Celebrating 150 Years
By the time I got to Cody, Wyoming several people had told me that I must take Chief Joseph’s Highway to Red Lodge, Montana. I don’t often take people up on their recommendations, but everyone spoke so enthusiastically about it that I decided to give the highway a try. I was not disappointed.
Once you take the turnoff north of Cody, you quickly gain elevation on a winding mountain road to the first summit. From there you can see the valley below and the snowcapped mountains surrounding it. The highway was in excellent condition for some terrific riding, and the views were truly amazing. I had to stop many time because I couldn’t keep my eyes focused on the road ahead.
Wanting to extend my time in that beautiful country, I decided to spend the night in a National Forest Service campground located in the valley next to the highway. Although the campground was typical in many ways, it was located along a fork of the Yellowstone River. With the spring runoff still in progress, the river was high and fast flowing. The sound of the river and the coolness of the forest made for perfect sleeping conditions.
The next morning, I rode to the second summit then down into the valley and on to Red Lodge, Montana. The second half of the Chief Joseph’s Highway was even more spectacular than the first. If you are heading in the general vicinity of Yellowstone National Park, you really ought to include a side trip on the Chief Joseph’s Highway. You will not be disappointed.
My destination for the day was a campsite in the Lewis and Clark National Forest located just east of Great Falls, Montana. But first, I need to stop at a Starbucks in Billings where I could use their wifi to book my Airbnb lodging for the three nights I planned to stay in Calgary, Canada. Once I booked my reservations, I rode to the forest where I found a large campground with only one other camper occupying a space. The other camper was at the opposite end of the campground, so I felt like I had the place to myself.
The next day it was on to Canada. The ride north to the border was uneventful with the road passing through grasslands common to the high plains. Unlike the border crossings I experienced in Latin America, this one was super simple. I presented my passport to the border agent, who asked me a few questions about my plans and what I was carrying. He then handed my passport back and told me to enjoy my visit to Canada. The whole process took no more than a couple minutes and nothing else was required for me to take my motorcycle across the border.
A few miles into Canada I stopped at a tourist bureau facility to get some basic information about camping opportunities. The friendly and helpful representative who assisted me told me about camping in general and recommend I let him make my reservations for Banff and Jasper National Parks. It was good that I stopped and reserved my campsites, as Banff was totally booked by the time I arrived at the park four days later.
Originally, I had not planned to stop in Calgary, but decided to go there so that I could replace the three-year-old battery on my motorcycle before I headed to the more remote parts of northern Canada. In hindsight, I am really glad I decided to visit Calgary. It is a modern, hip, and beautiful city with many things to see and do.
Another reason I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Calgary was my Airbnb experience. The room I rented was in a lovely condo located a short walk from the heart of the downtown. Denise, my Airbnb hostess, warmly welcomed me into her home and went out of her way to make my time in her city enjoyable.
Once I told her my preference was to walk as much as possible, she prepared a list of things to see and do all of which were in the heart of the city.
I had a great time walking around Calgary stopping at specialty coffee shops and eating at one of the many restaurants. A highlight of my tour of the downtown was the morning I spent at the Glenbow Museum. On display at the museum are photographs, works of art, artifacts, and displays that tell the history of this region of Canada. Another night I saw a documentary movie at the Glenbow that recorded the significant influence native Americans had on rock and roll. The documentary was called Rumble and it was excellent.
After a couple relaxing days in Calgary, a new battery in my motorcycle, and freshly washed cloths it was time to get on the road again. I said goodbye to Denise, my new Canadian friend, and headed west to Banff National Park.