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

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