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what's Montana like for a tour.

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what's Montana like for a tour.

Old 10-10-11, 07:03 AM
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antokelly
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what's Montana like for a tour.

quick question whats montana like for a tour circler route , my son has in laws over there so i could possible fly over for about two weeks next year .
so give me some idea on a route starting and ending in Boseman
thanks check back later .
anto.
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Old 10-10-11, 07:46 AM
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DUDE! Montana rules. Has to be summer or fall, though. Here's a couple of quick ideas to get you started, the first one is too long for 2 weeks, but you could chop off the northern loop or travel one-way from Bozeman to St. Mary or so, and get home some motorized way.

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=N+...,11,15&t=m&z=6

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=I-...ia=1,2&t=m&z=8
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Old 10-10-11, 08:07 AM
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Southwest Montana rocks. We did a nine day loop tour out of Missoula this summer. This was the planned route (clockwise):

https://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/BIG-SKY-LOOP

We kept the mileages relatively low so we could have some time to relax. Unfortunately, we had to make a substitution for Philipsburg to Hamilton near the end of the trip because Skalkaho Pass was closed due to a washout. You could easily expand/modify this loop to include Bozeman if you have two weeks. For example, you could head west from Bozeman to the junction of MT 2 and MT 41 and pick up our route over Pipestone Pass to Butte. On the way, you could stop at Lewis & Clark Caverns on MT 2 east of Whitehall. Go over Skalkaho (MT 38) to Hamilton as shown on the map and then make the turn towards Darby (The part between Hamilton and Missoula is the least interesting.) When you get to Twin Bridges take MT 287 through Virginia City to Ennis. The view of the mountains from the scenic view area on the descent into Ennis is amazing. From there, head northeast back to Bozeman.

We found Montana to be pretty cheap. There is no state-wide sales tax, which helps. Lots of camping opportunities, especially in the national forests. The areas where we rode, except for in and around Butte, had little traffic. Drivers were very friendly and courteous. On one dusty road, an approaching pickup truck actually stopped for 2-3 minutes so we wouldn't have to ride through his cloud and then waved as we passed. You can ride on any Interstate if you want. Wildlife is abundant. We saw, among other critters, countless deer, a moose with her calf (also just missed seeing three other moose), sandhill cranes, a bald eagle and several dozen pronghorn antelope.

One nice feature is that you can design a trip that has both mountains and valleys so you are not spending every mile climbing or descending. I highly recommend the whole Lost Trail/Chief Joseph Pass thing along with the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, both of which we did. And the town of Twin Bridges has a fantastic cyclsist-only campground right along the river.

Here is a slideshow from the trip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7-k2ZMFL_I

I have toured in/through the state three other times. I have always loved it. The one thing you will have to put up with to some degree is the dreaded mosquito. This summer was really bad, even by local standards. Lots of snow over the winter means lots water come spring. They are usually only a problem in the early morning and evening.

Send me a PM with any questions.
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Old 10-10-11, 08:22 AM
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Big.
First - - it's Bozeman.
Second - -
A most excellent tour is a counter-clockwise, two-week loop.
First head north to Wilsall, White Sulphur Springs, and Great Falls -
Then Choteau, Browning, St. Mary to Glacier NP.
East to West on Going to the Sun Road - which doesn't open until mid June.
Then to Columbia Falls, Seeley Lake and Ovando.
From Ovando you can go Via Helena and EAST of Canyon Ferry to Townsend.
Or you can head south to Drummond, Phillipsburg, Anaconda and Butte.

Don't know how fast you tour.
If you go faster than 70 miles per day and/or don't take rest days -
Then you might want to add a day up to Many Glaicer and camp there.
Even more - start with Two Medicine and work up to Many Glacier.
Both have some of the best hiking in the park.
Or towards the end you can loop to Wisdom, Dillon, and Virginia City.
If slower, the basic loop via Helena is 60 miles per day (x12) with a day off.

PS - Time of year really matters.
May is usually too early. Always wet, often with snow. Few camping areas open.
June is iffy. Late June / early July is best time for wildflowers.
September can have an early snowstorm but is lovely. Nix October.

https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view...=1&new_route=1

Last edited by jamawani; 10-10-11 at 08:38 AM. Reason: map
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Old 10-10-11, 08:39 AM
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Nice slide show! Makes me want to head out there right now.
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Old 10-10-11, 09:53 AM
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The speed limit is 70mph even on secondary roads!
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Old 10-10-11, 10:57 AM
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folks thanks a million for all this info, this is a crazy idea i have in my head ever since my son married a Montana girl lol. but i know her parents are very keen outdoor people maybe not cycling but i think we would get a welcome if we did go for it. and i love America grew up watching cowboy movies .yeah i think i'll start saving ,flights from Ireland will be expensive but what the hell i'll be dead a long time.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
The speed limit is 70mph even on secondary roads!
Unless locally restricted or restricted for construction. And truck speed limits are generally slower. We saw speed limits under 70. As noted, the only traffic issues we had were in Butte, where some yocal in a beat up pickup truck told us to get on the sidewalk.

https://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/speed_limit.shtml

As for timing, I agree about late June/early July. Flew in to MSO on the 29th and started riding June 30th. Heavy vacation travel hadn't yet seemed to start. A few light showers in MSO (but about 1" of rain in Hamilton that day). The 30th started the first extended stretch of nice weather all year. Never rained and was sunny all but one day. Had two nights around 40 (one of those night was camped at 6,800'). The rest were mid to upper 50s. Highs were upper 70s to low 80s. A few weeks ago I came upon a CGOB journal written by a guy who left MSO about 10 days before us follwing the same route for a few days days. He experienced cold, wet weather.

If you plan to go to Glacier NP, monitor the snowfall and plowing reports on the park's website. The last two yeas the pass has been opening later than normal due to snow and related damage. In '09 when we were there it did not open until near the end of June. Last year it did not open until July. Almost mid-July if I am not mistaken.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:12 PM
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antokelly
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indyfabz great stuff you make me feel im missing so much. man what a country.now to try and talk the wife into the idea this will be harder than the cycling lol.
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Old 10-10-11, 12:55 PM
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I teach in Montana and live in Wyoming.
There is no more beautiful place on earth - -
Even when it's 40 below. (Well, maybe not.)

Last weekend I had the pleasure of rafting the Yellowstone.
Longest undammed river in the Lower 48 - big, remote, wild.
Except for a couple of fishermen I saw at the start - there was nobody.
Unless, of course, you count the bald eagle, the hawks, the antelope.

Wouldn't trade it for the world.
Attached Images
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Old 10-10-11, 01:37 PM
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antokelly
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OK its just a distant dream at the moment, but it sure look's like heaven.
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Old 10-11-11, 05:48 AM
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You will love it. They call Montana "big sky country" for a reason. The best thing you have going for you at this point are a couple of touring rock stars who have already chimed in on this thread. Pay close attention to what valygrl and jamawani tell you and all will be well
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Old 10-11-11, 10:42 PM
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very purdy area, I like mountainy stuff a lot and this does look interesting.
Anto--now I see why you have been asking about lightening up your bike! (looks like some high areas there)

thanks for putting up the slideshow, was fun to watch.

ps, is the 60mi / day with a lot of climbing? On my trip to the Pyrenees, my friend and I sometimes only did 40, 50, 60km per day in the really big stuff (25, 30, 40 miles)--just curious so to get an idea of if your suggested averages are for very strong riders only?

Last edited by djb; 10-11-11 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 10-12-11, 05:13 AM
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Glacier National Park (Logan Pass area) is about 300 miles north of Bozeman ...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...7606589046925/





But large parts of Montana are pretty flat and barren (much like southern Alberta and Saskatchewan). I'd show you photos of those parts (Rowan and I drove through in 2006), but I don't seem to have taken any.

Last edited by Machka; 10-12-11 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 10-12-11, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
But large parts of Montana are pretty flat and barren (much like southern Alberta and Saskatchewan). I'd show you photos of those parts (Rowan and I drove through in 2006), but I don't seem to have taken any.
Yeah. Rode the "High Line" (U.S. 2) from Cut Bank to the border with North Dakota. Pretty darn flat in most places. One day with a srtong tailwind I spun out of the MTB gearing on my T-700.
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Old 10-12-11, 01:05 PM
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emm i dont mind flat but as long as the scenery is interesting , machka that photo is really stunning ,i was kinda hoping if i do make it to stay away from big citys i like town life quiet ish touring but not boring.
i was hoping my wife would join me but shes not a cyclist and my idea of a holiday is unfortunately not hers.
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Old 10-12-11, 01:09 PM
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...
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Old 10-12-11, 04:05 PM
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antokelly
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Originally Posted by Rak1240 View Post
...

sorry for interrupting rak1240 ,what was that you were saying lol.
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Old 10-12-11, 05:10 PM
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chuckle
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Old 10-12-11, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
emm i dont mind flat but as long as the scenery is interesting , machka that photo is really stunning ,i was kinda hoping if i do make it to stay away from big citys i like town life quiet ish touring but not boring.
i was hoping my wife would join me but shes not a cyclist and my idea of a holiday is unfortunately not hers.
That photo was taken in the northwestern corner of Montana ... and yes, that is quite a stunning area.

However, the eastern part of Montana is more like this ...


(My father on his catrike in southern Alberta, which adjoins Montana)


Like Alberta, Montana is partly prairie, partly foothills, and partly mountains.
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Old 10-13-11, 03:00 AM
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wow what a difference ,well i' was talking to my son last night and he was just saying it's a 23 hour flight from Ireland to Montana 4 different flights..now for a fella that hates flying this puts a bit of a damper on the whole thing .but i wont give up on it just yet because it seems by everyones posts that its made for touring and they speak english lol.sorry about that .
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Old 10-13-11, 07:41 AM
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I doubt it is four flights. Maybe the cheapest.
There may be a direct flight to Chicago -
(Chicago does have a large Irish American community, after all.)
Then you will have to search for the best single connector.

But if you are musing about heading from Ireland to Montana -
By definition, it will involve a lot of flight time.
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Old 10-13-11, 07:56 AM
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Denver had direct flights to Bozeman with several airlines.
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Old 10-13-11, 09:44 AM
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i would have to fly to Chicago then on to Denver 8 hour stopover in Denver and then onto Boseman 23 hours all toll .man thats a long way in an plane emm but it sure would be a trip of a lifetime .
another question are there plenty of campsites on route and would i get a pitch if i were to just turn up without booking.
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Old 10-13-11, 12:53 PM
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United has a non-stop to Chicago from Dublin.
Currently Dep 12:50p ARR 3:15p
Then an evening non-stop to Bozeman - you is lucky.
Dep 6:10P Arr 8:18
(You would need to sleep as soon as you arrived.)

That would give you three hours for customs and flight change.
The Bozeman flights are seasonal in summer for tourism and winter for skiing.
The do not always show up on flight search websites.
I cannot say whether they will be offered next summer - but probably.

Total flight time - 8 hrs to Chicago, 3 hours to Bozeman - 11 hours plus 3 hrs layover.

You couldn't ask for a better schedule.
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