Day’s distance: 321 miles
Total trip distance: 1,098 miles
Mid 50s and light rain started the day. More rain and temperatures into the low 40s while riding into the higher elevations along Hwy 1. The rain stopped near Bow Summit and the temperatures began to rise, eventually hitting 70 in Jasper. I encountered light rain near Grande Cache and the temperatures fell back into the high 50s with winds picking up.
The Frogg Toggs kept me dry and with that additional layer on, I was comfortable with just my long baselayer, my cold weather liner, and my outer gear, even into the 40s.
I think it was about 10:15 when I crossed into Alberta, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind to my morning latte, today from the Bluebird Cafe in Golden. Friendly staff and good muffins, I was able to complete my blog post using their wifi while I fueled up with caffeine.
The young guy working there told me that he was working on getting his motorcycle license allowing him to legally ride in BC. However, that didn’t stop him from flying to Vietnam a year earlier with some friends where they all bought motorcycles and rode around the northern part of the country for a month. He laughed and said, “I had no idea what I was doing or even how to ride.” I loved his story. You get away with things like that when you’re young. Well, sometimes you do.
I left Golden a little after 9am and reached the border of Alberta about an hour later.
This was my first time traveling through the Canadian Rockies. Even on a cloudy rainy day, they were impressive. Turning north onto Hwy 93, I headed to Jasper.
I had the opportunity, once the rain stopped to take a few pictures. It is difficult to capture the grandeur, but I’ll have lots of learning opportunities in the coming weeks.
Wildlife sightings included one black bear in a ditch alongside the highway.
I knew something was there, because just like at Yellowstone, drivers will just stop to gawk. Jeez, folks, it’s a highway, eh?
Other wildlife included deer and mountain sheep. No photos of the animals, yet. Sorry. My regular riding buddy would say, “Well then, you really didn’t see them then.” LOL
The rock face of the mountains reminds me of those in Glacier National Park. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me since this is all part of the greater Rocky Mountain Range.
Approaching Jasper, I needed some lunch. I had eaten a rather giant apple muffin from Bluebird Cafe so soup and a second latte sounded great.
I asked the gods of Garmin for advice. My GPS showed me a number of choices. I picked Moody’s Cafe. Well the shortest route was blocked by construction. And, it turned out the second shortest route was also blocked by the same construction. I asked a flagger for directions, and he said, “That’s my mom’s coffee shop! Tell her Dale sent you.” and he told me how to get there with the current street situation. Small towns, eh?
I tried the Mulligatawny soup (with coconut sprinkles) and it was great! According to wikipedia, it is an English dish of Indian origin. It is a chicken stock with curry seasonings served with rice. I’m going to have to try to make this at home, as it would be awesome comfort food.
I parked near the coffee shop on one of the main walking streets in Jasper. Turns out it was just in front of a motorcycle shop focusing on rentals and tours (of the area in a sidecar) and retailing gear. After lunch, I spoke with one of the guys at length about where to stop in Watson Lake, not to miss the Laird Hot Springs, etc..
I turned east onto Hwy 16 and the geography started to change.
About an hour out of Jasper, I turned north onto Hwy 40, or what my GPS referred to as a Range Road. Much of the road was in good shape and the speed limit was 100kph.
As I approached Grand Cache, there was an ongoing highway project widening Hwy 40 that resulted in one 15 minute delay.
On this trip, since I made reservations for every stop ahead of time, I also researched the local restaurant options and listed my favorite on my itinerary. Tonight, I would check out The Ridge, about a block from my motel.
I had a sirloin steak sandwich with a spicy mac’n’cheese side. Both were excellent! My server, Jordan, was super friendly and she made the suggestions. The decor was contemporary, just like the room decor at the Acorn Motel where I was staying. I love that type of surprise and would recommend both the restaurant and the motel. 🙂
Tomorrow, I have a relatively short ride to Dawson Creek where the Alaskan Highway begins. Woo hoo!