Author Topic: Northern Tier through Montana  (Read 5640 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline EmilyG

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2021, 01:32:28 am »
Wanted to share that in ND, many if not most small towns have city parks that you can often camp in for free. Always good to check in with the police department, or at the local diner to find out protocols. Many of the tiny towns also have swimming pools, so paying to swim gets you a shower!  Small towns in Montana also often have places you can camp, if you eat in a local establishment and talk to folks, you'll find them.     Looking at it from East to West, our lodging was:   Free city park in Glendive, RV park in Circle, Free city park in Jordan, Free park in Winnett (no bathroom after pool closed), Warmshowers in Lewistown, free park in Geraldine, campground in Fort Benton, and RV park in Great Falls. 

There are two rest areas on the route through MT, both with world-class, amazing facilities, that people have reported camping at (overnight parking is allowed). One in Mosby, and one between Circle and Brockaway, called the Flowing Wells Rest Area.   We stopped at both but didn't camp.  Best water in Montana at the rest stops!

We rode the route from West to East in 2018, so not sure how relevant our experience is.  Did the Lewis & Clark section from Lolo Pass to Missoula and around to Great Falls through Augusta, so that section isn't relevant to you, but then we went from Great Falls to Fort Benton, through Geraldine and down to Lewistown (still on L&C route). This was one of our favorite bits in Montana.  From Lewistown, we were on the Northern Tier.  Sweet little town park in Geraldine where we stayed for free.  Be prepared that MT-200 has some rough spots where the road has so many frost cracks that you feel like you are riding on a railroad track.   It is numbing.      I echo other posts talking about the long sections between services on 200, especially from Lewistown to Glendive, and I worry about some of the tiny places, after the pandemic year--did they survive?.  Additionally, we hit numerous severe thunderstorms during our crossing of Montana.  I ended up making a list of ALL service stops across MT, and we would hop from one to the next, check the weather, and act accordingly.  After getting caught in one especially bad lightening storm, we adopted the mantra "check the weather and believe it."   People drive fast (we joked that the 70 mph meant that was the LOWER speed limit...), but are super friendly. 

Offline DonKahn1

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2021, 08:35:38 am »
Thanks for all the helpful information Emily.  I am planning on leaving MN in mid May and heading west, roughly following the Northern Tier route.  If time permits, I will ride the Pacific coast route to around Portland, and work my way back home via Grand Tetons, Black Hills, etc.  I am meeting someone in Great Falls on the way out, hence the 200 route through Montana.  Just curious if you followed the ACA route through North Dakota.  Thanks again for all the information

Offline EmilyG

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2021, 09:19:24 am »
Sounds like a grand adventure!
Yes, we followed the ACA route through ND, with a slight detour on the eastern border. We wanted to go through the Sheyenne National Grasslands, and jigged South to do that, and navigated our way through small towns of Colfax and Abercrombie and back to the route in MN at Fergus Falls.

ND was one of our favorite states for the incredibly kind/polite drivers, the tiny towns with incredibly kind/polite people, and the pristine prairie potholes with more waterfowl than you can imagine.   Lots of wind (In ND, the question isn't "will there be wind today" but "which way is the wind howling from today?).  There was just something about it that was truly wonderful.  I read a lot of stories about how people skip over ND, or think it is the worst state ever.   For us, it was truly special. Now, truthfully, part of that had to do with how difficult our journey across MT was!

If you want to read about our trip, from west to east, just to see the terrain and what it was like, this is our travel journal:  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/bend2boston

Offline DonKahn1

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2021, 11:43:55 am »
Thanks for the link to the blog Emily.  I look forward to reading it, and am sure I will probably have more questions about your trip!

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2021, 02:03:30 pm »
Sounds like a grand adventure!
Yes, we followed the ACA route through ND, with a slight detour on the eastern border. We wanted to go through the Sheyenne National Grasslands, and jigged South to do that, and navigated our way through small towns of Colfax and Abercrombie and back to the route in MN at Fergus Falls.

ND was one of our favorite states for the incredibly kind/polite drivers, the tiny towns with incredibly kind/polite people, and the pristine prairie potholes with more waterfowl than you can imagine.   Lots of wind (In ND, the question isn't "will there be wind today" but "which way is the wind howling from today?).  There was just something about it that was truly wonderful.  I read a lot of stories about how people skip over ND, or think it is the worst state ever.   For us, it was truly special. Now, truthfully, part of that had to do with how difficult our journey across MT was!

If you want to read about our trip, from west to east, just to see the terrain and what it was like, this is our travel journal:  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/bend2boston

I did the entire NT back in '99. In '06 or '07 I went back for CANDISC, which was a supported, one-week loop tour from/to Garrison. Really liked riding in the state for the reasons you mention. And there sure was wind. One memorable day in '99 we had a strong tail wind heading towards Page except when we had to turn right a couple of time. When that happened, we had to lean sideways to stay upright.

During CANDISC we left the lunch stop town one day and had 18 gently rolling miles until the next rest stop. During that stretch there was a woman with her daughter parked by the side of the road with water and Gatorade for riders. I and my friend pulled up and asked how far until the next stop. She told us 9 miles. I couldn't believe we had only come 9 miles since lunch. "I feel like we've been riding for an hour." I said. My firend looked at her watch and said "We have been riding for an hour." Remember that we were riding road bikes wth no gear. Going down one gentle descent I was in a tuck but only able to hit 12 mph coasting due to a massive headwind.

Offline EmilyG

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2021, 09:42:11 pm »

I did the entire NT back in '99. In '06 or '07 I went back for CANDISC, which was a supported, one-week loop tour from/to Garrison. Really liked riding in the state for the reasons you mention. And there sure was wind. One memorable day in '99 we had a strong tail wind heading towards Page except when we had to turn right a couple of time. When that happened, we had to lean sideways to stay upright.

During CANDISC we left the lunch stop town one day and had 18 gently rolling miles until the next rest stop. During that stretch there was a woman with her daughter parked by the side of the road with water and Gatorade for riders. I and my friend pulled up and asked how far until the next stop. She told us 9 miles. I couldn't believe we had only come 9 miles since lunch. "I feel like we've been riding for an hour." I said. My firend looked at her watch and said "We have been riding for an hour." Remember that we were riding road bikes wth no gear. Going down one gentle descent I was in a tuck but only able to hit 12 mph coasting due to a massive headwind.
[/quote]

So glad someone else enjoyed ND, wind and all!  In North Dakota we decided that one day, when we are retired and don't have anywhere we need to be, we want to plunk ourselves down in the middle of somewhere, and proceed with a "tailwind tour."  Each morning, we wake up, and find out what direction the wind is blowing towards, and then we'd ride in that direction.  See where the wind takes us.  maybe we'd go back and forth across a state, or maybe we'd eventually go everywhere. 

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2021, 01:18:49 pm »
Hopefully, the wind would blow you to Strasburg, where you can visit the childhood home of Lawrence Welk. CANDISC stayed in town one night so went to check out the place that afternoon. Got a tour from a niece of his and saw the very bed in which he was born. The entertainment that night was a locally famous young girl who sang and yodeled. Earlier in the trip we spent the night at the fairgrounds in Wishek. The entertainment that night was a polka band. Lots of locals came out to hear them play. Because we rode through the "Germans from Russia" area, a couple of nights we were served some old world dinners by local auxiliary groups. Wishek is known for its sausage. It was sort of like kielbasa, only better. We had it with dinner and then again with breakfast the next morning. The first rest stop on the first day out of Garrison (the self-proclaimed walleye capitol of the world), was in the basement of a church while service was taking place upstairs. The "church ladies" had made all sorts of baked good and home made lemonade.

Offline BeauGray

Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2022, 04:08:49 pm »
Thanks for the information! I love that there is access to the water. I'm into diving. For diving you need special wetsuits. A wetsuit has two main properties: to keep the body warm and to help you swim faster. As part of the wetsuit is neoprene, which slightly raises the body closer to the water's surface. Choosing the right wetsuit for scuba diving is not that difficult. First, it should fit your body well. And secondly, you should feel comfortable and relaxed. If the suit is loose, you may get water in it while swimming. Don't get a wetsuit that fits you too closely - make sure it's slightly larger.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2022, 05:22:46 am by BeauGray »