Washington dealers to stock “Motorcycling Montana”

We just talked to our friend, Jim Boltz, who owns two great motorcycle dealerships – “Cycle Barn” – in Lynnwood and Smokey Point in the Seattle/Puget Sound area. His Lynnwood store deals in Triumph, Zero, Piaggio, Vespa, Genuine and Kymco, while the store in Smokey Point sells Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, Polaris and Husqvarna.

Jim just ordered a case of 16 copies of “Motorcycling Montana” which makes us feel darned good.

Thanks Jim and Cycle Barns! We know your Washington rider-customers will purchase it, enjoy it and find it valuable when they are planning their Montana rides.

Our favorite Montana motorcycle route

Excerpted from “Motorcycling Montana”

The Yaak Country and “FDR” Highway

We cherish the most remote pavement with the least traffic, challenging roadways and magnificent scenery.

Given that …

For those with the time and spirit – and skills! – at Troy, Mont., along Hwy. 2 in extreme northwest Montana, there are routes that will yield riding unparalleled in the U.S.

Here’s one of our all-time favorite routes through an area we call “the Yaak country.”

It is recommended that more than one bike ride these routes together. There is a certain amount of risk and this is highly remote country. An accident could leave a solo rider and his or her passenger in deep trouble unless others were available to assist or alert help. We have a grim – though meant to be humorous – saying: “If ya go off the road in them parts, the bears will get to ya a lot sooner than Search and Rescue.” Ha, ha…

We’ll always fuel before coming out of Troy to continue northwest on Hwy. 2 for 10 miles. This segment is excellent two-lane lined with tall timber featuring fine sweeping turns and a long climb above the Kootenai River. Traffic should be moderate. It is a fine prelude to what is to come and allows a rider to sharpen his or her chops – find the groove – before tackling the more technical stuff ahead.

Look to your right, east, to pick up Hwy. 508 which angles generally northeast. It is good two-lane that in the prime riding season may carry as many bikes as cages. It follows the Yaak River 30 miles to the tiny village of Yaak which, surprisingly, boasts two colorful saloons, both serving good food and one has cabins. Fuel is available here, too, at “remote prices” (good thing, because the next fuel is approximately 50 miles away in Eureka).

The roadway is unexpectedly modern with a smooth, high-friction chip-seal surface. It twists and turns with spirit as it follows the river course with some corners marked down to 35 mph and many in the 40-45 mph range. When karma is properly aligned – and your equipment is suitable and skills up to the challenge – speeds can be nudged to add zest to the turns which are constant-radius and nicely banked.

The road is ideal for sport bike riders who want to push the envelope, but also for cruisers who enjoy lazily tipping the hog into a left-right-left while still feasting their eyes on the outstanding river and mountain vistas. Dual-sport and adventure-tourers – just run what ya brung – will all glimpse transcendent motorcycle nirvana, especially if you take a break to contemplate inspiring Yaak Falls (watch for signs).

Obviously such remote country holds high populations of all forest creatures, so be aware.

Depending upon the time of day, we like to get breakfast, coffee or lunch at Yaak, physically refueling and mentally recharging for what we know lies beyond.

A decision needs to be made here, and a rider’s choice will depend upon timetables and stamina. Either way, there’s some exciting riding in store.

“Hwy.” 567 (note the quotation marks – it hardly fits the definition of “highway”) leads directly south out of Yaak, across the Yakk River and through the heart of the Purcell Mountains to Libby 30 miles away.

It climbs considerably while slicing through dense stands of timber, through gulches and along the sides of steep ridges. It narrows until it’s down to just one wide lane in the middle stretch. The tarmac is rough so take it easy, especially if heavily loaded. We broke the mounting bolts on a loaded luggage rack passing though here years ago. A good ADV bike would be ideal for the conditions.

You won’t encounter much traffic up here either, perhaps a half-dozen rigs in the duration. Wildlife is abundant and we’ve seen some fine mule deer bucks. The road gradually improves as you approach Libby, where it’s probably time for needed refreshment. This is one fun, exciting and scenic route.

…on east to Lake Koocanusa?

Your other option back at Yaak is to continue east, rather than south, out of town. The road shortly forks; stay to the left. After the fork, the road will run north, then east/southeast. There are few signs to help navigate, and fewer to warn of corners or advising appropriate corner speeds. Sometimes there are no visible stripes on the asphalt. You are on your own. A friend of mine described this route as “a paved Indian trail,” though that is a small exaggeration.

Be prepared for 40 miles of one of the most isolated stretches of pavement in the U.S. My wife and I rode through here in late May one year and encountered two cars during the 40 miles.

We also encountered: rocks ranging from golf ball to bowling ball size, slender lodgepole pine trees that had fallen across the road, and rusty red tree duff coating the surface and making tire adhesion uncertain. That’s why we like to travel this with a riding companion or two, and why we like to take it nice and easy. Later in the season, though, expect surface conditions to have improved. We have seen a few sport bikes strafing this one.

The pavement will be narrow but coarse with plenty of traction. It has smooth sections but others that are quite choppy. Subsurface faults will produce sudden dips and humps.

As you make your way east toward Lake Koocanusa (derived from “Kootenai/Canada/USA”), the roadway climbs what seems like a couple thousand feet. Temperatures drop 15-25 degrees. We are always on a very high state of alert through here and experience a fine exhilaration. Other novice riders who’ve accompanied us along this route are always amazed and, to use a 1970s term, “totally blown away.”

My wife and I saw the largest black bear of our lives here. I think it went 400 to 500 lbs. He (she?) was simply sitting along the shoulder. When we stopped about 100 yards off, the bruin lazily assumed all-fours, looked at us and didn’t like what he saw, then ambled across the roadway and down into the brush on the opposite side, seemingly miffed at the intrusion.

We like to take a break at a turnout near the summit just to let the majesty of the country, and the glory of the ride, soak in. The good feelings are compounded when shared. You are “on top of the world” literally, figuratively and spiritually. Hell, it’s even fun writing about this favorite!

Then starts the long decent – steeper than the ascent – toward the Kootenai Valley and Lake Koocanusa. I would grade this segment “fairly technical” as turns are tight and sometimes deceptively so, often muscled while heavily on the brakes and pitching downhill. Passengers may struggle and tend to put pressure on your back. If you’re not highly practiced in this environment, slow down! Of course, to run it uphill in the opposite direction is even more of a blast!

At the bottom you are dumped onto or Road No. 228, or the “FDR Highway” as it’s locally known. This runs north/south along the west shore of 90-mile-long Lake Koocanusa, which is the reservoir formed behind Libby Dam. Just two or three miles south past that junction you’ll spot the spans of the Koocanusa Bridge. Here more decisions are required.

Riders can proceed across the reservoir and either head north and east toward Eureka and Hwy. 93, or run south along the east shore of the lake on Hwy. 37.

We love the “FDR Highway”

Hwys. 93 and 37 are worthy of consideration. However, typically we will, with relish, opt for the FDR Highway along the west shore.

I first ran this magnificent, yet tricky and technical, piece of pavement back in 1984. I was stunned at its perfection as a specimen of challenging sport motorcycle highway. I think I have run it at least every other year since, and have had one heckuva time every time. Unfortunately, a lack of maintenance (and dollars) for these lightly used and remote roads has begun to take a toll.

The west shore is closed in the winter, so early in the season it exhibits some natural hazards such as rock and mud slides, perhaps small creeks over the road, and trees leaning dangerously over, or actually on, the surface. My wife and I encountered a refrigerator-sized slab of granite in the southbound lane in 2010. It does get cleaner and safer as the season progresses.

Simply put, this is around 44 miles of dramatic mountain and lake scenery with serpentine blacktop thrown into the mix. It is turn after turn, some easy at 60 or 70 miles an hour, others where speed needs to be choked down to 20 or 25 mph. Corners and recommended speeds are well signed.

In some of the tightest turns expect a sharp dip or bump, playing havoc with your cornering line and potentially causing hard parts of the bike to bite into tarmac. I’ve grounded a center-stand tang and exhaust collector, not to mention foot-peg feelers, in these corners.

Yes, you’ve got to focus, expect the unexpected, be ready at all times to make sudden corrections. To some, that is just tiring and nonsensical, even ridiculous. To others, it is a challenge to be accepted and exploited.

We always ride this route with an appropriate dose of spirit to produce an enjoyable level of excitement. Twice my wife and I have traversed this north-to-south on memorably high boil, both times on my loaded 650-lb. sport/tour machine.

The first time we were riding in cruise mode when a group of Canadians on sport-biased bikes caught up. I waved them around, then clung to their sweep rider. Away our posse went, throttles opened and closed, tach needles sweeping back and forth, brake lights flashing, clutches and gearboxes getting a workout, tires scrubbed to the edges, hard bits leaving scrapes on the asphalt … all the way to the observation turnout near the dam.

There we shared our excitement and fun, swapped stories and information and laughs, and became fine friends instantly. That’s the essence of riding, eh? Ride with someone and they aren’t a stranger long. I still savor the photos we took of this gang at that place.

The other occasion we “attacked” the FDR Highway was at the mid-point of a long day of me leading a group of six other bikes (very rare for us), some experienced, some not so much. I had been the dutiful, safe, considerate, conscientious point rider all morning: observing speed limits, signaling potential hazards, coordinating fuel, bathroom, coffee and rest stops … and I was damned tired of it.

When we got to Koocanusa Bridge, I told the rest of the band I needed a break from responsibility, and that I was going to ride my ride and they could ride theirs – keep up, fall back, whatever.

Marilyn and I took off south at high zoot and my mirrors were empty … for a minute or two. Then I saw a headlight and recognized nephew Zack piloting the very capable “supersport” I had once owned. He tucked in and we sailed along the shore in a tight tandem, in synchronous harmony. Zack can ride! He didn’t crowd me but I never pulled away. Due to dried mud slides, tree debris and so on we only rode at about 85 percent, but given the conditions it felt more like 110 percent!

At the bottom we stopped, shared smiles and excited talk while the adrenalin dissipated and the others rolled in.

Clearly, regardless of your equipment and skills, this road can be enjoyed at any pace a rider chooses and is comfortable with. It has it all. It is one of our favorites; one of the state’s best.

Leading a Montana motorcycle ride

Cole Boehler, editor of Northern Rockies Rider, in conjunction with Redline Sports in Butte, Mont., will lead a ride over a route “that encompasses just about every style of riding available in the state.”

The ride registration will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 23, at Redline Sports at 2050 Harrison, Ave. in Butte. There will be juice, coffee, rolls and fruit to get the ride off to a good start, which is to commence at 10 a.m.

There will be a no-host lunch stop around 12:30 or 1 p.m.

Boehler said the route he’s planning features everything from sedate valley bottom cruising through ranch country, to winding sweepers through high mountain pastures, to twisty mountain passes with 20 mile-pre-hour turns, to a fun section of four-lane.

“Most of the route will carry light to medium traffic,” he said and about 75 percent of it will be two-lane. “This won’t be real challenging so relatively inexperienced riders should enjoy themselves, whereas the hard-cores will have a number of opportunities to push the edge of the envelope, too.”

He added that there would be a couple of options to shorten up the ride for those with less stamina or tighter schedules.

The main route, though, should put riders back into Butte by 4 p.m. where Margie Fine, owner of Redline Sports, said complimentary burgers, salad, chips and beverages would be ready for ride participants at the dealership.

Montana: That first ride of the season

Editor’s note: We’ve started a periodical for our part of the world called Northern Rockies Rider. This is a personal column from the editor and publisher, who also published 2012’s “Motorcycling Montana,” the definitive guide to riding the Big Sky Country.

By Cole Boehler

Editor and Publisher

Northern Rockies Rider

Some lucky few who live in the Northern Rockies can ride year-around, those mossbacks over on the coast. The rest of us igloo dwellers anxiously scan long-range weather forecasts looking for the first window of opportunity.

This year in southwest Montana there were actually a few days in January nice enough to get out and ride. Work and other obligations kept me from taking advantage.

In February we saw most of our winter, which wasn’t much but it was cold and the occasional snow meant ice hazards.

As March arrived we had a warm, dry spell forecast toward the end of the first week, high temperatures in the upper 50s and surfaces dry if not clean. Keeping an eye on the weather, I called my brother who lives about 115 miles away to see if he was ready. He was.

The 2011-12 layup had been just been four months and one week – not bad by Montana standards.

The night-before pre-first-ride check is usually a fine time. It is me and my machine in the garage, some tunes on the stereo, maybe a fire burning in my wood stove, a cold brew on the bench. Marilyn is in the house digging out, checking and organizing all the cold weather riding gear.

I had taken care late last fall to make sure the mount would be as road worthy as possible with minimum fuss come spring.

The battery did not need installation or checking since I’d kept it on a Battery Tender. Fresh oil was in the crankcase and a new filter was screwed to the block.

When I went to verify tire pressures, I discovered my digital gauge had given up the ghost over the winter. I dug the old-style pencil gauge out of the tool box: decidedly low-tech but reliable enough.

Then I discovered that the valve in the front tire stem must have been gunked solid or sealed with a dab of ice, for air would not go in. Was I foiled right out of the chute? Much fiddling (and some cursing) and the tire took air. The rear was no problem.

Kaput digital gauge, reluctant stem valve… If anything you own is marginal, winter will reveal it to you. Check this stuff the night before the first ride.

In the past, a few pieces of stray dog food kibble below the bike caused some alarm, especially since we don’t have a dog. Had the rodents made a mouse house in my air box? Investigation revealed they found elsewhere to make a winter nest. No kibble in the vicinity this year.

The oil level was good. Brake and clutch hydraulic fluids were right where they should be and still honey-colored after last season’s change. No leaks were evident anywhere including engine oil and coolant, forks or shock.

Bulbs in headlights, tail and brake lights, turn signals and running lights all functioned properly.

All controls operated smoothly but I noticed a little too much slop in the throttle. A quick adjustment and the slack was gone.

The key slid into the ignition switch. I gave it a turn and the electrics came to life with gauge needles sweeping the dials to indicate a ready state.

I pulled in the clutch and touched the starter button. The engine turned over twice, maybe three times before there was fire in the hole – in all the holes! There was no miss or rough running thanks to a fully charged battery and to treating the gasoline at layup last fall.

I realized I was smiling.

The computer told the electronic fuel injection to enrich the mixture and push RPMs to 2,300 where it stayed for 60 seconds or so before gradually dropping down to 1,100 as the temperature gauge began to register.

I made sure I had it in neutral before working the clutch lever several times to free up likely sticky plates. It dropped into gear with a moderate clunk. Excellent! We’re ready!

It’s 32 degrees when we start the coffee pot the next morning. We aren’t leaving for a couple of hours so it’s warmed up to a balmy 36 when we’re ready to mount. Three layers below the belt, four above. It’s so warm I decide against my silk sock and glove liners. My glasses keep steaming up, though, as we finish preparations.

Two miles from our house we begin an eastward climb over 6,700-foot Homestake Pass. It’s nippy on top, probably 30 degrees or so, but we only have to endure that for five minutes before we begin losing altitude and gaining degrees.

As we ascend, then descend, the summit, we are wary of roadside snow that may have been melting and has turned to ice. We are relieved to find the surface is dry and the sand is gone. We run along at 80 miles per hour, feeling good – really good! The sun is shining, the grass still in brown hibernation. It will be greening up soon enough.

We see my brother is waiting in the bakery parking lot, dabbing his bike with a cleaning rag. We are all smiling and talking. We run into friends at the bakery and visit a bit over steaming cups of good coffee.

Then it’s out onto a two-lane highway and we head south with me in the lead, brother following.

The wind begins to pick up, not bad when it’s a true headwind but more annoying when it’s quartering. We have no wind shortage in Montana and soon it’s beating us. It comes with the territory and the season, a small price to pay to be riding good bikes with good company through awesome country with the roads practically all our own.

We enjoy a hearty brunch an hour down the road. As we eat, I remark to my wife that for some reason I don’t feel the usual lay-up rust in my reflexes and muscle memory.

I’m hitting my cornering lines fine: not too early, not too late, no significant mid-corner corrections. My throttle-clutch-shift coordination is just fine, no clumsy gear gnashing. No extraneous environmental factors are catching me off guard. Why is that? Usually I’m quite tentative on the first ride until “the groove” returns.

Our route takes us more southwest, still battering our way through the gusts. I follow Brother over the next mountain pass which is also clean and dry. We get to scuff the outer edges of the tread. Nice!

Now our route turns northwest and we getting hammered by a side wind. As we head more northerly, the wind comes in quartering from behind. In certain sections it is an outright tailwind and you can hear the engine and exhaust plainly. It feels almost as though we are riding in a total calm.

My brother heads east, we head west toward home, this time over Pipestone Pass. Here there is water running over the surface in places but at 3:30 p.m. freezing is not a threat, even near 7,000 feet. But there is plenty of sand so we ease back down into the Summit Valley, no corner carving here, respecting the limitations of motorcycle tires and just two wheels.

We unload our gear and paraphernalia, then snug the bike into it’s usual spot in the garage. It’s got muddy water sprayed all over the undercarriage and lowers but that’s merely evidence we have been playing today. It can be washed off another time.

The Battery Tender is connected and the cover goes on.

We head into the house and strip off the heavy outer garments and then the under- layers. Then it’s time to grab a cold beer from the refrigerator and drop the end gate of the pickup for a place to sit. We enjoy the spring-like weather and late-day sun as we celebrate another wonderful day of Northern Rockies riding.

Of course, the conversation drifts around to, “Hope the weather is good next weekend. You know, we could take that routes through Deep Creek and over Kings Hill, maybe come back along the Missouri. Yeah, that’s it … as long as the weather holds.”

Damn, that beer is good!

And so is life!

– Ride hard, ride free, ride well, ride safe.

Upcoming Northern Rockies motorcycle events, rallies

USA National

March 9-18 – Daytona Beach Bike Week, Daytona Beach, Fla. www.daytonabikeweek.com/

Aug. 6-12 – 72nd Annual Sturgis Motor Classic, Sturgis, So. Dak. www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/

June 9-17 – 89th Annual Laconia Motorcycle Week, Laconia, N.H.  www.laconiamcweek.com/

Alberta

• Aug.17-19 – Alberta Motorcycle Rally for Women, Drumheller. Karen Hamerton, desert_dolls@hotmail.com

British Columbia

• July 13-14 – 2nd Annual Monster Run endurance run. www.quesnelbiker.com/monsterrun

Aug. 11-12 – Cumberland Motorcycle Roundup. www.cumberlandmotorcycleroundup.com

Idaho

• June 9 – Biker Rodeo +, Council. American Legion Riders Post 72, councilbikerrodeo@gmail.com

July 20-22 – Hawg Wallow Biker Bash, Warm Lake. info@cycleaddictionidaho.com

• July 26 – Cruisers Annual Mini-Sturgis, Post Falls. Larry Herberholtz, 509-998-5489, lherberholz@roadrunner.com, cruisersstateline.com

Aug. 9-11 – Idaho State H.O.G. Rally, Meridian. Scott Beale, 208-250-1198, idstatehogrally@gmail.com

Montana

May 19 – Serious Motorcycle Enthusiasts Group (S.M.E.G.)

Motorcycle Show, Flathead Co. Fairgrounds, Kalispell. Steve Kelly, smeg406@yahoo.com

July 20-22 – Beartooth Rally, Red Lodge. Bonedaddy’s, 1-888-827-2663

July 26-28 – Evel Knievel Days, Uptown Butte. Chad Harrington, chad6066@yahoo.com

July 26-29 – Montana State H.O.G. Rally, Butte. 406-544-3027

August 1-5 – Testy Festy, Rock Creek I-90 Exit 126 east of Missoula. Matthias Powers, matthiaspowers@yahoo.com

• Aug. 13-16 – International Assn. of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Motorcycle Group District 7 (Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska), Butte. Rick Ryan, rryan@montanasfa.org

Aug. 16-19 – Beartooth Beemers Rendezvous, Red Lodge. Bob and Anne Clement, bnaclement@aol.com

Washington

May 17-20 – Chelan Sidecar Rally, Chelan. info@chelanrally.com

May 25-27 – Touchet River Outdoor Roundup, Waitsburg. headpig@snafubar.com

July 26-29 – Sun & Surf Run, Ocean Shores. 208-250-1198

Aug. 23-25 – Washington State H.O.G. Rally, Okanogan. Vincent Danner, travelweary@excite.com

• Dec. 16-18 – Progressive International Motorcycle Show, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle. www.motorcycleshows.com/seattle

Wyoming

June 5 – Bikers for Education 5th Annual Poker Run, Cheyenne. Melonie Jones/Gloria Smith, bikersforeduction@gmail.com

June 28-30 – Wyoming State H.O.G. Rally. Laramie. 307-399-3310

To have your event listed here for free, send the information to Dani Rollison at <nrrider2@gmail.com>. We only will list the days(s) and name of the event, the city and location of the event, a contact person’s name, e-mail address, phone number or web address.

“Motorcycling Montana” reader highly satisfied

We’ve had some great feedback from readers of “Motorcycling Montana” (click on the “feedback” button in the home-page header), but here’s the best one so far:

Mar 20, 2012

“Hi Cole,

“I picked up the guidebook I ordered at the Post Office yesterday. Thanks for the very prompt shipment. As soon as I got home, I cracked it open and started reading. Frankly, I can’t put it down! It reads like a great novel listed on the NY Times bestseller list!

“All I can say is “WOW!” What a phenomenal job you have done creating this masterpiece. I like everything about the content and format:

“- The high quality of the printing, paper & binding

“- The style and organization

“- The detailed maps (and the included Montana State [highway] map)

“- Marilyn’s “Passenger Perspective” (my wife Judy really enjoyed her comments)

“- The overview sections of the state and each region

“- The advertising

“Thank you for publishing such a great reference tool to riding here in our great state of Montana. I will definitely spread the word to all my riding friends.”

Sincerely,

Jon Hesketh

Livingston, MT

Thank you, Jon! We have been in contact with this new friend and are now discussing riding the Beartooth Highway with him when it gets open, probably before Memorial Day this year as we’ve had little snow.

Early season riding

I did my first Montana motorcycle ride March 10, which isn’t early but nor is it late. I bought a 2005 Yamaha FJR in Helena that day and rode it home down I-15 to Butte. It performed just as expected. The roads were dry and surprisingly clean with no late-season sand in the big, sweeping turns. I opened her up into triple digits once or twice on the straights.

We met my brother Scott the next day, Sunday, March 11 at Wheat Montana at Three Forks. We had a nice 180-mile ride down along the Jefferson River to Ennis, then to Virginia City, Sheridan and Twin Bridges. Scott then headed east toward home and we headed west back to Butte over Pipestone Pass. It had some wet spots from melting snow and a lot of sand; we had seven inches of soggy snow a few days before.

Marilyn and I got out out Saturday, March 24. It was 32 degrees when we started the coffee pot but had warmed to 36 by the time we pulled out. Did 180 miles to Dillon on the back roads avoiding the I-15 four-lane, then to Twin Bridges, down to Alder and back. It felt wonderful.It even got into the mid-50s!

What the heck; we took it out again Sunday, March 25, and did 250 miles from Butte to Anaconda, Georgetown Lake, Philipsburg, Drummond, Helmville, Lincoln, Flesher Pass, Helena and home. A little chilly in places, especially the high country. The passes were sandy so no corner carving. Old Red ran beautifully  – 43 mpg averaging 75 miles per hour. She’s a mess, though, as there was some dirty and wet patches due to melting snow.

Riding bikes in Montana this time of year can be exceptionally pleasant, despite potential weather and road surface problems: the traffic is so light and almost non-existent in some stretches. Funny, we saw no bikes on the highway the whole time, but town was crawling with them when we got back. Go figure.

Bozeman has new Yamaha dealer

Last week we stopped at Bozeman’s new Yamaha shop, Blitz Motorsports. Very nice folks run the place. It’s not far from the location of the former dealership which closed early last year. They took six copies of “Motorcycling Montana” for retail to their rider customers. They are located on the east side of 19th Ave. just five or so blocks south from the I-90/19th interchange. Stop in and say “howdy.”

Yellowstone Harley Davidson takes another case of “Motorcycling Montana”

As we passed through Belgrade, Mont., last week week (just west of Bozeman), we stopped at the Yellowstone Harley Davidson dealership. They had taken delivery of six copies of “Motorcycling Montana” in early November. Just before Christmas they ordered six more. When we stopped last week on March 23, they took an entire case of 16 books! They are selling them like hotcakes!

Truck hits moose by Wal-Mart

In “Motorcycling Montana,” we repeatedly warn riders to be wary of wildlife, the number one hazard for motorcyclists in this state. But we didn’t expect this. Glad no one was hurt; just the critters…

By John Grant Emeigh of The Montana Standard | Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 2:00 am

A southbound pickup truck hit a bull moose on Harrison Avenue (in Butte,MT) near Wal-Mart Saturday evening.

Police say the moose walked in front of a red 1997 GMC pickup truck in the 3900 block of Harrison Avenue about 9:25 p.m.

A game warden with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks was called to the scene and shot the seriously wounded animal, according to the Butte police report. Warden Regan Dean said the moose was a young bull, weighing 500 to 600 pounds, and had just shed its antlers.

Dean said the animal was alive after being hit, but was too badly hurt to be saved.

“You could’ve walk up to it and touched it if you wanted and the moose wouldn’t move,” Dean said.

Dean said he quickly put the animal out of its misery.

“It’s a sad thing,” he said.

The driver of the truck wasn’t injured, police said.

Earlier that same day, about 1:45 p.m., a motorist hit a deer at Meadowlark and Arizona in south Butte. The seriously wounded deer also had to be shot. No injuries were reported to the driver.

Read more: http://mtstandard.com/news/local/truck-hits-moose-on-harrison/article_dd33fec2-77d7-11e1-87c6-001871e3ce6c.html#ixzz1qKKa4MC9

Motorcycling Montana book inventories running low

March 13, 2012

Wow, it’s been a long time since we updated our posts here! ‘Bout time!

We’ve been selling the heck out of the books! We wound up with a first press run of 2,600. Well, we only have about 350 of those left and they are going fast. In the last two weeks 123 more books left our inventory. A second press run is probably in the future, but as we’ve noted before, the price will have to increase (because the press run will be smaller and, due to economies of scale, per-unit costs will be higher). Buyers can still get the best and only Montana motorcycle touring guide for $29.95 until the first run is gone. Hurry!

We’ve been getting extraordinarily positive feedback as readers apparently appreciate all the in-depth Montana route reviews, fully illustrated with pictures and maps. They also appreciate all the information about Montana businesses that are motorcycle-friendly and that are seeking motorcycle tourist business: lodging, fuel, saloons, entertainment, attractions, dealerships and shops, parts, repairs, tires, accessories, rentals, sales – it’s all included.

We got out for our first ride Sunday – temp was 36 degrees when we pulled out but got into the mid-50s; lots of wind, a little sand on the passes but no ice and very light traffic! We did this loop on our latest Yamaha FJR 1300 which we picked up the day before. We saw a number of Harley Davidsons out, some BMWs, Gold Wings, too. We left Butte, hit Three Forks, rode to Norris, Ennis, Virginia City, Sheridan, Twin Bridges and back to Butte – about 190 miles. Because of the light traffic, early- and late-season Montana motorcycle touring is the best, if you can stand diverse weather conditions.

The motorcycle touring in Big Sky country this season should be exceptional, though fuel costs are worrisome, even though it means bikes are even more practical.

We were at the Euro Moto Show in the Seattle area last week. Lots of slick BMWs, Triumphs, Ducatis, Aprilias, Moto Guzzis, MV Augustas, KTMs… even some Urals! We also sold a couple of dozen books and put on a seminar on the best Montana motorcycle routes.

We’re heading to the S.M.E.G. Motorcycle Show in Kalispell, Montana, May 19, then we’ll have a booth at the Montana Folk Fest in Butte, and booths at the Beartooth Rally in Red Lodge, Evel Knievel Days in Butte, and The Testicle Festival at Rock Creek, Montana. Mmmm, rocky mountain oysters!

Gonna be a busy summer. Y’all come to Big Sky Country and enjoy the best Montana routes and riding imaginable.

Cole

Motorcycling Montana

 
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