A great Washington ride

Sept. 15, 2012

Well, we managed to squeeze in a few more good rides:

In mid August we did a little 500-mile over-nighter up to Fort Benton in north central Montana, then back through Great Falls and along some of our favorite roads along the Missouri River to Helena, then home.

Our longest tour of the year (so far) began Aug. 29 and concluded Sept. 5 – eight days, five of which were dedicated to riding (one was for a wedding and two were for visiting long-time friends). We covered 1,800.3 miles end-to-end in absolutely perfect weather: high 40s to low 50s in the morning warming to high 70s and even low 80s in the afternoon.

This trip took us St. Regis, Mont., then over the pass and along the St. Joe River to St. Maries, Idaho. We knew the top 10-12 miles of the Idaho side of the pass was getting pretty rough. Well, in late August, that was all being rebuilt and ought to be awesome next spring. We did struggle navigating 50- to 200-yard patches of loose and deeply graveled roadbed, fully loaded, pitching downhill with the front end tending to head where it wanted.

We made our way to the Palouse Country of east-central Washington, stopping in to see our favorite barista, Melinda, at the Eclaire coffee shop in Tekoa. Then it was to Steptoe Butte, St. Johns, LaCrosse and south to routes brand new to us.

With just over one million square miles in the Northern Rockies region, even after riding the area for 30-plus years it is comforting to know there are still new pieces of excellent, extraordinary, incredible, etc. tarmac to seek out an explore.

We crossed the Snake River south of LaCrosse en route to Dodge (great saloon) and Starbuck, where there was a tremendous flea market lining the highway. Re-crossing the Snake, we stopped and enjoyed a break at stunning Palouse Falls.

We cruised deserted asphalt, some of it pleasantly twisted, through fields of grain, potatoes, corn, onions, alfalfa and fruit orchards to Kahlotus and Connell and finally Othello for the night. The agricultural productivity of the region, possible with Columbia River irrigation water and a hot climate, is stunning.

At Othello, I recalled spending a night here in the third week of September in 1983, 29 years ago. I’d been to the coast on my ’83 Honda CB 1100 F. When I awoke in the morning, it was raining. It snowed heavily as I rode U.S. Hwy. 12 over Lolo Pass and into Missoula, Mont. You just don’t forget a day like that.

We kept west, passing through Royal City to I-90 where we crossed it and the Columbia, then took a pleasant backroad to Kittitas. Oooo, Hwy. 821 south through the Yakima River Canyon was sweet but with an oh-so-slow speed limit…and it was being patrolled!

At Selah we headed west through Naches, then Rimrock and White Pass, Packwood to Ashford (very remote but very rough), and Alder, then north to Sumner for the night. It was a short one-hour jaunt to Green Lake and Seattle the next morning. The wedding was equally short and sweet; the best kind.

We pulled out of Green Lake and the Seattle metro area Sunday morning at 7:20. After fully traversing the state, 12 hours and 10 minutes later, we rolled up the gravel driveway of friends Jim and Diane Bailey who have a place along the east shore of the Pend Orielle River about 80 miles north of Spokane.

That long day had us hitting Bothell northwest of Seattle, then picking up Hwy. 2 at Monroe and running that to Wenatchee. We hooked into Hwy. 91A north along the Columbia to Chelan for lunch.

The route to Chelan was all pleasant enough once away from urbania, but it was after Chelan that we began to hit our stride in terms of remote and rural two-lane, much of it mountainous to boot.

Right out of Chelan we found what is apparently a county road that took us through grain country, even a two-mile stretch of gravel before blacktop resumed. We ranged up toward Bridgeport, then east to Grand Coulee Dam and a refreshment stop.

Ahh, things were looking up as we hooked north toward Elmer City, then east to Hwy. 21, then north through Keller to where we picked up the little secondary to the ferry at the Inchelium-Gifford crossing over Roosevelt Lake (Columbia River reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam). Wow, is that some fine mountain riding!

At Gifford we ran to Addy because the slightly shorter route to Blue Creek was under construction. Woohoo! Though speeds were posted at 50 mph, then 35 at the twisty summit, we, er, pushed it a little over that, heh heh. Talk about getting some wear from the edges of the tires!

Then down into Chewelah, another quick pit stop, then across the Flowery Trail (gotta love that name), past the 49 Degrees ski area, giving a nod to a doe, fawn and little buck still in velvet, then dropping down into the Pend Orielle River Valley at Usk.

At this point we’d covered about 1,400 miles, yet this last 30 miles was the absolute best piece of moto-road on the whole trip … and it was entirely new to us! There’s a reason (actually several) that I journal my trips. This one will call us back!

The lack of motion was welcome

It was dusky – almost dark – as we rolled the last 19 miles up the river shore to our friends’ brand spanking new home. There we cooled our jets for a couple of days with good brews, good barbecued chicken and ribs, and some fine cocktails including a little Sailor Jerry rum with lime and ginger ale.

None of what we rode home was new, but it was all grand: to Usk and Newport, then Plummer, Idaho, Moscow, Kendrick, Orofino, Kamiah, Lowell and Lolo Pass. About 20 miles from the top of the pass, visibility was down to 100 yards due to forest fire smoke. I was afraid we’d run into a road block any minute but we made it over and down into Missoula, Mont., and back home to Butte, our apparel stinking like a campfire.

This tour represents what sport touring is all about: Riding a good bike with a good companion over excellent roads that are both familiar and new, seeing new sights and communities while meeting great people, then taking a break to hang with family while a nephew gets hitched, and hooking up with 25-year friends for a couple of days to celebrate their new home.

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

– Cole Boehler

Happy book owners

We love positive feedback from purchasers of “Motorcycling Montana.”

 

This came in today, May 7.

“Hi Cole,
“I bought this book for my boyfriend. He has looked through it and loves it! Smart choice on the spiral binding. He can’t wait to do some of the rides in the book. I think we saw it in a bar that was selling it actually.

“Great Book!

Frances Bonnett

Missoula, MT

We love reader feedback

May 3, 2012

“Cole,

“I just wanted to tell you how much we have enjoyed the book and the newspaper (new – Northern Rockies Rider). The publication was with perfect timing. We are planing a trip to Montana this summer to ride with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law from Willsal (MT). We ride with my parents who are in their seventies, my brother and his wife and my aunt and uncle. We all ride ‘Wings, mom and dad’s being a trike.

” Our trip should start June 23 and end July 3. We are going to ride the Beartooth, a little of Yellowstone and north of Willsal.

 “I want to tell you how much the paper gets read at work. Me and my friends ride but we all ride different brands and we have really enjoyed the unbiased open-minded approach you present  for better motorcycling.

“If by chance you and your wife are free during our trip, we would offer an invitation to ride with us.

“Again, thanks and safe riding.

–Bob Randall

Gurnee, Ill.

Back to the printer

Well, the BMW shop in Missoula, Big Sky Motorsports, ordered a case (16) of “Motorcycling Montana” touring guide books last week, the Town Pumps Convenience stores were shipped over 200 in the last couple of weeks, and today the World Museum of Mining just ordered 10 more. We’re now down to about 100 books so I contacted the printer last week and scheduled another press run for June 1. My sister, Kim, just finished reading proof again, and we are working on improved photo color correction, but will have new files to the printer on time. This means we should have new books in hand by about June 21. I hope the last hundred lasts long enough… but I can see it won’t. Any delay in filling orders shouldn’t be too long.

 

Reader Feedback

What people are saying about Motorcycling Montana:

Hi Cole,

My wife bought me a first edition in 2012 and I really enjoyed it.  I’ve bought two since then from local vendors for gifts.  This one is number four and destined for yet another friend.  I guess that means I really like it!
Thanks again for creating a great guide.

Roger S.
Kalispell, Mont.

April 25, 2013

It seems a review of “Motorcycling Montana,” posted on the FJR Forum by Fred Wills in Connecticut, brought quite a few books orders. Thanks, Fred! The review, for you skeptics, was entirely spontaneous. Fred bought a book and was impressed thus:

“I have always had a strong yearning to ride and explore some of the wide open spaces of the Western US on motorcycle, with one of the bigger draws being touring in and around the national parks of Montana, Yellowstone and Glacier. So naturally when I caught wind of this guide book I had to get myself a copy.

“The book is quite a substantial offering. It is a handy 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ page format, convenient size for stashing in a saddle or tank bag, with a 1 1/2” plastic spiral wound binding of 488 pages plus fold out sectional dividers. The guide is printed on heavy gauge glossy paper stock with heavier card gauge stock outside pages and dividers, all with high resolution photos and maps throughout. It is shipped with a copy of the Montana Official State Highway Map as a reference.

“The book is divided into the six major geographical sections of the state: Glacier Country, Russell Country, Missouri River Country, Custer Country, Yellowstone Country and Gold West Country. Each “Country” section has an overview map (on the handy foldout divider) and an overview of what to expect in that region, along with some background info about the people, places, demographics, history and modern day conditions of the area. Then various possible touring routes are laid out, including highlighted map insets, along with the author’s own insights and experiences along those routes. At the end of each section a small area is provided for you to make your own notes.

“The book is not just your usual tour guide, nor just a collection of one guy’s ride reports through the regions, but rather it is a seamless combination of the two. The insights of a fellow rider who has lived, ridden and written about these roads for decades is an invaluable asset to a potential visitor. No doubt, it will help avoid the possible pitfalls, avoiding tourist traffic and boring highways in favor of the local gold nuggets of the secondary highways, byways and local roads and help you be more prepared for conditions and climate when you do make that memorable road trip.

“Though the book is written as a guide book, I read it from cover to cover for the entertainment. I particularly enjoyed the sections about riding in and around Glacier Country, Yellowstone, and of course the famous routes over Chief Joseph pass and the Beartooth Highway. Knowing more about these great rides will make trip planning a breeze, and even more enjoyable when I get out there.

“Scattered throughout the guide are advertisements from various establishments located along the route or region who cater to the needs of the traveling motorcyclist, which sure seems like would be a great resource to have along when out on the road.

“The high resolution photography is all top notch in my esteem, and has me salivating, anxious to get out and experience the Big Sky Country more than ever. I would highly recommend getting yourself a copy to bring along if you’ll be headed that way any time soon, or even just to join me in dreaming of the day.

“Although it may sound otherwise, I have no affiliation to the author or publisher other than knowing him through the forum. I purchased my copy from him directly (from the web site linked to above) with no strings attached. I just think he has done a fantastic job in sharing his insider perspective on his home state with his fellow two wheelers, and wanted to share the opportunity with anyone else who might be headed that way.”

Wow! Thanks for the kudos, Fred!

And here are some responses the review generated:

“Cole even has some routes this old Montana boy didn’t know. Had to buy the damn book … and liked it.”

– Niehart

“Dang it Fred, the other day you screwed me out of 45 minutes when you posted up a link to an oil filter video and today you cost me $35 on a book. I’m riding Montana in July and it should come in handy.

“You’re KILLING me here, Fred!”

– Abercrombie

“I would do another 28 days doing the rides from this mentioned book. It too looks awesome.”

– LAF

“Thanks Fred, very timely post.

“I didn’t know about this book. It will be very useful this year as I plan on doing the Road to the Sun then heading south through Idaho, pick up some tires and bits for my moped, then head home via Wyoming and Montana.

“Ordered my copy today.”

–Kamal

“Ordered the book – awesome resource!”

– David Foley

“I have five riders coming up to Boise from So. Cal. the end of July. We will head out for Kalispell and use that area for our home base and explore from there. This book looks like a great source of information.

“Thanks for the post, Fred W.”

– Fly Bye

“Just ordered mine, thanks for the information!”

– RPrice

Here are some comments from readers:

Jan. 10, 2013

Hi Cole,

I just received your book, all I can say I have a hard time putting it down. It was exactly what I was looking for. I am planning a trip out your way (in 2013), and as you state in the book I am really looking for the out of the way places. Of course I need to see Glacier, Beartooth, and West Yellowstone.

Wade
Grand Rapids, MN

Dec. 12, 2013

Cole,

I heard about (“Motorcycling Montana”) on the radio a few months ago, then I Googled it and got your web site. My dad is in his 70s, 4th generation Montanan, he wants to ride his bike to all of Montana’s county seats, so I thought he’d enjoy planning his trips this winter. Maybe you could sign his book, too, if it’s not too much trouble.

Thank you,
Shelly

 May 7, 2012

“Hi Cole,

“I bought this book for my boyfriend. He has looked through it and loves it! Smart choice on the spiral binding. He can’t wait to do some of the rides in the book. I think we saw it in a bar that was selling it actually.

“Great Book!”

Frances Bonnett

Missoula, Mont.

 

May 3, 2012

“Cole,

“I just wanted to tell you how much we have enjoyed the book and the newspaper (new – Northern Rockies Rider). The publication was with perfect timing. We are planing a trip to Montana this summer to ride with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law from Willsal (MT). We ride with my parents who are in their seventies, my brother and his wife and my aunt and uncle. We all ride ‘Wings, mom and dad’s being a trike.

” Our trip should start June 23 and end July 3. We are going to ride the Beartooth, a little of Yellowstone and north of Willsal.
 “I want to tell you how much the paper gets read at work. Me and my friends ride but we all ride different brands and we have really enjoyed the unbiased open-minded approach you present  for better motorcycling.

“If by chance you and your wife are free during our trip, we would offer an invitation to ride with us.

“Again, thanks and safe riding.

–Bob Randall

Gurnee, Ill.

 

April 19, 2012

“Cole,

“The book arrived as scheduled and I have been enjoying it very much. I also appreciate the copy of Northern Rockies Rider that you sent. Both publications have gotten my wife and me excited about visiting Montana on our motorcycles…

“If you have any favorite alternatives to suggest, or would care to warn us away from any stretches, I’d be most appreciative to hear from you.

“Thanks again for the great publications.

–Jim Elder

Spokane, WA

March 28, 2012

“Thanks again, Cole.  It was great to talk with you and see the enthusiasm you have for this sport.  I’m looking forward to a summer of riding using your (CD version of the) book & maps!  It’ll be something new for me but I’ll work on writing about my rides as well.

 

“Enjoy the rest of your week!”

Peter Farmer

Huson, Mont.

March 26, 2012

“Hi & Good Mornin’ Cole,

“This is Kevin this go round here. I have a riding buddy Rick on HD Softtail with a weeks vacation April 2-9 just around the corner. He wants to get to MT, Red Lodge at least. Would you any other suggested MT hit locations for 2-3 day trip for that time of year? He has to be mindful of snow & ice on roads & currently with limited cold weather gear. He is purchasing overpants & gloves to finish out the coverings.

 

 

“Thanks a 100 for your thoughts & your authorship in the BOOK.
IT’S GREAT, I’M LOVING IT; JUST READY TO GO EXPLORE !”

Kevin Griffith

Gillette, Wyo.

“Thanks Cole!  If I purchased the CD version, could you just e-mail the PDF so I can avoid shipping costs?  I hope I’m not being too difficult a customer.

“By the way, I love the book version but the PDF version, with only a few pages printed, would be easier to fit in my tank bag.  🙂  I appreciate that you offer two versions.

 

 

“Thank you Cole!  I’m looking forward to discovering Montana in more detail on my bike thanks to you!”
Peter Farmer

Huson, MT

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

March 19, 2012

“I did a search on Google ‘Motorcycling Montana’ and your web site popped up. Looking forward to receiving it! I’ll spread the word among my motorcycling friends.”

Jon Hesketh

Livingston, MT

March 17, 2012

“Hello Cole~

“We received the book today and my husband loves  it so far~ Yes we are looking forward to riding in Montana this summer ~ He is looking at it as I write this~ I just came from Nebraska where it was in the 80’s~ I love that kind of weather personally. LOL

“Thanks again for putting out a great book.”

Lisa Griffith

Gillette, Wyo.

Feb. 6, 2012

Cole,

“I have read the Yellowstone Country section of the book and have passed it along to my riding buddies. Great stuff and very informative. BTW: I think I found your book on the www.pashnit.com Motorcycle Forum.

“Yes, there are three of us coming out and we have secured the airline tickets and bike rentals for the trip out. We have not booked lodging yet. Maybe you can help us with that.

“…First came out on our honeymoon in 1981, driving a 4X4 pickup with camper insert around for 10 days, we named our first child, a dog, Bozeman. Have been to Livingston Rodeo on July 4th a few times, rented a house in Paradise Valley one week, just love white water and hot springs… Getting the picture yet? You have great country!”

“A motorcycle-only trip out there has been on my bucket list for a while… One of my main objectives was to ride the Beartooth and Chief Joseph highways…”

–Nick DiSabatino, Wilmington, DE

Jan. 31, 2012

“Cole,

“Thanks for your book! I am sure (my son) Travis will enjoy it, not just to read but as a friendly guide to cycling Montana. I liked the ‘passenger point of view’ and safety tips from (your wife) Marilyn.”

– Rick Starkel, Helena, MT

Jan. 26, 2012

“Hi:

“I received the book this week. I have just been discharged from the hospital after a total hip replacement. It has provided some very good reading and great incentive to get back on the motorcycle!

“Thanks!”

– Maureen Swanson-Warren, Lethbridge, Alberta

“The book is fantastic!”

–Lloyd Cross, Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada

“Hey Cole,

“I received a copy of Motorcycling Montana for Christmas and have to tell you, it is most entertaining and informative. I found it hard to put down. It’s something I will keep close to me for a long time to come. Thanks!

“By the way, our show in Kalispell is set for May 19, 2012. I hope you’ll attend again.”

–Steve Kelly, President, Serious Motorcycle Enthusiasts Group, Kalispell, MT

“Received your book and is greatly appreciated. I am a retired NYC Firefighter/Fire Marshal. I am planning a MC tour with fellow riders and am interested in touring Montana … I have been riding HD pretty near my entire adult life and my present ride is a ’99 Road King which I bought new. I was planning to organize my own tour and ride as I have done multiple times up here in the Northeast, Blue Ridge, Florida, etc.

“I have been researching numerous web sites and found your book which I ordered, received and am presently reading with great positive review. Your background and experience seems to be similar to mine as being both methodical and your attention to detail and your book portrays the same.

“I would definitely recommend your book to all who are contemplating visiting Montana, be it a car or motorcycle. Thanks again!”

–Jim Saccomanno, New York City

“Hi Cole,

“I did received your book in good condition.  Just starting to go through it and so far I’m pleased with the content because, same as you, we are secondary scenic roads riders looking for fun, technical roads with scenery.

“Hoping to meet you down the road somewhere in Montana next summer.”

–Nil Fortier, Lachine, Quebec

“I’m looking forward to next summer!  Got one of the books for my brother for xmas and I had to get one for myself too.”

–William Pace, Colchester, VT

“I have received them but am giving them as a Christmas Gift to our son.  I’m sure he will love them.  Thanks for getting them to me so quickly.”

–Gail Brown, Helena, MT

“They look awesome!!!  Thank you.”

–Ruth Wilson, Woodstock, CT

“I saw your add in Cycle World magazine.  Received the two books on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011.  I will be giving one as a gift to my good riding buddy & we will see you next summer!”

–Rod Dawson, Bakersfield, CA

“Hello Cole,

 

“The book came today. Wow! Worth every penny.  I know a friend of mine who will probably order one after he sees mine. Thanks much and God bless.”

–Joel Anderson, Junction City, WI

“Hi Cole- Thanks so much for your email. Our son just moved out to Bozeman and my husband is a backroads motorcycle fanatic…he can’t wait to ride out there —so your book is a perfect Christmas gift. Thank you so much. Am sure it will be his favorite gift…and will be spending most of Christmas day reading it cover to cover! Have a great holiday. Thanks.”

­–Patti Gramse, Cape Elizabeth, ME

“Hi Cole!

 

“My name is Sally Murphy.  I manage the bookstore at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls.  I’m looking to buy some copies (probably a dozen to start) of Motorcycling Montana for resale in our store… Please let me know how to proceed as I’ve had several inquiries for this title already! Thanks!”

–Sally Murphy, Director of Special Events & Sales, Lewis & Clark Foundation, Great falls, MT

“I got the book this afternoon. I think it is great. This is a gift for my father for Christmas. He and my mom are avid motorcyclists even though they are in their 80’s. They travel on a trike now but spend as much time on their bike as they can. Thank you for the great book, he will love it.”

–Suzanne Larsen, Cody, WY

“Cole,

 

“Just finished reading and (have) in mind riding the great roads you describe.  It will be a part of my planning when we ride Montana.  Ordered one for a friend for Christmas so I hope he spread the information with riders in Central Wyoming…

 

“Hope to see a second addition with more.  Come down to WY and will make it a border cross over ride.

 

“Keep the rubber side down as they say…..

 

“Thanks,”

–Fran Scranton, Worland, WY

“I purchased a dozen extra copies of your magnificent “Motorcycling
Montana” and everyone has enjoyed them immensely! Aside from the great
content, many have noted the tough stock you printed on, which will
make it a great travel companion that will wear well when tossed into
a saddlebag! Thank you!”

Dick Smith (HD Ultra Classic), Owner, Iron Horse Saloon and Casino,
Forsyth, MT

“We did receive our cop(ies) of the book and it looks great … We
would like to receive 4 (more) books to have in our bar, let me know
how to get them.”

Lori Ardisson, Longbranch, Ennis, MT

“I received the book today, which I am giving to a family member for
Christmas … The content of the book looks great, and should provide
some interesting reference material.”

Jennifer Gruber, Shelby, MT

” Before I even put them out an employee who grew up around the
Choteau area wanted a book. I thought that was good turn around time
for resale purposes!”

Jacque Thomas, KrisCo Liquor, Missoula, MT

“I haven’t spent too much time in the book but I have a copy on the
bar and a lot of my customers thought it was very well planned out and
very helpful. It shows that a lot of thought went into it and I feel
that it is a very good value.”

Joann Fuller, Owner, Timber Bar, Big Timber, MT

“I looked through it and thought it was well laid out. I think it’s a
good value for the money.”

Julia Brewer
Director
Old Montana Prison Complex Museum, Deer Lodge, MT

“I got my copy of Motorcycling Montana and it looks very impressive. I
plan to give it to my husband John for Christmas. We have spend
countless hours riding the scenic roads of Montana and I know that
John and his motorcycling buddies will get great enjoyment out of this
publication. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.”

Wendie Miller, St. Paul, MN

“I like the book … $30 is quite a lot for a book but hopefully
people will see the value. I really do like the presentation,
organization and the way you have co-coordinated maps, advertisements
and general information.”

Angela Beaumont, the Pollard Hotel, Red Lodge, MT

“I got the books and they are absolutely great! So much nature and color! Thank you! Great Job!”
Carla Hunsley, Executive Director, Missouri River Country Tourism Region, Fort Peck, MT

“Does the book represent a good consumer value at the $29.95 price? YES!
“Are the production qualities up to or beyond your expectations? YES!
“Is the content relevant? Is the content comprehensive? YES & YES!
“Well designed for use & durability. Riders will be getting a comprehensive guide to Montana.”

Lou Ann Nelson, Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce, Livingston, MT

“I thumbed through the book yesterday and thought it a great value even though I’m not a motorcycle guy. The photography was great, the colors vibrant and the maps wonderful. Great work!”
John Tooke, Golden Spur, Miles City, MT

“Overall I was impressed with the book.”
Janet Prescott, The Office (restaurant, bar, liquor store and casino), Livingston, MT

“We think (the book) looks great, and is exactly what we expected. The print quality looks really good. I wasn’t in the store when they were delivered, but I think we sold one immediately and had another customer pipe up with, “Hey, I should have thought of that.” (Right, buddy, too late now.) I don’t think there will be any problem carrying the $29.95 price. Our ad looks awesome. Nice job. Thanks!
Marsha Phillips, ?F-11 Photographic Supplies?, Bozeman, MT

“I think that your book was very well done. Of all the books we have seen come out lately, this is truly our favorite. It is user friendly, sturdy and informative. Nice job!? ?Thanks!”
Bobby Lincoln, Del’s Bar & Joe Blogz, Somers, MT

“I think the book looks great. Better than what I expected, actually. Pages are thick so they should be hard to tear…”
Nate Hauser, Big Sky Motorsports (BMW), Midssoula, MT

“I just received my copy of ‘Motorcycling Montana.’ It is much more informative and complete than what I expected. The photography in the book is just spectacular. I can’t wait for spring so I can ride up to Montana from Texas and take in all the wonderful sites.
“I especially like, believe it or not, having the advertisers in the book. Never having been to Montana, the listed cafes, motels and places to visit can only enhance my trip.
“Anyone planning to visit Montana should have this book with them as their guide. This is a must-have book weather you are motorcycling or driving to and in Montana.”

Roger Caron, Katy, TX

“Your tome arrived today in perfect condition (where is your autograph?). I immediately turned to the Beartooth (Highway review) and enjoyed! You will prosper.”
Gaylen Fischer, Davenport, IA

“Just got it in the mail. Looks great! Looking forward to reading it. Thanks!”
James Faust, Tumwater, WA

“Good, good, good!”
Laurie Rettig, Ft. Benton, MT

“Wow!! What an awesome book! Good job!”
Beverly Tuxill, Butte, MT

“I think it is a winner!”
Darla Kelman, Great Falls, MT

“Fine pictures, fine writing all the way through. First class!”
Bob Koch, Helena, MT

“This book should be promoted to people riding in a cage. It is truly wonderful. I wish my copy had been signed.”
Roger Caron, Katy, TX

“It is an awesome book, have been showing it to everyone. Very well received!!
Rick Tuxill, Butte, MT

What’s New?

April 30, 2013

Yellowstone Harley Davidson in Belgrade, Mont., is now our top book retailer – having purchased 124 copies! Go-o-o-o-o YELLOWSTONE H-D! (We’re betting Beartooth H-D in Billings will be placing another order soon and will probably top Yellowstone…)

We are about halfway through our June, 2012 second printing and and we will not be doing a third printing. We are hoping they will last through this season and next, because we won’t be releasing a revised second edition until November of 2014. Better get one now while supplies are available.

April 25, 2013

It seems a review of “Motorcycling Montana,” posted on the FJR Forum by Fred Wills in Connecticut, brought quite a few books orders. Thanks, Fred! The review, for you skeptics, was entirely spontaneous. Fred bought a book and was impressed thus:

“I have always had a strong yearning to ride and explore some of the wide open spaces of the Western US on motorcycle, with one of the bigger draws being touring in and around the national parks of Montana, Yellowstone and Glacier. So naturally when I caught wind of this guide book I had to get myself a copy.

“The book is quite a substantial offering. It is a handy 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ page format, convenient size for stashing in a saddle or tank bag, with a 1 1/2” plastic spiral wound binding of 488 pages plus fold out sectional dividers. The guide is printed on heavy gauge glossy paper stock with heavier card gauge stock outside pages and dividers, all with high resolution photos and maps throughout. It is shipped with a copy of the Montana Official State Highway Map as a reference.

“The book is divided into the six major geographical sections of the state: Glacier Country, Russell Country, Missouri River Country, Custer Country, Yellowstone Country and Gold West Country. Each “Country” section has an overview map (on the handy foldout divider) and an overview of what to expect in that region, along with some background info about the people, places, demographics, history and modern day conditions of the area. Then various possible touring routes are laid out, including highlighted map insets, along with the author’s own insights and experiences along those routes. At the end of each section a small area is provided for you to make your own notes.

“The book is not just your usual tour guide, nor just a collection of one guy’s ride reports through the regions, but rather it is a seamless combination of the two. The insights of a fellow rider who has lived, ridden and written about these roads for decades is an invaluable asset to a potential visitor. No doubt, it will help avoid the possible pitfalls, avoiding tourist traffic and boring highways in favor of the local gold nuggets of the secondary highways, byways and local roads and help you be more prepared for conditions and climate when you do make that memorable road trip.

“Though the book is written as a guide book, I read it from cover to cover for the entertainment. I particularly enjoyed the sections about riding in and around Glacier Country, Yellowstone, and of course the famous routes over Chief Joseph pass and the Beartooth Highway. Knowing more about these great rides will make trip planning a breeze, and even more enjoyable when I get out there.

“Scattered throughout the guide are advertisements from various establishments located along the route or region who cater to the needs of the traveling motorcyclist, which sure seems like would be a great resource to have along when out on the road.

“The high resolution photography is all top notch in my esteem, and has me salivating, anxious to get out and experience the Big Sky Country more than ever. I would highly recommend getting yourself a copy to bring along if you’ll be headed that way any time soon, or even just to join me in dreaming of the day.

“Although it may sound otherwise, I have no affiliation to the author or publisher other than knowing him through the forum. I purchased my copy from him directly (from the web site linked to above) with no strings attached. I just think he has done a fantastic job in sharing his insider perspective on his home state with his fellow two wheelers, and wanted to share the opportunity with anyone else who might be headed that way.”

Wow! Thanks for the kudos, Fred!

And here are some responses the review generated:

“Cole even has some routes this old Montana boy didn’t know. Had to buy the damn book … and liked it.”

– Niehart

“Dang it Fred, the other day you screwed me out of 45 minutes when you posted up a link to an oil filter video and today you cost me $35 on a book. I’m riding Montana in July and it should come in handy.

“You’re KILLING me here, Fred!”

– Abercrombie

“I would do another 28 days doing the rides from this mentioned book. It too looks awesome.”

– LAF

“Thanks Fred, very timely post.

“I didn’t know about this book. It will be very useful this year as I plan on doing the Road to the Sun then heading south through Idaho, pick up some tires and bits for my moped, then head home via Wyoming and Montana.

“Ordered my copy today.”

–Kamal

“Ordered the book – awesome resource!”

– David Foley

“I have five riders coming up to Boise from So. Cal. the end of July. We will head out for Kalispell and use that area for our home base and explore from there. This book looks like a great source of information.

“Thanks for the post, Fred W.”

– Fly Bye

“Just ordered mine, thanks for the information!”

– RPrice

Nov. 29, 2012

I was checking some info last week on which retailers are the top sellers of “Motorcycling Montana.”

In aggregate, that would be Town Pump stores. We distribute through 64 of their locations and in total they have probably moved 1,200 books. One store in Shelby, Mont., managed by Connie Bock, has sold 51 books! Wow! The location, near the east side of Glacier Park, has something to do with their excellent sales, but more likely it is that Connie rides, and so she recommends the books to folks who arrive at her store on two wheels. Way to go, Connie!

Now the single best retailer of “Motorcycling Montana” is Beartooth Harley-Davidson in Billings, Mont. They account for 92 books sold! Congratulations Beartooth Harley! They have a nice display near their checkout counter and apparently make many impulse sales.

Yellowstone Harley-Davidson in Belgrade, near Bozeman, Mont., is our number two individual retailer: 76 books! Way to go Yellowstone H-D! And thanks from all of us at “MM.”

Third runner-up is Big Sky Motor Sports out of Missoula, Mont., a BMW/Kawasaki dealer. Their parts guy, Dean, has read the book so recommends it to their many customers. Thanks Big Sky Motor Sports!

Grizzly H-D in Missoula just started stocking the books in July and now account for 54 books! Awesome and thanks!

Now, here’s a surprise: Krisco Liquor in Missoula has sold 51 copies. What? A liquor store? Yup. They display the book prominently near their checkout and recommend it to riders. That’s all it takes, apparently. Thanks Krisco Liquors!

So, back in May we ordered 2,500 more copies from the printer, Advanced Litho in Great Falls, Mont. (They do first-class work.) Of that 2,500, approximately 1,800 remain. We promised folks we wouldn’t do a revised edition until 2015, which we will commence developing in 2014. But we have decided to not do another printing between now and late 2014. This means the remaining 1,800 copies are just going to have to last until then (which is highly unlikely). Depending, this means – best-case for us – the book could be out of print by the middle or end of 2013, and perhaps unavailable for a year or so. You may want to get one now.

Ride hard, ride free, ride well and ride safe!

Cole Boehler, Author

Sept. 15, 2012

Well, we managed to squeeze in a few more good rides:

In mid August we did a little 500-mile over-nighter up to Fort Benton in north central Montana, then back through Great Falls and along some of our favorite roads along the Missouri River to Helena, then home.

Our longest tour of the year (so far) began Aug. 29 and concluded Sept. 5 – eight days, five of which were dedicated to riding (one was for a wedding and two were for visiting long-time friends). We covered 1,800.3 miles end-to-end in absolutely perfect weather: high 40s to low 50s in the morning warming to high 70s and even low 80s in the afternoon.

This trip took us St. Regis, Mont., then over the pass and along the St. Joe River to St. Maries, Idaho. We knew the top 10-12 miles of the Idaho side of the pass was getting pretty rough. Well, in late August, that was all being rebuilt and ought to be awesome next spring. We did struggle navigating 50- to 200-yard patches of loose and deeply graveled roadbed, fully loaded, pitching downhill with the front end tending to head where it wanted.

We made our way to the Palouse Country of east-central Washington, stopping in to see our favorite barista, Melinda, at the Eclaire coffee shop in Tekoa. Then it was to Steptoe Butte, St. Johns, LaCrosse and south to routes brand new to us.

With just over one million square miles in the Northern Rockies region, even after riding the area for 30-plus years it is comforting to know there are still new pieces of excellent, extraordinary, incredible, etc. tarmac to seek out an explore.

We crossed the Snake River south of LaCrosse en route to Dodge (great saloon) and Starbuck, where there was a tremendous flea market lining the highway. Re-crossing the Snake, we stopped and enjoyed a break at stunning Palouse Falls.

We cruised deserted asphalt, some of it pleasantly twisted, through fields of grain, potatoes, corn, onions, alfalfa and fruit orchards to Kahlotus and Connell and finally Othello for the night. The agricultural productivity of the region, possible with Columbia River irrigation water and a hot climate, is stunning.

At Othello, I recalled spending a night here in the third week of September in 1983, 29 years ago. I’d been to the coast on my ’83 Honda CB 1100 F. When I awoke in the morning, it was raining. It snowed heavily as I rode U.S. Hwy. 12 over Lolo Pass and into Missoula, Mont. You just don’t forget a day like that.

We kept west, passing through Royal City to I-90 where we crossed it and the Columbia, then took a pleasant backroad to Kittitas. Oooo, Hwy. 821 south through the Yakima River Canyon was sweet but with an oh-so-slow speed limit…and it was being patrolled!

At Selah we headed west through Naches, then Rimrock and White Pass, Packwood to Ashford (very remote but very rough), and Alder, then north to Sumner for the night. It was a short one-hour jaunt to Green Lake and Seattle the next morning. The wedding was equally short and sweet; the best kind.

We pulled out of Green Lake and the Seattle metro area Sunday morning at 7:20. After fully traversing the state, 12 hours and 10 minutes later, we rolled up the gravel driveway of friends Jim and Diane Bailey who have a place along the east shore of the Pend Oreille River about 80 miles north of Spokane.

That long day had us hitting Bothell northwest of Seattle, then picking up Hwy. 2 at Monroe and running that to Wenatchee. We hooked into Hwy. 91A north along the Columbia to Chelan for lunch.

The route to Chelan was all pleasant enough once away from urbania, but it was after Chelan that we began to hit our stride in terms of remote and rural two-lane, much of it mountainous to boot.

Right out of Chelan we found what is apparently a county road that took us through grain country, even a two-mile stretch of gravel before blacktop resumed. We ranged up toward Bridgeport, then east to Grand Coulee Dam and a refreshment stop.

Ahh, things were looking up as we hooked north toward Elmer City, then east to Hwy. 21, then north through Keller to where we picked up the little secondary to the ferry at the Inchelium-Gifford crossing over Roosevelt Lake (Columbia River reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam). Wow, is that some fine mountain riding!

At Gifford we ran to Addy because the slightly shorter route to Blue Creek was under construction. Woohoo! Though speeds were posted at 50 mph, then 35 at the twisty summit, we, er, pushed it a little over that, heh heh. Talk about getting some wear from the edges of the tires!

Then down into Chewelah, another quick pit stop, then across the Flowery Trail (gotta love that name), past the 49 Degrees ski area, giving a nod to a doe, fawn and little buck still in velvet, then dropping down into the Pend Oreille River Valley at Usk.

At this point we’d covered about 1,400 miles, yet this last 30 miles was the absolute best piece of moto-road on the whole trip … and it was entirely new to us! There’s a reason (actually several) that I journal my trips. This one will call us back!

The lack of motion was welcome

It was dusky – almost dark – as we rolled the last 19 miles up the river shore to our friends’ brand spanking new home. There we cooled our jets for a couple of days with good brews, good barbecued chicken and ribs, and some fine cocktails including a little Sailor Jerry rum with lime and ginger ale.

None of what we rode home was new, but it was all grand: to Usk and Newport, then Plummer, Idaho, Moscow, Kendrick, Orofino, Kamiah, Lowell and Lolo Pass. About 20 miles from the top of the pass, visibility was down to 100 yards due to forest fire smoke. I was afraid we’d run into a road block any minute but we made it over and down into Missoula, Mont., and back home to Butte, our apparel stinking like a campfire.

This tour represents what sport touring is all about: Riding a good bike with a good companion over excellent roads that are both familiar and new, seeing new sights and communities while meeting great people, then taking a break to hang with family while a nephew gets hitched, and hooking up with 25-year friends for a couple of days to celebrate their new home.

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

– Cole Boehler

Aug. 10, 2012

My, how time flies!

Where has summer gone?

We have been so busy with our new publishing project – the monthly Northern Rockies Rider – and with trying to squeeze in a few good rides, that we haven’t had time to post here.

We got our new shipment of books and probably 400 of the second printing are now in distribution. This is a second printing, not second edition. We did put some effort into cleaning up the text and expended more effort on further photo color correction, so it is definitely an improved version.

It has been a dry summer but the riding has been good, with the exception of a few forest fires that have put some smoke into the air.

What’s your definition of a “good motorcycle ride”?

Ours is: “We returned without an incident or problem.”

Pretty simple.

By our definition, almost every single ride we have taken qualifies as “good.”

However, beyond “good” we hope to apply adjectives like “incredible,” “awesome,” “spectacular,” “fantastic,” “extraordinary,” “amazing,” “magnificent” and more.

Maybe it’s global warming, but we find early- and late-season rides now seem more plausible than ever before, so we may yet get in another good, long one.

We have to note sewveral trips we’ve taken so far this year that qualify as “incredible, awesome, spectacular, fantastic, extraordinary, amazing” and “magnificent.”

In late April we rode 1,500 miles in Montana, Idaho, British Columbia and Washington, then back through Idaho and home to Montana. We did this with one quite tolerable day of rain and four days of beautiful sunshine, one of which we rode, for the sheer joy of it, in shirtsleeves in 80-degree air!

In May, again in three days of perfect weather, we rode some fantastic Idaho routes: to Boise, then Lowman, Stanley, Salmon and home through Montana’s Big Hole River valley.

In early June we got in a few days and 800 miles in our favorite part of Montana, the northwest corner of the state – the Yak Country, Lake Koocanusa and Flathead lake. Even illness and foul, wet weather couldn’t entirely devalue that tour.

We were busy with work and motorcycle shows and events during much of June and July, so didn’t really get out again until early August.

That time we covered about 1,000 miles in three days. There were six of us (three of us siblings with our mates) on three bikes. That tour covered the Beartooth Highway of Montana and Wyoming, the St. Joseph Scenic Byway and the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming.

Those three legs would probably qualify for most North American Top Ten lists, and certainly anyone’s Top Twenty list. “Incredible,” yadda yadda…

Ah, life is sweet.

May 5, 2012

Well, the BMW shop in Missoula, Big Sky Motorsports, ordered a case (16) of “Motorcycling Montana” touring guide books last week, the Town Pumps Convenience stores were shipped over 200 in the last couple of weeks, and today the World Museum of Mining just ordered 10 more. We’re now down to about 100 books so I contacted the printer last week and scheduled another press run for June 1. My sister, Kim, just finished reading proof again, and we are working on improved photo color correction, but will have new files to the printer on time. This means we should have new books in hand by about June 21. I hope the last hundred lasts long enough… but I can see it won’t. Any delay in filling orders shouldn’t be too long.

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 prices costs well 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 Testical 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

Dec. 16, 2011

Things are really starting to move. We have 85 percent of the writing and the photo and map editing done. The rest will be complete in 10 days. Meanwhile we’ve got three sections of the book built and proofed and a fourth should be done in the next four days.

We expect to have all eight of the book sections — estimated at 480 pages — built by September 9 with more proofing to follow. We have scheduled the first press-run for September19. If things go as planned, the book should be ready for release by October 10. We should be able to commence shipping by October 20.

We’ve been working on this for 13 months and things are on track.

This must be what a pregnancy feels like: the mass of our baby just growing and growing, maturing at an increasing rate until . . . it pops out, complete! Our “due date” is just five to six weeks out and our anticipation and excitement for the delivery grows accordingly.

We hope you, too, are anticipating seeing our baby. It will be beautiful!

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher

Cole Boehler, unfortunately, left this earth on April 30th, 2016. He died in an accident on the Jefferson River in Southwest Montana. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother, friend, colleague, and mentor.

Motorcycling was a passion to him. He shared this love with many and he will always be remembered through his words, the photographs that he shared, and conversational style of writing that was truly unique.

The last year has been very painful and full of difficult decisions. Without Cole, we will no longer continue to print more publications. When the inventory we have in stock is gone, we won’t be ordering additional press runs.

Remember his words: “Ride hard, ride free, ride well and ride safe!”

 

Motorcycling Montana is the definitive and only motorcyclist’s guide to touring Montana. Nearly 200 routes in 500 pages of informative text, maps and photos in a spiral-bound 8.5” x 5.5” format. Fold it open and slip it into the map pocket on a tank bag or other storage compartment for quick and easy reference. Printed on uncoated paper stock to eliminate glare. Motorcycling Montana is organized along the state’s six tourism regions, delineated with handy “gatefold” dividers.

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