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Raleigh NC To Montana On A Scooter

Riders: Deepak Dhar, Praveen Chand, Behram Jamaspi (Motorcyclist Map)

Bikes: 2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan, 2017 BMW 1200RT, 2022 Honda 150 ADV Scooter

Dates: Friday 9th September 2022-Friday 23rd September, 2022

Author: Deepak Dhar (Day 0 - Day 15 Writeup)

Ride Intro

Been all across North America on big touring bikes and loved every moment of the experience. See new places, experience nature and beauty, meet some of the nicest people and so on. Been planning to go to Montana since the past few weeks, however my most recent bike BMW GA recently got totaled due to a fish tailing incident. If I waited for my desired bike, I would have to skip Montana this year. Thought "why not try something different'

So here I am. Planning a trip to Sturgis, Going to The Sun, Beartooth, Lolo Pass, Chief Joseph and much more on a Honda ADV 150cc scooter. Planned about two weeks which includes shipping scooter back from somewhere in MT or UT.

Lets see if i make it and how it goes

Ride For a Cause

I want to thank Back The Blue NC for granting me the the honor of partnering with them and supporting their cause - this is something I hold close to my heart. Back The Blue NC is a Registered Non-profit 501c3 and an organization of proud residents from North Carolina who support our local, state, and federal Law Enforcement. They are a 100% nonprofit and volunteer driven organization and one of their several initiatives is to raise funds to support children and families of officers killed in the line of duty in North Carolina.

Please support my journey AND Back The Blue by pledging your donations, 100% proceeds of which will all go to Back The Blue NC.

Day 0 - Pre Planning & Preparation

Since this isnt a tourer, there a lot of things to take into consideration :

Overall Comfort - No windshield, cramped leg space, average seating etc. While the solution to all these is to get after market parts, my goal wasnt to turn this scooty into a tourer. I decided to not make any modifications to the bike and will ride it stock. If I wanted comfort, I would have gone with a tourer

Storage - Its evident that the scooter itself doesnt come with any storage however surprisingly it has a 25+L storage under its seat. That wont be enough for all the tools and other stuff I need to carry so will be adding a top case. Along with that will also carry a small tank bag (over the fuel tank, between my legs) and will then have another bad on rear seat. That is more than enough luxury luggage carrying :-)

Electronics - There is a 12v charging port in the left front side but its only supported by a 2A fuse. Which means i blew it day one when trying to test my tire inflator pump. Needless to say it wont support heated gear or anything that requires greater than 2A. Connecting to the bike battery is an option but its not very clear on the forums whether this battery is gonna support 13A for heated gear over and above its normal functioning. Also the lack of GPS unit and a music system (yes i am spoilt). Solution - Bought a portable charger from Amazon. It has a 12v DC and couple of AC and other connections. Tested heated gear, pump etc and everything seems to be working great. My buddy Deepak who traveled with me to Alaska thinks the battery should be able to support it. Gonna carry the heated gear battery cable just in case.

Max Speed Test With Luggage - Since I didnt want to carry luggage, I requested my wife to come for a ride with me and she obliged. With her on the bike, it barely crossed 65 and seem to be whining at 55-60. Though my luggage is not gonna the weight of my wife, I strongly believe that 55 should be my sweet spot throughout the ride with the occasional 60s.

Mileage Test - Gonna ride and empty the filled tank which will give an approx idea of mileage. The bike has a 2.1 gallon tank.

Author: Deepak Dhar

Day 0

Glacier National Park, The Road to the Sun, Beartooth Highway, Million Dollar Highway. These are some of the bucket list items to ride through that were seared in my mind for years. I had watched countless videos of motorcycle trips with riders grinning from ear to ear when witnessing the spectacular beauty of the areas of Montana, Wyoming where some of these highways snake through. And Behram announced that he would be going on a solo trip to Montana on his Scooter! I was envious of his bold plan. A scooter, really?

Since my last long distance trip made almost a year ago to Alaska, there were several other trips made by others. Behram, Praveen and Latesh had made a trip to Key West, Florida and made it to the southernmost tip of USA there. Soon after that, Praveen and Sanjay had made a trip to New England and they reached the easternmost point of USA. Aubhro had just completed his solo Coast to Coast trip and he was grinning ear to ear when he returned. And now Behram was planning to go to Montana on his scooter! That is the true essence of a rider, you ride the bike you have. I read through a few of his posts of how he was getting saddlebags and a topcase installed on his scooter; he was preparing himself for the journey.

Over the next few days I watched Behram get ready for the solo journey. He would post regular updates on his preparations on the Motorcyclist Map Facebook group. He had methodically thought of all items to pack, how to setup his heated gear to work with the scooter, what emergency kit to carry with him, the Garmin inReach device that would track his GPS location. Almost a week left before his trip begins.

And then the WhatsApp ride post that changed everything: Sat, Sept 3rd 2022, 5:48PM: Behram: Anyone wants to ride along a scooty tomorrow morning? It was a lazy weekend, a week before Behram began his trip, I thought it would be a great time to meet him and physically see his Scooter and hear about his preparation for the upcoming trip. So I said sure, I would be happy to ride along with him on my Royal Enfield Himalayan, which I have affectionately named Chandni. The bike is also not very fast and maxes out around 72mph and would be a good match to ride with his scooter on Sunday for a few hours.

Sunday morning, I met Behram at our usual rendezvous spot. Praveen also decided to come for the ride and brought along chai in his flask. We proceeded towards Greensboro and we chatted about his scooter and his upcoming road trip. And casually, Behram quips in through the Cardo headset, “Do you guys want to come along for the trip?”. What?

We stop by Red Cinemas in Greensboro where the building has amazing murals painted on it by local artists. Over Praveen’s hot tea, we pour over the logistics of joining Behram on the trip. I had to request days off from my employer, Praveen had a lot of things to take care of as well at home. We reach home with a million thoughts pondering in our minds and most importantly, we had to break the news to our families…

Over the next couple of days, I checked with my group at work and managed to squeeze in the time off for the trip. Praveen was still not convinced to go for the trip, he had pressing work at home working with his son to get his college applications complete. “Many more motorcycle trips would come in the future, but the college application process happens only once”, so he explained to us. Behram and I focused on getting our bikes ready for the trip. Only a few days away.

And so began our trip to Montana. Behram on his Honda scooter. I would be on my Royal Enfield Himalayan, and Praveen on his BMW RT. The adventure began….

Day 1 - Friday 9/9 - Apex, NC -> Middlesboro, KY (332 miles)

And then the day arrived! I had installed my recently purchased saddlebags and top case. Filled my trusty North Face duffel bag that doubles as a backrest as well. I met Behram at the 76 Gas Station on Jenks Rd and we had a few of our family and friends show up to see us off. All of them were surprised that Behram is not going alone but I am joining him as well. And surprise, surprise, Praveen shows up there as well. He is all ready with his bike, he said he just decided that morning that he would join us. Lindsay from Back the Blue also met us there. Behram was riding and raising money for the Back the Blue Foundation as well.

  • We left around 9:45am from the gas station, saying goodbye to our family and friends. One of our friends, Ashish, rode with us for a few miles before heading back home. We continued west on Rt 64 heading towards Asheboro, then Boone and further northwest. Sunny, warm, clear skies, empty roads for us today.

  • Had lunch at Zaxby’s in North Wilkesboro, NC.

  • Entered Virginia and then later into Tennessee.

  • Stopped by Shook Branch swimming area in Hampton, TN; beautiful lake where we got a chance to relax for a while and flew the drone.

  • Entered Kentucky and stopped by Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield VA. Short hike down to the tunnel. Beautiful place where you can see a natural tunnel over 850 ft long and 100 ft high inside.

  • Reached Middlesboro, KY around 8:30pm where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express for the evening. Dominoes pizza for the evening dinner.

Day 2 - Saturday 9/10 - Middlesboro, KY -> Jasper, IN (306 miles)

  • Left around 8:25am from the hotel. Briefly got on Interstate 75N and then took an exit for gas.

  • Behram realized that the Kentucky Rattlesnake Road was close by, so we detoured to ride that road

  • Stopped by the Rattlesnake souvenir shop where we had chai. Behram dropped the scooter in the parking lot and had to have the mirror tightened and he helped remove splinter from Deepak’s finger

  • Headed further into Kentucky on to distillery tours. Stopped by Lux, Four Roses, Jim Beam visitor centers; Stopped by Grant Forest entrance as well.

  • Then stopped in Louisville to see Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby takes place. Saw the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

  • Stopped by Mareno Caves but they were closed for the day

  • Reached Holiday Inn Express in Jasper, IN by 8:10pm

  • Intermittent rain through the day

Day 3: Jasper, IN -> Burlington, IA (353 miles)

  • Left hotel around 9:00am

  • Rainy day, right from the start; stopped briefly to put on rain gear

  • Praveen rode by a carcass of a dead animal which was being feasted on by huge vultures and they flew away when Praveen’s bike came close by but the flew off with pieces of the carcass which they dropped and landed on Praveen’s front headlight area. Had a lot of nauseous smelling blood, etc on the bike. Stopped by a gas station to clean that off. That was an ordeal!

  • Original plan was to head towards Casey but we saw the radar map and a huge rainstorm was heading towards Casey, so we diverted and headed towards Springfield, IN

  • Stopped by Lincoln Home National Historic Site where we saw President Lincoln’s house. Also stopped by the famous Route 66

  • Proceeded onwards through a lot of cornfields. Saw an amazing sunset

  • Reached Burlington, Iowa around 7:30pm

Day 4: Burlington, IA -> Sioux City, IA (383 miles)

  • Behram left early at 7:30am; Deepak and Praveen left later at 8:30am

  • Deepak and Praveen stopped by Eldon, IA where the famous painting American Gothic was painted. Saw the American Gothic center but was closed for the day.

  • Behram proceeded to see several of the Freedom Rocks in Iowa. Total of 99 all over Iowa, done by the artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II

  • Deepak and Praveen caught up with Behram and then proceeded on to see another Freedom Rock.

  • Proceeded on further to meet with Dennis Powell and see the Iron Butt Sign. Dennis had completed several Iron Butt Rally: 11,000 miles in 11 days!

  • Stopped by Sioux Falls for the evening

  • Amazing sunset from hotel window

  • Had dinner in Crave restaurant there

Day 5: Sioux City, IA -> Interior, SD (388 miles) 13th September, 2022

  • Deepak left at 8:00am, Behram and Praveen followed at 8:30am

  • Bright and sunny, temps in 70-80 deg

  • Rode on Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Iowa. The hills are made almost entirely of windblown soils.

  • Entered South Dakota within ½ hr

  • Stopped at Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose, SD. Huge 60ft Bull Head sculpture. Local artist Wayne Porter who has never taken an art class, just learnt blacksmithing on his own.

  • Stopped by the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. Over 500,000 tourists come every year to see the uniquely designed corn murals. Had lunch there.

  • Continued westwards and stopped by Chamberlain SD, Rest Area where the Dignity Statue is located. A large 50 ft tall statue was designed by sculptor Sale Lamphere to honor the cultures of the Lakota and Dakota people.

  • Drove almost 10 miles on gravel roads to avoid Rt 90.

  • Stayed on Rt 248 running parallel to Rt 90. Praveen drove on Rt 90 avoiding the local road.

  • Reached Badlands National Park, unfortunately the lodge in the park was closed

  • Stayed at the Budget Host Inn just outside the park. Frozen Pizza and maggi for dinner.

Day 6: Interior, SD -> Custer, SD (191 miles) 14th September, 2022

  • Beautiful sunrise from the Badlands Motel and Campground where we stayed.

  • Drove to Badlands National Park and saw some amazing natural canyons. The canyons formed from a process of erosion and deposition.

  • Saw lots of animals on the road, elk, bison, deer, etc.

  • Stopped by Wall Drug Store in Wall, SD. Years ago, Ted and Dorothy Hustead struggled to make Wall Drug successful in the early years. The offered road weary travelers free ice water and soon travelers made it a point to stop by Wall Drug Store. Over 2 million people stop by yearly here

  • Had lunch at Wall Drug store. Great coffee for only $0.05 per cup!

  • Proceeded on to Iron Mountain Road. Beautiful winding road (Rt 16A) that lead us to Mount Rushmore.

  • It’s a massive sculpture that is carved into Mount Rushmore completed in 1941. 4 presidents faces chiseled on it: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

  • Then went to Needles Highway. Spectacular 14 mile drive through pine and spruce forests and rugged granite mountains.

  • Stayed at the Comfort Inn in Custer, SD

Day 7: Custer, SD -> Gillette, WY (212 miles) 15th September, 2022

  • Behram left early to beat the rain; reached Crazy Horse before 8:00am

  • Deepak and Praveen reached shortly there after. Tour started at 9:00am

  • Amazing sculpture that is still a work in progress. Once completed, it will be one of the largest stone carvings in the world.

  • Proceeded on towards Sturgis. Behram proceeded on to the Black Hills National Cemetery whereas Deepak and Praveen proceeded towards Buffalo Chip.

  • Stopped by Indian and BMW dealers in Sturgis and met with Bob who went home and brought his Royal Enfield oil filter. We would use that and other parts to get an oil change on both the Royal Enfield Himalayan and the BMW RT. Stopped by Rogue MotorSports in Belle Fourche where we did the servicing of the bikes. Behram didn’t need to service his bike and went to Deadwood and Spearfish Canyon.

  • Belle Fourche also had the Center of the Nation monument.

  • Stopped by Alladin, town of only 15 people.

  • Then reached Devils Tower and soon after started raining.

  • Stopped to make some chai on the road side before reaching Gillette for the evening. Stayed at Home 2 Suites by Hilton, Gillette WY

Day 8: Gillette, WY -> Cody, WY (283 miles) 16th September, 2022

  • Started late from hotel. Saw missing bolt from Deepak’s motorcycle; Stopped by nearby Home Depot to pick up a bolt and installed it.

  • Rode for several uneventful hours. Stopped in the middle of nowhere to fly drone and take pictures. Used gas jerrycan to fill Behram’s scooter. Behram got stung by a bee there.

  • Had lunch at a gas station. Saw dead porcupine on the way.

  • Drove through Big Horn National Park. Beautiful road to drive by. Got to try a dirt road on the side towards camping sites before turning around and continuining

  • Lots of strong rains and lightning on the way to Cody. No place to stop to take refuge.

  • Stopped by Gooseberry Badlands on the way. Reached the cabin by 8PM.

Day 9: Cody, WY -> Big Timber, MO (201 miles) 17th September, 2022

  • Left from the cabin in Cody, WY

  • Drove to Chief Joseph Scenic byway. Beautiful, paved road, 46 miles long passing through Beartooth mountains, North Absaroka Mountains, Clark’s Fork Yellowstone River and the historic Dead Indian Pass

  • Stopped at a lookout point, many chipmunks and squirrels came to us for food. Tried to use the drone but it malfunctioned and didn’t startup.

  • The went on Beartooth Highway. Another gorgeous road with many spectacular vistas and canyons. Saw snow on many of the mountain caps and cliffs. Reached the top at 11,000 ft

  • One of the most scenic rides in the USA. It was windy and cold and we had already plugged in our heated gear by now. Made Maggi noodles at Beartooth Lake.

  • Managed to hike up to a rock formation where we were rewarded with spectacular vista views.

  • Then drove to Big Timber for the evening

  • On the drive to Big Timber, we had to briefly get on Interstate 90W for 5-10 miles to speed up to reach our destination in time. Truck speeds there were around 80 mph and they would overtake us and then get back on the right lane. The scooter and the Royal Enfield were maxing out between 65-70 mph.

Day 10: Big Timber, MO -> Lochsa Lodge, ID (324 miles) 18th September 2022

  • Started from Big Timber, Motel 8 at around 9:30am

  • Ended up in a gravel road section for several miles. Deepak continued on the gravel section, Praveen and Behram opted to go on Rt 90W that was running parallel

  • Stopped by ThunderJack statue on Rt 89 in Wilsall MO. Sculpture was created by a local artist Gary Kerby to commemorate the mountain men who lived in the area in the first half of the 19th century who were the guides and scouts for the trails in the area during the great westward migration in the 1840s.

  • Had no cups for tea we made on our stove. So improvised by cutting a plastic water bottle in two and using those for cups.

  • Stopped by Clearwater Junction a connection point for many towns in the area and to refuel

  • Rain was expected and got on our rain gear.

  • Continued towards Lolo pass on Rt 12. This is on the border of Montana and Idaho. Switched briefly to pacific time in Idaho.

  • Stopped in Lochsa Lodge in Powell, Idaho for the evening. Beautiful lodge, ordered food from the restaurant there and enjoyed the evening. No internet or wifi there! The lodge was very close to the border between Pacific and Mountain time zones so different phones would display different times. To resolve that dilemma, the Lochsa Lodge clearly defined they would be following Mountain time.

Day 11: Lochsa Lodge, ID -> Kalispell, MO (174 miles) 19th September 2022

  • Headed east from Lochsa Lodge towards Montana.

  • Stopped by Lolo Hot Springs; nice place with indoor hot springs and an outdoor hot springs. Both are cemented and tiled pools that are get with natural hot springs water.

  • After that stopped at Clearwater Junction and had coffee at Florence Coffee. Praveen loved the spiced Chai they made for him there.

  • Stopped by a Starbucks to figure out a plan on how to reach back home. Called many transport companies and contacts we knew. None of the leads panned out. Eventually settled to the idea of renting a U-haul truck and loading and strapping the bikes ourselves and driving home.

  • Stopped by Garden of 1000 Buddhas in Arlee, MT. The botanical garden is meant to represent the 1000 Buddhas that it is believed will be born in our religious age, was born from the vision of Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche who purchased the property and set his plan into motion. All 1000 Buddhas were installed in 2016. Truly a beautiful and peaceful serene place.

  • Stopped by True Value, bought 3 sets of heavy duty ratchet straps. Later stopped by a larger Walmart, got medium duty rachet straps for considerably less and returned the ones from True Value

  • Stopped by the U-haul dealer, rented the 15ft U-haul truck and Behram loaded his scooter in the back. Continued our journey north.

  • Stopped by Flathead Lake for tea.

  • Arrived at Hilton Garden Inn at Kalispell for the evening. It was dark by the time we reached.

Day 12: Kalispell, MO -> Glacier National Park -> Kalispell, MO (132 miles) 20th September 2022

  • Started off from the Hilton Garden Inn at Kalispell

  • Headed straight to the Road to the Sun, Glacier National Park

  • Stopped my McDonald Lake,

  • Went to the Loop

  • Stopped at Logan Pass. Had champagne there!

  • Hiked on the rocky trail (Highline Trail. Long trail, 7 miles long to the glacier, but we didn’t walk that far)

  • Then returned to the visitor center at Logan Pass and hiked towards the Hidden Lake Trail.

  • Praveen made maggi noodles at the Hidden Lake Overlook.

  • Returned back home to Kalispell

  • Had dinner at Casa Mexico restaurant.

  • Had completed our journey to reach Glacier National Park. Total 3282 miles by motorcycle.

Day 13: Kalispell, MO -> Medora, ND (740 miles) 21st September 2022 U-HAUL Truck

  • Left Kalispell by 10am. Loaded U-Haul truck with all three bikes securely in the back

  • Ziptied all panier bags to the truck walls to reduce weight of bikes

  • Passed Maria’s Pass Obelisk

  • Stopped at Subway for lunch

  • Continued driving, just stopping for gas and restroom breaks.

  • Alternated driving between the 3 of us. Continued driving into the night.

Day 14: Medora, ND -> Lafayette, IN (1247 miles) 22st September 2022 U-HAUL Truck

  • Continued driving all night. Stopped by Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the middle of the night. Could not see too much.

  • Passed through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Into Illinios

  • Briefly stopped by Chicago, met Behram’s sister who had ordered some Indian food for us from a local restaurant and gave that to us at the gas stop.

  • Indian food was a welcome refreshment for all of us.

  • Continued driving and reached Lafayette, Indiana for the evening. Stopped by the Home 2 Suites there. We had not slept all night so far. Great idea to have a good night sleep.

  • Left by 10am from Lafayette, IN

  • Continued driving south west

  • Stopped at gas stations for gas and restroom breaks

  • Reached Praveen’s house by 9:30pm where Arvind was waiting for us

  • Arvind dropped Deepak at home and Behram took truck home and removed the bikes the next day. End of an amazing adventure

Day 15: Lafayette, IN -> Cary, NC (679 miles) 23rd September 2022 U-HAUL Truck

  • Left by 10am from Lafayette, IN

  • Continued driving south west

  • Stopped at gas stations for gas and restroom breaks

  • Reached Praveen’s house by 9:30pm where Arvind was waiting for us

  • Arvind dropped Deepak at home and Behram took truck home and removed the bikes the next day. End of an amazing adventure



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