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Thread: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

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    Mostly Harmless Hoovooloo's Avatar
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    Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    For all you guys that have traversed the Northern Rockies, what route do you recommend as the most scenic and inspiring? I'm starting a plan for Summer 2019 to go from Chicago to the Olympic Peninsula and back. I'll have 16 days to do it and want to see the scenery. There will be two of us on Harleys. I would like to see Glacier NP but don't know which direction would be best. Thoughts? Suggestions? Trip logs? I have the Butler maps, but would like to hear from the guys who have done the ride. You know, stop here for Ms. Mables sweet tea...

    ...jeff
    2017 Triumph Trophy SE

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    just another Saddle Tramp Dusty Boots's Avatar
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    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    You don't mention a time period, but 16 days won't leave you much time to see much in the way of the scenery, as you'll spend most of your time riding the Interstates in order to meet your time frame!!!!

    Because of this time of year, Google Maps won't allow routing through certain areas due to roads being closed for winter. Some areas (like Glacier NP's GTTSR) don't open up until mid June/early July, depending on this year's snowpack level, so that's something to keep in mind. (Check Glacier NP's website for details)

    I'd suggest something along these routes to get you out there and back. Keep in mind, you won't have much time to dawdle!!

    Take this one out to the Olympic Pen if you haven't been through the Black Hills/Bighorns/Chief Joseph/Beartooth Pass/Lolo Pass and Mount Rainier areas before. - https://goo.gl/maps/8udd7MMHdgw
    When heading over the Bighorns along 14A, stop in at the Bear Lodge at Burgess Junction for a glass of some of the coldest draft beer I've ever had and a bite to eat. Great rustic lodge!

    For on the way back, WA SR 20 is my favorite way to cut across WA. Pick it up at the ferry dock in Port Townsend and follow it over to Glacier. I prefer to do Glacier's Going-To-The-Sun Road west to east, but if you have time, do it in both directions in the same day.

    I'd suggest this route for the way home. - https://goo.gl/maps/V4WwFxtXtv72

    If this is your first ride out to the PNW coast, plan on returning!
    Ken - 1992 Honda GL1500 Aspencade 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour
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    "It's never too early to plan and never too late to go!" - Dusty
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  3. #3

    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    If you can spread the time I would suggest Mt Rushmore, Devils Tower, Yellowstone and The Chief Joseph Trail.

    Yellowstone may be the slowest because of single lane and all the tour busses.

    Get a set of deer whistles! Can’t scientifically prove they work because the deer can’t be trained to respond the same way every time. I’ve seen them work on my bike and $6 at Wal-Mart is a cheap investment!

    Fill

    ’94 GL 1500 SE Extras: SIRUS Satellite Radio, Garmin GPS, SADDLEMAN Road Sofa and Touring Luggage, Touring Floodlights, Multiple Deer Whistles.
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  4. #4

    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    On US2 in eastern Montana Look at Sleeping Buffalo hot springs. I use US2 and never pass it by. New owned and done correctly. Cabins, campgrounds. It's been justifiably referred to as the mosquito capital of the world. No kidding, set up during the day or get a room. Been there done that.
    KISS

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    Mostly Harmless
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    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    Thanks guys for the great suggestions. As far as timeframe, I was thinking June 2019, but may need to wait until later in the summer. What is early Sept. like up there? Is it still warm enough or would Aug. be better?

    Fill... I had been to most of those places when I was a kid, but that was 40+ yrs ago. They might be worth visiting again. I know the time frame is short for that long of a trip, but that is all I can get off from work in one shot. The other factor pushing the trip is that my Dad will be 81 by then and this will probably be his last long ride. His stamina and energy are fading. So, we plan and if all goes well, we ride.

    ...jeff

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    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    Just my opinion but I believe September is a much better month for the trip you're planning. It will still be warm without being too hot. As mentioned previously some roads could still be closed in June. The parks will be more crowded ( the kids are out of school ). Some will disagree with me but I've had better luck with rain in September compared to June. Sounds like a great father and son trip. Hope he's still up to it.

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    just another Saddle Tramp Dusty Boots's Avatar
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    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    I agree .... late Aug/early Sept offers less crowds, more comfortable riding/sleeping temps, all parks/roads are open and usually drier weather, than June.
    The only minor downside to some for that time of year, is later sunrise and earlier sunset times.

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    Mostly Harmless
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    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    I'm glad I asked about the route here on motocampers. You all, obviously, have a lot of knowledge that is appreciated. I have started plotting out the route and it looks like it's going to be a fantastic ride. Getting from Chicago to the Rockies, and back, will be a few long days, but the rest of the trip should be pretty spectacular. There is a lot of planning and prep work to be done, but I've got the time to do it right and make changes as needed.

    ...jeff

  9. #9

    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    Don't recall if you mentioned camping or moteling. Once you have your routes picked out folks might have some suggestions for campgrounds, etc. Also I didn't see you say if you want to stay off Interstates. I have family in WA & ID so have been up that way last couple summers, going different routes each time. Yea the worst part for us in the east is crossing the plains over and back.

    Couple general suggestions.
    Try and avoid National Parks on the weekend, helps to cut down on traffic. I think traffic coming down thru Tetons last year (it was a Sun) was worse than metro Atlanta during rush hour.

    Have some alternative routes picked out, in particular in the northwest and then when its time to head out check out the NFS forest fire website and adjust routes accordingly. A lot of fires out west in recent years. Two years ago I had to route around a large fire in northern ID (it burned for several months). Last year the fires in WA and MT were terrible. Smoke from large fires up in Canada was also blowing down across WA making for some smoke filled days. Couldn't really see much of Northern Cascades because of smoke. A large fire on Lolo Peak made for a smoky ride over Lolo Pass but at least the road was open so we didn't have to take another route.

    Two years ago I was up in the UP of MI and picked up US2 all it the way across US to Glacier. US2 across ND was one of the best roads I've ever driven. Set cruise to 70, picked up a radio station out of Manitoba and sailed across the state. When going to Glacier if you are coming in from East go thru Browning toward St Mary on US 89 and take state road 49 (its a beautiful drive) down to East Glacier village then pick up US2 and go around Glacier on the south side and go into Glacier at west entrance, do the sun road west to east and back then head on west on US2 thru Kalispell toward Libby, if camping there is free camping at Libby dam about 10 min outside Libby.

    Last year we took I90 across SD, did the Badlands, Blackhills, We also ended up on US12 across MT part of the way, could make better time on I90 but US12 was a nice highway but several miles of highway construction between Townsend and Helena but there was warning signage for motorcycles many miles prior to consider alternate route (we took my truck last year)

    Planning a trip is half the fun. There are so many different ways to go.
    We planned our trip last year to make it to the N. Cascades campout in early August and did Yellowstone/Tetons down thru southern rockies (CO, UT,etc) on the way back to GA

    and btw Dusty is the man when it comes to routes and places to camp.
    Meach and Maggie
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  10. #10
    Mostly Harmless
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    Re: Over the hills and through the woods... the 2, the 12 or the 20?

    Hi guys,

    The planning for our trip continues. We've changed some of the aspects of the trip. First off, we decided to drive the MinnieWinnie and pull a trailer with the bikes. This way, we can use the rv as a base camp and the long days won't take as big a toll on Dad. We'll have a built in place to stay and spent quality time riding. Another advantage is that should we have any problems, we have a support vehicle. On a side note, I traded my 2013 Ultra Limited for a 2017 Triumph Trophy.

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