Day 1 of riding: Missoula, MT to Beaver Ridge and back…

I am so sorry I have not had anything worth sharing since the Conserve The Ride and REV’IT! NYC trip. Since then, we purchased a WR250R, which I’ve only gotten to ride once due to intense heat and working overtime. We also had to change our plans to haul the bikes to Colorado and ride. A week from when we were supposed to leave the wildfires were still raging near Durango, where we were supposed to be staying, so we made the decision to cancel those plans and haul the bikes to Montana/Idaho instead.

This is the first time we have ever hauled the bikes instead of riding, and it came partly out of necessity, due to wanting to mount more off-road specific tires on the bikes for the trip, and partly due to us just being plain sick of riding interstate for 3 days and ruining our tires before we even get to where we want to ride. Living on the far East side of the “Midwest” is hard, ya’ll! So we decided to try something different this time. We left home in Indiana on Friday morning, and arrived in Missoula, Montana yesterday evening.

Today was our first day of riding, and we took some local advice to ride up to Beaver Ridge Lookout. I mapped us out a route that kept us mainly off-pavement to get there, and then had us take Hwy 12 back to Missoula. I had told Dwayne that we would just take it easy on the first day to get used to the riding, but as it turned out I lied, haha!

We took Hwy 12 to Elk Meadow Road, which was a beautiful dirt/gravel road that was well maintained. It was a great start to the day, getting used to being on the bikes off-pavement again after a month or so of not much riding, and the scenery was just beautiful.

Google Maps wanted to spit us out onto Hwy 12 for a ways before putting us into the road that leads up to the lookout, but I saw a forest road that connect Elk Meadow road with Beaver Ridge Rd, so I mapped our route to go that way instead.

It turned out to be a narrow two-track road with a lot of overgrown vegetation. A short way down it Dwayne asked me, “What kind of goat path have you taken me down?!” to which I chuckled and replied, “An awesome one, obviously!” Luckily, he agreed, it was a fun road, and also had some gorgeous views that we had to stop and take in.

Once we got to Beaver Ridge Rd there was a bridge crossing a beautiful creek that we also had to stop and admire.

From there we started the climb up to Beaver Ridge. The road had so many different surfaces to offer, from packed dirt, to thin gravel, to the really awesome stuff, baby-head riddled uphill climbs! I can’t tell you how much fun those sections were, I was having a blast!

At one point Dwayne joked that his bike kept flashing a message on the screen that said, “Hey! I’m an XR, stupid! The ‘R’ stands for road!” and I told him I thought it stood for “rocks”, lol!

Truth be told, the bikes handled it all with ease. Okay, maybe not “ease,” per say, they are roadies after all, but they never skipped a beat, and never tried to throw us over the side of the mountain, so I’d say they handled it just fine.

Unfortunately my dumb self failed to mount my GoPro and video any of the awesome stuff, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was a really great ride with some really fun gnarly sections.

Once we made it to the top, there was a fire tower with a super nice lady on watch who let us come up to the tower to take in the view. She also suggested I walk down a short trail to the edge of the cliff and take in the view of Beaver Lake. I was very glad that she was there to suggest that, because I would have likely missed it otherwise, and it was a gorgeous view.

We had hoped to eat a picnic lunch we had packed while up there, but the mosquitos were swarming us, so we decided to head back down instead.

After we got back to Hwy 12, we found out that everyone who had said that it is a really fun road were correct. It is nothing but high-speed alternating sweepers, all of which were well-paved, so you could really get into the curves.

As we were cruising along we saw a sign for a visitors center and decided to stop and see if they had somewhere we could eat lunch. As it turned out, they had a really nice covered pavilion with large picnic tables. The mosquitos were nowhere near as bad here, and we had the added bonus of watching and listening to the Columbian Ground Squirrels nearby while we ate.

From there we booked it back to Missoula. As we came down from the mountain it got hotter and hotter until it reached 91 degrees in town. We were very happy to get into our cool hotel room and take a cool shower and get out of our incredibly dirty gear.

I’m not sure yet what tomorrow holds, but Wednesday and Thursday will hopefully lead to us riding the Magruder Corridor as well as the Lolo Motorway.

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