Montana Motorcycle Trip

Here was the plan.

I'd been wanting to take a longish motorcycle trip sometime this summer. I've also been wanting to go to Montana, the land of open roads and no speed limits. My father Joe, and his wife Val recently moved to western Montana, so this gave me the excuse I was looking for. This is also where I grew up, and where my grandmother lives so the whole trip was probably long overdue anyway.

It's a two thousand mile trip up and back so this also presented me with an excuse to do some work on the bike, I'd been putting off. First it was a new custom Corbin seat, and then a new chain and sprockets, brake pads, oil change, and a few more bits and bobs. I also picked up some soft saddlebags so I'd have some place to stash everything I'd need for the trip.

Earlier in the summer, I'd put on new tires and a bicycle computer, which would come in handy running across Wyoming and Montana.

I managed to pack all my stuff (I need to make a full list of everything that was in here), into my tail bag and two saddle bags with an air mattress strapped to the back.

The night before the trip. Here is the bike fully decked out, sitting in my patio.

Friday, I leave Lakewood at 10:30pm or so, head north on I-25 to Loveland exit, west to Loveland and then North on Highway 287 to Fort Collins. The traffic was horrid. Next time I'm taking I-25 all the way to Fort Collins.

Fort Collins to Laramie is a nice stretch. Nice to be on 65mph two lane highways finally. At Laramie the Wyoming wind started, and didn't stop pushing me around for the next two days. Laramie to Rawlins on I-80 is fast and boring. Someone in a '96 Maxima chased me around for an hour at 85-90mph. I stopped to get gas and eat something, and ended up passing her 50 miles down the road toward Lander, and she hadn't slowed down yet.

About 4:45pm Friday, I stopped finally to take my first 3 pictures. All those Mars Pathfinder folks seem to like to do composite pans, so not to be out-done, here's my own "Monster Pan" created from my 3 photographs at Red Canyon.

After averaging a solid 80 miles per hour for 130 miles from Rawlins to the junction with Highway 28 just south of Lander, and then spending 10 miles on a single lane dirt rode I arrived at Louis Lake, nearly out of gas.

This is also when I discovered that a juice bottle had leaked all over ever scrap of clothing in my tail bag. I got to wash all my previously clean clothes in the lake and hope they'd dry in the dark overnight. I ended up helping the drying process along with a camp fire, only to burn my second pair of socks to a nice crunchy consistency.

My mom Mary, and her companion Fred, had planned a trip to Montana to visit someone else so we met up at the lake and camped together, watched the stars and satellites from 10 thousand feet elevation. Jupiter rose like a lighthouse light reflected in the lake and we later saw a couple shooting stars.

The next morning Mary rented a canoe and we all got out on the lake for some serious paddling in the wind.

Then I packed up, bummed a gallon of gas from the folks who rent the boats and we hit the road.

This led off my next full day of riding. On to Saturday.

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