• Montana – No Hannah To Be Found Anywhere

    Posted by Loren on September 12, 2012

    The astute reader will recall at the end of the British Columbia update, I said that I was going to Idaho. This I did, turned left, and an hour later I was in Montana.

    I have a set of maps from Butler Maps which cover all the mountain states and do a brilliant job of showing routes and all sorts of other bits and pieces specifically for motorcyclists. Each evening I sweep an area clear on the ground, secure the corners of the map with a mixture of riding boots, bear spray and firewood, and plot the next day’s ride and create the route in my GPS. I then sit back and be led by Garmin. Thankfully the data in the Garmin is much more detailed for North America than it was for Central and South America, where if a country was lucky it would have a couple roads listed, accurate to +/- 150km.

    Before I made it to the first listed ride, I was distracted by a sign that said “Forest Access Road”. Throwing my careful planning the night before to the wind, I displeased my GPS by turning right in search of some dirt. It turns out this wasn’t very difficult to find as I climbed higher and higher up the mountain, sharing the road with nothing but the occasional dear and swooping bird. The smell of cedar trees took my instantly back to my childhood. Not literally of course. Within an hour of arriving in Montana, I decided, I like it very much.

    On the Alberta/Montana border is the Glacier National Park and for my purposes the Going-To-The-Sun Road. According to Butler Maps, “Hands down, this is one of the most exciting and spectacular sections of tarmac in the continental US”. Just reading that now I wonder if they really needed to say the continental US? There is a part of the sentence that wasn’t entirely correct when I went through, that being the tarmac bit. It had been replaced with dirt, construction equipment and the sign every biker dreads seeing, “Motorcyclists Beware”. Having ridden through some countries in Central and South America where that should be the sign that greets you when you enter the country, I survived.

    Every once in awhile, I like to reprove an old saying. In the Glacier National Park I went with “don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today”, or modified slightly for my purposes “don’t put off a photo for tomorrow when you think the light will be better, for one you could take today when it is already decent.” Because tomorrow it could rain. My plan was to ride from West to East, camp the night, then ride back at sunrise from East to West. All went according to plan until I packed up, chased a fox from my campsite, fired up the bike at 6.15 and then rediscovered what it is to ride through hail and rain in near freezing temperatures over a mountain pass. Montana Coffee Roasters followed, and then a beeline west back to Idaho. Are all my updates going to end with going to Idaho? If I’d a hoe, I’d plant some potatoes. Thanks Dad.

    Always a favourite sign, and always with a few gunshots.

    Maybe a few less of the first could have helped with the second.

    umm, I think I have one? That is, if it is the same thing as a muffler, the name of which has been in use since 1956.

    I like to get the most per tankful. New marketing opportunity for Shoei Helmets “you can use your helmet to put out forest fires!”

    View Larger Map

One Comment | Leave a Reply

  1. Murray on September 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Awesome mate, just awesome! How was your cold bud? Just what you feel like after a 6hour ride in minus temperatures and being smashed by hail! I bet you had your 12volt vest cranked up! Keep the photos coming, they are great!!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.