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 Post subject: September 2017 Park Tour
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:25 pm 
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TBA, or is it TBC, nah TBRidden. See you when I return :D

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:06 pm 
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Picture isn't working. :(

Need more details on what you are planning, I am curious how you intend to beat the route you guys did last year.

I am heading out Monday for a trip around Washington, through Cascades almost to Spokane then back through another mountain pass home. Just a few days. I have the week off so hoping to get a few more local rides in when I get back too.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:55 pm 
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All packed up and ready to go.

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Here was the preliminary plan that changed quite a bit. I don't think I'll beat the circle trip anytime soon on this continent.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Nice..

Have a safe trip.

Yikes, its snowing in Yellowstone already.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:25 pm 
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Thankfully we left Labor Day Long weekend before the rain.

After work Fri Costco Bellingham to Diablo Lake https://goo.gl/maps/AjP7JzULUjn
Day 1 Sat Diablo Lake to Yaak, MT https://goo.gl/maps/Q5VSrBVoX2P2
Day 2 Sun Yaak, MT to Glacier, MT https://goo.gl/maps/TvHiwXuhjHD2
Day 3 Mon Glacier to Beartooth Pass https://goo.gl/maps/HWBYWsHqYoJ2
Day 4 Tues Beartooth, MT to Yellowstone, WY https://goo.gl/maps/XzVD5MYCkQq
Day 5 Wed Yellowstone, WY to Tetons, WY https://goo.gl/maps/cLF4Sp4CFR22
Day 6 Thur Tetons to west yellowstone, MT https://goo.gl/maps/YLdmXkvTiY92
Day 7 Fri West Yellowstone to Lolo, MT https://goo.gl/maps/ELm3U6TaTYL2
Day 8 Sat Lolo, MT to Baker City, OR https://goo.gl/maps/5Sh7sebQjk12
Day 9 Sun Baker City, OR to Langley, BC https://goo.gl/maps/4Xms31rnWzQ2

Collection of picture: https://photos.app.goo.gl/tX38Lo7T34c8TGqY2

Day 0: Relocation

My friend and I did some bike prep the week before our trip with fresh fluids, tires and some maintenance items. We met at Costco to buy a cheap meal and spend too much on perishables.

We rode towards Diablo Lake and noticed all the campgrounds were full. We camped in an overflow area we've used before though were kicked out in the middle of the night and forced to relocate along the side of the road after too many people joined us.

Day 1: First Warning

The perfect day with clear skies and warm temperatures. At gas stations we asked for camping suggestions and wound up at Whitetail Creek Campground composed of a dozen or so sites and a river to bathe in. I noticed in the morning my tires were low and life was good.

Day 2: Park 1 Closed

The service road east of Yaak is delightful and long. The road is a bit narrow, tight and high up all resulting in a careful entertaining ride down the mountain. As we approached Glacier the smoke thickened and we were warned the roads were closed, the chalet had burned down and while standing at Glacier the mountains could not be seen. We turned south towards Butte, MT through unhealthy levels of smoke where a hotel was required for filtered air.

Day 3: Brr

We began on the flats and ascended to Yellowstone. The smoke cleared, bucks, bison and basins were seen and Beartooth Pass - potentially the greatest road in North America - was ridden not once but twice trafficless with excellent riding conditions. We camped at Beartooth Lake Campground elevation 9,000 feet. As a point of reference the summit of Whistler Mountain is 7,200 feet. That evening we discovered our -5 degree sleeping bags are not comfortable at -5 degrees.

Day 4: Flat

Hmm, everything is covered in frost. The morning was extended when my rear tire was mostly flat. I couldn't see any issues with the tire and planned to watch it for the day.

We held off deciding what to do with the time we gained skipping Glacier Park down beartooth, over Chief Joseph pass which I might say is a fantastic road. In Yellowstone again the approach is visually appealing with standing rocks, geysers and open valleys and decided at Bridge Bay campground we would stay 2 nights. That afternoon we planned a long hike along the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone rim but the path was closed so we hikes the viewpoints, made some scenic stops and found a place to do laundry and shower.

Day 5: Fixed

After some tests with water and soap I discovered my valve stem insert was loose and fixed after a 1/4 turn. Bridge Bay Campground is located at 7,800 feet elevation and reached freezing temperatures both nights.

With a short ride, lots of stops and traffic we left our motorcycle and camping gear behind. Yellowstone is so popular campgrounds typically fill before 8am and they're all seeing the same sights. If you plan to ride around Yellowstone expect delays everywhere. A bonus for motorcycles though is we bypassed every wait for parking always finding space for a quick view of every roadside hike and attraction. The night ended pleasantly as fires are also allowed in the park finishing off a memorable day.

Day 6: Smoke and Fire

We bid Yellowstone adieu and rode to the Tetons which may be grand to flatlander standard though certainly fell flat for us mountain folk mind you the smoke didn't help. Moose Wilson road is a fun road though most of it wasn't paved. Jackson is built for tourists where we enjoyed a top shelf margarita at the million dollar cowboy saloon.

A concern of riding to and from Yellowstone is there's a day of long boring roads on either end. I realized when a sign warned there was a 55 MPH curve a half mile ahead on the highway I was in a boring bit.

At Mesa falls we met a hot spring fanatic that saw a kayaking extremist drag his kayak along the hiking path after Kayaking lower Mesa falls. She recommended a sweet camping spot at Mile Marker 141 on Lolo pass called Weir Creek Hot Springs.

We passed by Earthquake lake that shows a forest underwater after an earthquake caused a lake to appear on our way to Virginia City Campground. I discovered a plastic plate stuck to a pan placed on a stove makes quite the mess.

Day 7: Risky

The roads before the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway were boring yet the memories of Beartooth and Chief Joseph passes kept us inspired as we seeked the 99 mile twisty road sign located along Lolo Pass at I believe mile marker 173. We used wifi to discover Lolo would have unhealthy amounts of smoke all night per firesmoke.ca 's highest density shown. We planned to ride through Lolo that day if conditions did not improve though the mountains and trees kept Weir Hot Springs clear for a fantastic soak in a natural hot tub and the best sleep of the trip along running water especially with reasonable nightly weather for camping.

Day 8: Recalculating

Lolo is a fantastic road for the beginning and end of the day when traffic is non-existent. My GPS decided we should take an off-road route to Hell's Canyon Reservoir which was ignored. Hell's Canyon is a privately owned road spanning hours of 25MPH twists and turns with fantastic sight-lines. As we rode to Baker City we decided to push a little farther for a good hotel in La Grande and a good night's sleep.

Day 9: Closed

Returning to familiar territory we planned one last stop at Rainier on our way home; unfortunately, kids with fireworks closed Rainier starting an active fire requiring a detour around Highway 410.

We planned to visit 4 parks and only Yellowstone was in great condition. Overall the trip was fantastic and I look forward to seeing Glacier another time.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:50 pm 
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Great trip report as usual Schmii, thanks.

That smoke is annoying, I went through some of it on my run around Washington. It was thick enough to spoil pictures, but I did not get into any areas that were maxed out for air quality like you guys did and I saw no open flames anywhere.

When I went through Stevens Pass I setup my tent at the end of a cabin development where someone had a for sale sign on an empty lot. Most of the cabins up there were shut for the Winter, boarded up and obviously abandoned so it worked out well. I just made sure to leave the place exactly as I found it, with the exception of a few weed flowers that got a little squished, it made an excellent camp site, and can't beat the price. Not a single vehicle came by when I was there.

There sure are a lot of places to visit around the PNW aren't there, never seems to be enough holiday time to get to it all.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:39 am 
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Too true. I miss finding new places to visit in a weekend yet it makes these longer trips an exceptional experience every time.

The stories of rough camping are great and every makeshift campsite is memorable.

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