Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Our Way to Alaska

This was our last day in the US until we travel the 2000 miles to Alaska.  We only drove 140 miles and it was a beautiful drive.  We filled Opus with cheaper US fuel and headed for the border.  Unlike 1982 when we bicycled through this area, we could not go over the Going to the Sun Road for two reasons. It is still covered with snow and, even when open, it is restricted to vehicles under 21 feet.  So we headed around the southern side of Glacier National Park on Route 2, a highway we have traveled in several states many times in the last seven years.
The road follows the Middle Fork of the Flathead River and the BNSF railroad tracks.  At times we were above the tracks like here and other times we were beside or below them.  There are several tunnels and sections of shed covered tracks to get through the mountains and keep snow off the tracks.
There were beautiful snow capped mountains along the whole route.  I'm glad Nanc took a lot of pictures because my eyes were on the road.
We drove to Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to fuel up.  We stayed here in 1982 and it was by far the most depressing place we have ever been with old boarded up buildings and streets littered with glass.
While the town is not all that wonderful it sure looks a lot better than it did back then.  Today the Museum of the Plains Indians and the Blackfeet Heritage Center and Art Gallery celebrate their culture.  I think this is the same motel we stayed in in 1982.  It sure looks nicer than back then when it was one of those you drop the soap and your shower is over kind of places.  We will have to come back some day to check out the museums.
After fueling up we headed north on Route 89.  We did this road in the other direction in 1982.  The mountains here just seem to jump out of the prairie.
We could not believe this place is still here.  We had lunch and almost spent the night at the Kiowa Campground after a hard day of riding.  We learned later that we were lucky we did not stay.
We also remember this road.  It was almost as slow going in Opus as it was on the bicycles.
More of Glacier's beautiful mountains.
This is the highest elevation we will cross on the trip north and as you can see there is still plenty of that white stuff.  Even right by the road.  Glad it was a clear sunny day.
On our 1982 cross continental bike trip after we crossed the continental divide on the Going to the Sun Road we thought the worst of the mountains were behind us.  The next day we not only had to bike one more pass, we also had our first ever encounter with mountain winds so bad that at one point I had to hold Nanc's bike for her to get off.  We even walked the bikes when there was a cross wind.  No wind this time, just a great view of Saint Mary Lake and the mountains.
After Saint Mary the snow was all far away in the mountains and the curvy road straightened out along Lower Saint Mary Lake.
The border crossing was uneventful.  Only the usual questions; Where are you from?  How long are you going to be in Canada?  Do you have any alcohol, tobacco, or weapons?  Thank you and have a nice trip.  You can see there was no line on this two lane road.
Even Alfie was allowed to cross without a problem.
Welcome to Alberta and Canada.

Starting with this entry there will be a label Alaska Trip 2014 and I will keep track of how far we have traveled north of the lower 48 and maybe some other info.  On day 1 we are 15 miles north of the border.


Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Safe travels, we are looking forward to your insights!

Jan Mains said...

The museums are worth the visit.