Well welcome to Alberta the guy said in a rough cigarette laden voice. I suggest you park your bike around the corner because it gets a bit rough outside the bar here at night. I thanked him both for the welcome and warning and talked a bit before moving the bike. He and a couple of other patrons from the Texas Gate Bar had come out to see the bike and the grizzled guy riding it. He wiped my rear plate off, which had been covered in mud, and was quite surprised to see Id ridden from Texas. I was warned that Cochrane was the training ground for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Id be hassled for any possible reason, thus the plate cleaning being a gesture of friendship. Id arrived in Cochrane, Alberta after a long day in Glacier National Park and Waterton on the Canadian side. This was my first trip into Canada after riding from Texas 11 days earlier. Id left in the Texas heat and ridden 11 hrs and 600 miles to get to Raton, New Mexico, then met up with the Horizons Unlimited campout in Grant, where I connected with my friends Rob from Michigan and Jim from Texas, whom Id had the pleasure of riding into Mexico with a year or two before. After the campout, Rob and I continued north and explored Colorado a bit before meeting up with another friend, Dennis, from Michigan. We rode together through Wyoming and into Montana where we parted ways, they continuing on eventually to the BMW Rally in Minnesota. But I digress. The Texas Gate Bar lay next to the Rockyview Hotel, a 100 year old hotel on the tourist strip in Cochrane, and the only lodging I could find before reaching Banff, my "Holy Grail" of the trip. The room was tiny and up 3 flights of stairs and dragging my gear up took the last bit of energy I had after 12 days of riding and camping. Todays ride had been from a campground in GNP across to St. Marys and north across the border. Highway 22 had paralleled the Canadian Rockies to my left and the beautiful rolling grasslands to the right. The temps were a bit chilly after some warm days in Wyoming and Montana. Into Canada Marvin the Martian rides... Banff was my goal because a few years earlier Id ridden to Montana and regretted not busting into Canada, being so close. Banff was also my goal as Id heard it was even more beautiful than Glacier and that was hard to imagine. Funny thing is, as I progressed northward, folks would say Glacier National Park was the penultimate place to see, then Id meet folks who said they loved Glacier until they saw Banff, and then folks whod been to Banff would say Jasper beat Banff for beauty. Id love to see them all, but Banff seemed to be the best compromise for time. More tomorrow!