After our awesome evening in Billings, Lorie and I decided we would take a more scenic route to Sturgis by way of the Beartooth Pass and Big Horn Pass. Lorie had done this ride years ago and was confident it would be both beautiful and fun.
We got up early and were on the bikes just before 8am. Paul had showed some interest in going this route as well, but was unsure since it was quite a ways out of the way. Now is a good time to get our your HOG touring book and check out the route we took….
To start the day, we went backwards (West) and down into Red Lodge. We visited the H-D shop there and I was able to meet Barry Usher’s wife Anne Marie. We chatted for a bit, while I picked up a T-shirt to commemorate our journey over the Beartooth Pass.
While we were here, we added all our layers, Lorie even put on her heated gear. I couldn’t imagine it being THAT cold, so I kept my half helmet on and put on my leather bandana. The road through the pass is some of the most technical riding I have ever done.
It isn’t very far in distance, probably only 70 miles or so, but it is all tight curves, grades up and down, as well as a ton of switchbacks. While we were cruising along, I was wishing I had my Buell for this leg as it would be the perfect bike for those corners. In the pass you go up to 10,947 feet!
It was definitely cold up there but was the most spectacular view. We stopped for some photos along the way but they really don’t do it justice.
While going over the pass, you cross from Montana to Wyoming. We were in the north western portion of Wyoming, and had to make it all the way across the state and to South Dakota. We also took the “Chief Joseph” Scenic Highway from The Beartooth into Cody.
By the time we got to Cody we realized how long of a day it was going to be. That didn’t stop us though! From here I sent a text message to Barry telling him our ride was a lot longer than we expected and we would be late getting in. His response was that they had also taken the pass and would be coming in after us and to pick him up some beer!
So, Paul, Barry, Sherri, Lee, Taren and Howard all made the same trip as Lorie and I. From Cody, we decided to take the route through Sheridan which took us on 14 through the Big Horn Pass.
There is a 14A route as well which we heard was pretty, but even more technical than 14 and we knew we didn’t have the time. The Big horn was also a climb up the mountain and had a lot of tight turns, grades, and switchbacks and I had a blast! I love riding the curves and getting those bikes leaned as far as we can. It was beautiful scenery, but we were way behind so we didn’t stop to take pictures. This is all definitely riding I would recommend, but next time I would like to take a couple days and stay in Red Lodge and Cody and hit Yellowstone while we are over here.
Guess I will add it to my future trips, which I will have a bike down in the states now so I will make it happen! There were a lot of flat areas between the Beartooth and Big Horn, it really is interesting how diverse the landscape is.
When we finally got to Sheridan, I was shocked to see we still had another 220 miles to go! So, we filled up the bikes and hit I-90. We paced around 80 mph the whole way, with Lorie somehow able to drink water and eat 80mph M&M’s! It was a long haul and most of the road was flat, but we managed to make it to our hotel in Sturgis at 8:05pm.
So, that was some of the most scenic riding, but it was a total of 550 miles and 12 hours and 5 minutes! By the time we got to the hotel, we both were too tired to ride to find food so we settled for “Caddy’s” attached to the hotel. Food was ok and there were some other bikers we got to tell some stories to from our rides. I had a glass of wine and hit the hay! Originally I had planned on celebrating my birthday tonight so we would all be able to sleep in on Sunday, but with all the crew taking the long way, Barry and the rest of them didn’t even make it in until 10pm! So, we will see what my actual birthday day brings, I might end up riding a little but mostly I will be trying to relax!