Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Alaska Ride, Day 23

And so begins our ride out of Canada. Today marked the day we headed out of Canada and back into the United States, back for home, back where we belong.

Like I said in an earlier blog post, Canada is beautiful country, the people are very friendly, actually more so than Americans I've found. But I can't stand the high price of everything. I can't stand the high taxes. Canadians seem to accept it like it's just the natural order of things, willing to pay whatever tax the government levies, perhaps trusting their elected officials to do the right thing with their money. And well, that's why we have two different countries.

Highway 93 leads us out of Banff National Park, and into Kootenay National Park, which also happens to be in British Columbia. Highway 93 is actually a very scenic road itself, I'm surprised I don't hear much about it from other motorcycle riders. It even seems to have more fun curves to lean into. But once you get out of Kootenay National Park, the road straightens up and the scenery becomes more bland.

Highway 93 South, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia

Our first goal today was to get into the United States through Roosville, Montana, and then get gas. We didn't want any of the expensive gas in British Columbia, and tried to milk our gas tanks until we got across the border. Actually, we made it there easily, but Paul decided he had enough fuel to reach further south into Whitefish, MT.

But as it turned out, he ran out of gas at about 10 miles before Whitefish.

Luckily, he had his trusty one-gallon jug of gas with him.

On the map, Whitefish, MT looks like a tiny town. But it's actually quite a decent sized city. It has a really cool looking downtown area, all themed up in old western facades, and plenty of bars and saloons Montana-style. I mean, you could spend a full day touring through the shops, and throwing down beers in all the saloons.

Downtown Whitefish, MT, this place is full of cool looking bars

Our second goal, was to ride the "Going Into The Sun" road inside Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park is pretty close to the border with British Columbia, in fact it's on the border. "Going Into The Sun" road takes you up the glacier itself, which has since completely receded. But you get some of the most stunning views of the glacier valley it created. The road crawls up the sides of sheer rock walls, and water falls down the side as you drive along, practically giving you a shower.

I saw bald eagles flying over us, and rock sheep and mountain goats crossing the road at several points.

We were going to camp overnight there, but every damn campground was full. This was a Tuesday mind you. What the Hell are people camping in a national park on a Tuesday?

"Going Into The Sun" road, Glacier National Park, Montana

So, we continued on Highway 89 east towards Browning, MT. Highway 89 becomes quite twisty through this area, and very fun to ride. It gave us about 30 miles of switchbacks and sweepers rated at 30mph. Funny, you don't get roads like this in Canada. It's like in Canada, they design scenic byways for safety, but in the USA they design them for recreation.

Browning, MT is inside a Blackfoot Indian Reservation. There's isn't much hotel space here. In fact, of what motels they have, all had no vacancy. I mean, who would ever think that Browning, MT was a such a hot town to visit? I ended up in a campground ran by a lady who owns some awesome property called "Aspenwood Inn". She runs it in her home. Her rooms were already booked, but she still had a couple of camp spots left. I took one.

She has a pretty cool pond outside of her home, and there's a beaver lodge in it, and I got to watch the beaver swim around against a sunset, splashing the water with its tail. And talk about sunsets; I haven't seen one of those for a few weeks now.

I'm typing this out in my tent tonight, but no Internet access. I'll have to upload this sometime later. Tomorrow, our goal is to head south and put us into position for the Beartooth Highway, and then Yellowstone National Park.

Beaver pond at Aspenwood Inn, a view from my tent.


Why did the bear cross the road? To get his photo taken.
Highway 93, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia


Highway 93, South, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia


Flowers at a Rest Stop, Highway 93, British Columbia


Throughout Montana, white crosses mark where motorists lost their lives.


"Going Into The Sun" road, Glacier National Park, Montana


Mountain goats, "Going Into The Sun" road, Glacier National Park, Montana


Chili over indian fry bread,
This is said to be the most popular dish in Browning, MT

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)