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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday: Waterton to Whitefish

Notes from the ChildLine Rocks charity motorcycle ride through BC, AB, MT and ID:

The morning broke cold and misty, making the lake and mountains around the village look more like winter in a Scottish moor than high summer in the Canadian Rockies. As I'm the only American in the group, I tend to ride differently than the rest. I've been told I am "slow" which confuses me because I wasn't aware we were in a race.

American motorcycling is about the journey, not the destination, whereas quite a few of my British mates on the ride seem to be overly anxious to drive real fast to get to where they are going. Sometimes this strikes me as a bit too much like trying to prove their worth as riders or even in some cases an adolescent attempt to prove, their, umm, manliness. It's sort of, okay, you can drive real fast on a straight road, you're on a motorcycle, what else you got? But I keep quiet and avoid the weaving and hard braking into curves. I take it as a personal failure to brake going into a curve but at least half the group all ride at breakneck speed until they realize they have to brake or die.

I broke from the pack shortly after leaving Waterton, pulling over and shutting off the bike to enjoy the silence of a cold and cloudy morning. I love silence. There are very few places you can go anymore to experience true and utter silence and I was happy this morning to have found one.

Crossing the border into Montana took a lot longer than it should have, but we eventually made it across. For lunch I had elk and buffalo chili on Navajo frybread - one of my favorites. The group took a 30 mile ride up The Road To The Sun in Glacier National Park and the scenery was hands down the best I have seen in 25 years of travel. Forget Switzerland, Norway, California or anywhere else, Glacier National Park is proof things don't happen by accident.

Cruised into the Kandahar Lodge in Whitefish, Montana, around 6:00PM. Beautiful hotel - no elevators, so the schlepping of all the gear and luggage up four flights of stairs was only made worse by finding out I had to schlep up another flight of stairs once I got to my room. The room was a nice little duplex loft kind of thing, with a bed, TV, bathroom and desk below and a bed up in the attic. My roommate decided he had to be downstairs so he "could blog" and that I could have the upstairs. The desk went unused as my roomie stayed out until 2:00AM or so which gave me my little attic space to myself. Remember when you were a kid and you visited relatives in the summer, and you got to sleep up in the dormer? Right. Only then it was fun.

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