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Thread: Ride to Great Falls

  1. #31
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    I've got a day trip out of Great Falls to Road to the Sun planned, hoping to leave early enough in the am to avoid traffic, hoping to hit the road east side by 9:30am. I was also looking to do day trip West of Missoula across US12 through Lolo and Clearwater national parks, anyone ridden that way? Worth the trip?
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  2. #32
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandhumphreyme View Post
    I've got a day trip out of Great Falls to Road to the Sun planned, hoping to leave early enough in the am to avoid traffic, hoping to hit the road east side by 9:30am. I was also looking to do day trip West of Missoula across US12 through Lolo and Clearwater national parks, anyone ridden that way? Worth the trip?
    Enjoyed that route during the 1998 Missoula Rally.
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  3. #33
    Booger Man boogerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsinnc View Post
    OK ... so I just modified my route and nixed "61" out of Ogallala and now pick up "2" out of Grand Island NE to Hyannis

    There better be trains
    I guarantee you will see trains from Grand Island to Hyannis. Good size yard in Grand Island. BNSF Coal train/freight stuff. BNSF has huge locomotive shop in Alliance. Union Pacific has the world’s largest rail yard in North Platte Neb. off of I80. You can tour it.

  4. #34
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 178592 View Post
    . BNSF has huge locomotive shop in Alliance. .
    Alliance also has Carhenge
    P8160007.JPG
    Lee
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  5. #35
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandhumphreyme View Post
    I've got a day trip out of Great Falls to Road to the Sun planned, hoping to leave early enough in the am to avoid traffic, hoping to hit the road east side by 9:30am. I was also looking to do day trip West of Missoula across US12 through Lolo and Clearwater national parks, anyone ridden that way? Worth the trip?
    Traveling east to west on the Going to the Sun Road generally means less traffic, and being early in the day helps too. Most people start on the west, Columbia Falls side, and many turn around at the Logan Pass visitors center. Coming from the east that means less traffic getting to Logan Pass but heavy traffic going down the west side, and that is where much of the great scenery is located. The list below shows opening dates for a 17 year period and as you can see the road may not be open. When it does open it may not mean the entire road is open (they sometimes open it on the west side to Logan Pass while the east side is still being plowed), and when it does first open it will probably be swamped with people. Bring patience.

    Riding HWY 12 west of Lolo from Great Falls will be a long day ride from Great Falls; 220 miles to Lochsa Lodge at Powell and that is only 45 miles west of Lolo, MT. Once you cross into Idaho the speed limit is 50 MPH and they are pretty tough on speeding. Avoid the road on the weekend as it may be packed with large groups of cruisers and road racer wannabes. There is fuel at Lolo and at Lochsa Lodge (only 2 pumps at Lochsa so there may be a line). You may see on your GPS that there is fuel at Lowell (65 miles west of Lochsa Lodge) but the station has been closed the last three times we were there. The first fuel west of Lochsa Lodge will be near Kooskia which is 87 miles from Lochsa Lodge and 310 miles from Great Falls. Good food at Lochsa Lodge and at the the Wilderness Cafe in Lowell.

    I assume you mean Clearwater National Forest rather than National Park. The National Forest surrounds Lowell. Lowell, ID, also known as Three Forks, is where the Lochsa and Selway Rivers join to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. Highway 12 runs along the Lochsa River for much of the way from Lochsa Lodge to Lowell. There is a great deal of recreation on the rivers, especially around Lowell. There is not much to Lowell; cafe, small motel, campground and an IDOT facility. There is a former Japanese internment camp located somewhere near Lowell but I have not seen it.




    Logan Pass Opening Dates
    2000 May 27
    2001 June 7
    2002 June 28
    2003 May 30
    2004 May 30
    2005 May 22
    2006 June 23
    2007 July 1
    2008 July 2
    2009 June 26
    2010 June 24
    2011 July 13
    2012 June 19
    2013 June 21
    2014 July 2
    2015 June 19
    2016 June 16
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  6. #36
    Registered User lasnin's Avatar
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    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Traveling east to west on the Going to the Sun Road generally means less traffic, and being early in the day helps too. Most people start on the west, Columbia Falls side, and many turn around at the Logan Pass visitors center. Coming from the east that means less traffic getting to Logan Pass but heavy traffic going down the west side, and that is where much of the great scenery is located. The list below shows opening dates for a 17 year period and as you can see the road may not be open. When it does open it may not mean the entire road is open (they sometimes open it on the west side to Logan Pass while the east side is still being plowed), and when it does first open it will probably be swamped with people. Bring patience.

    Riding HWY 12 west of Lolo from Great Falls will be a long day ride from Great Falls; 220 miles to Lochsa Lodge at Powell and that is only 45 miles west of Lolo, MT. Once you cross into Idaho the speed limit is 50 MPH and they are pretty tough on speeding. Avoid the road on the weekend as it may be packed with large groups of cruisers and road racer wannabes. There is fuel at Lolo and at Lochsa Lodge (only 2 pumps at Lochsa so there may be a line). You may see on your GPS that there is fuel at Lowell (65 miles west of Lochsa Lodge) but the station has been closed the last three times we were there. The first fuel west of Lochsa Lodge will be near Kooskia which is 87 miles from Lochsa Lodge and 310 miles from Great Falls. Good food at Lochsa Lodge and at the the Wilderness Cafe in Lowell.

    I assume you mean Clearwater National Forest rather than National Park. The National Forest surrounds Lowell. Lowell, ID, also known as Three Forks, is where the Lochsa and Selway Rivers join to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. Highway 12 runs along the Lochsa River for much of the way from Lochsa Lodge to Lowell. There is a great deal of recreation on the rivers, especially around Lowell. There is not much to Lowell; cafe, small motel, campground and an IDOT facility. There is a former Japanese internment camp located somewhere near Lowell but I have not seen it.




    Logan Pass Opening Dates
    2000 May 27
    2001 June 7
    2002 June 28
    2003 May 30
    2004 May 30
    2005 May 22
    2006 June 23
    2007 July 1
    2008 July 2
    2009 June 26
    2010 June 24
    2011 July 13
    2012 June 19
    2013 June 21
    2014 July 2
    2015 June 19
    2016 June 16
    I had the same plan to ride there as well. Thanks for the local information. Also, check out: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvis...thesunroad.htm

  7. #37
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Alliance also has Carhenge
    P8160007.JPG
    WOW ... been through Alliance twice and never saw Carhenge !! On my list this trip for sure.
    Ed Apelian
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  8. #38
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsinnc View Post
    WOW ... been through Alliance twice and never saw Carhenge !! On my list this trip for sure.
    3 miles north of town on 87.
    Lee
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  9. #39
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    3 miles north of town on 87.
    Yep ... already checked it out and have it added to my route.

    I hope the Sinclair station and cafe called "That Stop" is still there at the intersection of 61 and 2 in Hyannis! I love that place.
    Ed Apelian
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  10. #40
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Traveling east to west on the Going to the Sun Road generally means less traffic, and being early in the day helps too. Most people start on the west, Columbia Falls side, and many turn around at the Logan Pass visitors center. Coming from the east that means less traffic getting to Logan Pass but heavy traffic going down the west side, and that is where much of the great scenery is located. The list below shows opening dates for a 17 year period and as you can see the road may not be open. When it does open it may not mean the entire road is open (they sometimes open it on the west side to Logan Pass while the east side is still being plowed), and when it does first open it will probably be swamped with people. Bring patience.

    Riding HWY 12 west of Lolo from Great Falls will be a long day ride from Great Falls; 220 miles to Lochsa Lodge at Powell and that is only 45 miles west of Lolo, MT. Once you cross into Idaho the speed limit is 50 MPH and they are pretty tough on speeding. Avoid the road on the weekend as it may be packed with large groups of cruisers and road racer wannabes. There is fuel at Lolo and at Lochsa Lodge (only 2 pumps at Lochsa so there may be a line). You may see on your GPS that there is fuel at Lowell (65 miles west of Lochsa Lodge) but the station has been closed the last three times we were there. The first fuel west of Lochsa Lodge will be near Kooskia which is 87 miles from Lochsa Lodge and 310 miles from Great Falls. Good food at Lochsa Lodge and at the the Wilderness Cafe in Lowell.

    I assume you mean Clearwater National Forest rather than National Park. The National Forest surrounds Lowell. Lowell, ID, also known as Three Forks, is where the Lochsa and Selway Rivers join to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. Highway 12 runs along the Lochsa River for much of the way from Lochsa Lodge to Lowell. There is a great deal of recreation on the rivers, especially around Lowell. There is not much to Lowell; cafe, small motel, campground and an IDOT facility. There is a former Japanese internment camp located somewhere near Lowell but I have not seen it.
    Thanks for the update, any other suggestions for a nice 200-400 mile day around Great Falls?
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  11. #41
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandhumphreyme View Post
    Thanks for the update, any other suggestions for a nice 200-400 mile day around Great Falls?
    A great ride.....

    US 89 S out of GF towards White Sulphur Springs. This stretch takes you thru the Little Belt Mountains. In June you could encounter temps in the 30s or 70s on the same day. After around 93 miles at the T intersection with US 12, head east (option 1: 325 miles) or west into White Sulphur Springs (option2: 265 miles)

    Option 1 (325 Miles): East on highway 12 for about 27 miles and turn right on MT 294, then 2 miles to a T intersection and turn left, you are in Martinsdale, go two blocks and take a right on Main Street and look for the Crazy Mountain Inn. Good food. Go back to the T intersection and go straight thru it and stay on MT 294 W for 27 miles, at the intersection turn right on US 89 N, go 8 miles and turn left on US 12 W then 33 miles thru Deep Creek Canyon (twisty) to Townsend. Stay on Hwy 12 W (turn right at the flashing light) for 30 miles to Helena and the intersection with I-15. It is 90 miles to Great Falls on I-15. The ride on I-15 is one of the best you will find on an interstate. It goes thru Wolf Creek Canyon and the Big belt Mountains at Hardy. You can ride much of the way on frontage roads as well. Some of them follow the Missouri as it cuts thru the Big belts and it is a very nice ride. You can get on the frontage (or recreation road) at exit 219, thru Wolf Creek, past the Craig turn off, under I-15, and then it meanders along I-15 and the Missouri. At times you will be a few miles from I-15 but I don't think you will have trouble finding your way, or getting back to the interstate if your fun meter is pegged. You need to get on the interstate at Ulm. Or just stay on the interstate all the way from Helena... it is a good ride much of the way. (If you take option one you may want to go into White Sulpur Springs for fuel before heading to Martinsdale. There will be no fuel until you get to Townsend which is over 100 miles via Martinsdale)

    Option 2 (265 Miles): Skip Martinsdale. At the T intersection of US 89 and US 12 go right thru White sulphur Springs to Townsend. Saves 60 miles.


    Second ride: GF to Belt, Fort Benton, GF. (150 miles). US 89 S 30 miles to Belt, at Belt take MT 331 (turns into HWY 228 somewhere along the way) thru Highwood and Big Sag about 40 miles to Fort Benton. Return to GF on US 87 S around 42 miles. Look up Fort Benton on Wikipedia. some interesting history to see, including Shep the dog.

    Good book that gives insights into the early days of Montana; trapping, guiding, Indian fighting, sheriff and newspaper editor; this guy did it all.

    Life and Death on the Upper Missouri: The Frontier Sketches of Johnny Healy

    https://smile.amazon.com/dp/06157828...v_ov_lig_dp_it
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  12. #42
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Kevin,
    Thanks much for the suggestions looks like I'll have a couple of busy days. Be glad to buy you a beverage of choice for your troubles.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  13. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    This is a great opportunity to ride the North Shore of Lake Superior... the route below shows the general idea *except* that instead of going around Lake Huron, you would take the Chi-Cheemaun ferry from Tobermory, ONT to South Baymouth. (that small gap in the middle) The map wouldn't route it.

    From Sault St. Marie, you could ride across the Michigan UP or take the North Shore.

    Wow, that looks like a cool route to take to rally

  14. #44
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arhd63 View Post
    Wow, that looks like a cool route to take to rally
    Absolutely! I did that exact ride 2 years ago and had a blast. I was in Des Moines for the rally and then headed north to Duluth and Grand Marias. I loved Duluth!! What a cool city. If anyone is doing this and is moteling it I have some great suggestions. There are not a lot of options along the way so the day to day planning is important and there are a couple of great websites for the Superior ride. It really is worth doing if you've never done it before.
    Ed Apelian
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  15. #45
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsinnc View Post
    . If anyone is doing this and is moteling it I have some great suggestions. There are not a lot of options along the way so the day to day planning is important and there are a couple of great websites for the Superior ride. .
    Don't keep it a secret This thread is a good place to post the info.
    Lee
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