BUILT FOR THE LONG HAUL

There’s no better way to take your H‑D experience further than membership in H.O.G.®, with inside access to great rides, exciting events, and touring tips from the very best fellow travelers in the world.

BUILT FOR THE LONG HAUL

There’s no better way to take your H‑D experience further than membership in H.O.G.®, with inside access to great rides, exciting events, and touring tips from the very best fellow travelers in the world.

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RIPPED FROM THE PAGES OF HOG® MAGAZINE ...

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You’re going to ride to the Beartooth Pass on a motorcycle!?” my friend said with an air of disbelief. “You have more guts than I do. I get scared being on that road in a car!”

His ominous words only heightened my anticipation. I love riding “scary” mountain roads, having just enough fear of heights to turn a high-altitude challenge into an exciting thrill ride.

And I had ridden to the pass before, in 2005, when I was invited along on the Fargo H.O.G.® Chapter’s annual Beartooth Run. The most famous part of the highway was closed that summer, the result of massive mudslides caused by heavy spring rains. We took the long way around instead, attacking it from Wyoming, depriving me of the chance to ride the famous switchbacks on the Montana side of the pass.

So when the Fargo Chapter invited me back to help celebrate the ride’s 20th edition, what choice did I have?

The Beartooth Highway is a 68-mile stretch of U.S. 212 that runs from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana, near the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Though it starts and ends in the “Big Sky State,” a significant portion of the road – including the 10,947-foot Beartooth Pass – runs through Wyoming.

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This “Beartooth Corridor” is one of the most rugged regions in the U.S., with more than 20 peaks rising more than 12,000 feet above sea level.

Motorcyclists love to ride it on their way to or from Sturgis, which is how Fargo Chapter Member Don Hartwig “discovered” the road in 1990. After riding it again in 1992, he urged Fargo Harley-Davidson® owner Del Hofer for permission to organize a chapter ride to the pass. It would be a big undertaking – it’s a 670-mile ride from Fargo to Red Lodge – and Del was skeptical. But Don was committed so Del told him to go for it.

Only eight members took part in the first ride in 1994, but a seed was planted that grew into something big.

The Fargo Chapter Beartooth Run officially begins in Red Lodge on a designated Friday night in July; it begins unofficially anywhere from that Friday morning to a week or more earlier, as riders make their own way to the pizza buffet at the Red Lodge Pizza Co.

Over the years, countless little traditions within the tradition have developed for the ride there and back. Like stopping for a breakfast of eggs and side pork (like bacon but not as healthy) in Glendive, Montana. Or overnighting in Medora, North Dakota to enjoy the “pitchfork steak fondue” and a performance of the long-running (since 1965) Medora Musical.

Many riders use the Beartooth Run as a jumping-off point for a longer ride. Kat Froslie and her husband, Ed, for instance, were heading to Colorado after the ride. Their goal: to ride to the top of both Mount Evans and Pikes Peak in one day.

“We’re calling our ride ‘Three Peaks and Four Corners,’” Kat said, explaining that their journey will also include a stop at the “Four Corners” of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

H.O.G.® TOURING HANDBOOK

There’s nothing like a reliable paper map for planning the next leg of your ride over breakfast or lunch. The H.O.G. Touring Handbook is full of them – along with basic state motorcycle laws, H-D dealer info, and more – all in a compact size that’s easy to pack. Don’t hit the road without it!

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But no matter where they went first or where they’re heading afterward, the gathering at the top of the pass on Saturday morning is everybody’s favorite highlight.

The view is so beautiful it brought tears to the eyes of first-timer Kevin Mohs, who had never seen the Rockies before. A Minnesota native, Kevin recalled riding with his brother years ago in the wilds of his home state: “I said to him, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this!’ And he goes, ‘No, it does. And if you ever get out to the Rockies you’ll see.’

“He said this is God’s country. And he was right, this is God’s country.”

One of the keys to staying safe on the mountain is to avoid getting distracted by the scenery. As we rode higher and higher up the mountainside – from 5,555 feet in Red Lodge to 10,947 feet at the pass – the earth seemed to just fall away from the road. The landscape changes dramatically at about 10,000 feet, as you suddenly stop passing trees. There was still plenty of green to be seen, however, along with bits of yellow, red, purple, and blue, as the unusually wet summer had produced a bumper crop of wildflowers.

Often we rode with a steep wall of rock on one side and a sheer drop on the other. But the road was in great shape and abundant guardrails helped keep heart rates at manageable levels. The curves were plentiful, but the switchbacks and hairpin turns were not as sharp as I imagined. It was thrilling, to be sure, though perhaps not as terrifying as my friend made it sound.

There are plenty of places to pull off and get a safe eyeful of scenery, but we were instructed to stay in formation, within the bounds of our own riding comfort zone, until we got to the scenic overlook a few miles from the top. The group always stops there for a photo, Wayne explained, because the weather is so unpredictable at the top. Even in July, it can be too foggy to see, too cold to stand around, too windy to talk, too snowy to ride, or all of those at once.

Story and Photography by Mike Zimmerman

WANT TO READ MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS? GO TO HOG.COM

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SHOW YOUR LEGACY

Express your pride in what you ride a wide range of exclusive H.O.G.® merchandise, from hats and tees to cups and coolers.

Shop Now

HIT THE ROAD WITH H.O.G.®

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Each year, H.O.G. custom designs an epic touring rally for you and a few hundred of your closest friends. The H.O.G. National Touring Rally is the perfect way to have an unforgettable adventure in the company of like-minded riders. You’ll ride roads you never dreamed of riding, see things you’ve only imagined, and make friends that’ll last a lifetime.

H.O.G.® RECOMMENDS: BEARTOOTH HIGHWAY

Here’s just one example of the great roads and rides H.O.G. and your fellow members will show you, a high-altitude ride on what’s been called “the most beautiful roadway in America.”

LOCATION:
Montana, Wyoming, U.S.

DISTANCE:
64 miles (Red Lodge to Cooke City, MT)

BEST TIME TO RIDE:
Summer

POINTS OF INTEREST:
Top of the World Store Beartooth Pass: 10,947 feet

VIEW THE ROUTE WITH RIDE PLANNER

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ANY QUESTIONS?

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about H.O.G.®:

What are my benefits?

H.O.G.® gives you HOG® magazine, a Touring Handbook, a monthly e-newsletter, Roadside Assistance, and the opportunity to take part in the ABCs of Touring contest, local H.O.G. chapters, and H.O.G. Mileage Recognition.

  • HOG® magazine
  • Roadside Assistance program
  • Touring Handbook
  • E-newsletter and hog.com
  • Patch and pin
  • ABCs of Touring contest
  • Chapter membership
  • Mileage Recognition
  • Exclusive rallies and events
  • Harley-Davidson® Insurance
  • Visa Signature Card
  • Best Western Ride Rewards®

These are just the tangible benefits of membership. The adventures and friendships you’ll gain are what last a lifetime.

What’s Mileage Recognition?

The miles you log are part of who you are, and H.O.G. understands that. As a H.O.G. member, we’ll send you pins and patches to recognize the key milestone achievements you make as a rider. To get started, take your bike to an authorized H-D® dealership to have it validated for the program. After the dealership endorses your enrollment form, you’ll send it to H.O.G. Then, just get on your ride and go. Yet another way H.O.G. fuels your ride.

How do I create a profile on hog.com?

Visit hog.com, click on the “Create a Profile” button, and enter the required information. However, you’ll need your H.O.G.® member number, so have it ready.

How do I learn more about H.O.G. chapter membership?

Local chapters allow members to share their passion for Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. Currently there are more than 1,400 official chapters around the world, each chapter sponsored by an authorized H-D dealership. Use our Chapter Locator to find one for you and make new friends for the road (and life).

H.O.G.® CHAPTER LOCATOR

What’s the Roadside Assistance program?

Any time you take to the road, H.O.G.® has your back with Roadside Assistance, and your membership includes one service per calendar year, up to $100* – enough to safely get you and your bike from the side of the road to the nearest dealership.

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ANY MORE QUESTIONS?

Don’t hesitate to contact the H.O.G.®Member Services Center. They’ll be happy to provide any information you need – or just listen as you tell them how excited you are about your Harley‑Davidson®motorcycle.

Phone:1-800-CLUBHOG
(1-800-258-2464)

8AM-6PM CT, Monday-Friday