The Long Ride Home

Tuesday, August 9—Idaho Falls, ID to Novato, CA

I arose at 5:45 am, needing to get Lisa to the airport to catch her flight to Kansas City. Since I was already up, I decided to head out early at 6:40 am. When driving from Idaho Falls to Novato, I would typically drive 445 miles and stop for the night in Winnemucca. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to end this day that soon. Continue reading

Ride the Canadian Rockies: Days 15-18

Friday to Monday, August 5 to 8— Jackson, WY to Idaho Falls, ID

The Wyoming sky was clear and a bit chilly this morning. I made plans for lunch so decided to take the most direct route from Jackson to Idaho Falls, over the Wilson pass into Victor, ID, down into Swan Valley, along the Snake River, and into town. It was a familiar ride, and I enjoyed reliving it.  Continue reading

Ride the Canadian Rockies: Day 14

Thursday, August 4— Gardiner, MT to Jackson, WY

As Lisa reminded me, it’s much better to visit Yellowstone National Park in the Spring or Fall when summer vacations and holidays are over, school is in session, and the park is relatively quiet. The wildlife are evermore in view, and, with fewer people around, seemingly in a more “natural” habitat. Continue reading

Ride the Canadian Rockies: Day 13

Wednesday, August 3— Livingston, MT to Gardiner, MT

Three years ago, Lisa and I took a retirement Road Trip to Kansas, starting in Yellowstone National Park. My good friend, Dan, told us about the highway that leaves the park through the northeastern, Silver Gate. The Beartooth Highway rises to over 10,000 ft., and then descends into Red Lodge, MT. Dan told us the views were really something special. Unfortunately, the road was already closed by the end of September 2013, so we couldn’t head east via that route. Continue reading

Ride the Canadian Rockies: Days 11 – 12

Monday, August 1— Lake Louise, AB to Hungry Horse, MT; to Livingston, MT

2016-08-01 08.44.28The Weather Channel app indicated a temperature of 44°F at departure, so I dressed for a cold morning ride. That turned out to be a really good thing as the thermometer on my Harley read 32°F as I headed south on C93. I used the seat warmer on low for the first time ever, and the hand grip warmers set to their highest temperature, to keep as warm as possible. It was a crisp and beautiful ride out of Banff National Park in descent to the southwest into Kootenay National Park.

I stopped for breakfast in Radium Hot Springs, BC at a great family spot and had a plate of three eggs, sausages, bacon, hash browns, and a pancake. Having a late breakfast after a couple of hours of riding and skipping lunch seems to make for a better ride throughout the day.

2016-08-01 20.58.51Gasoline prices in Canada can be a bit alarming at C$5.00+ on average. With current conversion rates the cost is US$3.90 on average, not too bad but much higher than in The States.

I crossed the border into the United States at about 1:30 pm MDT. Riding in the Canadian Rockies was a great experience. Yet there is always a unique feeling of “home” when returning to the US.

I stopped in Hungry Horse, MT for the night, and stopped at Huckleberry Patch to pick up some of their finest jam for our visit with friends in Idaho. It is a must-stop restaurant and specialty shop in the south Glacier National Park area.

Route:                    H93, H40, H2
Miles Today:         330
Time Today:         8:40
Total Trip Miles: 3,091
Weather:               Cold and overcast at 32°F in the morning warming to 90+°F late afternoon.
Brunch:                 Rico’s Family Restaurant
Lodging:                Mini Golden Inns Motel
Dinner:                  The Elkhorn Grill

Tuesday, August 2—Hungry Horse, MT to Livingston, MT

2016-08-02 10.19.53The Weather Channel app indicated a temperature of 55°F this morning, so I dressed for a moderate morning ride wearing a windbreaker under my mesh, warm-weather jacket. That would have been OK if I was riding in the sun. But highway 2 south of Glacier National Park is predominantly in the trees, so it was a very chilly ride. The ambient temperature was 45°F

I rode east through the funky little town of Browning, MT where I stayed last year, and right by the rough but clean Going-To-The-Sun Inn and Suites motel. I do my nest to ride new roads on every trip, but there’s always an overlap or two on each ride. This overlap brought back some great memories of my ride around the USA last summer.

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Quinoa and Spinach Salad with Crispy Prosciutto at Bert & Ernie’s

I really enjoy the wide-open terrain of central, Big Sky Montana. It’s quite a contrast from the mostly forested routes I’ve taken so far. And it provides a seemingly unending view across the vastness of God’s creation. I headed out of my way to ride south through the Lewis and Clark National Forest to take in this scenic ride on my way to Livingston.

2016-08-02 14.35.19Our oldest son, Kirk, is respectfully captivated by the Mann Gulch Fire, a wildfire that started on August 5, 1949. A team of 15 smokejumpers parachuted into the area in the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness to fight the fire. As the team approached the fire to begin fighting it, unexpected high winds caused the fire to suddenly expand, cutting off the smokejumpers’ route and forcing them back uphill. During the next few minutes, a “blow-up” of the fire covered 3,000 acres in ten minutes, claiming the lives of 13 firefighters, including 12 of the smokejumpers. Only three of the smokejumpers survived. I wanted to ride by and take some pictures of the area for him, but the gulch is hidden by hills beyond the reach of a motorcycle.

2016-08-02 18.53.20The temperature rose into the mid-90s as I made my way into Livingston, positioning myself for what should be a very unique ride tomorrow.

I met Dave from Manistique, Upper Peninsula, MI, at the Super 8. He was on a casual ride enjoying the great weather and headed to Yellowstone. We had a nice chat about my ride through the UP last summer, and some of the places we’ve both been on out Harleys. Very nice, friendly guy. I would have offered to ride with him, but I had a different agenda…

Route:                    H2, H89, I90
Miles Today:         373
Time Today:         8:05
Total Trip Miles: 3,472
Weather:               Chilly at 45°F in the morning warming to 95°F late afternoon
Lunch:                   Bert & Ernie’s
Lodging:                Super 8 Livingston
Dinner:                  Rosa’s Pizza

Ride Canadian Rockies-Map-Days 11-12

Ride the Canadian Rockies: Day 10

Sunday, July 31—Lake Louise, AB/Banff, AB

The past three days have been a spirit-filled experience. The Canadian Rockies are spectacular. (Even that word doesn’t come close to capturing it.) Continue reading

Ride the Canadian Rockies: Day 7

(TB) Thursday, July 28— Kamloops, BC to Prince George, BC



My riding buddy, Dave and I met Joker, a well-weathered man of average size, in April of 2007 in Dalhart, TX on our ride from Charlotte to San Francisco. He had long hair tied in a ponytail, and small eyes surrounded by wire-rim glasses. Hailing from Beaumont, TX, Joker and his wife, BJ, were on the penultimate day of a 10-day ride. His bike pulled a single-wheeled trailer that was a source of much pride. Joker was a writer for “Skunk Dots”—Texas’ Original Biker News. So we asked for some advice about riding in New Mexico, explaining that we were headed west on Route 66. Joker scowled, said we could go that way, then told us the old Santa Fe Trail was much better. We took his advice, headed northwest rather than southwest, up into the mountains near Taos, and finally on to Santa Fe. Joker knew what he was talking about…it was a beautiful ride.

2016-07-28 08.14.08

Wayne and Mr.  Québec

I met a fellow Harley-Davidson rider in front of the hotel this morning. He told me that his group of three was five days into their ride and had covered 2,800 miles in five days, or 560 miles/day. They travel mostly on freeways, and cover a lot of ground in an hour. I prefer smaller, scenic byways, which just takes more time.

I introduced myself, but the man, from Québec, only spoke French. He was riding a Can-Am Spyder, and pulling a trailer behind it. Another guest by the name of Wayne came out, and the three of us started a conversation about the three different models of Harley Davidson between us, and the pros and cons of three- versus two-wheelers. Wayne translated for Mr. Québec, who was really excited about his Spyder, and for good reason. It performs well, has great safety features, and blocks rainfall from hitting any part of his body. As for me, I like the freewheeling and lean of my two-wheeler.

2016-07-28 09.31.40Wayne asked me about my route for the day. I told him I was headed to Prince George by H97. He asked if I knew people in Prince George, as though that would be the only reason to go there. I responded no, that I was just taking a loop to the north and then southeast to get to the Rockies. He said I could go that way, but if I took H5 north to Little Fort, and then headed West on H24, I’d have a much more scenic ride. “Just be prepared for the climb,’ he said. In an instant I remembered Joker, his trailer, and good travel advice. So I decided to take Wayne’s and headed to H5.

2016-07-28 13.18.26The ride was quite peaceful and scenic. It wasn’t long after turning left at Little Fort that the Little Fort or Interlakes Highway took me quickly up to McDonald Summit at 4,103 ft., the highest of 4-5 passes I traversed today. From there I travelled by another series of lakes with spectacular views. Lac des Roches was particularly inspiring.

H24 intersected at its end with H97, and I headed north. This area is much different than the Okanagan Valley I travelled through yesterday. The surrounding countryside had shorter, more compact trees reminiscent of the area just north of Bissett, MB where my sons and I travelled by canoe when they were Boy Scouts. It was a nice stretch of road, but Wayne was absolutely right about taking the Interlakes Highway.

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Lynn and Claude

I went to check out the Harley store when I arrived in Prince George. I pulled up and, as I was parking, Claude and Lynn rushed of the door to greet me. I assumed it must be part of their great customer service strategy, but it seemed a bit aggressive. As it turned out, Claude (pr. “Cloud”), also from Québec, recognized my bike. I have #933 of 1,100 CVO™ Ultra Classic® Electra Glide® limited edition model made in 2013. Claude has #169. What are the odds that the two of us would meet in Prince George?

I decided to have a bit nicer meal for dinner, and went to North 54. It is a modern-looking Italian restaurant, and lived up to all of the positive Trip Advisor reviews.

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Capelli D’Angelo at North 54

Speaking of Prince George, I’ve now reached the northern most point in my journey. The sun set at 9:14 pm compared to 8:23 pm at home in California; and will rise at 5:19 am here versus 6:10 am in Novato. If I were to head back to Novato first thing tomorrow morning, and take the most direct route possible, it would take 21:51 to cover the 1,371 miles.

Route:                    H5, H97
Miles Today:         342
Time Today:         7:25
Total Trip Miles: 2,274
Weather:               Clear skies and cool at 70°F in the morning to 95°F in the afternoon.
Lunch:                   Dogs ‘n’ Suds
Lodging:                Carmel Inn
Dinner:                  North 54

Ride Canadian Rockies-Map-Days 6-7