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Old 08-27-2013, 06:38 PM   #1
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Oddometer: 105
Great Rocky Mountains Adventure!!

Good day

I had the chance to work in Calgary in the 80s and discovered the Rocky Mountains with my good old R80G/S. They have given me the taste for adventure. I have always dreamed to return one day and to show them to my wife Nancy.

Finally, this year was the year and it was about time to start using these accumulted overtime work days and cash in some of our Aeroplan/Air Miles to realize this dream.

We have decided to do our trip from the 15 June to the 08 July 13 to avoid the extreme hot weather, there are also fewer tourists and still plenty of snow on the mountains however there is always more chance for rain but luckily we only had 2 half days of it and we have avoided the Alberta's floods by a few days.

Our trip was divided into three stages:
1. I had a week to make it to Alberta alone across the Northern United States;
2. ride the Rocky Mountains with Nancy for 2 weeks - she will join me in Edmonton by plane; and
3. I had 4-5 days to ride back home while Nancy will return by plane from Calgary.

Here is the summary of our adventures with comments below each picture!

Hope you will enjoy some of it and thanks again to a few inmates to have provided me with some excellent advise on some roads!

Much appreciated!!

Here is our overall itinerary with some points of interest. Basically +-12,500 km/7,800 miles including +- 2,500 km/1,500 miles of gravel/dirt in 23 days for an average of +- 545 km/350 miles per day - we need to take it easy sometimes. We were on vacation afterall!

The legend on the top right is as follow:
- Red line is my solo itinerary;
- Green line is the gravel/dirt roads; and
- blue is with Nancy.

I arrived at the town of Pierre located in the heart of South Dakota along the Missouri River, it is from here that my adventure really began after crossing Ontario, Northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2 days ...

Finally some gravel/dirt roads!!! I took the "Bad River Road" and "Capo Road" and rode through beautiful hills and plains, yes no traffic on these back roads!

In these plains there are plenty of bisons and horses which seem to be free!

These back roads brought me to the famous "Badlands" which you can see at the background.

The Badlands National Park located in South Dakota is situated on an eroded plateau which the formation is going back over 75 million years ago. It was formed over the ages by sedimentary deposits (sand, clay, silt) and solidified by cementation. The studies of the different layers has traced the history of this very unique area.

This land was inhabited by the Sioux who used the valleys as a hunting ground and with the arrival of the white settlers eventually resulted in a confrontation between the Sioux led by "Big Foot" and the Army, which unfortunately led to the massacre of Wounded Knee.

Some of these hills are impressive and offer unique landscapes!

After crossing the Park from East to West, I took the "Bombing Range Road" going South and then West towards "Custer Park".

Getting short of gas I arrived at a small Western style village which was pretty much abandoned, no services, just like in the movies for an eastern guy like me!

After spending the night in Rapid City, I got up very early as usual to ride the Custer Park and I arrived at Mount Rushmore at 7:00 hrs in the morning - ideal for photos because no traffic nor tourist yet!

Mount Rushmore Memorial (1,745 meters/5,800 feet in altitude) is a monumental granite sculpture. The 18 meters/60 feet high sculptures represent four of the most prominent of the American Presidents. From left to right of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The monument was built between 1927 and 1941 by sculptor Gutzon Borglum and over 400 workers.

View from the side of Mount Rushmore where we can still see George Washington.

Custer Park and the famous "Black Hills" offer a wide variety of awesome roads which should satisfy any type of riders.

Also there are all kinds of gravel/dirt roads which allow you to make all kinds of new discoveries. You could easily spend several days if not a week riding in this beautiful and well maintain park.

I arrived at the Crazy Horse Monument who was a Native American from the tribe of Lakhotas who fought the American expansion. This sculpture once completed would be the largest in the world with its 172 meters/565 feet high and 195 meters/640 feet long, crazy idea started by Korczak Ziolkowski in 1948 and could be completed around follow...

I have continued to ride North West via the magnificent forest roads towards Wyoming to get to the Devil's Tower for my very important appointment of the 3rd type.

In the meantime, I think I'll let this long horns alone.

I finally arrived at the famous monolith of "Devils Tower" in Wyoming which is more than 386 meters/1,270 foot above the surrounding land!! It was one of the first national monuments named in 1906 by Roosevelt.

A Native American legend says that Sioux girls were chassed by bears, but a Great Spirit feeling pity for them, raised the ground beneath them, the bear fell down clawing the walls which created the long vertical marks..

This place has remained sacred to some tribes, they usually conduct ceremonies in June and it is ask from the visitors not to climb the rock which would be considered as a profanation!

For my part I settled in this field waiting for my special visitors!

Yes!! They came to meet me as planned and they have brought me luck for the rest of my adventure!

After my awesome flying saucer ride, I headed West taking several gravel/dirt roads along the border of Wyoming and Montana, here meeting with some antelopes!

You can see the distant mountains of the Bighorn National Forest which is my next destination and crossing but before I will spend the night in Sherivan after another long memorable day.

The climb in the National Forest of Bighorn Mountains by the "Red Grade Road" is great!

Once at the top, you can comtemplate several mountains including the "Little Goose Peak" and travel hundreds of kilometers/miles of gravel roads. The highest mountain of this magnificent forest is "Cloud Peak" with its 4,000 meters/13,000 feet high.

Beautiful landscapes and sceneries of all kinds.

I rode up to the top of this hill to enjoy the view!

It is possible all along the main roads to take side trails to explore more this great area!

Here I am on top of a hill with magnificent views of the desert which I will have to cross to reach the famous Beartooth Mountains!

The descent on the West side of the Bighorn National Forest is just as magnificient!

Other gorgeous landscape near Pryor Mountains near the Montana and Wyoming border.

I have taken the time to make a detour to the North to see the beautiful Bighorn Canyon in Montana ..really worth while.... in some places it is nearly 1,000 feet deep!

The famous Pryor Mountains view from the South!

After a stop at Bighorn Canyon I headed towards the town of Red Lodge by taking all kinds of back roads via this kind of magnificent desert.

Several abandoned mines along the roads!

I am about to take on the Beartooth highway which has exceeded my expectations. It is recognized as one of the most beautiful road in North America and I now understand why!

I begin the ascent of this pass that was used for the first time during the Civil War by General Sherivan with 120 men in his return from a patrol Yellowstone, This pass has been recommend to him by hunters in order to avoid a very long detour.

Here almost at the top of this sublime road which was opened for the first time in 1937, it is usually open from May to October whenever possible!

Finally at the top to nearly 3,350 meters/11,000 feet ..... the bike seems to run a little rough at this altitude which is one of the highest pass in North America!

Another amazing view near the top!

After crossing the Beertooth Pass, I rode to Yellowstone Park which is a huge volcano which could wake up at any time!

The next day, I rode a portion of the Gravelly Road in Southwest Montana.

Montana is truly one of the most beautiful states!

Nice grass hills along the way!

Ride through beautiful canyons up to Dillon ..

Another nice small Western style village!

Another amazing mountain range between Idaho and Montana!

After spending the night in Hamilton, South of Missoula and have visited Al's Cycle (super shop), I have explored a section of the Lolo Trail ......... view of Lolo Peak...

The Lolo Trail offers hundreds of km / miles of trails of all kinds in Idaho and Montana ..... caution because the slightest error in a curve can be fatal!

Great forests!

I have rode through several of these awesome mountains ....... almost ran out of gas, got temporary lost on a few occasions, but in general the roads were well marked ........I had no GPS..

Unbelievable ups and downs on these incredible forestry roads which seem endless ....

Riding close to the snow line!

After spending the night in Kalispell, Montana, now I was about to ride "the road to the sun" in Glacier National Park in order to make it to Alberta to meet with my wife Nancy the next day ..... but we will see this a little bit further........ because we had to cancel our reservations in Canmore due to the Alberta's floods ... so why not ride the Glacier National Park together instead ....excellent alternative ...

Very happy to meet with Nancy at the Edmonton Airport on the 23 June as planned. We waiste no time and rode on to Drumheller which is a town situated in a canyon along Red Deer River. This canyon is also one of the most important site of discovery of dinosaur fossils in the world. There is also a museum in that effect.

Alberta's floods unfortunately caused a lot of damages and we have changed our plans accordingly....... Basically direction Montana, Idaho and return to Alberta via British Columbia .... We were sad to see the damages along our way expecially at High River South of Calgary....

There is a small road with 11 bridges in another canyon near Drumheller that leads you to the old mining town of Wayne which is now almost abandoned, but where there is still a saloon for a drink and a good meal ..... ....

We arrived at the Rocky Mountains near the town of Pincher Creek in South West Alberta .......... The Rocky Mountains stretch over 4,800 km/3,000 miles from New Mexico up to the North British Columbia and their width is between 120 km and 650 km (75 miles and 400 miles) .... they are cut into several groups and massifs . The highest point in the United States is Mount Elbert (4,401 meters/14,500 feet ) in Colorado and Mount Robson (3,954 meters/ 3,000 feet ) in Canada.

We are on our way to spend the day at the Waterton Lakes Park ..... the way we like it, sunny and cool in unforgettable sceneries... it's worth while to leave early every morning traffic and magic sunrise....

Nancy in front of the Waterton Reservoir which you can see the Hotel "Prince of Wales " in the distance.

Nice place to visit ......... the small town of Waterton offers all the services but we have decided to stay in Pincher Creek for a few days because of the high prices of hotels-motels at these places .. ......

View from the Waterton Peninsula ......

We are in exploration mode and riding the Red Rock Canyon Road in Waterton Park ....

Nancy on the other side of Red Rock Canyon ............ very nice place to take a walk ...........

Chief Mountain near the border with Montana that we will soon cross .......

Here we are at the East entrance of the "road to the sun" in front of Lake Sainte Mary at Glacier National Park in Montana .... the road is going along the lake on the right side and passes the mountains in the distance ...

Another picturesque scenery comparable to the Beartooth Highway .........

Nancy is really enjoying her days in the Rocky Mountains and the unbeliveable sceneries........

View of one of the glacier from the main road ......

Almost at the top which is nearly 2,200 meters/7,000 feet high ........ do not look back ..... it is much better to do this road early in the morning to avoid traffic ..... ...

At the top of the pass.....

Nancy in front of a huge snow trench/bank ......

Awesome water falls which are crossing under the road ......... during our descent on the West side .....

Valley to the sun......along the road to the sun....

After spending the night in Columbia Falls, we crossed Lake Koocanusa to enter the forests of Western Montana.

We have took some forestry roads which brought us to Idaho .... here Mount Clark near the border .......

After spending a few days in Montana and Idaho, we rode North to British Columbia along the beautiful Kootenay Lake .............

We took one of the two ferries between Crawford Bay and Balfour which were free ........

We stopped at the beautiful town of Kaslo for a little shopping ....

We enjoyed the Ainsworth Hot's springs.......... we also spent an afternoon on the beaches in Nakusp ....

Short stop in the lovely town of New Denver .......very nice gift store and friendly staff ..

Riding along Upper Arrow Lake ....

Photos taken on another ferry on our way to Revelstoke ...

The Canadian Glacier National Park between Rivelstoke and Golden ......... .....

We stopped at Rogers Pass (1,500 meters/4,500 feet) ..... here a cannon which was used to trigger avalanches........ passage was discovered in 1881 for the railway.

Scenery after scenery simply breathtaking .....

We spent the evening in Golden (BC) for Canada Day .....

Arrival in Banff National Park via British Columbia .........

Back in Alberta and as expected we have our picture taken at Moraine Lake by another tourist - we can find pretty much the same scenery on some of our $20 bills - simply a magical place .....

Here we are at Lake Louise .........

Mount Whyte at Lake Louise ...... still plenty of snow in June ....

Along the Icefield Road (250km /160 miles ) between Banff and Jasper which offers astonishing sceneries ..... here we are at Bow Lake with its green water from the surounding glaciers .....

Mount Athabaska with its 3,491 meters/11,500 feet high ...

You can see several glaciers along this amazing road ........

Here we are at the Colombia Ice Field which which includes eight glaciers surrounded by 11 mountains over 3,000 meters/10,000 feet high . There is an interpretation center and guided tours by bus to go on a glacier ........ you can see some small black dots far away which are actually buses on the glacier....

We are back in British Columbia entering Mount Robson Park .....

In front of the famous Mount Robson (3,954 meters / 13,000 feet ) which is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies .....

We rented a nice little cabin in Valemount (BC) for two days to explore Mount Robson which was only 40 km/25 miles away at a fair price as we were again outside of the Parks.

We walked 10 km/6 miles to reach the foot of Mount Robson in another super path well maintained .... watch for grizzly ..... just make sure that you run faster than the other ......

Here we are at the foot of Mount Robson at Kinney Lake ..... there are several campsites and you can go up to Glacier and Berg Lakes .... a little too far for us .. ...

After a short visit to Jasper we headed towards the foothills of Alberta.

After spending the night in Hinton, we did a portion of the "Forestry Trunk Road" for about 200km/120 miles of gravel ....... we saw numerous rams along the road .... during our trip we saw the black bears, a grizzly bear, coyotes, elks, mountain goats and others wildlife ....

For those interested the Super tenere performed extremely well throughout the trip. I have done my oil and filter change myself in the year of a Mister Lube near Edmonton for proper disposal. It now has 55,000 km/34,000 miles in a year and a half.

Our adventure is about to end ... and we spent the last night in Sundre North of Calgary. Nancy headed back home the next day from Calgary by air and for my part it took me four days to return home. We have lived another dream and a lot of unforgettable moments together!

Cheers to all!!


AL "FLYING CANUCK" screwed with this post 08-28-2013 at 01:49 PM
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:32 PM   #2
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Location: Vancouver Island, Bitchin' Columbia, Canada
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Great ride report

You were riding in all my 'local' stomping grounds.
"Experience alone is not the great teacher; Experience has to be multiplied by intelligence to yield sustained progress." Phil Schilling
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Oddometer: 105
Thanks much to Wansfel for some of the Montana and Idaho routes provided!!!!!

Just not enough time to do them completely but a good taste for each!!!!


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Old 11-18-2013, 10:19 AM   #4
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A simply amazing journey to have celebrated our 20th anniversary!!!!


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Old 11-18-2013, 12:38 PM   #5
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Carl Junction M.O.
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Nice report. Great pics. I myself have rode threw a lot of that country. Mostly on black top roads. I need to stop and smell the roses. And get off the beaten path. Thanks
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:30 AM   #6
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Location: Lavergne, Tennessee
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Thanks for sharing your experience! I almost made it to Banff one year... a deer took out my buddy on Lolo pass so being on a solo I stayed in the US. Its still on my bucket list. The off road riding you did has inspired me to give it a try on my next time out.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #7
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Wow, what beautiful pictures! Thanks so much for sharing them, Al
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:04 AM   #8
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Man, what a great looking trip!! The smiles say it all. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:45 AM   #9
Bones Over Metal
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Thanks for such a great report, what a pleasure to read.
Ride it like it's stolen
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:45 AM   #10
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Great trip and photos. Thanks for sharing your dream!
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:29 PM   #11
No more snow!!
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Really nice to see what a great country to ride in we have. Great pics. I look forward to seeing some of the same places.

Thanks eh.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:27 AM   #12
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Nice Ride.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:27 PM   #13
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Oddometer: 105
Thanks much folks!!!

We do appreciate all of your comments and we are glad to be able to share one of our dream adventure with riders with the same passion...

See you out there....!!!!!!!!!!!



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Old 11-22-2013, 06:10 PM   #14
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Good day

Great ride coming back thru the Canadian prairies!!

The Sami Tipi in Medicne Hat in Alberta is the highest in the world with more than 20 stories high (215 feet), 160 feet in diameter, weighing 200 tons and able to withstand winds of 150 mph .... it was built for the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988 and modified / strengthened in 1991 Games. The colors are symbolic structure, white for purity, red for sunrise and sunset and blue flowing river. There are ten panels built in illustrating Aboriginal culture and history....

 photo IMG_1015_zps07d1ce02.jpg


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Old 12-07-2013, 03:31 PM   #15
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Good day

More of my pictures of the Bighorn Canyon which straddle the border between Wyoming and Montana .... it is 71 miles / 114 km long and 1,000 feet deep in some amazing place to discover and ride with hundreds of miles of trails on both sides....

 photo IMG_0474_zps187e672a.jpg

 photo IMG_0475_zpse9e7157b.jpg

 photo IMG_0473_zps1b911af7.jpg

 photo IMG_0472_zpscaeb8360.jpg

 photo IMG_0468_zpsd6ef65f4.jpg



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