Our son is running a half-marathon in Vancouver, BC in August and that seems like the perfect excuse to make that our summer vacation destination.
SE Ohio to BC is roughly 3,000 miles one way and our limiting factor is vacation time. Plus, my wife's school year starts 2 days after the race so she is flying home; that leaves me to ride the return trip solo and I'll definitely be taking a different route to see new things and not backtrack. I'm also wondering what it would cost to ship our bike and trailer from Seattle, WA to Columbus, OH in case I change my mind.
I have a route laid out, consisting of 2 or 3 days of maximum mileage days on the interstate, but most days consist of short legs with things to see along the way. We are fans of the big must-see things (scenery, historical) as well as the unknown (to us) roadside or nearby oddities (Cawker, KS and the world's largest ball of twine). We have done some long trips before so we are good to go with what to pack, etc., and our trailer will be home to everything we need for the trip. Listed below is the tentative plan; what I'm asking you are these questions:
- Are the mountain roads OK in mid-August?
- Are there better roads than the ones I'm looking at?
- Is there a way to incorporate the Chief Joseph Highway with the Bear Tooth Highway without a lot of backtracking?
- Local alternatives to interstates that don't take much more time.
- Our plan for this trip is to simply ride through Yellowstone NP, continuing south through the Tetons; we'll return later for a Yellowstone-centric vacation. Is slow-moving traffic a problem? How do you handle roadside buffaloes and bears? Some online videos show buffaloes right against the side of the road and making threatening moves at motorcyclists and cars.
- Suggestions for the return trip. Rather than return to SE Ohio I will be heading toward my job at Fort Knox, KY (I work out of state). I was thinking of heading south to pickup CO, KS, NE, etc. on the way home; the return trip is more time-sensitive than the trip out because I will have already burned two weeks of vacation time. I want to get home in 5 business days but still see some new things. I was thinking Million Dollar Highway, for example.
- Anything else I'm not thinking of.
This is a crude copy/paste from my spreadsheet, showing from location > route > to location.
Home > Ludington, MI via interstate
Ludington, MI > Manitowoc, WI via ferry (SS Badger)
Manitowoc, WI via GPS > Fargo, ND
Fargo, ND > I-29 N > Grand Forks, ND
Grand Forks, ND > US2 W > Rugby, ND (geographical center of North America)
Rugby, ND > US2 W > Minot, ND
Minot, ND > US83 S > ND200 W > ND49 S > I-94 W, exit 7 > Gladstone, ND
Gladstone, ND > Enchanted Highway Regent, ND
Regent, ND > via GPS > Bowman, ND
Bowman, ND > US12 W > I-94 W, exit 434 > Silesia, MT
Silesia, MT > US212/Bear Tooth Scenic Highway > Red Lodge, MT
Red Lodge, MT > US212/Bear Tooth Scenic Highway > Cooke City, WY
NE entrance to Yellowstone NP > US287/US191 > Jackson, WY
Jackson, WY > continue S > US287/US191 > Hoback Jct, WY
Hoback Jct, WY > turn right onto US 89 / US 26 N > towards Alpine, WY
before Alpine, WY > turn right onto US 26 N into ID > Idaho Falls, ID
Idaho Falls, ID > US20/26 W > Butte City, ID
Butte City, ID > S/W past Craters of the Moon NM > Carey, ID
Carey, ID > US20 W > Mountain Home, ID
Mountain Home, ID > I-84 N/W > Portland, OR
Portland, OR > I-5 N > Blaine, WA
Blaine, WA > BC99 N > Vancouver, BC
I appreciate any and all comments and advice based on your knowledge and experience. Thanks.