After spending the morning and most of the afternoon in Glacier National Park, we still had 200 miles to ride along the road to Calgary. We had an appointment at Blackfoot Motorcycles the following morning and so had booked a hotel on the outskirts of the city for that night; at least we had a bed with our name on it so it didn’t really matter how late we arrived.
Riding through Glacier National Park.
The ride from Glacier to the USA-Canada border didn’t take as long as we’d thought – only about half an hour from the exit to the National Park north on the 89. We didn’t have time to detour off the route to go to Waterton Lakes National Park, unfortunately, but our time in Glacier was pretty special and we couldn’t manage to squeeze everything in. It was pretty easy using the Carway Border Crossing to get back into Canada; just a guy in his booth asking a handful of questions about where we’d been and where we were going, we didn’t even have to get off the bikes. It was super quiet, there was one car in front of us, and so much simpler than going in the other direction at the start of the trip.
Riding the straight road to Calgary. Taken on the Drift.
Our route from the border to Calgary was pretty straight. Miles and miles of straight and mostly empty road, with the occasional animal darting between the fields. It went up and down a little and the skies were suitably big, but there wasn’t really much interest to the left or right. We took some photos of each other; I kind of like how they turned out – the Drift was great when it worked.
An old mill at Stavely, Alberta.
I admit I didn’t particularly enjoy the last 40/50 miles or so into Calgary itself; I’d got quite used to the lack of traffic in the rural states and wasn’t at all sure about several lanes of space hungry cars and trucks with drivers who knew where they were going switching direction without warning. Thankfully we were staying outside the busiest part of the city and we made it to our hotel without any problems. I love being in cities, but don’t particularly like riding my motorbike in them; that’s what public transport is for.
A Triumph. Yes, definitely a Triumph.
The following morning we took our bikes to Blackfoot Motors, a Triumph and BMW Motorrad main dealer, where we’d booked to get new tyres for both bikes and new brake pads for mine. No problems, just the usual stuff you need when you’ve ridden so many miles. We were impressed with the massive showroom and workshop; there were plenty of bikes, gear and accessories to keep us occupied while we waited for the technicians to do their thing. We met a group of bikers from the USA having services before they continued their road trip up to Prudhoe Bay; their bikes were kitted up for real adventure, and looked like they hadn’t been washed for years… I particularly liked the BMW with the Triumph logo. No, really. We also met and chatted with Joe Brooks, a Sales Team Leader, who came into the waiting area to ask who was riding the British Triumph – he used to work for Triumph in Hinckley before he and his family moved out to Calgary a few years ago. Bike garages are good places to meet people!
Outside Blackfoot Motors, Calgary – photo taken by Blackfoot for their facebook page!
With approximate routes planned and motel bookings made for the next few days, something we had to do ahead of time when heading into busy areas or National Parks, we spent the rest of our day wandering around central Calgary. We missed the Stampede by a couple of weeks, which was both a shame and a relief, but you could see things being readied for the annual festival. We liked it in the city, the people were friendly, the public transport made it easy to get around, the supermarkets had actual fresh vegetables and fruit in them (and restaurant meals came with veg, too), and the place just had a good feeling to it. We definitely saw why people choose to live here.
Riding the straight road to Calgary.
From here, our road trip would take us towards the mountains and then back to the Pacific coast. We were looking forward to seeing some of Canada’s snowy mountains and famous turquoise lakes up close, and after a couple of nights’ relative relaxation we were ready to get going again. It had been eight weeks since we started this road trip and it had definitely become our way of life; the opportunity to live in the moment and take each day as it presented itself to us was something we were enjoying and making the most of.