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I have always wanted to ride Beartooth Pass/hwy, Going to the Sun road, Independence Pass and many other roads along and around those area. I was going to go last year but my 4th gen gotten written off and my replacement VFR (My current 5th gen) was untested. Good thing I didn't attempt a long trip with it as I had to replace the Stator and R/R eventually.
After some planning and some modifications to the bike (helibars, windscreen, Sargent seat, luggage racks) I embarked on this quite distant journey from my home in Toronto, Ontario. The plan was about 14 days but due to some Forest fires would end up being 11 days and just under 8,000kms/5,000miles.

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DAY 1: Toronto, Ontario to Ottawa, Illinois

I left "bright" and early at 6am. I packed the VFR the night before. Luggage was a Givi 46L top box and 2x 22L side hard-bags. I strapped a tank bag to the pillion seat with emergency tools, tire repair kit etc etc. Regular Tank bag infront of me with miscellaneous stuff.
Fully loaded the bike would rock backwards onto the rear tire when on the centerstand. I had to remove the top box whenever I wanted to lube the chain. lol

 

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First couple hours the Bike felt a bit "off", laden down with all that luggage but I got used to it. I encountered some light rain when it was time for my first fill up so I put on a rain jacket. I made it to my crossing into the U.S. :unclesam: without delay and without getting very wet.

I decided to take a tiny ferry across to the States from Walpole Island, Ontario to Algonac, Michigan. It was an odd little ferry but real quick and easy. Cost me $5. The deck was wet and I just sat on the bike and held the brake during the crossing.

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On the American side there's a tiny little guard house for the US border. They asked a couple standard questions and I was on my way.

It was on and off rain showers and I changed my route westward to get around the worst of it, but the rain gear stayed on until west of Ann Arbor, MI. The old PR3's did their job too.
I made some stops here and there but I knew (and planned) that Day 1 was gonna be hard slabbing so I kept on.

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Some of the last legs of I-80 was a parking lot and I couldn't figure out how to use the Detour function on my new-to-me GPS. 

I eventually got to my stay for the night. An AirBnB in Ottawa, Il.

Day 1 aprox 978kms (608 miles)

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DAY 2: Ottawa, Illinois to Topeka, Kansas.

 

Day 2 isn't all that exciting. Left the Airbnb at 8am. Cut through Starved Rock State Park just to have a couple twisty roads on the days route.
Stopped in Springfield, Illinois for a coffee cause I grew up loving the Simpsons. Saw a Blackhawk Helicopter fly over. (don't see those in Canada a lot...or ever)
Weather was great all day long.
The VFR was running like a top and was easily getting over 350km to a tank.

It was near the end of the day I was beginning to notice my rear tire was considerably less round then when I left. (Air pressures were spot on)

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Last stop of the day was an AirBnB in Topeka. Aprox 845kms for day 2. (525 miles)

 

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DAY 3: Topeka, Kansas to Colorado Springs, CO.

Left again at 8am. Parking spot today was a grass "pad" at the rear of the house. Luckily I always carry my kick stand plates for times like these.

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My Airbnb hostess was excited as I was her first out of country traveler and her first biker. She snapped a shot of me before I left.

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As expected, and as I was forewarned, the ride through West Kansas and East Colorado was quite awful. At first it was just meh. Long freeway stretches with speedlimits of 80mph. (Not used to such high speedlimits. They are usually around 100km/h or 62mp/h where I'm from)
Rest stops were welcome, though I tried to make good time and push a little. (i.e. sign says next rest stop in 40 miles. I can wait 40 miles)

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So right before I reached Colorado my new to me GPS was routing me off I-70 and on a more direct route. Google maps (which I originally used to plan my trip) wanted me to stay on I-70 for a bit longer. I didn't notice this until it was too late though and followed the GPS on a route that would lead me through a lot of nothing.

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(BLUE line is the route I ended up taking. Greyed route on top was what I was expecting)
This lesson had me double checking the GPS routes often during the rest of my trip. Thankfully so, as I caught some odd routing "glitches"

So at first this new route wasn't too alarming. I was on US-40 west. It was alright. It appeared to be a road between really tiny towns which looked to have nothing in the way of Amenities. I didn't even see a sign telling me I was now in Colorado, just a change in the road material. confused.png

I managed to find a gas station that looked well used so I was comfortable enough to get gas from it....though I didn't really have a choice as I was down to my last few liters. I switched to a lighter mesh riding jacket as the temps were getting quite hot (yes I brought 2 riding jackets lol) and after some water and a Cliff bar I continued on my way.

Some time later the GPS had me hang left and now I'm on CO-94 west, with a large sign saying "Colorado Springs 94 miles. No services for 70 miles" Now this road had me worried, but I thought...I have a full tank of gas, a couple bottles of water in my luggage and a bunch of Nutritional bars and snacks so lets do this.
So this road was 2 crap lanes (1 in either direction) through nothing. No trees. Didn't see any other cars. Just nothing. It was pretty abysmal.

After maybe an hour (felt like longer) I saw a tree near the road that was putting some shade down so I pulled off under it and took a break.

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It was reeeeeeeaaaaaaal quiet. It was a mix of calm and relaxing and worrisome. The feeling of isolation can be welcoming at times and terrifying at others, ya know?
After my break I trudged on. Before I hit Colorado Springs two bikers came flying past me. I took this opportunity to have some indirect "company" and sped up to keep them in sight. 
Eventually I got to Colorado Springs and the other riders and I went our different ways.
 

I came up on a huge traffic jam and while I was stuck there another biker came up beside me, told me there was a fatal accident ahead. He then noticed my license plate and told me he does business in Ontario and I'll love it here in Colorado Springs. That would be a theme for my short stay in ColSprngs. Lots of people saying how awesome it is.

I hit up a Walmart for supplies and couldn't believe the amount of uniformed Military personnel shopping around. Full camo uniforms pushing buggies through the isles. Not something you see in Canada often.

Last stop of the day was another Airbnb nestled in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain. Quite a nice place too.

Aprox 831kms for day 3. (517miles)
 

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DAY 4: Colorado Springs, Co to Leadville, Co.

So the night before, after staring long and hard at my rear tire I decided, "that won't do". It didn't hold up very well to the hot American pavement at 80mph speeds, and after these first 3 days it was a bit square. The center treads were getting close to the wear bars and the tires were well over 3 years old. With the 10 more days ahead of me and the many many KM's on some of the greatest roads this continent has to offer I thought Fudge it! What's better than a road trip? That's right....a road trip with fresh rubber.

Luckily I had original plans to maybe do a mid trip tire change so I knew where to go.



So I had to be at the bike shop before it opened at 9am. The driveway of this mornings Airbnb was at a crazy incline so I moved the bike onto the street and loaded up the luggage.

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I snapped the above picture and turned around to see a deer on the front lawn. Apparently she's a regular and the owner of the house/AirBnB feeds it.

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The owner comes out and introduces herself to me and feeds the deer some more. We talk about the great accommodations and then she asks:
"How is your bike?" Her tone sets off an alarm in my brain so I say It's fine, thanks. Why do you ask?

Well apparently the area is full of bears come sundown and a family member that was visiting left food in the pickup truck and the Bears mauled the truck. Luckily I don't keep food on the bike (it's all in my luggage that I always bring inside wherever I'm staying) so to the Bears my VFR probably just smelled like Fuel, Oil, Exhaust...and maybe squashed bugs on the front.

I made it to the bike shop about 10 minutes before open. It's called Apex sports (https://apexsportsinc.com/)
Unfortunately there was one person waiting ahead of me getting tires too.

To put my experience at the shop in a nutshell, it was great. The older service guy at the counter was very friendly and excited about my trip. Assured me they'd take good care of my VFR and even gave me a free t-shirt.
The guy waiting infront of me was telling me how great the shop was. He also told me about a Motorcycle accident he got into where a 90 year old guy ran a stop sign. He said he didn't get much in the way of a settlement. Just enough to buy a new bike, and cover his medical costs, and buy a new house. usa2.gif lol. Go 'murica. That's unheard of where I'm from.
The waiting room had these two old fellas in it talking about old cars like Studebakers. Another topic of conversation was how with all this stuff going on with Korea (ahem North Korea gentleman.rolleyes.gif) and how Norad is right there we were gonna be the first to "get it". Lovely.
The rest of the place was really quite modern and everyone was crazy friendly and nice.

Bike was finished in about 2 hours. They gave the bike a once over and said everything looked great. They lubed the chain for me too (I guess with the speeds and the heat I needed to Lube the chain more often then I was) I asked the service guy his opinion about doing Pikes Peak and he said I should. He also recommended when I reach the summit to have a Coffee and a Donut. Apparently because of the altitude the donuts baked up there are extra good.

Speaking of Altitude, the bike had some extra cracks and bangs from the exhaust. Running a bit richer with the altitude I imagine.

So I set off with a fresh set of PR4's. They felt great agave.gif
(I wanted Metzler Roadtec 01's but they didn't have any in stock and the parts guy didn't seem to have even heard of them icon_sad.gif ) I filled up before I hit Pikes Peak and after a $15 fee at the gate (I think it was $15) up I went.

https://youtu.be/znFVJF7BpKM

I made this with my Gopro. I cut out some of the boring stuck behind traffic bits. Also at about the 8:25 mark an old guy on a touring bike panics during a hairpin and hammers on the brakes. He almost dumped it, and I almost went into him...luckily I kept calm and just went around him. While I was editing the vid I noticed the Minivan that seemed to be really close behind us.

Anyways, Pikes Peak was a beautiful road. Really really stunning scenery. The traffic was almost enough to ruin it for me but in the end I had fun doing it.

I eventually reached the summit. At 14,115 feet I squashed my previous record of highest road ridden (7,120ft  Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane in Japan)

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So I'm at the top. it's pretty cold. I layer up, and lock up anything I don't want stolen. I'm looking round. It's incredibly busy up here...lots of people. I hear a man tell his wife to "Slow down and take it easy" I'm wondering what's wrong with her when the dizziness hits me. The altitude up here is crazy. Can't really take a full breath most of the time. I feel kinda woozy. happy7.gif I take my time exploring and walking around, being careful of my footing.
The Visitors center was a mad house. No way I was going to be able to buy a souvenir in a reasonable amount of time. But apparently I can't leave without trying a Donut so I wait in line for half a dozen donuts. They were pretty good. Not mind altering or anything.

I didn't bother recording the way down. The Altitude was bugging me. In retrospect I should have.

Anyways, half way down Pikes peak they have a "Mandatory Brake Check" which is brilliant because that entire mountain smells like overheating brakes. There is a booth and a ranger points a laser temperature thingy at your brakes and tells you to pull over and learn to drive if they are scorching. He did just that for 2 cars infront of me. When I got to him he says: "I'm not even gonna bother. If your brakes are overheating then you have more important problems....like....not knowing how to ride." lmao.gif I thought that was pretty funny.

The rest of Colorado springs was great. I made my way West on US Route 24. It was very scenic and a great ride. I made an effort to hit up Fairplay, Colorado...because it's the closest thing to South Park that exists lol.

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I took a break, got some souvenirs, then headed over towards my last stop of the day. An Airbnb in Leadville, Colorado.

Aprox 350kms for the day. (220 miles)

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Brilliant! Love the sound of the 5th gen on Pike's Peak with no music or narration--apart from the V4 'music.'  I've been to Colorado on my 6th gen several times (two SumSums and a buddy in Denver), but never bothered with Pike's Peak.  Might think about it next time.  Looks like an awesome trip.  Even the interslab can be interesting in places (I recall parts of I-70 and I-82 in the mountains being fun), though I've never slabbed it through the Great Plains on a bike.  Looking forward the remaining instalments. :beer:

P.S. You do well on mountains and hairpins for a central Canadian bastige on a loaded bike. :wink:

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28 minutes ago, Belfry said:

Brilliant! Love the sound of the 5th gen on Pike's Peak with no music or narration--apart from the V4 'music.'  I've been to Colorado on my 6th gen several times (two SumSums and a buddy in Denver), but never bothered with Pike's Peak.  Might think about it next time.  Looks like an awesome trip.  Even the interslab can be interesting in places (I recall parts of I-70 and I-82 in the mountains being fun), though I've never slabbed it through the Great Plains on a bike.  Looking forward the remaining instalments. :beer:

P.S. You do well on mountains and hairpins for a central Canadian bastige on a loaded bike. :wink:

 

 Thanks you very much! For the comments on my thread and my riding :491: 

Not every day (or even every year) I get to ride roads like these beauties.

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DAY 5: Leadville, Colorado to Provo, Utah

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Leadville is over 10,000ft ASL. My host (who was kind enough to let me park in the garage) told me when I arrived "I don't care where you're from, we live higher up here. You need to drink lots of water." I got a similar speech about altitude & water from someone the day before so I was doing my best to pound back the liquids. Considering I was born, raised, and currently reside in the 250-500ft Altitude I'm surprised I'm not dead up here. lol
My host was also super informative. He let me know that since I was heading up towards Montana I should keep an eye on the wildfire reports as there are some fires up there. I knew about the wildfires in British Columbia, Canada before I left but didn't know about any along my route in Montana.

Anyways, the AM temps were around 7 degrees (that's Celsius. Around 44F) so I waited until they were atleast in the double digits. Around 10am I started my day. Even still, I had to stop and put on my snowmobile gloves. ( I don't even own a snowmobile) Set my heated vest to toasty. icon_smile.gif

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The reason I chose to stay in Leadville....besides the cheap accommodations, was its proximity to Independence Pass. (Route 82) I was on 82 in no time and made my way West.

It was an absolutely gorgeous road. Wonderful scenery and great curves. I stopped at the summit of course.

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...and the GoPro vid to the summit
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It was mighty chilly up there. I spoke to some people and took pictures for those wanting one near the sign. When I first pulled up I was asked by some people if they could take my picture. 2nd time on this trip! I didn't know how to pose either time. icon_surprised.gif
I then made my way down and west towards Aspen. I recorded that too but it's not as nice a vid.

I eventually got to Aspen and by then I was roasting in my gear. I parked to shed some of it, and I must have stopped in an area with just adventure excursion stores and Ski stores cause I couldn't find anywhere to grab a coffee or take a leak.

I consulted my GPS and decided to beat it out of Aspen to a Starbucks in Basalt. Friends and Family at home were teasing me for stopping at Starbucks so often but you cant beat the free good Wi-Fi and clean bathrooms. Guaranteed everytime. (and usually a nice Patio for me to relax on and watch the bike, and clean the wildlife off my visor)

But anyways, at this Starbucks while I was on the patio, an old guy started chatting with me. Must have seen my plate cause he asked if I rode all the way from Ontario. He was a nice fella. Told me about some interesting sites in Utah.
About 20 mins later a guy about my age came out of the Starbucks and did the same "You rode from Ontario?" Turned out he used to do some Hockey training in Scarborough, Ontario. (very close to where I am from) We talked Bikes. He had a Triumph Tiger and was from New Mexico. iirc.
Nice guy.

After that break, I continued onto 82 till I hit I-70 and I started west on the interstate towards Utah. Now, I-70 was by far the most fun interstate I have ever been on. All the way towards Utah was twisty and scenic. I loved it.
It was a real bummer when I hit Utah and it was back to the long, straight interstate. I stopped at a rest stop and it pretty much looked like this:

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Those were taken at a rest stop in Utah off the Interstate. I took the opportunity to cool off in the Air Conditioned Visitors center, use the bathroom and get some liquids and nutrients into me. The visitors center said it was close to 100F degrees. ugh.

I met a biker there who was doing a 3 week trip across America. He and the Information lady were both surprised to hear I had ridden from Toronto which seemed to be the common reaction when people heard how far I had ridden from.

Funny thing is my response went from Pride and acknowledgement on the first day, and by the last few days it became more of a 'yeeeeah maybe next time I'll fly here and rent a bike' or 'Yeah didn't seem this far on google maps' :tongue:

Anyways. I-70 and then NorthWest towards Provo.

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About an hour before I reached Provo I saw what looked to be a wildfire off in the distance. Got me worried about what was to come.

I reached my AirBnB easily. A large home and a well furnished basement apartment all to myself. Once again, kind host let me park in their garage.

Aprox 685kms for the day. (426miles)

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Just went threw the entire thread, sounds like a hoot— great writing bud.

Are the AIRBnB private homes?

You mentioned host and garage to park in.

I would love to host people doin the exact thing your doing on motorcycles ONLY in CO at my house.

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

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I started watching the pikes peak vid but then I realised it went for half an hour. For $15 I'd go up & down a couple more times to get that time down:tongue:

Nah just shitten ya.

Great write up

:lurk:

 

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Great write up. Sounds like an awesome trip. Makes we want to ditch work right now and head out riding south! 

 

 I am hoping to do about 1/3 or half what you did next year but I'm heading east from Montreal to the Cabot Trail.

 

 

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Quite a trip so far, looking forward to the rest of your tale.

 

On our 2015 visit to Pikes Peak we talked ourselves into getting a group rate ($10/per ?) for seven riders & bikes.

 

Pity that there was so little interesting riding till you got to Colorado Springs.

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On 10/22/2017 at 7:02 PM, duccmann said:

Just went threw the entire thread, sounds like a hoot— great writing bud.

Are the AIRBnB private homes?

You mentioned host and garage to park in.

I would love to host people doin the exact thing your doing on motorcycles ONLY in CO at my house.

 

Yeah Most AirBnB's are private homes. The first night it was a fully furnished basement of a nice home. Older couple owned it and their kids had long since moved out. Second night was a duplex sort of setup. third night was an above ground basement apt. Really well furnished. Fourth night was an older home. Bsmnt had 2 rooms and I had one room to myself. 

 

The "Hosts/hostess" of the AirBnB are sometimes there to greet you. Sometimes they aren't. But they are usually needed to be around incase there are any issues. Some places supplied breakfast. Sometimes Bagels, breads, granola bars. Some didn't. Most had access to free coffee, water etc etc.

Duccmann if you wanted to be a Motorcycle AirBnB only you could easily do it. You can set it up so that you would have to accept any bookings before they became final so you could make sure it was a motorcyclist. When I was planning this trip, if I noticed any place that looked Motorcycle friendly I would usually book them. I hated not knowing where my bike would be spending the night. On 2 occasions I had to park in places I would have rather avoided. (i.e. soft grass/deep gravel)

 

On 10/22/2017 at 11:19 PM, boOZZIE said:

I started watching the pikes peak vid but then I realised it went for half an hour. For $15 I'd go up & down a couple more times to get that time down:tongue:

Nah just shitten ya.

Great write up

:lurk:

 

 

LOL. I would have shaved some time off if I wasn't stuck behind cars and dodging bikers stalling mid corners. :tongue:

 

But in all honesty I readily admit my pace is slow. On trips like this I always have the mindset that I am very very very far from home and it's not worth having an off.

 

On 10/23/2017 at 7:40 AM, Ohlias said:

Great write up. Sounds like an awesome trip. Makes we want to ditch work right now and head out riding south! 

 

 I am hoping to do about 1/3 or half what you did next year but I'm heading east from Montreal to the Cabot Trail.

 

 

 

I'm hoping to do the Cabot Trail next year too. I haven't been in like 10 years.

 

On 10/23/2017 at 1:17 PM, Lorne said:

Quite a trip so far, looking forward to the rest of your tale.

 

On our 2015 visit to Pikes Peak we talked ourselves into getting a group rate ($10/per ?) for seven riders & bikes.

 

Pity that there was so little interesting riding till you got to Colorado Springs.

 

 Thanks. Yeah it wasn't the most exciting first couple days, that's for sure.

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DAY 6: Provo, Utah to Big Sky, Montana.

I woke up to a really quiet and gorgeous Sunday morning in Provo, Utah.

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I put my ear buds in, put on the Book of Mormon Soundtrack, and made my way north through Salt Lake City. Never seen so many LDS Churches before. Very interesting. After an hour I stopped for breakfast...at a Starbucks again.

Something I forgot to mention. As soon as I crossed the border on this trip from Canada to the U.S. I noticed Starbucks in America had "Egg Bites" They don't have them here in Canada, but I loved them. (as of Jan 2018 they have them now up here in Canada) They're not too filling and heavy like a breakfast sandwich can be.

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I know everyone is different, but I don't like to stuff myself during bike trips.

Anyways, b-fast over, I fill up at a nearby gas station and went on my way.
Now, I wasn't paying attention to my GPS and the location of the on-ramp to the interstate was different than the off-ramp so I had to take a detour. As luck would have it the detour took me past this:

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I've always been into jets and stuff, so this kind of thing makes my day. (another thing that the U.S. has that I don't see often in Canada) The signs said Hill Air Force base, and I could see a gatehouse down the road so I snapped the pic and took off. I found out after I got home and looked it up that there is a Aerospace Museum here with free admission with all kinds of awesome stuff inside including an A-10, an SR71 Blackbird and a B1 bomber icon_sad.gif what a bummer. I definitely regret not knowing about and visiting the museum.

So off I go North on I-15 and into Idaho. I eventually take a break at a rest stop. I put the bike on the centerstand and lube the chain while it's hot.

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As I'm finishing up with the chain I can sorta feel someone is behind me. I turn and an older dude is walking up to me with that "I wanna talk bikes" look. Turned out he was from France and on vacation with his wife. He likes bikes, has a Triumph back home in France. He really liked my VFR so he has good taste in bikes I have to say icon_biggrin.gif
Him: "It's comfortable, yes?"
Me: "No. It's not."
Him: "No?"
Me: "Well.....not after over 4,000kms."

It was nice to speak to somebody in Kilometers again. Though I don't think he was too impressed with the very little french I knew. :tongue:

Off I go again heading north. It's really hot out. I passed a roadside grass fire (on the otherside of the interstate) a bunch of passerby's were trying to beat it out with heavy jackets. The fire trucks I saw about a minute later heading to the fire.

As I got closer to Montana/Wyoming/Yellowstone I could see what looked like smog on the horizon, though I was pretty sure it was the smoke from the Wildfires in the area.

As I approached West Yellowstone the traffic got much heavier. Then a brief stop at a gas station/market just outside Big Sky, MT. Filled up, and got some food for the night. Before I pulled out of the station I took a quick snap of the sky. It was real smoky.

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I then made my way over to my AirBnB in Big Sky, Montana. Looked like a fancy Ski Resort town.

Aprox 675kms for the day. (416 miles)


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DAY 7: Big Sky, Montana to Red Lodge, Montana. (via Beartooth 212)

Today is the big day. I've been reading about and wanting to ride Beartooth Highway for a long long time. It's usually high on the list of Motorcycle roads to ride (if not #1 on those lists) and has been called “the most beautiful drive in America”. If you don't know about it google it.
I mean...just look at it on a map!

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Looks like Spaghetti.

I'm ready for it. I planned most of the stops and routes on this trip so today would be relatively short (distance wise) and I would be able to take my time and enjoy the ride. icon_cool.gif

So I wake up in the morning and start packing the bike. As I'm attached the hard bags I notice it looks like someone has been flicking cigarette ashes on my bike. Before I can get angry I realize my entire bike is covered in ashes and so is everything in the parking lot. My dumb brain catches up and I realize it must be from all the forest fires in the area. Sure smells like it and the sky sure looks like it.


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As I pack the bike a neighbor comes over to their car and notices the ashes. She says she hasn't seen it this bad in a long time.
Great. angry2.gif

Before I leave the range of the AirBnB's Wi-Fi I check the roads leading to Yellowstone. I'm lucky I did as the West entrance had some closures due to WildFires. So I had to come at Yellowstone from the north instead.

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(I had to go the blue route rather than the grey one I had originally planned)

I made my way about 10 minutes before I realized that I was going to need my heated vest and snowmobile gloves. I pulled over at a gas station. Got an OJ, put on the warmer gear and then went on my way. The sky was real hazy.
After about an hour and a half I stopped in Livingston, MT for breakfast. Then made my way south towards Yellowstone.

Traffic got a bit heavier in Yellowstone. I shelled out the $20 or whatever it was for me to get into the park. I confirmed with the ranger at the gate that Beartooth was ok to ride but she didn't seem too sure. From there on it was a game of "when to pass the slower traffic". It was a bit frustrating at times but I tried to enjoy the views and not let it bother me too much.

Eventually I turned onto 212 which leads Northeast out of the park and becomes Beartooth. After about 5 mins either side of the road opened up into vast plains filled with Bison. It was quite something to see. Especially since the first Bison I saw was rolling around in the dirt like a nut job. icon_razz.gif


After quite alot of spectacular views the plains were replaced by thick forests. I thought I had seen the last of the Bison. I went over a crest and I'm embarrassed to admit that I glanced to the left to look at a break in the trees to enjoy the view, and as I turned my attention ahead...it took my brain a moment to register what I saw. A car traveling in the opposite direction was on my side of the road as it drove around a Bison. icon_eek.gif
Luckily it was far enough ahead that I had plenty of time to react.

So I slow waaaaaaaaaaay down...let the car pass, and I move as far over to the right as I can...as I rode by this Bison just strolling down the road.

Here are some stills from my GoPro:

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....and a short vid:
 

 

 

Needless to say I was a bit more weary going around blind bends and over blind crests after that. Good thing cause I came across a cow later on. Some parts of 212 are open ranges so cows just meander everywhere.

I eventually stopped in Silvergate where I took a bit of a break. Hung out on the deck of a local shop where I bought some souvenirs.

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I was visited by some animals:

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After some time I got back on the VFR and ventured onwards. I reached the "Top of the World store" and pulled in so I could look for more souvenirs. Bought some nice Elk, Bison, and Jackalope jerky. I could feel it was getting a bit colder, so I put on an extra layer and continued on.

After about 5 mins the real fun bit of Beartooth began. It's really hard to explain except to say it was just a really really fun road with spectacular scenery. I was grateful I had the fresh rubber.
Riding up to the summit was just breathtaking.

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As I pulled up to the sign at the summit, there were these two pensioners trying to take their picture with the sign using a selfie stick. I helped them take the picture because they couldn't figure out how to use the stick. Afterwards they asked if I would like them to take a picture of me by the sign. Up to this point I was really trying to avoid the typical tourist photos but I figured what the hell. Lets go for it. Thumbs up and all.

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I made it! I had to take a moment to realize that I had ridden all this way and I was at the Summit of Beartooth Pass. Sense of achievement!

The way down was just as fun and exciting, though powering up through turns is always more fun (and more comfortable for me) than powering down through turns imo. My airbnb was in Red Lodge, Montana. I went into town and picked up some food from the local grocery store. More granola bars, a sandwhich, a Corn dog (man I love Corn dogs in America) and then went into my AirBnB. Easily the nicest place I have stayed in so far. A Beautiful cabin.

Aprox 418kms for the day. (260 miles)

 

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Here's a Vid of the ride up to Beartooth:
 

 

 

40 minutes ago, Belfry said:

:lurk:

 :beer:

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DAY 7.5 - Change of plans

So as I mentioned before, the wildfires in the area are becoming an issue and I needed to make a choice. I got to my AirBnB in Red Lodge Montana before 6pm so I had plenty of time to start figuring things out.

My original plan was that the following day I would ride north to Canada and stay in Cardston, Alberta. Then I'd only be an hour away from 'Going to the sun road' in Glacier National Park which I'd take the day after.

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(the red circle is where Going to the sun road is located)

Unfortunately, (at that time) there was a huge wildfire directly beside the goddamn road and most of the road was closed.

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This site was a real time Wildfire map. It's hard to make out in that picture but that fire is right beside the road.

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I was checking this site regularly and it was closed like this even after I got back from my trip.

So I made the decision to not head up that way. Doing 1/3 of GTTS run and then having to turn around and find my way to my next place to stay wasn't appealing to me. Also, there were a couple other fires south of Glacier park and up in the BC areas where I was planning on riding that were going to be a problem.

So I cancelled the AirBnB's I had booked ahead of time. (Got most of my money back) and planned a route east towards home.
 

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That's too bad you had to come in Yellowstone via the north entrance. One of my favorite roads I ever been on is Chief Joseph that runs from Cody(east Yellowstone) and pretty much connects to the Beartooth highway. Beartooth is has impressive views and tight switchbacks, but it can be crowded and beat up near the top. Chief Joseph on the other hand, is smooth with many sweepers and a few tighter sections-perfect for VFR.

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I'm a little late to this thread but really enjoying it.  I haven't tried AirBnB but your positive comments about being accepting of bikers just might get me to on my next trip.  

 

When I rode Beartooth Pass, between Cooke City and Red Lodge it was a parade of Harleys which all seemed to be going about 20 mph.  There were many riders with some really questionable riding skills.  I try to ride respectfully, but it was so bad I got so I was taking them down in groups - sometimes 10 to 15 at a time.  I didn't race past and gave them a friendly wave as I went by - they seemed to understand.  Love the video - it really is a great ride.  

 

Love your experiences talking to people on the road.  People seem to be drawn to bikers who are touring - particularly a long way from home.  "Where are you from?  Where are you going?  What kind of bike is that?"  That adds a lot to a trip.  Somehow people on bikes seem approachable whereas people in cars or other vehicles not so much.   Stopping to take photos and then writing it all up when you return really is a lot of work.  Thanks for the effort - great job. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Cogswell said:

I'm a little late to this thread but really enjoying it.  I haven't tried AirBnB but your positive comments about being accepting of bikers just might get me to on my next trip.  

 

When I rode Beartooth Pass, between Cooke City and Red Lodge it was a parade of Harleys which all seemed to be going about 20 mph.  There were many riders with some really questionable riding skills.  I try to ride respectfully, but it was so bad I got so I was taking them down in groups - sometimes 10 to 15 at a time.  I didn't race past and gave them a friendly wave as I went by - they seemed to understand.  Love the video - it really is a great ride.  

 

Love your experiences talking to people on the road.  People seem to be drawn to bikers who are touring - particularly a long way from home.  "Where are you from?  Where are you going?  What kind of bike is that?"  That adds a lot to a trip.  Somehow people on bikes seem approachable whereas people in cars or other vehicles not so much.   Stopping to take photos and then writing it all up when you return really is a lot of work.  Thanks for the effort - great job. 

 

 

 

Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. I wish I took more photos.

Yeah I was lucky I only encountered a couple slow Harley riders and even then I got around them without too much hassle. I have experienced the Harley Parade before on the Blue Ridge Parkway many years back and it was quite the hold up.

Very true about people being drawn to bikers. It's one of the reason I prefer road trips on Bikes than in a car.

EDIT: Also, A lot of these AirBnB's were much cheaper than Motels. Some were similar $$ and a couple were a bit more but worth it.

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DAY 8: Red Lodge, Montana to Whitewood, South Dakota

It's a bummer about the fires but I was going to make the best of the change of plans.

The AirBnB cabin I stayed at was very very nice. Easily the best place I had stayed at on the trip. Very unique and comfy. Super cool host. Ex-Park ranger.

I was out packing the bike at 8am and it was mighty cold.

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My AirBnB host came out to chat with me while I was packing the bike. Even he mentioned the temperature and if I was gonna be warm enough. So I waited till about 10am before I headed out.

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My planned route was a straight shot through Big Horn Wyoming to I-90 and then East to South Dakota. I stopped in Lovell Wyoming for fuel and a Corn Dog (man I love these Corn dogs in America) and stock up on water. A guy with an old VW van noticed my Ontario license plate and says to me: "Boy you've done some Miles!" We chatted for a bit. He asked if I was taking Route 14-ALT and I told him I was. (I'm glad he asked cause I was curious if I should take it or not) He said I was gonna have a great time with the bike on it, so that was good news.

So I made my way east through 14-Alt and I have to say it was an absolutely fantastic road! It began with a ride over a man made lake. The water had an amazing reflection of the cliffs surrounding it. The scenery was just stunning. Then up some windy bits to some higher altitude plains...then back down.

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That real windy bit on the eastern end was so much fun. The road surface was this like grippy, red, sparkly looking stuff. It was very confidence inspiring. This was probably the "fastest" I've been cornering wise on my trip. I'm always very aware that I'm far from home and having an off would be an extra bad time so far from home so I don't really push it. For some reason 14-Alt was the exception. It was a blast. icon_biggrin.gif

After the fun of 14-Alt I had some interstate hustling to do, and eventually I took a break at a Starbucks in Sheridan, Wy. While I was there, a dude in a Harley Bagger rolled up. He did the "You road all the way from Ontario?" bit and we got to chatting. (He actuall went outside the Starbucks...saw my bike and the plate and came back inside to chat)
He was with a group of riders from California and he broke off from the pack to grab Starbucks. He was telling me this crazy story about how one of the riders in the group blew their front tire on the freeway going 80mph+ and barely kept it upright.
They called a nearby Harley Dealership and told them that they were on the side of the freeway with a shredded tire. The HD Dealer says: "We can replace it. Just get here by 6pm. That's when we close."
The riders are like: "We are stranded, how are we supposed to get there?"
HD dealer: "Dunnoh. But we close at 6"

They call another nearby motorcycle shop and tell them about the tire and the shop goes "Ok. Wait there. We'll bring a trailer and pick you up. We'll have the bike fixed up in no time."

So his tire got replaced but the rider was too freaked out, to the point he couldn't continue on the trip any longer. So a few turned back with him and returned to California.

We also chatted about how so many riders seem to ride without helmets and how insane it is to us. Regardless of the laws.

Anyways, cool dude. Nice chat.

I get back on the interstate for some more trudging and after some time I noticed a couple Motorcycles in the distance. At one point the bikes and the cars around them braked for some reason. I couldn't see what they were braking for until I saw all the Antelope running away in the fields off the Interstate. Apparently they're real bad around these parts.

As I approach the Bikers I notice they have Ontario Plates! What a surprise...I was probably more excited than I should have been. It was a Cruiser and a Ducati Multistrada (I think) I gave them a big wave and thumbs up as I passed them.
About 15 minutes later a sign on the interstate said no more services for over 30 miles so I pulled off for fuel. The Ontario bikers pulled in shortly afterwards. We chatted for a bit. They also did Beartooth and we spoke about the Antelope they almost hit. Nice fellas.

After the chat, and after I filled up I wished them a safe trip and continued on my way on I-90.

Sometime later I made the last minute decision to Detour slightly north to checkout Devils Tower.

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It's pretty neat looking. Made me want to watch Close Encounters again. There was also some Bison in the area. Pretty neat.

On my way back to I-90 it was getting dusk-ish and there were a butt load of Deer/Antelope out. Was making me hella nervous. I had one close call.

I eventually made it back to I-90 and then safely to my AirBnB in Whitewood South Dakota.

Aprox 690kms for the day (430miles)

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Hey Slowbird, great write up.  Enjoyed it very much - as Cogswell mentions, thank you for taking the time to put this all together.

Your videos of the area have sold me on making an effort to get out there for SumSum.  Now, just how to get across the plains without falling asleep on the bike...

Thanks again.

 

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3 hours ago, VFRpwr said:

Hey Slowbird, great write up.  Enjoyed it very much - as Cogswell mentions, thank you for taking the time to put this all together.

Your videos of the area have sold me on making an effort to get out there for SumSum.  Now, just how to get across the plains without falling asleep on the bike...

Thanks again.

 

I really appreciate the feedback. I posted this same ride report on a Local forum and didn't get this much. Must be the VFR community and our love of touring :happy:

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DAY 9: Whitewood, South Dakota to Chamberlain, South Dakota.


I was given some tips about this area earlier on by a friend back home. I wasn't planning on even going through South Dakota but the change in plans due to the wildfires lined up and I took the advice with great enthusiasm. I was lucky I got the recommendations about this area as I could make the most of this new detour.

I left Whitewood and made my way through Deadwood and down into the Black Hills National Forest area. I have heard of "Sturgis" but never really looked into it. Now that I am in the area I can see all the HD stores and HD Apparel and all that sorta thing.

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I decided to hit up Mt.Rushmore even though I heard it isn't anything special. Roads were real nice and traffic was only lame and crowded in the towns.

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Smaller than I expected. I didn't get a closer look. I heard the Crazy Horse Memorial was nicer so I made my way there.

Not too long afterwards I arrived at the Crazy Horse Memorial, and paid to get into the grounds so I could park and look around.

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It was an interesting memorial. Huge in scale but apparently hasn't really progressed very much in all the years they've been working on it. I browsed the exhibits, got some food and souvenirs and eventually continued on my way.

I was told Needles Highway/Highway 87 was the road to ride in this area so I did. It was a very twisty and scenic ride. The Giant Stone "needles" or Spires were quite awesome. Some of the traffic was going at a bit leisurely pace at times.

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At one point during the ride on Needles/87 I saw the 2 other Ontario riders coming the other direction. I guess our routes were very similar. icon_smile.gif

Someone back home took a screen shot of my Spot tracking while I was in the black hills. Looks like I'm lost lol

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I made my way Northeast till I hit the I-90 and began the slabbing eastbound. I noticed signs saying "Ellsworth AFB" but I couldn't see anything cool from the freeway. I continued on and suddenly this B-1 Bomber flew right over the interstate in front of me. I basically saw this:

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I clearly remember going "BWOAAHHH!!!!" out loud. lol I mentioned before...I love stuff like this so it totally made my day. After about 30 seconds it pitched upwards and rocketed away leaving a trail of yellowish brown smoke behind it. So awesome icon_cool.gif

After that it was about 300kms of highway till I stopped in Chamberlain, SD. A odd little AirBnB on the Missouri River.

Aprox 600kms for the day. (375 miles)
 

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Really great ride report!  A vicarious treat. Wonder if I traveled solo would I take the time to try and do a better job of documenting my trip? My wife and I have done many of the roads you mention on this trip on our VFR's so it brought back memories of the many hauls from Toronto out to this area. Now that we have decamped to Calgary we did the Going To The Sun road through Glacier this summer and slogged through the many wildfires in BC for good measure as well.  Have not done Pikes Peak and watched your entire video, hope to avoid the chappie on the new BMW wearing the safety vest who ground to a halt mid corner though! Considering Pikes Peak next summer and maybe make the SumSum trip. Safe travels slowbird.

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