West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 16 Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 7:48 pm Thread Starter
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West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

I am planning a ride from Vermont to northern Idaho (way north) and around the mountain states in early June. I plan to ride through north Ontario around the north shore of Lake Superior, heading across the prairie from Duluth. Two years ago I took I 94 across but this time I have a bit more time on this leg and wanted to try either Route 2 or 200 (or some other route). Any thoughts on a preferred route assuming I will probably go to Great Falls, MT and then, if Logan Pass is open take the Going to the Sun Hwy through Glacier. did it west to east two years ago and it would be worth the slight detour.

RB

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post #2 of 16 Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 8:00 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Wow. This is a timely topic for me. I'm planning on riding the same roads in mid/late May and have had the same questions about routes.

Here is the approximate route. Starting from San Francisco, going through northern Arizona, New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina with the Outer Banks as the furthest east we will go. Returning through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, (possible alternate route, Ohio, Michigan, lower and Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin), Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana Idaho Nevada and back to California.

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post #3 of 16 Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 4:39 pm Thread Starter
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Well, with luck, someone will give us some good advice. If you have time while in montana, ride through Glacier Park, also, if you are up there ride down from Missoula on 93/75 through Idaho to Ketchum and points south.
In north arizona, old route 66 from around Oatman (CA?) to Seligman - nostalgia trip looking for Todd Stiles, Buzz Murdoch and their old Vette, Monument Valley (quasi religious experience, especially if you take one of the Navaho guided tours in the back of a pick-up; also Canyon de Chelly is unique, and if you have time head to SE AZ for the west's greatest extended twistie from Alpine to Clifton, rt 191, a freaky amazing road that ends riding through one of the world's largest open pit copper mines.

Also, a bit off your stated route, try the Beartooth Highway and Chief Joseph trail in NW Wyoming

RB

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post #4 of 16 Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 10:42 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

I too am heading out west along that very route 66 you mentioned. I have been on it in spots but that was by auto in 1996. Even took a trip to 4 corners and through monument valley and ended in Vegas. Right now my time frame is very flexible but my folks out west are not. So have to fit the two together.
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post #5 of 16 Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 10:49 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwbloch
I am planning a ride from Vermont to northern Idaho (way north) and around the mountain states in early June. I plan to ride through north Ontario around the north shore of Lake Superior, heading across the prairie from Duluth. Two years ago I took I 94 across but this time I have a bit more time on this leg and wanted to try either Route 2 or 200 (or some other route). Any thoughts on a preferred route assuming I will probably go to Great Falls, MT and then, if Logan Pass is open take the Going to the Sun Hwy through Glacier. did it west to east two years ago and it would be worth the slight detour.
I went to Idaho last year on US 2 traveling through North Dakota and Montana and it US 2 will be something that I will avoid in the future. It was very uninspiring even well into western Montana. Lodging could be problematic also in North Dakota. A lot of motels were filled because of workers related to oil related jobs, I was told.

As an alternative, I would at least try US 200 which I haven't ridden but If you can drop down to US 212 and take that west you would have a much more enjoyable route which you can follow to Red Lodge and do Beartooth Pass and ride the northern route through Yellowstone to US 89 (or through Yellowstone and pick up US 191) and head north.

If you wanted to just push toward Great Falls rather than the Beartooth Pass option, you could continue west at Billings, MT and work your way north to Great Falls then Glacier National Park. I think even a little slab (I 90 to I 15) toward Helena, MT would be decent ride to get somewhat north. From Helena, you might want to work your way a little west say US 12 to MT 141 to MT 200 to pick up MT 83 before Missoula and head north toward Glacier NP. (You could also continue on MT 200 instead of picking up MT 83 and head to Idaho if Logan Pass was not open.)

US 2 west of Glacier is pretty nice to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Idaho is very scenic but prepare for significant temperature changes if you travel from the north area say into Lewiston. Temps varied from high 30's in the morning to about 94 degrees on our trip.

Food for thought, Ride safe!

Jim S.
'07 SturmGrau K1200LT

“Not all those who wander are lost.”


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post #6 of 16 Old Apr 4th, 2011, 3:22 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

In the Minnesota portion of your trip, consider staying north along Highway 1. Quite scenic all across the state at that latitude.

Scott and Theresa
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post #7 of 16 Old Apr 5th, 2011, 3:56 pm Thread Starter
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Great stuff! Thanks. Keep it coming.

RB

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post #8 of 16 Old Jun 2nd, 2011, 8:01 pm Thread Starter
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Here's some fresh data from route 200. I picked up route 200 just south of Grand Forks, ND two days ago and rode to Glendive, MT. Obviously, this is not anyone's favorite twisty run but I enjoyed it immensely. Nice road conditions and beautiful countryside. Today, i came up from Glendive to Great falls, MT. More beautiful road with 70 mph speed limit, virtually no traffic, enough gas stations - "Big Sky country" - spectacular, with enough periodic sweepers to keep you awake, fun run down a (sort of) canyon towards the end.

two B&B recommendations: Charley montana in Glendive, and Collins Mansion in Great Falls.

tomorrow I take route 200 to Missoula and then over to (way) northern Idaho,

so, thank you to whoever encouraged me to take 200. it's been fun

RB

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post #9 of 16 Old Jun 20th, 2011, 10:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

200 from Great Falls to Sand Point, idaho is a great stretch of highway!!

RB

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post #10 of 16 Old Jan 9th, 2013, 8:58 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

My first post here, so hope my 'manners' are acceptable.

Highway 20 west from Sandpoint is spectacular. The locals call it "The Great Northern Cascades Highway". Coming down 20 into Bellingham is great. You can follow it out to Anacortes and ride onto the ferry to San Juan Island, Victoria BC, etc.

FYI, The weather and the passes often don't clear until around the second week in July.
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post #11 of 16 Old Jan 9th, 2013, 11:09 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

This past summer I traveled to the west coast. On the return, I took the Cascade highway east, camped in Spokane, then took I90 west through Idaho into Montana where I pretty much stayed on 200 for the entire trip through the state.

Mt 200 was a spectacular road, great high speed sweepers, and stretches of road that just went on and on. The only damper was the constant warnings about deer, elk and big horn sheep crossings. When I saw the big horn sheep sign, I thought right, like I'm going to see that. Sure enough, around the next bend was a small herd, right next to the highway. I was tempted to circle back and take pictures but then i thought one of them might just charge me.

Spent a night in Great Falls and the next morning heading out of town I get a driver appreciation certificate for doing 79 in a 70 mph zone.

Outside of Great Falls you can go for a while without any facilities. But for me the road was worth it.

Greg


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post #12 of 16 Old Jan 11th, 2013, 11:42 am
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Still planning, Still going.
I went east two successive seasons now it's time to fill that void west and beyond. So far I'm looking at 6000 plus miles that would take me up the coast San Diego . . . Spokane through the Rockies a few NP and back to the mid- west time is open ended.
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post #13 of 16 Old Jan 11th, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruivis
This past summer I traveled to the west coast. On the return, I took the Cascade highway east, camped in Spokane, then took I90 west through Idaho into Montana where I pretty much stayed on 200 for the entire trip through . . .
Spent a night in Great Falls and the next morning heading out of town I get a driver appreciation certificate for doing 79 in a 70 mph zone.
Outside of Great Falls you can go for a while without any facilities. But for me the road was worth it.

Greg
I just visited your earlier thread of your summer adventure.
A W E S O M E!
The pictures were great and your experiences intoxicating in a good way. I like your report. I did an end of day write up for my grand daughters on my 4 night camp to the BRP last fall but it fails in comparison to yours. But here are some of life's soul searching moments.
ride safe
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post #14 of 16 Old Jan 11th, 2013, 2:02 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

RB,
I did what you are planning to do last May - June. I went around Lake Superior and at Thunder Bay I headed toward Jasper, however, I never made it to Jasper. Someone stole my primary credit card which ended my Canadian travels in Winnipeg. My secondary credit card was not being accepted, so I headed South back into the USA. I took Highway 2 accross the Northern Tier. No big cities, but some very interesting small towns, museums, non-franchise restaurants. I took my time and had a blast. I stayed in a cabin along a trout stream at Highway to the Sun (not yet open) and visited Many Glaciers National Park also (there were none).

Highway 2 is not all that scenic, but if you like to explore small old western towns and the museums, restaurants and meet some really warm and friendly people, Give it a try. While I took my time, it seemed like one of the fastest (time wise) parts of my 8400 mile 6 week trip.

Ultra LT
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post #15 of 16 Old Jan 11th, 2013, 11:56 pm
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billsmith
I like your report.
Thanks Bill!

Looks like you have the REI Half Dome tent too. REI has great stuff.

Greg


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post #16 of 16 Old Jan 13th, 2013, 12:43 am
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Re: West through Montana/North Dakota - Route 2 or 200?

Quite a few Truisms.
I too had not been camping since my early teens. Liked it very much. Two things back then, always in warm weather and improvising and living off the land. Now in my aging period tent, sleep pad w/bag have become necessary. Yeah I was introduced to Rei 3 seasons ago and they have well served my needs. I am back camping whenever feasible especially when I go places where I know no one. It's a bonding thing
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