2011 Adventure-Touring Expedition – Day 4

August 26, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

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MotoUSA heads north to Montana to watch the Big Sky XC race before turning east to Oregon. Watch our ride from Idaho to Big Sky in this Adventure-Touring video.

Four days into our Adventure-Touring Expedition and Montana is finally within reach. Yesterday tore up the trip itinerary when the Multistrada pulled up lame, requiring us to veer into Salt Lake City for brake repairs. Thankfully, Salt Lake Motorsports pulled through like champs, and our Multistrada returned to fighting form before noon.

Back to five bikes, and with plenty of daylight left, it was time to make up some miles. Covering the Big Sky XC (August 27-28) was the impetus for whole this hair-brained AT excursion, so missing the race wasn’t an option. Our new plan needed some speed. Scratch the planned ascent into the Uinta, Wind River and Teton mountain ranges. Instead, we faced a long straight stint on I-15.

Salt Lake, Ogden, Pocatello, Idaho Falls… Nice places and good folks, but not exactly headline destinations like Jackson Hole or Grand Teton National Park. At Idaho Falls we turned onto US-20, which leads through West Yellowstone.

Henrys Fork of the Snake River at Macks Inn. Site of our take-out pizza banquet.
Henry’s Fork of the Snake River at Mack’s Inn. The MotoUSA crew is making its way north to Big Sky, Montana.

Passing through the small farming towns along US-20, we could see the Tetons off in the distance – across 50 miles or so of potato fields. Outside of Ashton we gained elevation, climbing up into the Targhee National Forest. Lodgepole Pine forests and wide plains hemmed in by the Continental Divide make up the scenery. It’s beautiful country.

The route is quite familiar route to me, as it backtracks, exactly, my annual childhood vacation path. Have to say being on a bike makes things much better (better at least than the seemingly endless days in our rusted Opal station wagon, sucking fumes from its exhaust leak…) The other riders in our testing entourage might not appreciate the views, but every corner and turn brings back memories

Simple things made the night come together. Like our take-out pizza dinner on the banks of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. Our good luck held as we beat the rain up to Henry’s Lake. Tonight the MotoUSA crew is shacked up in my family’s old cabin on the western side of the lake.

The Continental Divide surrounds this little pocket of South Eastern Idaho, with Montana on the other side. Storms are blowing down the canyons. It feels good to be back home on the lake, enjoying the view.

The expedition is back on track. Big Sky tomorrow. Odometer reading 1350 miles.


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