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Old 05-18-11, 01:02 PM   #1
EOtt
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touring missoula, tetons, beartooth, helena loop - advice needed



I have gloriously quit a phd degree that was sucking the life out of me. i now turn my attention to the finer things in life like merry-making and remembering what pleasure is before beginning a much healthier and happier chapter of my life.

I am in Missoula. Here is a tentative route. As you can see I'll be biking the tetons and the Beartooth Highway. Suggestions on the route? Starting times? Things I should be aware of like narrow roads, crappy roads, awesome roads, etc? Places I have to see? Great camp sites? I have moderate bike touring experience and very little time constraints. I am looking to pick up a few days of work at different stops along the way.

Thanks in advance,
Eric

the link to the route. There are two loops. Disregard the Oregon loop (that is for another time )
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...3,7.196045&z=7
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Old 05-18-11, 01:17 PM   #2
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From west yellowstone why not take the adventure cycling transam route through dillon up to darby, stevensville and lolo? That would at least keep you off of I-90.
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Old 05-18-11, 01:27 PM   #3
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Looks like it's going to be a great ride, but try and stay off those highways and interstates. It will make your ride a lot more fun not having to worry about being run over by a semi.
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Old 05-18-11, 01:28 PM   #4
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^^ agree. Otherwise, fantastic! I would do this mid summer - like, July/August.

edit, was agreeing w/zoltani, another post got in between.
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Old 05-18-11, 02:10 PM   #5
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Totally agree with staying off interstates. I was planning on taking the Interstate frontage roads. As far as staying off highways, I'm not sure that is possible. To Zoltani, that is something I've been thinking about too. I was leaning towards that route because I like the idea of biking hwy 1 through Anaconda, MT and I have a place to stay in Butte, MT. It's something I'll chew on.
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Old 05-21-11, 04:52 PM   #6
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I haven’t cycled in the Beartooths but I do hike and fish there. Without a doubt, the mosquitoes in that area are the most ferocious that have ever experienced anywhere in the U.S.
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Old 05-21-11, 06:07 PM   #7
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OP - you should try PMing Jamawani. He has considerable route knowledge in the WY-MT area.
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Old 05-21-11, 06:58 PM   #8
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Dear Gloriously Quit -
I like the glorious part.

When is you plannin' to do this?
You are aware that the Beartooth Hwy may not be open until July this year because of snow?
They got another 3 feet this week.

I agree with all those who suggest avoiding interstates - even service roads - esp railroad beds.
(I biked the old Milwaukee RR roadbed between Garrison and Missoula 20 years aog - bad idea.)

I'd head out on MT 200 to Ovando, then down on Helmville-Drummond County Rd to MT 1.
(There's only a short, hard-pack stretch.)
MT 1 is a nice ride to Anaconda - but you have to get on I-90 a little to get into Butte.
Then MT 2 (Old US 10) is a nice quiet ride over the Divide and down.
US 287 along the Madison River is sweet. W. Yellowstone - meh. US 20 - more meh.

From Driggs over Teton Pass is pretty busy - be careful.
Jackson - tourists by the millions and tourist prices.
There's a great, mostly paved Spring Gulch Rd between the two buttes into the park.
Absolutely, must take the Park Rd - Not US 89 - into Jenny Lake - Hiker/Biker camping.

Yellowstone can be a zoo - RVs galore.
South Entrance Rd narrow and busy.
Late or early - best time to ride - significant climb - shade.
If late, you can pull into Hiker/Biker sites at Lewis Lake.
(Much more pleasant than the carnival at Grant Village.)

Early, early morning on Yellowstone Lake is lovely.
Make sure to take the usually empty Gull Point Rd.
I prefer the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Them you can ride the old paved roadbed right before the river bridge.
(Technically illegal - but it's 16 ft wide.)
If they stop you ask them why they pave 40-ft pull-thrus
and don't allow bikes on the old road.
Then make sure to take the one-way Canyon Loop Rd.

Dunraven Pass is steep, narrow, with lots of tourists looking elsewhere.
Again, early or late riding avoids much traffic.
Tower/Roosevelt also has hiker/biker camping.
The Lamar Valley is a lovely, sweeping vista.
Unfortunately, lots of people line the roadway with cameras looking for wolves.

If the Beartooth Hwy is open, be aware that it can snow any time of year up top.
It is often exposed, often windy, and often cold.
Heading down the northeast side, check your brakes beforehand.
Stop often to let your brakes cool.

Take MT 78 thru Absarokee rather than Joliet Rd - partly unpaved - rough.
Personally, I'd take Rapelje Rd and the unpaved county road to Ryegate -
Rather than backtrack on I-90 and US 191. US 12 has fairly light traffic.

If you head towards Helena - you should take Hwy 284 on the east side of Canyon Ferry.
US 12/287 has brutal traffic and inconsistent shoulders.
Then rather than US 12, take Birdseye Rd and Hwy 279 over Flesher Pass.
Much, much nicer.

But if you don't want to come back to Mizzou via MT 200 -
You could always cut southwest from Townsend to Whitehall and Dillon -
Then follow the ACA route via Jackson and the Bitterroot Valley back into town.
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Old 05-22-11, 06:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
From west yellowstone why not take the adventure cycling transam route through dillon up to darby, stevensville and lolo? That would at least keep you off of I-90.
That route is very nice, I recommend it too.
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Old 05-23-11, 01:22 PM   #10
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jamawani, that is great advice. I'll map it out and get back to you with any more Q's. I've biked Yellowstone before (usually in the 2 weeks before opening to cars) and I agree. The summer is a zoo. Thanks again!
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