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Portland to Glacier National

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by Harabec, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. So I've been thinking about a 5-6 day trip for the past few months and I've always wanted to go to Glacier National Park. Luckily it seems like I'll be getting a week off work from aug 6th-12th. I've hastily thrown together a tentative itinerary and travel route from a few old threads about others who have taken this trip. I've never been out this way so I wanted to get some suggestions from anyone who has done this trip and touring riders in general. Here is the general route I have planned..

    I will be roughing it the whole way by camping/cooking for myself, etc. I was thinking of camping the first night near the clarkston/lewiston area, spending the next day getting to glacier national, spending a day or two at the park just chilling/hiking/taking pictures and whatnot, then two days on the return route. Does this seem doable? It's about 350 miles each riding day with some nicer twisty non-slab stuff thrown inbetween boring stretches.

    Any tips for the route? Any tips for several-day trips in general the average rider doesn't think about? Any input appreciated!
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  2. I hear the north cascades hi-way (20) is a must, so this is my tentative plan for 2 weeks near the end of august.
    I too will be roughing it, but don't have much advice on the subject. Babywipes work well for hygiene, and those more experienced then I have told me 350 would be a long day, but I think it's doable personally.
    Enjoy your trip!

  3. Bluuu

    Bluuu Señor verde

    I think it's totally doable. I try to keep my days within the 300mi range, but I ride an r6. But hey, what's an extra 50mi.
  4. Hello ;) Good route! That road from Lewiston to Missoula is wicked awesome. At the bottom of the pass heading up from the Missoula side there is a sign that says "Curves, next 99 miles". I think that should sum it up!

    Be careful though, there is some broken up asphalt, a lot of it right on the centerline and it can make passing a challenge. I believe it was in the National Park section. The mountain stuff is pretty narrow, which is pretty typical for national park roads on passes I guess. When I went through in early June there was construction on the Missoula side of Lolo Pass but it really was not too bad... Some sitting but nothing extreme.

    I might be thinking of Yellowstone but double check to see that Glacier allows tents in the campgrounds you were looking at.

    I have stayed at a campground just outside the park near Lake Five that allowed tents and it was pretty nice, I'll try and find out the name for you and post it up ;)
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
  5. By the way, that section where you have the E on the map is absolutely beautiful...great place to camp I think. I was on some kind of crazy death wish or something and rode from Havre, MT to the Dalles in one day but I remember riding through there thinking I needed to come back and explore that area!
  6. hmm really.. I may have to see if I am up for iron butting it during the ride to camp the first day in clearwater national forest there. Weather is probably a bit nice and cooler up there too
  7. Last summer I rode from Portland to Glacier NP and down through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons solo. I put my backpacking gear on my bike and hit the road on a whim. This ride was on my bucket list and finally was able to scratch it off. Hwy 12 through Lewiston was a great ride. Also, Road to the Sun in Glacier NP is also a must do ride. Also, Cheif Joseph Hwy from Cody,WY is a great road and was gorgeous as were the Grand Tetons. Yellowstone was crowded with cagers and took a while to get though the park. I camped in Glacier NP, as well as in the Grand Tetons. This was an epic ride. I did the trip in five days and would have liked to have taken longer but had work commitments to back to. You will not be disappointed.
  8. That Clearwater section is not something really with a remote feel or anything, there is a fair amount of various mom and pop hotels and campgrounds / RV parks in the area, but it certainly is beautiful!

    You might consider a few things also: the ride to Lewiston from about 40 miles east of Hermiston or so is kind of interesting too. Much of it is right on the river level in the gorge but it's a fairly dry environment. There are nice curves but watch out for rocks off the cliff side. Nice late meal or dinner in Lewiston, then head up to that area to camp. Nice riding alond the river in the gorge there from Lewiston too!

    You could then start out mid morning, enjoy that pass in early afternoon, and then head in to Missoula for lunch. If you've never been to Missoula it's a pretty cool town. There is a University there so it's got that feel, plus some good brewpubs, a nice river walk, and one of the coolest record shops ever called Rockin Rudy's... it's kind of a knick knack shop plus record shop. I have found some pretty rare import records and CD there.

    Iron Horse is a great brewpub! Good selection of brews (Moose Drool is the local thing) and the portions are pretty sizable. Get the sweet potato fries. Good stuff. Grizz Burger is awesome too, schedule the angioplasty while you are eating it ;)

    If you are camping and up to cooking there is an awesome meat market in Columbia Falls (just north of Kalispell) where you could snag a nice fat steak! They have lots of jerky made in house to for snacking on the ride. It's called Perfect Cuts. 1030 3rd Ave, Columbia Falls. Columbia Falls is maybe 40 minutes from where I camped outside Glacier!

    Feel free to PM with questions!
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
  9. "Any tips for several-day trips in general..."
    best value - spend $12 and get "Cramp Buster" to fit over throttle grip. Installs/removes in 3 seconds.
    these photos from an old thread --->
    I used a hack saw / coping saw (both hand saws) to shorten for tank clearance
    at full lock and to narrow grip portion for pinkie comfort.

    350 miles is a common standard day; if by yourself you might add 50 or 75 since you don't have to wait for other's quirks.
    I did 460 Wed in group and all were pretty tired, partly 'cuz waiting for others, imo.

    camping. be practical. you'll be looking for comfort and to cook w/o a fuss.

    so 1st night stay here --> 60 miles east of Lewiston is Kamiah. Has nice grocery store main drag;
    2 mile east is the Lewis and Clark Resort. Purchased food will still be cold.
    Nicely shaded / grassy private RV and Tent Campground, many sites.
    Has small pool, feel good to relax after that day. Also has cafe adjacent if ...
  10. Cool. Tomorrow I'm gonna poke off to cycle gear to grab one of those cramp busters and a cargo net!
  11. if its going to be HOT the cooling vests are nice. You have to keep the speed up to keep comfy though. 29 bucks right now at Cycle Gear.

    I used one a lot on a ride down to Vegas a few years ago.
  12. Glacier is amazing and is the one instance in which I would tell you to take off your helmet (I am normally a gear nazi). The sensation of riding up that valley (do west to east) is a chance of a lifetime. You are only going to be riding 15 MPH anyway.

    I did this trip a couple of years ago on my old bike. I did 20 from Seattle to Kalispell and then exited south through Missoula and Lolo Pass on the way back. 6 days was our trip which averaged about 250 a day or so (less on the Glacier day and more on the last day) with my buddy who was on a relatively slow Maxim 750. If you go through Lewiston/Clarkston pay a visit to Palouse Falls.

    There are 3 videos of the trip on my vimeo page (see my sig) that were all shot on a handheld but will give you an idea of the are. Be prepared for mega-mosquitos in Montana! :scared
  13. Glacier is awesome. Enjoy it... RR coming?:popcorn:
  14. I appreciate all the suggestions guys!

  15. I am awaiting a Road Report and pictures :mrgreen:

    Also if you get a chance Waterton (Canadian side) is well worth the trip
  16. Ah! I'll be sure to update you all with pics and whatnot. I'll be bringing my dslr and a few lenses.
  17. Be careful with the cramp buster, you will hit the gas when you think your letting off it a few times until you get used to it. I pulled the clutch in a few times this weekend using one :-D It was in the 100's over by Lewiston this weekend! HAve a camelback or tankbag with water. (and drink gatorade) I cramped up a few times until I switched to gatorade driving through the heat!
  18. kawidude88

    kawidude88 formerly gsxrdude24

    That sounds like a lot of fun.
  19. HWY 12 through North Idaho is amazing, just be careful with cops. They get a lot of people who wreck on that stretch of road. I know the bike can handle a quick pace through there if there are no cops.

    When I went through there a few months ago I ended up getting a performance award but I think mostly because two days before a couple had gone off the road and the wife was DOA and husband was still critical. However cop wrote me from 80 to 70 which saved me about $90 off the ticket as I was in full riding gear... a lot of people (his words) ride through without even a helmet on.
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