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 Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09

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Buck Nasty

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PostSubject: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   1/13/2009, 12:18 pm

Hey gang. My buddy and I are working on a trip from my other buddy's place in Kennewick up to Glaicer NP and back. The goal is to make a loop out of it. We have 5 full days to do it. We were gonna ride straight out of Bend but, our timeframe doesn't allow the extra 500-600 miles on a DRZ.

Anyway, we're looking for route suggestions. Here are the requirements:

*Looking for 2-lane backroads or high-speed gravel...Stuff that will likely be open the 2nd week of June.
*Gas stops within 200 miles of each other.
*Epic scenery of course!
*Decent motels (price, location, etc). Maybe public campgrounds too. We may do all camp...All motel or a mix of both.

I'm sure I'm missing something...I'll hit it later if I did!

I did a basic, half-ass route from The Tri through farmland to Lewiston. US12 to Missoula. US93 to the Kalispell area. Going to the Sun Rd (if open) east to US89/US2. Rock US2 west to US95 south to 272 into Colfax and work our way back to Kennewick.

Here's a link to my plan...
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Kennewick,+WA&daddr=46.425789,-117.001305+to:Missoula,+MT+to:Glacier+Route+1%2FGoing+To+the+Sun+Rd+to:US-2+to:Sandpoint,+ID+to:ID-95+to:ID-95+to:W+F+St%2FUS-95+to:N+Main+St%2FUS-195+to:WA-260+to:Pasco+Kahlotus+Rd+to:Kennewick,+WA&hl=en&geocode=%3B%3B%3BFeDG5wIdmCw9-Q%3BFUpn4gIdRtM_-Q%3B%3BFeKj2wIdPFEL-Q%3BFQTb1wId-OYJ-Q%3BFSRH0wIdHvAH-Q%3BFXR8ywIdhioB-Q%3BFWi-xwIdYAjv-A%3BFfWmwwIdfXjr-A%3B&mra=dme&mrcr=0,1&mrsp=1&sz=12&via=6,8,9,10,11&sll=46.414665,-116.963196&sspn=0.167582,0.30899&ie=UTF8&ll=47.055154,-115.740967&spn=5.299612,9.887695&t=h&z=7

Other roads I was looking at was St Joe River road (south of I-90), Hwy3 into St Maries and Hwy 200 (North of I-90).

That's my start. Any tips, comments or suggestions?

THANKS!
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Buck Nasty

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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   1/14/2009, 12:33 am

Weak. Oh well, we'll figure it out!
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   1/14/2009, 3:56 am

Looks like a sweet trip, Sorry I don't have any routes for you though.

Take LOTS of pictures!

Hodakaguy

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Backwoods Boogie
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   1/14/2009, 6:35 am

Buck Nasty wrote:
Weak. Oh well, we'll figure it out!

Jesus Buck, you make it sound like you're leaving this weekend.

I think you just might get a response or two in the next 5 months.

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Buck Nasty

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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   1/14/2009, 9:55 am

Backwoods Boogie wrote:
Buck Nasty wrote:
Weak. Oh well, we'll figure it out!

Jesus Buck, you make it sound like you're leaving this weekend.

I think you just might get a response or two in the next 5 months.

HA HA! Okay, so I'm a little excited! It'll be here before ya know it!

I thought I'd bump the thread w/o saying "bump". Next time I'll say, "bump" or "bumpity bump".
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   1/14/2009, 10:18 am

That will be an awesome ride.... thumb

Got firm dates set yet?

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PostSubject: Glacier Ride   2/12/2009, 10:03 am

Buck Nasty wrote:
Next time I'll say, "bump" or "bumpity bump".

Anything set in stone yet???

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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   2/12/2009, 7:17 pm

Dates are set...7-11 of June (give or take 1 day). I recently read on ADV that Glacier doesn't open until mid-June regardless of weather. We'll be a week early. My buddy doesn't have flexibility in his vacation so, we're stuck. I've fiddled around with routes out of the Dry Shitties as well as Bend. We can't seem to make up our mind! Gahhh

It's too bad there isn't a more direct route through Idaho from ENE Oregon. There's 2, 90, St Joe Rd and 12 that cross the north and 20 and 84 across the south.

Does anyone know of a "sure thing" from Hells Canyon or McCall to the Salmon area?!

That's my story for now...

tough
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griz901

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PostSubject: Glacier will be open....   3/23/2009, 2:57 pm

You realize Glacier is open, you just won't be able to make it all the way up to Logan Pass (top of the west side of the Going to the Sun Road) and go down the other side. Highway 2 will be open going around the southern perimeter of the park unless we get some bad spring weather.

You can still visit Apgar center, McDonald Lodge (a must see), trail of the cedars, short hikes or ride your bikes up to where they are still working to clear the road that is still an awesome trip. Canadian visitor center in West Glacier at the entrance is awesome. Nice gift shop in Apgar village.

You will be at the mercy of unpredictable spring weather. We had 4 inches of snow in the valley on June 10th last year. Melted fast but it shut down upper elevations of the park. We had a bicycle touring friend head into the park that week and she was stuck in her tent and McDonald lodge for about four days.

Status of park roads:
http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm

Pictures don't do it justice:
http://www.nps.gov/glac/photosmultimedia/index.htm

And let me know when you are passing through town. Would be nice to meet you.

regards,

griz
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   3/28/2009, 11:01 pm

Thanks for the info. I'm hoping we'll miss any June blizzards. I thought of camping up at Bowman Lake. Then, rock some fire roads west outta Polebridge toward Eureka. What do ya think?
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PostSubject: Outstanding!   3/29/2009, 8:57 am

You guys are going to have a great ride! A bit of a iron butt on the asphalt sections but great for the amount of time you have.

I was looking at your original track. The section on US2 going to east glacier then back up over going to the sun won't be open (going to the sun). If you take US2 into east glacier, then you would be able to go part way up the east side of going to the sun but not able to summit and come down the other side. You would end up having to ride the same road back into Columbia Falls. If this "loop" was open it would be a full day adventure as there are lots of stops to take it in.

Here is a great scenic stop that only takes 20-30 minutes: On the way to West Glacier, on the right there is Hungry Horse Dam. Takes less than ten minutes to get to the top, great scenery and the dam is open to visitors and has places to stop and looky. There is no other way out so backtrack to US 2 on the way back down.

Your Bowman option is great because you can still pop into the park and get some dirt miles. I'm not sure where your waypoints are or rest stops but I would recommend going in to West Glacier and the park as first stop towards Bowman. Visit McDonald Lodge (even a quick stop, you won't regret it), food and small mini mart type store, continue up to Avalanche creek, water and toilets only at the campground. There is a good possibility the going to the sun may be closed to motorized traffic beyond Avalanche due to road repairs. But depending on how adventurous you are feeling (and athletic) stretch your legs by walking the trail of the cedars. It's one of those platform trails about 3/4 mile long. Good to stretch your legs and the scenery is great too. If you really feel froggy hike up to Avalanche Lake and you will be rewarded by spectacular alpine lake in center of HUGE vertical mountain walls (you might be able to find some google pics). Walking/hiking shoes ok, riding boots not ok. The signs read like it's an easy climb, but for average people it's a huff and puff as the elevation climb goes up and down several times. If the going to the sun road is open to what we call "the loop", by all means ride up! Insider tip: When you go through the tunnel just before the hairpin turn (the loop), stop and walk into the tunnel. There is a viewing platform in the middle of the tunnel, enough said ;-) .

On your way out of Glacier instead of riding the same slab out of West Glacier, take Camas Road (still part of the park) from Apgar Village. This will take you on two lane asphalt through part of the NW part of the park towards the Northfork Road. Hang a right on Northfork road and you are officially heading into the boonies! 40+ miles of dirt to Polebridge. Polebridge usually has fuel ($$$), there is the mercantile (baked goods, home made hot pocket bread sammiches, drinks) there is a bar/restaurant, cabins tent space, hostel. More importantly, the North Fork entrance to the park to get you to Bowman. Because you paid already to get into the park you can get back in. If the station is unmanned just go in. There is a good chance Bowman will have little or no traffic that early in the season. The folks in Polebridge should be able to give you a status when you get there. Bowman should have water spickets turned on and pit toilets by then. I have not ridden up to the lake so I can't comment on the road etc.

I can ask around for premioum routes from Polebridge to Eureka for you. It's all dirt up there, just a matter of which road to take depending on what's open.

I know this is wordy but I hope it helps you iron out some details. When you get closer to your trip I'd be happy to give you a ring. The camas road and north fork intersection (if you can call it that considering it's pretty much nowhere) is about ten minutes from my place. I'm already monitoring road conditions because I want to do some longer exploration this season now that my range is @200 miles.

Have a great day. I PM'd you

griz
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PostSubject: Oops...   3/29/2009, 9:55 am

By the way,
Here is an example of how much time it takes to do a similar loop in a cage:

On fourth of July we go up to Polebridge, watch the parade, eat and drink. Drive back down to Camas entrance and go into the park. Stop at Apgar for ice cream and fart around, maybe get lunch, drive up to McDonald lodge and Avalanche for a quick walk around trail of the cedars. Head back to Columbia falls and usually down to Kalispell for evening festivities.

We leave about 9am and get down to Kalispell around 3pm'ish. So about six-seven hours of casual touring with stops. If Bowman is the last stop for the day it would put you in good position for an epic day. You could probably set up Bowman camp and go back to Polebridge for evening fun. All in all, Polebridge or Bowman will put you in good position for crossing the Whitefish divide into Eureka.

Sunset that time of year is 9:30pm. So daylight won't be a problem. You guys should be golden!

later,

griz
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   4/4/2009, 11:28 pm

Here's a little snippet for Polebridge to Eureka:

Polebridge to Eureka is very easy and well marked. Go north of
Polebridge on the North Fork Road. Turn left on Trail Creek (FR114)
which turns into Graves Creek Road (FR114) and comes out on Hwy 93 just
south of Eureka. Great and easy ride even on a big bike.

We were discussing this over on the "other" forum and Mr. somethin' rider posted the above route. I'll be trying it out as soon as the roads are clear.

griz
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   4/4/2009, 11:34 pm

Thanks buddy! Awesome! cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   4/6/2009, 9:26 am

What's the total mileage on this ride?

If you've got it planned out yet.... :sweet:

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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   4/10/2009, 9:40 pm

Buck Nasty wrote:
Thanks for the info. I'm hoping we'll miss any June blizzards. I thought of camping up at Bowman Lake. Then, rock some fire roads west outta Polebridge toward Eureka. What do ya think?


When you start getting your schedule down on paper let me know. I've got some details for you. Glad you guys are coming over this way. Gave me something to do during those last snow storms. Now that the sun is out I've been confirming some routes for you.

PM or email me in a month or so when you are ready for some details between Glacier, Bowman, Trail Creek, FR114, Grave, Eureka, Yaak and back down to hwy 2, via dirt.

griz

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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   4/11/2009, 12:06 am

Backwoods Boogie wrote:
What's the total mileage on this ride?

If you've got it planned out yet.... :sweet:

I think we're in that 1100-1200 mile range. Maybe less...Maybe more. Depends if we run into any topes or not. Or should I say bearshit? Ya think a .22 will drop a grizz? poser cripple :yikes:


Bill...I'll write ya when we get closer. Until then, keep those ride reports coming!
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Buck Nasty

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PostSubject: The day hath come...   6/6/2009, 12:14 am

It's on! I'll be leaving today at Noon for Kennewick. Who knows where I'll end up! :wings:
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PostSubject: Ride on   6/6/2009, 7:27 am

Buck Nasty wrote:
It's on! I'll be leaving today at Noon for Kennewick. Who knows where I'll end up! :wings:



You guys have a safe trip lurk

griz
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   6/6/2009, 9:26 am

griz901 wrote:
Buck Nasty wrote:
It's on! I'll be leaving today at Noon for Kennewick. Who knows where I'll end up! :wings:



You guys have a safe trip lurk

griz

Thanks Bill! I programmed your number into my phone just in case I'm in your neck of the woods. What time are you out of school Mon-Tue?
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PostSubject: Re: Tri-Cities to Glacier and back...Late Spring '09   6/6/2009, 10:00 am

Thanks Bill! I programmed your number into my phone just in case I'm in your neck of the woods. What time are you out of school Mon-Tue?


New semester starts Monday, should be home around 1pm both days. Had a doozy of a storm blow through last night, lowered temps but great riding weather! Knocked down the dust/pollen.

Have a great time guys

Bill
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