Friday, July 09, 2010


I'll remove the "slow-moving" vehicle flag on the back before I get on the road. Pillow in yellow bag on right, small blue tarp on left, sleeping bag and pad in brown dry bag on seat, tent on top of that. Stove and fuel in trunk. Food in left and right saddle bags. The rest of the room is taken up with clothes, tools, gloves, windshield cleaner, wipes, paper towels, camera and etc. (a lot of etc.)

I didn't have room for my folding stadium chair or motorcycle cover. I did have room for basically everything I need for 10 days on the road - except water. The items on top are light so the bike should handle as good or better than if I had a passenger.

I'm looking forward to the whole experience but I'm particular excited to have a chance to ride on the Beartooth and Going to the Sun highways.

The Beartooth highway starts not to far of Red Lodge and takes you to Cooke City and the Northwest Entrance to Yellowstone Park. The road reaches a maximum elevation of 10,947 feet fairly quickly via a series of switchbacks. It's a very scenic drive - with dramatic drop-offs and a chance for quick weather changes.

As far as roads with spectacular mountain scenery in Montana go, I'd say the Beartooth highway is about a tie with the Going-to-the-Sun highway - although in my experience the Beartooth highway has less traffic.

I'm hoping to get out of here relatively early in the morning in order to make it to Curlew Lake State Park in the afternoon. It's supposed to be 93 today in that area. I have my swimming suit and I'm thinking jumping in that lake will feel good. I'm also looking forward to the free ferry ride today across the Columbia on the Keller ferry which connects Highway 21 between Wilbur and Republic.

I'm still thinking about where to stay on Saturday night. There's good campgrounds in the Yaak Valley in Northwest Montana but I'm pondering whether staying in one of the cabins at the Dirty Shame Saloon for 35 bucks might be the way to go. They have a hot shower nearby. I'll just play it by ear.

Sunday night I have a reservation at the St. Mary Campground on the East end of the Going to the Sun highway.

Monday night I'm staying somewhere between Belt Mt. and White Sulphur Springs. There's a "spa" of sorts in White Sulphur where you can a towel and day pass for swimming in the natural hot springs fed pools for $4.50. I think I'll camp at Jumping Creek which is about 22 miles from White Sulphur.

Tuesday I'm at Sheridan campground north of Red Lodge Mt. on the start of the Beartooth Highway.

Wednesday in Grand Tetons - probably Colter Bay, but maybe Jenny Lake if there's room.

Thursday at Spring Hollow campground a little east of Logan, Utah.

Friday I'm at the Sunny Gulch a little south of Stanley, Idaho.

Saturday - Hilgard Junction State Recreation Area north of La Grande Oregon and then back home to Everett on Sunday.

For now I guess I should get off the computer and start doing something. I'm 100% sure my well laid plans will not work out exactly as I anticipate - but it wouldn't be any fun if it wasn't that way.