I forget this guy's name, but he was quite a character. Judging by his hardhat, utility belt, and vest, he appeared to work for a utility company in town. He was loaded - on his lunch break. We tried ignore him while we ate - the food was great by the way - but he still managed to pepper us with awkward questions until the bartender cut him off and sent him packing. While we finished up he must have been in the liquor store, he appeared and frantically waved at us while we got suited up and under way.
A quick stop for gas and redbull, then we were back on rt 3 to Cranbrook by way of Moyie.
This was beautiful country and I really enjoyed the chance to relax in the pleasant weather. We settled into a nice groove and made miles disappear.
Around every corner we seemed to be just behind the storm system we encountered earlier as it moved North. That pleasant smell of recent rain lingered in the air and the Southbound lane was always wet while the North stayed dry.
Before long we dropped into the Rocky Mountain Trench. The Valley of a Thousand Peaks treated us to some incredible views of its striking landscape as we finally began to make headway North out of Cranbrook.
Rt 95 was long and fairly straight with little traffic. It might have been boring except for the incredible views and constant wildlife crossing the road. After passing a few cars I thought better of it and settled in behind one going at a good clip - we'd let him hit the bear instead of us. We spotted deer, moose, and bear crossing the road all in a short while on the road to Invermere.
All the while the Rockies were just to the East and my excitement to finally reach Banff was palpable.
Straight for miles
With no short supply of beauty
And stunning landscapes! It was getting on into the late afternoon...
But the sun was still mighty high
and so we kept on,
chasing that storm North.
I didn't mind being in its wake - the sky was incredible. We turned East at Radium Hot Springs and found ourselves at the gateway to Kootenay National Park.
And rode up into the Rockies.
The road curved nicely around red bluffs, two uphill lanes kept us moving at a good pace.
A quick stop
Still chasing that storm.
All clear behind us, nice weather in store.
Hell, nice weather in front of us too
A series of forest fires in 2003-4 left the mountains scarred badly. Evidence of avalanches was clear - sometimes having cleared a swath right across the road.
We were getting close now. After riding in the tail end of the storm for a bit as if on cue, the clouds blew North as we turned East.
The clearing clouds left us with a vista of the iconic sloping Eastern face of Mt. Rundle, a view I'd been imagining for days-
and then, we made it to the lively city of Banff.
It was 9 o'clock and still plenty light
We had the whole night ahead of us - but still had to find a place to stay.....