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Dad and Kerry's 2003 Trip to British Columbia

Day 3 - Across MONTANA to CANADA (Cardston, ALBERTA)

SATURDAY, 16 August 2003

Long live the king! (Did I just say that?) I happened to remember that Elvis Presley died on this date back in the '70s. I'm sure things were hopping in Memphis and around Graceland today....

I'm writing from my tent in the town park/campground in Cardston, Alberta. It's probably the best place we've stayed so far, and for only $15 Canadian! Dad woke me up this morning at about 6:30, and we were packed up and gone by 8:00. We both had hot chocolate, I had "throatmeal" and Dad had an MRE omelet meal. Except for an oatmeal bar several hours later, that was the last food we had for another 12 hours!

We went back to the "frontage road" (MT 540) and followed it north until we met U.S. 89 again. There were some neat, misty morning farmland scenes along that stretch of 540. We proceeded to Livingston, got on I-90 eastbound for a few miles, and then split off with US 89 and headed north. More farmland for 40-some miles, until we entered a section of the Lewis & Clark National Forest. Just about every 2-lane highway in Montana seems to have a speed limit of 70 mph, so Dad and I were able to zip along at a pretty good rate. Somewhere along that stretch [Map Point #2] I had to put my fuel petcock on RES(erve). Dad couldn't stop talking (later on) about the 70+ mph sweeper curves that we were able to enjoy as we dropped down out of the National Forest. By that point I'd had more warnings from my fuel system. I could have stopped in Monarch where the only gas station had 2 old-style pumps (or was that Neihart?) but for some reason I didn't.

Shortly before US 89 met up with US 87, the bike called it quits. I pulled in the clutch and eventually rolled to a stop on the side of the road. I was able to start it again, and made it to the junction. I had to stop again on the way up a hill, but I was able to start up again and crawl jerkily up to a sign that indicated a gas station in the town of Belt. I was able to coast downhill into Belt [Map Point #3], where I put [almost 4.4] gallons into my 4.5-gallon tank.

Whew! For once, Dad put in less than I did! Back up the hill we went, and on to Great Falls.

As we entered the outskirts of Great Falls I saw a sign about a Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. I had heard about this place! We had been making really good time, so I made a command decision and we took a roughly 2-mile detour to the Center [Map Point #4]. We listened to a presentation on Meriwether Lewis' dog Seaman, watched a Ken Burns-produced and -narrated film on the expedition, and then walked through the lower-level displays that showed facinating artifacts, maps, [and] models in chronological order - including a split in the path where Lewis and Clark split up temporarily on the return journey. Neat stuff!

[I neglected to take ANY pictures at the Interpretive Center, but here are a few images I found on the World Wide Web that may help jog Dad's memory:]


My plan was to eat lunch at a McDonald's or something in Great Falls, but for some reason I wanted to wait until we were heading out of town. Well, I waited too long and we ended up on I-15 with no "fast food" in sight. We got back off the freeway several miles later (on US 89) and rode until we hit Choteau [Map Point #5]. We stopped at an Information Center and picked up some maps and campground info for Alberta and ate those granola bars I mentioned earlier.

[We also got several magnetic "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" emblems, which we later stuck on the frames of our motorcycles. This seemed very appropriate, given all the smoke we breathed on this trip....]

About an hour down the road we stopped in Browning [Map Point #6] for gas. As we prepared to leave the station I was "touched" for $1.80 by a couple of Indian panhandlers - one seeing and one blind. They commented on our bikes and wished us a safe trip and warned us about the smoke from the fires in Glacier National Park. Before we could get going another Indian young man picked up a glove Dad dropped, and talked to us about our trip. We both thought he was working up to asking for money as well, but he never did. Those encounters were all the reason we needed to hightail it out of Browning, still lunch-less!

We rode right past the eastern access roads to Glacier, in favor of getting to Cardston, Alberta to find a campsite. At the Canadian border we had to pull over and have our luggage searched, during which time my helmet fell off the tank bag onto concrete. OUCH!

Just about the first building in Cardston was an LDS stake center with a full parking lot. We found out that it's stake conference weekend here.

[We went on into town and got some cash at the RBC (Royal Bank of Canada?).]

[Then we got a campsite and set up our tents.]

[After riding back and forth through town, looking unsuccessfully for a McDonald's...] We ate at a Dairy Queen,

and afterwards returned to the stake center during the Saturday evening adult session, to ask about tomorrow's meeting time.

Dad approached a sister in the foyer (keeping her baby quiet) and the next thing you knew we had an invitation for lunch tomorrow after the general session!

Oh, I called and talked to Sue for a few minutes after I took a shower here at the campground.

Miles covered today: 394
Total miles covered: 980


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