:


For the first part of the trip, as far as Yellowstone & the Tetons, my wife Leslie will be joining me on her new (to her) 2005 BMW GS.


Her cousin Martin will also be joining me for that portion of the trip. Martin’s Brother Ralph and his wife Cindy who live on the east coast are flying into Jackson Hole and renting a Gold Wing and will be joining us in Missoula MT for the loop through Glacier, Yellowstone & Tetons National Park before flying back out of Jackson Hole. From the Tetons Leslie & Martin will be returning back to Northern California and I will be heading out alone for the rest of the trip.

Stay tuned!
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Old 07-09-2010, 10:03 PM   #2
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Update

Martin arrived around 7:30 this evening from the Bay Area. He was a bit warm from the drive in 105 degree heart on Interstate 5 but says it really was not too bad. He told us he has already had his first “adventure.” He tells us about feeling something behind him shift in his luggage & seeing his tent bouncing down the highway behind him in the rear view mirror. The tent was recovered and all is well.






That is it for now, time to finish my final packing and get some sleep. I not sure when I will have internet access again, but I will keep a journal and catch you up on the trip as soon as I can.
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:44 PM   #3
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Don't forget to turn ON your SPOT, and Tracking as well. It's a l o t o f m i l e s from where you are and around the Great Lakes. Good luck...
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:28 AM   #4
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Days 1 to 3

SATURDAY JULY 10 TO TUESDAY JULY 13

Sorry about the delay in posting an up date… I am writing this from a hotel in Cheney WA, near Spokane, and it is the first time I have had wifi access. This update will be briefer then I would like to take time to post, but we have a 400 mile day ahead of us and want to get on the road at a around 7:30 to meet up with Martin’s brother & wife in Missoula Montana, then on up to Glacier National park.

DAY 1 Redding, CA to La Pine State Park near Bend Oregon
We` started out around 7:30 and had a fantastic ride on highway 299 through Burney and MacArthur and then headed up to the south entrance to Lava Beds National Park. The road into the park was in very bad shape (as you can see from the sign)… it would have been better if had just been gravel.





We came across a couple on a Goldwing that had dropped their bike trying to turn around. They were not hurt and neither was the bike, we gave them a hand and they headed back out to go around to the north entrance, we continued on into and through the park.



We camped at La Pine State camp, near Bend Oregon



Martin has a very cool Apple I Pad that he is using to write his blog about the trip



Day 2 La Pine to Mt. St. Helens
We got a nice early start to go into Bend and meet some folks that Martin knew for breakfast. It turns out that Martin sold his Triumph Tiger just last month to a guy in……… Bend! So we meet him and his wife who also rides and they took us on some of the most amazing back roads through Sisters OR and up by Mt. Hood (sorry no photos… too busy riding) As we passed by Mt. Hood there were the most amazing cloud formations.



We went on up to Hood River WA, crossed the Columbia River and stated west along the Columbia River Gorge. It was a bit windy to say the least. The area of the river around Hood River is famous for the strong winds that folks us to kit surf. Amazing!



We continued along the gorge through a series of tunnels which were very cool and then turned north and started up along the east side of Mt. St. Helens.



The roads was in pretty good shape and went through some of the most beautiful forest I have seen, very very lush and green. We camped at Iron creek near Randle WA and almost had the place to ourselves





Day 3 Mt. St. Helens to Spokane
After a great evening around the camp fire we got a good nights sleep. In the morning we packed up and headed out.



We enjoyed a wonderful morning ride through the Washington country side.



We took a little detour into Mt. Rainer National Park, but the road through the park was socked in not too far past the visitors’ center, so we headed back out and continued east. Along the way we stopped to see a pretty amazing waterfall



Once you leave the area near Mt. Rainer the landscape completely changes from Mountains to rolling highs… quite a contrast. We stopped for lunch in Yakama at “Mels Dinner.”



After lunch we continued east on some back roads. Later in the afternoon the winds began to really pick up and got stronger and stronger. Martin & I have both traveled across Nevada and agreed that Washington has winds a string as those experienced in Nevada… I had no idea! We stopped at a rest area and found some fire crews stationed there in case anything started up in the area. They told us that they had heard that there were some road closures along our route due to such low visibility because of a combination of blowing dust as well as significant smoke from some large fires upwind from us. We decided to detour from our planned route and get up to Interstate 90 so we could get have some options to find a hotel if the winds became too much for us. We had a heck of a ride along a stretch of road along the Columbia River getting to the interstate. No question, the worst wind I have ever experienced, we had to slow to 30 miles an hour at times, but we made it safely and once we got on the highway the wind was mostly behind us and so not too bad. We made the decision to go as far as Spokane….. and here we are.
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goldenrev screwed with this post 07-24-2010 at 08:57 AM
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:32 AM   #5
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That's quite the tour.. are you sure you want to come around Toronto way? I'd bypass it for sure.. traffic here is horrible.

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Old 07-13-2010, 11:20 AM   #6
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Heard about the 'breeze' the other day. How about the grated bridge across the Columbia? YIKES!
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:34 AM   #7
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Don't miss this road. I repeat don't miss this road.


View Larger Map

You don't have to go all the way to East Glacier, you could continue on to Browning via 89.

Good luck on your trip.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:24 PM   #8
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Traffic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
That's quite the tour.. are you sure you want to come around Toronto way? I'd bypass it for sure.. traffic here is horrible.

Hmmmm. The good news & the bad news I suppose, is that I am combining "business with pleasure" and I have a commitment I already made in Toronto. Thanks for the heads up...
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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THAT Bridge!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wachs
Heard about the 'breeze' the other day. How about the grated bridge across the Columbia? YIKES!
Yea that bridge is a white knuckler for sure! My wife Leslie said she does not think she took a breath until across! She is new to her GS, so she is on an accelerated learning curve.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:36 PM   #10
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Road to Browning

Quote:
Originally Posted by giantjoe
Don't miss this road. I repeat don't miss this road.


View Larger Map

You don't have to go all the way to East Glacier, you could continue on to Browning via 89.

Good luck on your trip.
We did not get to see your post until after we left Glacier Park, but we did just as you suggested. I am replying to your post from Cut Bank. We did very much enjoy the road after we got past a couple of VERY slow moving cars and then we just about had the road to ourselves. It is a really cool change of itinerary.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:50 PM   #11
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Day 4 Spokane to Glacier Park

Our goal for today is to meet up with Martin’s brother Ralph & his wife and to make our way to Glacier Park to camp for the night. Unfortunately it looks like a lot of interstate for the first part of the day.



The folks at the Holiday Inn Express in Cheney WA were very gracious and let us park our bikes right out front. If you are ever in the Spokane area and want to stay somewhere near but not in the city check out this vey nice little town & hotel.

The ride on the interstate was surprisingly nice. Given how beautiful countryside is & the perfect weather I really enjoyed the morning. We took a coffee break as we crossed the state line and entered Idaho in Pinehurst.



We found a little espresso stand with a great barista made us some great drinks and gave us the local “low down.” It was a nice personal connection in a small town that you pass through. This is the key ingredient in a long road trip.



Part of what was so cool was that she told us of a back road detour that we could go on for few miles then get back on the interstate. We headed off to Smelterville & Kellogg.







The short trip through these two towns was a beautiful experience of briefly touching what is so right & good about who we are as people & communities.

We got back on the road & made our way to Kalispell by way of Hwy 135 & 200 through the Flathead Indian Reservation. This was some of the most remarkable scenery so far.







About midway to Kalispell we ran into road construction. It was a 10 mile stretch of road that we had to go through with a pilot car. As we waited for our turn to go the flagger told us to be careful as several bikes had gone down in the last few days in the gravel detours where they were working.



We were a little anxious about what to expect after hearing that but it turned out to be no big deal… after all we were on GSs… There was only about a mile or 2 of gravel that we had to go through, but they did do us the favor of wetting it down WELL to keep the dust down. The gravel was no big deal but the wet surface added an interesting dimension.

We made it safe & sound to Kalispell Mt and met up with the rest of the crew and made our way to Glacier Park to camp for the night.






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Old 07-15-2010, 07:20 AM   #12
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Day 5 Glacier Park to Cut Bank

The weather is perfect for a ride on the “Going to the Sun Road” We broke camp and headed out. Photos do not do justice to the incredible views along the road, but just to give you a sense here are a few:






There are two large construction zones this summer, one on the east side of the visitors center on the top and one on the west side. The crews do a great job of trying to keep the traffic moving, just a 10-15 minute wait each time. Not a bad place to sit for a while!



The constructions zones do present an interesting challenge for bikers. There are sections of gravel that also have large potholes & loose rocks and are on a fair incline or descent. As you start to go through the construction zone following the pilot car all of a sudden traffic stops as the pilot car halts to allow some piece of construction equipment to come out into the travel lane. This makes for some interesting “where am I going to put my feet” calculations on the tall GSs.

We made it to the top and stopped at the visitor’s center for a break, then continued east.



While we were waiting for our turn to go through the construction zone on the east side a group of Harley riders went by, next thing you know one of them took a spill on a section of gravel. It was low speed and it looked like the rider & bike were fine, but NO FUN especially with about 30 or 40 cars right behind you!



We left the park and continued east through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation on Hwy 89. It was a great road starting with some nice curves as you come out of the mountains then turning straight as you enter the plains.





It was pretty windy but fortunately it was mostly at our back. Judging from the size of this wind farm it is windy a lot around here.



We got to Cutbank & had dinner at the Hwy 2 Cafe & Grill



It was a very friendly place. We ordered our meal and when the waitress gave the order to the cook we could hear them talking. The cook said to the waitress that she was out of vegetables and that the waitress should run to the store… the waitress was not to keen on the idea and suggested that they should drop the price of the meal. The cook/owner was not to keen on that idea. Then the cook said that she thought that they should offer us ice cream instead of vegetables. Leslie was very keen on that idea and chimed in that that was a great idea if they could make them ice cream Sundays. The vegetable negotiations were complete and the meal was served. It was my first “huckleberry ice cream Sunday” and it was very good.
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:05 PM   #13
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Keep the report coming- it's giving me flash backs. I've done most of your route (give or take) in one vehicle or another. Lived in Sisters, Bend, Hood River for a summer...

The north shore of Superior is amazing. If you get the chance, there are some nice campsites (REALLY nice) in Lake Superior Prov Park. Register at the visitors center for back country camping and then camp at one of the 6 sites at the end Gargantua Rd. Lakefront .
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:03 PM   #14
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Day 6 Cut Bank to Helena MT

Sorry for the delay… first wifi in days…

We started out the day with a visit to the Cut Bank airport, which is just outside town. Ralph & Martin’s father was stationed here to complete advanced bomber training during WWII. Today it is a small municipal airport with a small museum dedicated to the role it played in WWII.



We spent a couple of hours talking to the folks who ran the museum and touring various parts of the airport that were there during WWII.



Around 12:30 headed south with the goal of spending the night in Helena MT where I have a friend who has offered us lodging. Along the way we stopped at a historical marker. It was the only place & time where Lewis & Clark had a confrontation with the Native Americans, the Black Feet tribe in this case, where the struggle resulted in a death.

clark">

Later in the day we stopped in Choteau, near some of the locations where dinosaur bones have been discovered. We did not find any bones ….. but they have really good ice cream here!



We arrived in Helena to visit & stay with my friend Mark who told us about his passion for dog sledding. He has completed a 350 miles (in two days) race two times now. The dogs are very different then household pets that most of us are used to. They are very much a “pack” with a strict hierarchy.





Here is a picture of the truck Mark uses to transport the dogs when he races.

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Old 07-18-2010, 08:34 PM   #15
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Day 7 Helena MT to Yellowstone

We left Helena for a full days ride to Yellowstone NP…. But wait!

First a good breakfast to get us started. We saw this interesting little place, the Red Roof Café, as we were waiting to turn left at an intersection, we we headed in



This was a neat local place… great food and very reasonable prices… and if you are in ther mood just down the road is:



We wanted to take as many back roads as possible on our way to Yellowstone, so we looked at the map and made our plan. Ralph, Cindy & Martin opted for the interstate, so Leslie & I were on our own. One of our back roads turned into 10 miles of construction.

Sometimes in Montana even when you are on the road you are off road!!



The road was really not too bad, but there was no traffic control, pilot car etc. >>> how refreshing >>> you are responsible for driving safely. No there’s a concept, not sure if it will catch on.



Several miles into the construction we came across this church, pretty cool little church out bu itself:



We finally got into Bozeman and at a stop light agreed that we needed some coffee. At the next stop light Leslie asked a couple of guys in a car next to us where we could get some good espresso and the said “The Mud Hut” had the best in town:



They were right… great coffee and very friendly people:



We continued on back roads and came across:

A cool nest on top of a pool



I saw a nice section of dirt/gravel road that would get bus down near Yellowstone so we turned off the road and… had to wait for a VERY LONG train to go by



The dirt/gravel road was in great shape. This was Leslie’s first real GS off ride with a fully loaded bike. The road was about 20 miles and went through a gorgeous valley. Here are a few photos:











This road was one of the highlights of our trip so far. Leslie was elated and really enjoyed b eing “off the beaten track.”

We got back on the paved road and pretty soon we made it to Yellowstone NP



We stayed over night at Roosevelt Lodge in a cabin:

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