We wanted to get an early start today but we took some time
to talk with our motel neighbors instead, but that's OK. We
got to talk with Gene and Donna, fellow Goldwing riders from
Seattle about a variety of things before we said our goodbyes.
Leaving Creston, Linda commented that riding in BC was like
riding through one huge national park. That's because we rode
through a million trees. The actual scenery for today became
almost "ordinary" after awhile since we had been
through some really superb areas the last few days. There
were more signs of "clear cutting" than we had seen
before. Again, it's a matter of degree. Nevada would think
they were in heaven to have one half the number of tree-covered
mountains that this part of British Columbia has.
I didn't take any pictures until we were halfway through
the day and we started to see the first signs of the Canadian
Rockies. You've seen samples of the terrain from yesterday,
so I didn't want to duplicate too much of what you've seen.
We stopped in Fernie for lunch and as we got a little ways
out of town, a large, bold mountaintop hinted of better things
to come. Several miles later, you could see the tips of the
Rockies peeking over the horizon. Soon, you could see the
Rockies waiting for us off to our left, (photo 1) and
as we turned west and south, gave hints that hidden in these
spectacular mountains were individual peaks that were going
to take your breath away.
Canadian Hwy 3 continued through lesser mountains on it's
way to the main attraction (photos 2, 3, 4, 5), but
even these were worthy of oohs and aahs. We stopped at one
last rest stop in British Columbia (photos 6 & 7),
before entering Alberta, Canada. Now British Columbia is a
beautiful province, by any definition, but Alberta holds the
keys to the Rockies. Comparing the two is like comparing two
contestants in the Miss America contest. Do you prefer blonds
or brunettes? If you're like me you appreciate them both for
different reasons. So it was with British Columbia and Alberta.
It's funny, but there was an intangible feel that was different
when entering Alberta (photo 8). I guess people say
the same thing when they go from one of our states to another,
for example Arizona to California. Anyway, we were now getting
close to today's destination.
As we enjoyed the ride through these magnificent mountains,
off to our right, in a deep valley, a train just kept going
and going, so I decided to try and get a picture of this train,
if possible. No problem, by the time I parked the bike and
got out the camera, the train was still making its way through
the valley below. Even though I at first wanted to take a
picture of the train, I thought the whole valley and the mountains
beyond were interesting as well. You be the judge (photos
9 & 10).
As we came down out of the mountains and into the prairie
town of Cowley, the road and terrain opened wide in front
of us. At about the same time, the wind started to pick up.
Then the truest signs that you have entered consistently windy
. three bladed wind generators, lots
of them. Just before we entered Pitcher Creek, there was a
line of them all along a ridge top for a mile or more, plus
individual ones in the middle of farmer's fields. While I
was taking notice of these wind generators, we were being
bounced around by strong gusty winds. We later found out that
Pitcher Creek has the most days of gale force winds of anyplace
in Alberta. Great. Motorcyclists just love riding in the wind
Another surprise awaited us. In the little town of Pitcher
Creek, there were no motel rooms available. It seems that
the local gas and oil company had booked a hundred rooms in
the surrounding area for a major meeting they were having.
A hundred rooms? You've got to be kidding me. Are there really
a hundred motel rooms in the whole of Pitcher Creek? All of
a sudden, we're wondering where we're going to stay the night
since we are a long way from anywhere.
Linda suggests trying to find a place in Waterton National
Park. Mr. Optimistic that I am, I'm thinking, fat chance.
We get a local "accommodations" guide and find one
place listed in the village. They have one room left and we
get it. It's amazing how much better you feel once you know
you have a place to stay for the night. Tonight's lodging
would be at the Waterton Glacier Suites.
I head south on Hwy 6 to the Waterton National Park turnoff
and then eight "clicks" to the village. As we approached
the village, we could see this huge hotel up on a hilltop.
The road sign informed us it was the Prince of Wales Lodge.
Damn, that's one fancy place. Well, tonight we stay somewhere
else a little lower on the food chain, but very nice anyway
We did a quick walk around the waterfront to take some pictures
of the Prince of Wales up on the hill and to see a little
of the "downtown" area. Out on the quay, we met
a lady from Vancouver who had this great looking Malamute
dog. We talked about the dog and how it was only six months
old and what a great dog it was, and so on. Then the conversation
turned to the Prince of Wales, since it dominates the surrounding
landscape, as far as man made objects are concerned. It doesn't
hold a candle to the mountains, of course, but then again,
it has great views of those same mountains. When we mentioned
we were going to be staying there the next two nights, she
asked to be taken along, and her husband volunteered to trade
straight across for the dog. Unfortunately, we were on a motorcycle
and there was no place for the dog. It turns out that the
Prince of Wales Lodge is one of the big draws to this park.
We were both a little tired and had already eaten in Pitcher
Creek at Luigi's Italian Cuisine, so we settled in with some
taffy and peanut brittle we had bought in Oregon, and just
enjoyed the porch swing. As the evening sun began to slowly
set, it doesn't go down completely until about 10:00 p.m,
the deer in the park come out to eat. Actually, they are so
tame, that they eat right in the yards all day long like big
pets (photo 12).
Anyway, we have a place for tonight and tomorrow we head
up to the castle on the hill.
Today's Route: Canadian Hwy 3 east,
all the way to Cowley, Alberta then Hwy 6 south to Waterton
National Park entrance.