8/18/2014 – 184 mi
The “Going to the Sun Road” through Glacier National Park in Montana is another famous road on the “must ride” list, and since I’ve never been to GNP, it seemed like a nice place to explore on our way back home. The problem was I’d forgotten just how crowded some of the more famous national parks can be. Before climbing up over the pass, the road is a beautiful piece of curvy tarmac through the evergreen woods along the lake. We had an absolutely perfect day, and even had a few people pull over for us so we could enjoy the road at a (slightly) more fun pace. We were so happy to finally enjoy some curves again.
The problem came when the road narrows and winds along the mountain ledge over the pass. I had no idea I’d have to ride the entire thing at a parade pace. It was really crowded, with the entire road clogged in both directions going 20 mph. It was hard to even find space in a pull out to get a few pictures (fortunately, motos squeeze in just about anywhere). The scenery was nice, but the pace and crowding was so frustrating. This was not at all where Kevin or I wanted to be. Then, once we crested the pass, we hit construction along the entire east end of the road. Since it was all downhill at that point, we amused ourselves by seeing how many miles we could travel with the bikes off and in neutral, just coasting along. It was sort of fun in the few places we could get up to speed, we imagined it would be like that all the time if we had electric motos. Traffic crawled along; I think we noted at one point that it had taken about an hour to go 7 miles. I was just glad we had gotten lunch in Whitefish. We threw out any notion of camping or hiking in the park, and grabbed a campsite at a commercial campground just east of the park boundary. We tried the KOA first (we really needed to do laundry, we hadn’t done any since Anchorage), which wanted $40 for a tent site. This confirmed why we avoid staying at KOAs, so we went to Johnsons instead. A bit cheaper, and the restaurant there has fantastic desserts.
8/19/2014 – 486 mi
After Glacier National Park, there are a few enjoyable curvy roads before the land gets flat and dry heading east across the plains. We ended up in Billings, MT near the end of the day. Since we were in a city, I thought it would be nice to grab dinner out at a place with some free wi-fi . It would save time from cooking in camp, and we could relax for a while inside as well as use the internet (and update the ride report). No luck. They apparently don’t believe in free wi-fi in Billings, Montana. We also struck out with our chosen campsite, as the campground was closed and blocked off when we arrived. After dinner, we headed east a bit more, and struck out yet again, not finding the next campground we were looking for. By this time it was getting dark, and we were getting tired. Thus, it finally happened; we caved, and paid $28 for a tent site at the KOA in Hardin, MT. It was quiet, we got more showers, and the internet connection was decent.