Trip to Glacier National Park Montana
July 8-18, 2016
Started early on Friday, riding with Ron Neagle who organized and planned the entire ride. Rode to Bryce Utah and spent the night. The next morning, we went into the park and viewed the spectacular formations.
It’s hard to put into words the beauty of this area.
525 Million years to make this, but unfortunately we had to get on the road. Took highway 12 (which is a very scenic, recommended ride) past Escalante. We found a side road and discovered a slot canyon where we walked in and took some photos.
No I didn’t take a picture of my finger!? I’m pointing at the canyon! Well, that’s my story.
We rode the Devils Backbone (you know it’s a fun road when it has a name) then on the way to Provo when we were riding thru a mountainous two lane with open grazing. No fences. Going through a downhill stretch, I rounded a sharp curve, only to see this enormous bull ahead of me, in the road! He appeared to be crossing the road, but when he heard me coming he stopped dead in his tracks, turned his head towards me and looked. As if to say, “Yeah, so what do you want?” Did I say he was big? He filled the entire right hand lane, so there was no room to go behind him. The on coming lane was open, but it did occur that if he were to start moving that’s the same direction he’d go. He must have stood close to 6 feet at the shoulders and looked to be 900-1000 lbs. Way too big to argue with! I was going downhill towards him, so if I were to turn around I’d have to start off in his direction, (not appealing), so I thought the only thing to do was blow the horn. I do have a quad horn mounted beneath my bike so it did make a fairly loud sound. The bull came to attention and after a short pause walked to the other side of the road – allowing me to be on my very relieved way!
The following morning we departed for Salt Lake, Ogden, Brigham City to Logan. Ron took us by Utah State Univ. on Highway 89 where we traced the Logan river, following it up into the mountains – gorgeous ride. We took a break at Bear Lake, which is a large scenic lake. We donned rain gear at the next town as it looked foreboding.
We then cut through the Southeast corner of Idaho into Wyoming. On our way to Jackson we were welcomed by rain and then the wind and hail – ouch! It was coming in horizontal with the wind gusting strongly. We were in farmland so no shelter. It let up after what seemed like a long time, but was probably about 5-6 minutes and we continued on.
Jackson is a neat place. We visited the Jackson square, center of the city, ate and went to a few watering holes and generally had a good time. There were a few antlers around.
Visions of pixies flitted through Ron’s head.
I was more seriously concerned about the natural wildlife.
Next morning we were off to Yellowstone. We went by the Tetons, but they were shrouded in clouds and not visible. We saw a group of Bison as we entered, but they were too far away for photos. Still, we went by the Tetons. And finally the great Yellowstone!
We saw waterfalls, streams, sulphur springs and lakes. As Glacier National Park was our prime goal, we took the south loop through Yellowstone and headed for Cody for the night.
Got to Cody and had a minor problem fixed at Cody Custom Cycles. The owner was great! Had the bike up on the lift, had the taillights connected and back on the ground in a half hour.
We stayed at the Irma Hotel, which had been owned by Buffalo Bill Cody who named it after his daughter. Neat place to stay; everything is close to original with the necessary modern updates. We had breakfast at the restaurant/ bar, which is where Cody would interview men for the Wild West show he was assembling. Cool place.
From Cody, we were off to Montana. Got on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and took it to Beartooth All American Highway. What a ride!
This is the summit of Beartooth. Temp in the 30’s, wind 30-40 mph. Some of the road in view.
A little peek at the descent, some very hairy hairpins!
Spent the next night in Bozeman. Then finally heading to the Holy Grail – Glacier National Park! Up 83, riding thru the mountains to Evergreen, then Columbia Falls, our destination for the next few days.
We took the next few days easier, to recuperate a bit and to just relax and enjoy being tourists. We took the Red Bus to the “ Going to the Sun Road” which had only been snow free a few weeks earlier. These are 1938 vintage buses that had been refurbished and equipped by Ford with new engines, transmissions and suspension pieces. They are very nicely preserved with tops that are rolled open the length of the bus for the tours.
The roads are steep, curvy and narrow, making the excursion challenging for the drivers, and passengers who worry.
We stopped for lunch at a hotel built in the 30’s to resemble a Swiss Chalet. It was perched next to a lake surrounded by mountains.
Everywhere you look there are mountains, waterfalls, streams and rivers. Always green with trees and foliage. Just a magical place.
The way leading to the Going to the Sun Road.
Made a friend on the way back and a display of Wind Rocks in front of a Rock Store in Kanab, Utah.
We got back to Flagstaff in time for lunch at Martannes, a favorite spot for green Chile.
A pit stop just north of Payson, getting close to home, but still in the high country.
About an hour later, arrived back in the heat (111degrees) of Mesa. Talk about a change of climate!
Beautiful, epic trip flawlessly planned and executed by Ron Neagle. Thank you very much, Ron!!