North to Alaska!
Dateline: June 26, 2017
Kickstands up at 6:15 am and we rolled out of Whitefish on our way to Lake Louise and Golden BC. We thought we’d be able to get gas on the North end of town, but it wasn’t to be and we had plenty of fuel to go at least a hundred miles. We decided to get gas at the next available town, and that ended up being at the Olney Store. It was a little spendy, as this is a tiny little village located a half mile off the main highway.
The weather was beautiful again, with mostly sunny skies, and cools temps. Our route takes us through a wide, winding valley 200 miles north to Radium Hot Springs. The valley was flanked by huge rolling hills on the West, and mountains on the East side. The landscape in the valley featured some farm land, rolling pastures and forests. I did not shoot any video of the Montana part of the valley, as we were only an hour from the border and they don’t want us taking photos or video at the crossing. So, here is a little video of BC Highway 93 between the border and Radium Hot Springs.
I have been letting the Wee drink premium gas on this trip, and heard on ADV rider forums that it may be hard to find in Canada. When we entered Eureka, MT, we decided to top off our tanks with one last dose of cheap gas. We grabbed a quick snack here, as well as some coffee, and headed out to the border.
Our border crossing at Roosville was easy and uneventful. I went through first, and used my passport card as my ID. The passport card is the way to go. It fits in my wallet, the Border Personnel seem to like it too. A few quick questions, and I was off again on my adventure. Jack followed behind me, and went through pretty quickly too.
The road North is beautiful. We encountered a little road construction near Jaffray, but it was minimal. We have a 340 miles day, and it includes Lake Louise, so we needed to make tracks. We want to take our time on the road from Radium Hot Springs to Lake Louise and spend some time there before heading to Golden. We made a few photo stops on our way to Radium, and here are some pictures from Columbia Lake just North of Canal Flats, the Columbia Wetlands near Windermere.
We stopped for lunch in Radium Hot Springs, at a nice little bar/lounge called the Horsethief Creek Pub and Eatery. It was recommended to us by a couple of guys who were manning a check point / inspection station for invasive water species along the highway. Their checkpoint was at a pullout/overlook. We visited a few minutes, and like their counterpoints in Northern Minnesota, they spend a lot of time on their mobile devices or reading books while passing time waiting for the next boat to arrive.
While in town, I needed to get some Canadian cash, so I headed to a local bank with my Visa card. They were not able to get me cash via my card, but recommended that I go to an ATM instead, and I was directed to a nearby grocery store. I went there, got my cash, and headed back to the pub. I passed an ATM there on my way back to my table. Lunch was good, I had currency, and I was excited to head North on the Kootenay Highway towards Lake Louise.
The ride videos I had seen of this section of highway while preparing for this trip set high expectations, and they were definitely met. Though there was some traffic, it was still really cool.
The planned route was to ride 93 North to Castle Junction, and cross the Trans Canada Highway, and ride the Bow Valley Parkway NW to Lake Louise. However, I missed the crossing, and we ended up on HIghway 1. We ended up slabbing it to the resort area. Upon arrival, we saw signs that the actual Lake Louise site parking was full and that we’d need to take a shuttle. We decided to fuel up first, and then ride up there anyway. Odds would be good that we’d be able to park our bikes up there.
We were right. There was plenty of parking up there, and there was a large dedicated spot for motorcycles, so we had no issues. We packed our gear on the bikes, and headed for a short walk to the lake. It was cloudy, and a bit crowded, but not as bad as I had expected. We got some photos, but not the epic ones that you sometimes see when the skies are clear.
We headed out around 2 pm and followed the Trans Canada Highway to Golden BC. The scenery never lets up. Even though we are riding in light rain and drizzle, the views are spectacular. We ran into some road construction on this leg of the trip, and while we had a few 15 minute delays, the road surfaces were okay.
We made a few stops along the way, most notable was the Spiral Tunnels site, about 5 miles east of Field. We were not able to see any trains going through, but the interpretive info is very interesting, and there are some great videos online. It was amazing to read about the engineering that was needed to create the run through this pass.
Shortly after passing through field on the Trans Canada Highway, we began our decent into the valley where Golden BC is situated. It was a long decent, several miles long, that was 4 lane divided for about 2/3 of the decent, and then a two lane curvy, steep sided and steep sloped highway. We had to focus on the road, and though there were spectacular view over the side, we could not get over to see it.
We arrived at our destination for the night, another AirBnB site. Michelle was our host, and when we got there, she was still at work. We parked our bikes under the carport, called her, and she told us how to get into the house and we unpacked in our space in the basement. The accommodations were really nice. We were tired, and decided to order pizza for delivery, and shortly after it arrive, so did Michelle. She picked up food to make spaghetti for us, and since I had a tiny little pizza (she called it a smurf pizza) I gladly accepted her offer to join her for dinner.
She works on an ambulance crew, and we had a nice visit learning about her job, the Golden BC area, and life in Canada in general. Our experience with AirBnB has been great so far, I hope we could get accommodations through it all the time.
We hit the sack early, as we hoped to be on the road by 6am. Tomorrow takes us over the Ice Fields Parkway.