Reminiscing Alaska: Day Four. Mountains, Finally!

In June of 2017, four of us headed out to ride our motorcycles to Alaska. These memories are from that trip.  Enjoy!

After high-tailing it out of Malta, MT the next morning we truly felt that we were in the wild west.    Leaving the Great Plains behind, we began to see mountains off in the distance.  I don't know what it was, but there was something about seeing the mountains that started to get me really excited about the coming days.  It was almost like the trip was now just beginning, even though we had already 1200 plus miles  and four days into it.

We made it to Saint Mary, MT (East Glacier National Park) where we picked up a national park pass and headed as far up the Going-To-The-Sun road as we could.   It was here where we met another group of motorcyclists riding dual sports on their own journey to Alaska.  This group was from Europe and had already been traveling for months.    We took a few photos looking over Saint Mary Lake and I contemplated if we would see the other group again.  (We did.) We then proceeded on to a rustic road north of the the Going-to-the-Sun Road called Rte 3.  On this road we saw our first grizzly, got to put our tires on some real gravel,  and take in the gorgeous view of Many Glacier Hotel.

Leaving Glacier for the US/Canada border, the day had already been long and hot.  We were getting tired and I was getting a bit crabby, but the excitement of the border crossing kept the energy high.  After the border crossing, the reality of another two to three hours on the motorcycle on an empty stomach faced us down.  Frankly, I needed some alone time and kept the pace high to maintain that alone time.  Thankfully,  the roads in southern Alberta were spectacular as we meandered to Coleman, AB, Crowsnest Pass. This was where we were going to wild camp on AB 40 aka Forestry Trunk Road.   Getting to Coleman, we only had one near miss when a truck taking a sharp left corner, took that corner very short, almost taking Dave out. Thankfully, it was only a near miss for Dave.  (Readers, pay attention though, we may see a pattern happening. )

We made it to Coleman. We were hungry and tired.  Off to the Rum Runner where Dave and John had the most obscene burgers that I have ever seen.   And then Allen and I watched those obscene burgers disappear.

After dinner we made a mad dash to get libations and ice.  Then off to the Forestry Trunk Road to find a campsite.  At this point, the sun was fading fast, we were battling mosquito's, the temperature was dropping, we would be riding loose gravel, and setting up camp in the dark, in bear country.   Hmm.   The sign stating the road had 100K of unimproved surface and no service sent a chill up my back.

A few miles up the road, we followed a dirt track off the main gravel road looking for a campsite.  The site was littered with bones.  No thanks.  Off to another site. John, Allen and myself were out front a few miles up the road were we found a nice flat spot about a hundred feet off the road. Perfect. But no Dave…..  We waited. Waited. And waited.  John decided to go back.

Dave had laid his bike down, for the first time on this trip, while he was trying to get back on the road. And when a 600 lb bike decides to go down, you let it go or you risk hurting yourself.

The parting shot:   A little bourbon and a small campfire sure helps to calm the nerves for a night of rest.

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