July 26th, 27th and 28th, 2011
I left Glacier, and rode around the south east part of the park to head towards the Canada Border at Port of Paigon. The day started cold and rainy, but got better as I cleared the mountains. I had initially planned to enter Canada on the west side of Glacier, but now that I had decided to head for Calgary this route was better.
The crossing (which was my first since 9/11) went without any issues,
and I headed north on Alberta 2. I wasn’t sure how far I was going to get on my first day in Canada, it was afternoon when I crossed the border. Then…
I stopped to take off a layer (It was getting hot) and found oil all over the side of the bike. One of the two bolts holding my cam shaft cover on was missing. Luckily I was in a small town, so I went to the hardware store, bought replacements, checked the oil level (It wasn’t down very much), and cleaned off the bike (Yes, I washed it. Only way to check for new leaks). All seemed okay, but the whole process took a couple hours. When I asked at a gas station where a hardware store was they sent me to a lumbar yard, who then send me to a NAPA. I was starting to wonder if they really did speak English.
I kept going north, but hit something of a mental wall and just didn’t want to ride anymore, so I pulled into a hotel for the night, and slept for 10 hours.
As it turned out I wasn’t far from Calgary, so I headed into the city to do some shopping. The big thing on my list was a replacement for my tent. It had done okay in the last few light rain showers, but I was having trust issues. Okay, and I wanted to buy a new tent. And not just any new tent either
A Redverz (Formally Nomad) Tenere. A tent so huge you can park a bike in it. I must be smoking crack, but it packed up pretty small. The only one left was the floor demo model, and I got a bit of a discount and free footprint. A stop at a camping store got me a few compression bags, which did an excellent job making everything else smaller. Last stop was a UPS store, who packed up my old tent and shipping it back to Wisconsin.
After the camping store I had called the couple I met in Montana a few days earlier, while they were traveling on their Harleys. They had invited me to stay with them if I was in the Calgary area, and the offer was still open.
They actually live in Okotoks, a little south of Calgary, in a new subdivision my GPS refused to believe was there. The Hoovers (Murray and Shannon, two of their sons and her mother, who was in town visiting) were extremely welcoming to a guy from Wisconsin on a little bike.
They apologized for giving me the small room.
I only stayed with the Hoovers one night, but they gave me a good route tip, letting me avoid Calgary as I headed for Banff National Park, and giving me better scenery
There was another high pass, and so another period of riding in the cold, and then I was in Banff National Park, on the Icefield’s Parkway.
In Okotoks, there had been some discussion on whether the town of Banff was actually worth going to. Since I hadn’t been through here before, and wasn’t sure when or if I would be back, I decided to stop and see what was there.
There was a lot of traffic (I guess there was a holiday coming up) and stores selling clothes. Also a lot of fancy looking restaurants. I stopped at the information center to ask about camping to find there was only one campground left with spots. Two Jacks, not to be confused with Two Jacks Lakeside, which was a separate campground, even though they were next to each other. Lakeside apparently has showers, but they both have flush toilets. Frankly I thought that was luxury enough.
Fair amount of wildlife on the way to the campground
and I got to put up my new tent for the first time