After a relaxing two days in Waterton, it was time to move
on. We seldom stay in one place this long, and we were both
getting anxious to see Glacier Park and points south. But
what to do with our remaining Canadian money? We stopped by
a small bakery that we had eaten at the day before, and bought
a couple of donuts and milk and gave the remainder to the
waitress as a tip.
The ride south to the U.S./Canadian Border only took about
20 minutes or so and when we got there, there were only two
other cars in front of us. Compared to our crossing in Vancouver,
this should be a piece of cake. We got up to the front of
the line, and one custom's agent read off our license plate
numbers for both the bike and trailer to another agent, apparently
the head honcho. Then the head honcho asked us where we were
coming from, where we lived, and how long had we been out
of the country. We gave him the answers to all of those questions,
with a smile.
Then he asked if we had our birth certificates, passport,
or proof of naturalization. We told him that we had none of
those things but handed him our California Driver's License.
He said we were supposed to have a birth certificate, a passport,
or proof of naturalization. We responded that the customs
officials in Vancouver had only required us to have I.D's
and didn't require any of those other items.
As we waited in line, it became apparent that our customs
agent, who seemed to be having a bad day, was not going to
win the Mr. Congeniality contest, but at this point he became
surly and said that what the Canadian Customs wanted to do
about people entering their country was their business but
he was concerned about protecting his country. Linda and I
both responded that it was our country too. Then he asked
if we had any alcohol or tobacco, and we said, No. Obviously
pissed, he waved us through. My objective opinion here is
that the man was a putz.
I have all kinds of identification that proves I own the
bike, that the bike is registered in California, that my valid,
not tampered with I.D. has the same address as the registration
of the bike, so ergo; I must also be a resident of California.
Since California is part of the United States I am probably
a legal resident of the same country. If he had wanted to
search us for contraband, no problem, I've been searched at
airports several times, but no, he seemed to want to prove
he was in charge and seemed to like the role.
I guess what ticked me off, was I felt, rightly or wrongly,
that he was more concerned with proving who was in charge
of the situation than protecting America from possible terrorist.
And I kept thinking how nicely we had been treated by Canadian
Customs and hoping that our Canadian friends to the north,
the place with that long, undefended border we keep hearing
about, are treated better than we were, should they decide
to visit. I didn't get his name or I would send him a copy
of Miss Manners.
Trying not to let this putz spoil what was turning out to
be a beautiful day, we continued south to Glacier. We came
to the road that cut off and went up to Many Glacier Lodge
and Lake. Now this is the place that my friends from work
were originally going to get us a room but it turned out the
lodge was under construction. Linda wanted to go up and take
a look because one of our friends has stayed there and said
the area was very scenic. I said it was out of our way (even
though we're now retired and have no set schedule) and continued
south. Later we met a gentleman who had just finished a visit
to Many Glacier and told us that we really missed the boat.
In his opinion, it was one of the nicest spots in Glacier
Park. Linda gave me one of those looks that we men seem to
see all too frequently. I'll guess I'll catch Many Glacier
when I come back to make the Banff to Jasper ride next year.
As we entered Glacier Park, Linda reminded me that I have
been here three times in the last three years. It doesn't
matter; it's a beautiful place to be, no matter how many times
you've been before. Besides, each visit has been different.
The first year was from West to East. Last year had more snow,
and so it goes. There were also a lot more motorcycles this
year than last. The word must be getting out.
As I was taking a picture of one of the rivers that run through
the park, we met a couple, Cab and Nicole, on a 1982 Goldwing
with well over 200,000 miles on it. He has only replaced a
drive shaft, which he blamed on his brother, and a head gasket.
Not bad by any stretch of the imagination. He has been to
almost all of the places we are talking about visiting and
many more that we have not yet seen. Then I got to thinking,
comparing our 11,000 mile trip to someone who has put over
20 times that number of miles on his bike, ours seemed like
a minor trip. We've got a long ways to go to catch up.
The trip through the park was great and I'll just include
a bunch of pictures here for you too look at. That way, you
can start planning your own trip to Glacier (photos 1 to
After exiting the park, we were on the western side of the
mountains when we wanted to go east. We turned left and took
Hwy 2 around the southern end of the park and what a nice
ride it was. After about an hour, the road turned red, like
a tennis court, from the use of red rock in the repaving process.
With the double yellow lines down the middle of the road,
I felt like I was in a tennis match with the highway. Score:
Love-65, Ed's favor. So many of us take the Road to the Sun
highway through the park, that this part of Hwy 2 gets overlooked.
I'm glad I had a chance to ride it, and recommend it for those
who have the time or are afraid of heights.
We turned south and ran for another half hour before stopping
in the middle of Dupree, a little town on the high plains,
for some shade and a drink. (photos 15 & 16) It's
getting warm now and we needed to get off the bike for a while.
What an interesting little place Dupree turned out to be.
There was a fellow fixing a roof across the street, an old
McCormick tractor in the middle of town, a small American
flag nailed to a fence, and some folks going into one of the
few businesses in town. You could literally see both ends
of town from where we stood that opened onto the broad prairie
beyond. This is truly small, small, town America.
We were now on Hwy 89 south, a road that comes highly recommended
by many sources, as a scenic route. We made good time and
by the time we reached Browning, decided to keep heading south
to make up some time. By 5:00 o'clock, we pulled into a little
independent motel, called the Gunter Motel, in Choteau, MT,
and got one of the last two rooms. That's because they were
the only two rooms upstairs, neither had air conditioning
in the 90+-degree weather, and as you remember, heat raises.
It wasn't much, didn't cost much, but it was out of the sun,
but just barely. Not a bad place, really, just hot.
Choteau is close to two lakes frequented by all types of
birds and this is one place that bird hunters stay. We know
that because the sign taped to the wall told bird hunters
not to clean their birds in the bathroom sink. And, there
was an extra charge for their bird dogs. Hey, any port in
a storm or, in this case, a heat wave. This is turning out
to be a great trip.