Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Big Rocky Mountain Ride. Part One: Denver to Glacier

Last year my friend Drew decided that he would take a long ride through the Rocky Mountains.  
He really wanted to have someone ride with him so I decided to tag along.  I didn't have a suitable bike so I committed to rent a BMW F650GS, the model year with the 800cc twin cylinder engine.  

He drove out in his pickup truck with his BMW F800GS.  He offloaded at the rental shop and off we went.

For a practice run the first day we rode up Mount Evans, then back into Denver for dinner.

The next day we embarked on quite a ride.  It started by heading north to Loveland, then west through Rocky Mountain National Park.  After riding through that, Drew had found a 25 mile dirt road that was a short cut to our destination for the day, Rock Springs, Wyoming.  It was interesting, me, new to off road riding, lugging this heavily loaded large motorcycle through the rough stuff, but I made it easily.  We then headed north, lunch in Walden, then to I-80 where it was 95 degrees with a 40 mph sidewind.  We traveled at 80 to 85 mph.  Passing trucks in the wind involves getting sucked into the back, then riding alongside, then getting blown away as you pass the front.  We did this about 100 times in the 140 miles of this ride.  It was not pleasant but we were pleased to make it.

The next morning we headed north to Grand Teton National Park.  At the start, Drew stopped to check his tire pressures as his bike felt strange.  Pressures were down significantly so we aired up and it turned out to be fine.  Probably related to the long hot day before.  We arrived in Grand Teton and got our room at the Jackson Lake Lodge.  I noticed that we were near Idaho and wanted to add that to my states visited, so I embarked on a 140 mile round trip to Idaho.  Drew wanted to ride trails so he did that.  When crossing into Idaho, I wanted to do something, saw a sign for the Grand Teton Brewing Company and stopped for a small beer and tee shirt.  Then rode back to the lodge.  That lodge is very cool with a great view.  Fantastic day.

The next day was another big ride through Yellowstone National Park, to Bozeman, Montana.  Yellowstone was fine.  We did the tourist thing and went to Old Faithful.  It was not what I expected as we viewed it with around 2000 others.  We sped through the rest, so we really didn't give the park the attention it deserved, but every parking lot was full and all the areas were busy.  Not really what I like to see.

Bozeman was a nice town.  We ate at the Montana Ale Works where our server suggested we ride to Livingston after we left.  We did and enjoyed the scenery and the little town.

We rode to Kalispell the next day for our adventure through Glacier National Park.  
Tomorrow's blog

Bikers, picking up my rental.

At the top of Mount Evans

Rocky Mountain National Park

We ran into some real dirt riders on our dirt shortcut

Rest stop on I-80.  95 degrees, 40 mph wind.

Jackson, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park

The view from the Jackson Lake Lodge Bar

Montana Ale Works

Livingston, Montana

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