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Discussion Starter #1
Last week my brother-in-law and his wife arrived here in Cody from Detroit. While discussing his upcoming trip a few weeks before I warned him that if he didn't beg, borrow, steal or otherwise appropriate a trailer and bring his bike he'd regret it (his wife no longer can ride long distance). During the conversation he told me that he was considering it and that one of the last things on his bucket list was riding the Beartooth Highway. Since he's never been here I reminded him that Cody is one of the jumping off points for the Beartooth, decision made.

Last Friday we took off at the crack of 0830, me on the Vic and brother-in-law on his '93 Heritage. I've gotta say, no matter how many times I make that trip it never fails to amaze me and every trip over that I don't get handed my ass by the weather is one for the record books. This trip was picture perfect and all the foul weather gear I made Gary bring was happily left in the saddle bag.

Once we got back down on the flats I asked Gary if he'd like to do a few miles on a Victory and he took me up on it. I'll admit, I haven't been on a Harley in a lot of years so I was curious too. Turns out I'm not sure how I actually rode an early 43 horse power Evo for as many years as I did. My curiosity satisfied I gladly got back on the Vic for the last thirty or so miles to town.
 

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You do this guide stuff for anyone, or does it have to be a relative?
 

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Rode Beartooth Pass on my SturgisSturgis trip a couple years back. Absolutely incredible ride! Should be on everyone's bucket list of rides!!
 

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The fist time I rode the Beartooth Highway, we were heading south toward Yellowstone Park. Checked into a motel in Cooke City and vowed that one day, we will return, ride through Yellowstone to Cooke City, check in for two nights and go to Red Lodge for lunch and return to Cooke City. Three years later, we did just that and it was one of my favorite days on a bike. Since then, I have been over Beartooth a few more times. Thanks for listening, er reading this.
 

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It is definitely on my bucket list!!! I was on it last year in my cage after camping in a tent in yellowstone for 4 days. Let some guys on sport bikes pass me (didn't want to ruing their fun) in several places. Caught up with them at a pull off and they all had TN tags so started talking with them. One of them offered to let me ride his sport bike for a few miles and back on it and as much as I wanted to I couldn't stand the thought of something going wrong so I didn't. I've rode every curvy road with every cheesy name you can think of in TN, VA, WV, KY, and NC and none of them compare to the beauty of Bear tooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ya know it's interesting to hear other folks opinions on this road. I grew up here and to me the Beartooth and Chief Joseph (Dead Indian) have always been here, although Dead Indian didn't get paved until the 1980's.

I used to work for a Swiss here in the USA and I got to travel to Switzerland in the early 2000's where I had a turbo Glide to ride and a beast of a Mercedes 500 that belonged to the boss. I can tell you that after weeks of traveling the Swiss Alps by bike that the Beartooth is the closest we have to compare. The alps surpass the Beartooth but I found that is you want to impress a Swiss with one our roads this one will work.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ya know it's interesting to hear other folks opinions on this road. I grew up here and to me the Beartooth and Chief Joseph (Dead Indian) have always been here, although Dead Indian didn't get paved until the 1980's.

I used to work for a Swiss here in the USA and I got to travel to Switzerland in the early 2000's where I had a turbo Glide to ride and a beast of a Mercedes 500 that belonged to the boss. I can tell you that after weeks of traveling the Swiss Alps by bike that the Beartooth is the closest we have to compare. The alps surpass the Beartooth but I found that is you want to impress a Swiss with one our roads this one will work.
 

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I can't agree more. Some of the most beautiful riding in that area of the beartooth. I haven't been there on my vic yet, but had taken my Shadow through there and loved everything about it. The key is to leave EARLY so that you don't have to worry too much about the cagers who can't hug the curves and try to cut them short. Not to mention the early morning light on the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking. Those of you who reside in that area, I am envious. Of course, I do have the north cascades in my backyard, but that's comparing apples and oranges.
 

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Foto Joe, if you have ever been on Klausen Pass in eastern Switzerland, you might prefer that to Beartooth. The Klausen has to be the most drop dead gorgeous pass I have ever traveled.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
RICZ,
I'm pretty sure I rode the Klausen but I haven't had time to find the story or pics on our web site. The alps by far are the most intense mountain riding I've ever done. I remember my wife sitting on the back trying to spot oncoming traffic while I bounced off the floorboards traveling some of the smaller roads.

If we could add anything to the Beartooth to make it more like the alps it would be a cheese kiosk at the summit.
 

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About 17(!) years ago, my wife and I rode through some of the Black Forest and the Alps, on Edelweiss' Best of Europe tour ( http://www.edelweissbike.com/en/touren/?c=boe ). I can recommend that highly, for both the scenery and the riding (and the convenience of not having to carry luggage, book hotels, etc.).

The only problem is that such tours are expensive themselves, plus you have the plane fare. OTOH, that is still my favorite vacation, and money comes and goes but memories are forever (until senility really sets in, anyway).

I was planning on doing something like that again this year, but some family matters got in the way. Maybe next year.
 

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My Euro/Alp experience was with the German chapter of UMCI (nee Retreads) an international club. They put out the word that they'd babysit 20 Americans and Pretty Wife and I got in on that fabulous 2-1/2 week tour. They arranged the routes and lodgings and didn't charge a thing, but we passed the hat and contributed. We got to ride, do, eat, drink and see the Europe those locals know. We went to places famous and hidden. Rode Autobahns and one laners on our rented BMW K1200LT that the Germans helped to arrange. Stayed in four stars and ma and pa hotels. And whatever passed our lips was wonderful. As the tour proceeded, Germans came and went, so we got to meet many. They were cheerful, helpful, playful and silly. Not at all what we anticipated. We started from Frankfurt and visited the twists, curves and sites of southern Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland. When the tour was over, we turned the bike in and rented a car and saw even more of their Europe. Great time that and done just before the Euro happened and made everything more expensive.
Here's my list of RICZ's best roads ridden, in no particular order....
+ Alps / Dolomites
+ Northern GA, NC, TN mountains
+ North Cascades Hwy. 20 in WA
+ Beartooth Highway
+ Oregon Hwy.242, McKinsey Pass
+ Tunitas Creek Road in CA. Think Alice's Restaurant
+ CA Sierra roads - pick one or all
+ Not ridden yet, but will soon - CA 36, 140 miles of unrelenting twisties.
+ Southern half of Oregon coast Hwy.101 - best coast road.
+ South half CA1 is OK, north half gets monotonous, but OK
 

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Calif. Rte. 36

+ Not ridden yet, but will soon - CA 36, 140 miles of unrelenting twisties.

I live not far from the stretch of Rte 36 you speak of. I've done that leg between Red Bluff and the coast numerous times. There is a segment just west of Red Bluff that runs like a roller coaster. In road construction speak, there are no cuts or fills, just an improved wagon road from yesteryear. The switching horizontal and vertical curves can make for serious surprise if not careful. The entire length from I-5 to 101 is a hoot. Especially that ten of fifteen miles just west of Red Bluff. Holler if you need info, or are this way. sheets
 

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Discussion Starter #16
DillPickle311 said:
I'll need to get older and retired before I can get a bigger boy bike to make such a trip. The vegas is nice but maybe not for that...
I don't know your age but I'll have to strongly disagree with needing something more than a Vegas to do long haul riding on. It's a matter of attitude and desire. The attitude being that "getting there is the greater part of the journey" and the desire is "being able to do something that few folks ever gain the courage to attempt."

Over the last 40+ years I've put somewhere north of a million miles on over thirty bikes. The vast majority of those miles were not put on touring bikes but rather what ever I had. Everything from a Yamaha RD250 to a one off Honda custom street racer. The only accessory you need for the most part is a luggage rack and the desire to see the country. Money helps of course but there are ways to mitigate travel expenses. such as camping where no one ever thought to camp (just close gates behind you). I actually used to haul a charcoal BBQ strapped to the seat of a 1980 Yamaha SR500 Thumper, that bike had close to 100k on it when I sold it.

Keep in mind that the touring bikes and fancy cruisers that you see today are actually a quite recent phenomenon in the motorcycle world. For the majority of the history of the motorcycle it was a pretty bare bones machine and in a lot of parts of the world it still is. We as Americans have become spoiled and soft when it comes to riding I'm afraid.

Even though I don't travel the way I used to I still enjoy jumping on the scooter and blasting off for a few days. Tent camping has turned into KOA cabins and the cafe' racers with clubman bars and rear sets have been replaced with a high cubic inch touring bike because my body can't take the punishment it used to.

Please don't take this as a tirade against the younger riders or a personal attack on any of you but... You need to get outside of your comfort zone. Do a trip and don't drag all the crap including the kitchen sink with you. If you're young enough camp, if not stay in cabins and above all else leave the damn smart phone at home or at least turn it off and stow it. Believe it or not, truck stops still sell maps of the USA and some of them are pretty darn accurate.

So, can you ride a Vegas cross country and enjoy the trip?? You bet!! And the more adverse weather you run into, the more road construction and nastiness you have to endure, the more memorable the trip will be. Decades later I can recall some of the roughest trips I ever took, from snow pack on the roads to tornado warnings across the flat states, those trips stick in your mind and remind you that you were able to do something that eludes most who refer to themselves as "bikers".

Get out and ride!!
 
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