Northern Rockies Tour – Summing Up

How does one sum up this Northern Rockies tour? Difficult, breathtaking (in more ways than one), stunning, magnificent. Words fail. The true highlights for me: Logan Pass, Sunwampta Pass and Columbia Icefields, Bow Lake, Lake Louise, riding through fires, the moose(!). I truly LOVED every bit of the camping – 12 nights in a tent at great campsites. My tent is now rolled up in my garage wondering why it’s not being used. The bike and gear really served me great. Each tour I think I realize this more. For the future, I need a new camp pillow (or maybe

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NR15: ACA Headquarters, Missoula MT

I slowly wake this morning, fully up around 6:30AM. It’s just too nice laying there in my tent. Salmon Lake S.P. is one great stopover for cylists – don’t miss it. We make our way south 7 miles to the nearest restaurant. Cold this morning, but not as bad as the previous 2 days. Still, the heavy gloves stay on for most of the spin. Unfortunately, the Stoney’s Lounge restaurant does not open until noon, so we must resort to the adjacent c-store for coffee and stale nibbles. We’ve run into a fair number of closed businessses this tour so

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NR14: Salmon Lake S. P.

Cold this morning! My lousy tent position created a slanted and lumpy floor last night. I kept ending up in a side corner and woke up very early, still yawning. It surprised me to find Phil and Jack up and packing at 6:30AM. Alas, we find the nearby Swan Lake Cafe closed and for sale. There is a general store slated to open at 8AM, but Jack and Phil don’t want to wait for it. A Starbucks doubleshot works out OK for my breakfast, and while I fiddle with it Jack and Phil take off. They seem impatient this morning

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NR13: NW Montana

Wow – sure is cold this morning. Might even be pushing into the 30s! I’d hoped we were all done with that. The condensation on my tent walls turns my hands into frozen blocks rolling it up. Around 7AM we roll out to a nearby general store. The wind chill on our hands made it all the more wicked. In chatting with the proprietor, we applaud the great bike lane in this section of US2, and he indicates that area businesses have ponied up the money for it over many years. Jack and I have been discussing today’s route. Our

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NR12: Logan Pass

Up at 6, and we’re all ready to go by 7. We’ve had something like 14 hours of luxurious sleep, and I think we’re keyed up to get riding. This route up Logan Pass is an anticipated treat for all of us. Jack and I had estimated today’s ride to be 36 miles while planning way back in Sparwood, but somehow we flubbed. It’ll be more like 55. At least it’s some consolation that we’re actually going up the pass the “easy” way, from the east. Should be around 2500′ climb for us, but it would be 3500′ from the

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NR11: Entrance to Glacier NP

Phil’s snoring solidly this morning around 5AM. That guy was tired! And I probably did the same! He finally stops and I go back to sleep until 7:30AM. I’m actually a little sore from the ride yesterday but not too bad. With no wifi, I mindlessly watch the one channel on TV: Sesame Street. The three of us convene for breakfast across the street at the cafe here in Babb. As planned a few days ago in Sparwood, the ride today is a scant 10 miles to Glacier National Park, and thus we’ll get in some rest. We need it! We’ll start

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NR10: Bison Liason

I unzip the tent fly early this morning to see a deer strolling by our site. Jack’s immune to them since they’re always in his back yard, but I still get a thrill.  Maybe he thinks javelina are neat. Phil is unusually still asleep this morning as Jack and I are folding up tents, but minutes later he’s out, dressed, and folding his own.  That guy moves fast. Our maps suggest there are few provisions out on the route today, so our first stop is a c-store. We head south out of town on 6. A tiny tailwind aids our

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NR09: Crowsnest Pass

I meet Phil and Jack at the continental breakfast this morning and Phil’s twittering about something. He’s gotten Facebook-messaged by the girl that beckoned to us to have a beer at The Bull Run pub 2 days ago. Something about how she wants to hook up with him. Phil investigates and surmises that she is a working girl. Wow. Phil decides the only way she could have gotten his contact information is through the credit card transaction. Jack and I convene this morning to examine our ride plan.   The original plan has us riding 15 straight days but we

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NR08: The Elk River

A great sleep here by Lake Koocanusa. Chipmunks are buzzing outside our tents in the morning. Breakfast of champions – Starbucks coffee and Pop Tarts. It’s 2.5 miles up to exit the park, but nothing too bad. Jack wonders aloud what the word Ponderosa means. We know it as a type of pine, oh yeah, and that ranch in Bonanza. [I later looked it up – it means “heavy” in Italian, as in strong and powerful.] Out onto Kikomun Newgate Road and we find a not-so-subtle headwind. We plow straight into it, adding in some hills. Maybe 15 mph in the

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NR07: Christmas Lights

Today was simply a great day on the bike all day. Snack breakfast in camp, iced coffee from the c-store. Fifteen miles down the road we stop in Skookumchuck at its lone store. A pretty Scandanavian blond all dressed in black sells me 2 candy bars, and we end up playing with a cat out front for a while. We decide to ride 11.5 miles further to Wasa for lunch. Nope. Both restaurants there are closed. The pub there is supposed to open at 11am but the hour comes and goes and no one shows up. A c-store is the

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