Looking for Western States Route Advice & Sites to See - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 7 Old Feb 16th, 2015, 10:02 am Thread Starter
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Looking for Western States Route Advice & Sites to See

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.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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Last edited by hschisler; Feb 16th, 2015 at 10:21 am.
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post #2 of 7 Old Feb 16th, 2015, 10:09 am
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Re: Looking for Western States Route Advice & Sites to See

Look at the Butler maps. They have a website. Their maps mark the best roads, graded by aspects in each state.
You may want to add some other well known roads, or even add a little more southern riding to get in more scenery.
As to August, be sure your reservations are in now for certain popular areas. Some areas are full of tourists and no rooms are available. Also, that is the time when all the little kiddies are out of school, so the roads are rather crowded.
But you have to go when you go.
All roads should be open.
I am going to say you may be leaving out some good roads. You might try more research.
dc

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post #3 of 7 Old Feb 18th, 2015, 2:12 am
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Re: Looking for Western States Route Advice & Sites to See

Not much experience
But did visit some of your intended destinations. If you got time check my thread "OK I'm back".
Basically I had no time restraints so I rode I-80 to 76 to 70 in Denver some local riding back and forth around the Eisenhower tunnels and onto to Utah. There I kissed the interstate goodbye and infiltrated the back roads 191 to Moab and points south. Mexican Hat and Monument Valley were on my plate. Grand Canyon with some more local riding before getting back on the slab to San Diego.
If you are not going that far south we can skip to my return from Whidbey Is. WA jumped on 2 Everett and rode all the way to Spokane to pick up I-90. I did miss out on riding Chief Joseph and the Coulee Dam area. Interstate to Bozeman MT tire issue then entered Yellowstone NW park entrance. Down through Jackson to view the Tetons. Double back to east exit and back on the small road 14/16 through Cody and Buffalo before back on 90 to Mount Rushmore. After that it was mainly Interstate back home. I also missed riding Bear Tooth Pass to Red Lodge.
Hope that helps some. All my roads were great even the detour from Page AZ to the canyons. Or I went south first because it was early June and luckily so cause some riders during my stay in AZ did just the opposite and mentioned that white stuff which we have grown so tired of in the midwest but not as bad as Boston. No animals interrupted my camping. Just one bear sighting in Yellowstone. Summer 2013.
ride safe
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post #4 of 7 Old Jun 28th, 2015, 9:28 am
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Smile Re: Looking for Western States Route Advice & Sites to See

I pm'd you but for the others see my trip report here: http://www.mctourer.com/rides/2015/H...TripReport.htm

You seemed to have missed Utah which has some of the greatest riding in the world.

Ride Safe,
Robert

Thanks,
Robert
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post #5 of 7 Old Jun 28th, 2015, 9:42 am
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Smile Re: Looking for Western States Route Advice & Sites to See

Quote:
Originally Posted by hschisler View Post
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? Remember it can snow on you anytime at elevation. I was at the Sturgis (1st full week in August) and it snowed on me going over Beartooth Pass.
  • Are there better roads than the ones I'm looking at? Plenty see my UTAH comment.
  • Is there a way to incorporate the Chief Joseph Highway with the Bear Tooth Highway without a lot of backtracking? Why worry about this, it is a great ride! Even if you rode it both ways the scenery is GREAT.
  • 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? Remember Geysers on the west, animals on the east. Geysers don't move so there are parking lots, animals do move and cages STOP in both directions to photograph them. It could take 3 hours to ride the eastern road.How do you handle roadside buffaloes and bears? Stay away from them. Normally Rangers are around to warn of activity, BUT cages still stop and don't move resulting in me jumping in a mini van when the driver wouldn't move as the Ranger asked and the bear did! Some online videos show buffaloes right against the side of the road and making threatening moves at motorcyclists and cars. YES, some buffaloes are bigger than cars! Again stay away.
  • 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.YES, Utah 12
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.
Ride Safe,
Robert

Thanks,
Robert
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post #6 of 7 Old Jun 29th, 2015, 10:07 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Looking for Western States Route Advice & Sites to See

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

This trip is off for this year but I'll save my route plan and the above tips for a future trip.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #7 of 7 Old Jun 29th, 2015, 10:14 pm
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Sorry to hear about the cancellation. You've certainly got the right idea 'a nice long trip'
Ride Safe,
Robert
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