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Thread: Montana, never been, what to expect?

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    motorcycle cowboy Tennessean's Avatar
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    Montana, never been, what to expect?

    I am making plans to ride to the 2015 rally in Montana and probably traveling alone. I consider myself a seasoned traveler, having spent 28 years as an over the road trucker, most of my driving being on the East coast. However, there is as much difference in trucking and motorcycling as there is night and day. I rode to Sedalia, MO solo in 2012, thru the stifling heat and was able to survive that with proper hydration. I plan to camp along the way. What advice would you seasoned riders give me traveling from Kansas to Montana?
    2013 Goldwing

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    Don't waste a lot of time getting there. Get to Montana and spend time exploring the western and northern part of the state. Wyoming is worth a visit as you get near the big horn mountains. You will find that Bilings is not the most attractive part of the state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bikemike View Post
    I am making plans to ride to the 2015 rally in Montana and probably traveling alone. I consider myself a seasoned traveler, having spent 28 years as an over the road trucker, most of my driving being on the East coast. However, there is as much difference in trucking and motorcycling as there is night and day. I rode to Sedalia, MO solo in 2012, thru the stifling heat and was able to survive that with proper hydration. I plan to camp along the way. What advice would you seasoned riders give me traveling from Kansas to Montana?
    Watch out for the free-range cattle in Wyoming.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

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    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    You could spend a lot of time getting there.
    That is by riding into western Colorado, and all around. Then also into Utah and all around the southern portion of Utah.
    Then up to Idaho, and all around Idaho, then into Montana from the north west.
    Then all around western Montana, and finally into Billings.
    Time permitting, that's the way I would go up there, but starting from here, rather than Kansas.
    dc

    Oh, I think you should expect better scenery than Kansas. And you will get it too.

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    In a nutshell...expect to enjoy !!! Beautiful state...and IMO some nice folks.

    For me to try & describe it too you...would be like trying to take an accurate picture of the Grand Canyon...ya really can't do it justice.

    As was noted...watch out for animals & if ya see gas---buy it. It might be a long distance to the next station.
    Ron Prior {AMA member 30+ years,MOA member 20+years}
    Milford,Oh
    2002 KLT
    2004 Roadster

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    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    I would strongly suggest you enter Yellowstone Park from the south, and ride up and exit at the north. If you have time, spend 1 or 2 days in Yellowstone. It is a fantastic park.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
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    motorcycle cowboy Tennessean's Avatar
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    Although your responses are terrific, I should have been more specific. I do not have a definite route yet but,

    1. What kind of riding conditions can I expect in mid July from Kansas to Denver?

    2. Denver up thru Wyoming into Billings?
    2013 Goldwing

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    motorcycle cowboy Tennessean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roborider View Post
    I would strongly suggest you enter Yellowstone Park from the south, and ride up and exit at the north. If you have time, spend 1 or 2 days in Yellowstone. It is a fantastic park.

    Any particular reason why?
    2013 Goldwing

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bikemike View Post
    Although your responses are terrific, I should have been more specific. I do not have a definite route yet but,

    1. What kind of riding conditions can I expect in mid July from Kansas to Denver?

    You can expect this to be the most boring part of the ride. Flat and dry. In July it will be very hot on this stretch and would recommend riding at night....I hate the heat.

    2. Denver up thru Wyoming into Billings?
    The ride up from Denver to the Wyoming border is almost like being in a suburb of Denver. Traffic can be bad, but once you clear Fort Collins it starts to clear out and you begin to feel like your in Colorado, but that is short lived because once you cross the border it gets flat and from Cheyene to Casper it is an absolute bore as well. Don't get me wrong it is desolate and beautiful but it is flat. Weather wise it could be comfortable to hot in July and August. In my trip to Alaska this year I went through Montana and Wyoming and the weather was in the low to mid 80s. Expect storms to pop up along the way. From Casper on up again it is flat and boring but the 80 mile an hour speed limit helps the time pass. It is the same all the way to Billings. Except when you hit Buffalo and Sheridan Wyoming. They sit at the base of the Big Horn range and I would suggest cutting across them to come into Billings from the backside up through Worland or Greybull on the 16 or 14 into the 310 on up to Billings. I have done this ride several times and it is boring but once you accept the beauty of the plains and travelling at 85-90mph you adjust. It can be hot so be prepared and the weather can change on a dime. But you will love it. It is lonely but so expansive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bikemike View Post
    Although your responses are terrific, I should have been more specific. I do not have a definite route yet but,

    1. What kind of riding conditions can I expect in mid July from Kansas to Denver?

    2. Denver up thru Wyoming into Billings?


    That's almost impossible to answer accurately. The last time I was out there [2008-9] ? , heading to Y/Stone [which is actually Wyoming] ..it snowed ! And that was on my B/Day,... the 22nd of June. We stopped short at Devils Tower, Houlette , WY..rode the next day heading back east to Deadwood,SD in spitting snow, sleet & cold. A few years earlier in [2001] in Missoula,MO it was hot! as all hell...at just about the same time of year [16th-18th] ?? of June. So it really is very hard to say.
    Ron Prior {AMA member 30+ years,MOA member 20+years}
    Milford,Oh
    2002 KLT
    2004 Roadster

  11. #11
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    Let me try again.
    Kansas to Denver. Straight, flat, and boring. Make it like taking a band-aid off a hairy arm. Quick. One quick motion.
    Denver to Billings. The straight line has been described above.
    My recommendation: go a different way.
    West from Denver. Avoid Denver if possible. Avoid any large metro or even mid sized metro area if possible.
    West from Denver, then south. Yes, you know Billings is to the north, but if you go south you will find ... excellent motorcycling conditions. Then meander further west and north west til you are west of Billings. Then approach Billings from the west.
    It is a conundrum. A pair of docs. Go south and go west to get to the east (Billings). But try it. You may find excellent motorcycling conditions. Remember you only live once. You only make this trip once. Therefore, make the most out of it possible.
    As to weather, could be good or bad. Like described above.
    Expect some rain.
    Try to make the trip as many days as possible. You may never be back there.
    Go to the website for Butler motorcycle maps. Get some of those maps. Then add in as many good looking well known scenic roads as possible.
    dc

  12. #12
    motorcycle cowboy Tennessean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David13 View Post
    Let me try again.
    Kansas to Denver. Straight, flat, and boring. Make it like taking a band-aid off a hairy arm. Quick. One quick motion.
    Denver to Billings. The straight line has been described above.
    My recommendation: go a different way.
    West from Denver. Avoid Denver if possible. Avoid any large metro or even mid sized metro area if possible.
    West from Denver, then south. Yes, you know Billings is to the north, but if you go south you will find ... excellent motorcycling conditions. Then meander further west and north west til you are west of Billings. Then approach Billings from the west.
    It is a conundrum. A pair of docs. Go south and go west to get to the east (Billings). But try it. You may find excellent motorcycling conditions. Remember you only live once. You only make this trip once. Therefore, make the most out of it possible.
    As to weather, could be good or bad. Like described above.
    Expect some rain.
    Try to make the trip as many days as possible. You may never be back there.
    Go to the website for Butler motorcycle maps. Get some of those maps. Then add in as many good looking well known scenic roads as possible.
    dc
    Thanks for your input. As for Butler maps, I already have the western states from them...they excite me.
    2013 Goldwing

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    Occurs to me that you perhaps are asking a different question than we are answering in this thread. You are an Easterner, no? Driven a big rig, but mostly in the eastern third of the USA. If you have not driven, or ridden, a lot in the Great Plains or in the Rockies, then you might be, appropriately enough, a tad anxious. Much like I get when I have to go back east. I would almost rather stick my arm in a meat grinder than ride anywhere east of the Appalachians. I know it's unreasonable to be so anxious about it, but there you are.

    Here are some very general suggestions:
    (1) expect any kind of weather, and expect it to change drastically with little notice.
    (2) expect long vistas and lots of openness and, if you can avoid large towns, expect relatively few people.
    (3) Folks you meet--even the ones with pistols strapped on their belts--will likely be friendly and eager to talk to you ... if you let them.
    (4) Don't be afraid, unless it's dark and there is liquor involved.
    (5) When you see gas, buy it (already been suggested).
    (6) Eat in places with unfamiliar names (avoid franchises and chain eateries).
    (7) When you see three or more vehicles stopped alongside the road, consider joining them; they likely have something neat to either show you or tell you about. Only two vehicles? One is broken down and the other is assisting.
    (8) The Rally is in late July; don't stick around the area for long or you will get consumed by the Sturgis crowd. If you want to sight-see in the area do it before the BMW Rally.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  14. #14
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Climate for Billings:

    http://www.climate-zone.com/climate/...tana/billings/

    It usually chills off at night in the high country, even after a warm day and can get downright chilly, down to 40F or so.

    Speeds are higher out west and there are some large critters loose on the range, so plan to do most of your traveling in daylight hours.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

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    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Wind. Be prepared to ride in sustained winds of 20-30 MPH and with gusts higher still. Prevailing winds are from the NW meaning a cross wind if you are heading East to West. You may very well not see these sort of winds in the summer, but it is possible.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

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