Welcome Motorcycle Enthusiasts to the 1st Episode of
“ON THE BACK ROADS WITH RIDE STOP N GO”
How did this come about you ask? Well over the last couple of years we have traveled thousands and thousands of miles across North America. Between us we have ridden our motorcycles in 45 of the lower 48 states and 6 of Canada’s 10 provinces. We have ridden to Ottawa for Canada day, parked our motorcycles on the White House lawn, Shagged in South Carolina, hit a deer in Quebec, seen a Crazy Horse and partied all night long in Sturgis SD. All the while videoing and documenting our travels.
Riding in our Beautiful Province of Alberta
Early in 2012 we were planning our motorcycle rides for the year. Between us we decided to spend the year riding in our home province of Alberta. What a novel idea we thought. There is much we have yet to see close to home. We proposed an idea to Shaw TV in Calgary to film a six episode series of motorcycling in Alberta to be shown on local TV. They loved the idea and thought it was a great way to promote riding in Alberta. So we spent the whole summer riding, filming, meeting folks and just basically having fun doing what we love; riding our motorcycles.
This week On the Backroads with Ride Stop N Go we tour SW Alberta
The focus of the show is motorcycling some of Alberta’s less traveled roads and with 40,000km of paved blacktop in the province we had no trouble finding some of them and wow did we have fun. This episode finds us riding the south west part of Alberta which borders Montana on the south and British Columbia to the west. The area is a favorite for motorcyclists for the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountains, the rolling foothills and great paved roads.
We spent quite a number of days motorcycling around this area as it is expansive with lots to see. We started out leaving Calgary south to the 2A highway with a destination of the Waterton Lake National Park area. We wound our way through the town of Okotoks, High River and onto Nanton. Nanton Is a neat little town and you may want to spend some an hour or two here. The Bomber Command Museum is located here and provides great insight into the Lancaster bombers history of WW2. There is also a great number of antique shops and of course Rumors pub which is a frequent stop for us and many other motorcyclist’s.
The Beauty Begins…
From Nanton, we headed west on highway 533 through the porcupine hills, towards chain lakes provincial park and the cowboy trail (highway 22). This section of highway 533 is absolutely breath-taking on a motorcycle. You leave Nanton and flat farm country and almost immediately are into the foothills. With long sweeping corners you will definitely have your hand twisting on the throttle. As you gain in elevation the view of the Rocky Mountains becomes clearer and closer and you just may lose your breath. This is what riding is all about.
Cowboy Trail Hwy 22 WOW the view of the Rocky Mountains
From chain lakes we head South on the Cowboy Trail (Highway 22) on our way to Lundbreck Falls. This is a beautiful ride along the eastern edge of the Canadian Rockies. On this stretch of highway you need to be aware of the high winds as 100km gusts are common. At the intersection of Highway 22 and Highway 3 we went West a few kilometers to township road 74 and took this road towards Lundbreck Falls. We rode our motorcycles down into the provincial campground and walked a couple hundred yards to the falls. OMG are they ever a hidden treasure. The falls have often been compared to Niagara Falls but on a much smaller scale, a great place to stop for a refreshment and a sandwich.
Frank Slide and Waterton National Park, AMAZING
We traveled West on Highway 3 to Frank Slide and the site of the 1903 Turtle Mountain rock slide. Over 90 million tons of limestone broke off of turtle mountain, slid down the north face and buried eastern edge of frank. The remnants of the slide is evident as the highway was built right through the huge boulders that are spread on the valley floor for many square kilometers. Ensure to take in the Frank Slide interpretive centre.
From Frank we back tracked on highway 507 through Canada’s windiest city; Pincher Creek. We pointed the bike south on Highway 6 on route to Waterton Lakes National Park. And let us tell you, if you have never been to Waterton you’re in for an eye full. The visual impact as you gain elevation close to the King Edward hotel is breathtaking. Stop at the hotel before you head into the village and enjoy the view as you look south across the lakes as the USA can be seen in the distance. Ride into town, park your bikes and stroll around the lakes edge, grab a drink in one of the many pubs and restaurants and stay the night. A good place to stop at is Pat’s Service, rider friendly and a wealth of information on the great places to travel to. On your way out of the village look for the garbage dump sign on the west side. It is right beside the park maintenance offices. Drive up the gravel road and park at the top, turn around and you will experience one of the best views the world has to offer.
No Alcohol in small town.. WTH?
From Waterton we rode just north to Highway 5 and turned east on our way to Mountain View and the Mormon inspired town of Cardston. We rode around the town looking to find a place to have a snack and a beer but to our dismay the town is alcohol free…Go figure. We stopped at the massive Mormon temple for a picture and headed north on Highway 2 through the Kainai Indian reservation on our way to Ft. Macleod.
Great History in Fort Macleod, you have to stop here
Fort Macleod is a town in the southwest corner of the province of Alberta, Canada. It was founded as a North-West Mounted Police barracks, and is named in honor of the North-West Mounted Police Colonel James Macleod. The fort was built as a 70 by 70 meters square (233 by 233 ft) on October 18, 1874. The east side held the men’s quarters and the west side held those of the Mounties. Buildings such as hospitals, stores, and guard-rooms were in the south end. Stables and the blacksmith’s shop were in the north end. We recommend taking a tour of the old fort as it was a pivotal piece of Alberta’s history
Local Albertans are friendly
We headed out of Ft. Macleod, north on highway 811 which runs through the Oldman River Valley. Once cresting the north side of the valley we are once again on flat prairie farmland as we head to highway 519. We turn west here and once again stare into the Rocky Mountains from a distance. At Granam we turn north on highway number 2 to heading north back home to Calgary. We are back on a four lane highway and it feels anti climatic. Tractor trailers, cars full of people in a hurry flying past us. We think of the past days ride and smile from the inside as we still steal a glance to the west as the mighty Rockies follow us home. We pull off in the town of Stavely remembering we are hungry and thirsty from nothing being in Cardston.Yes they have beer and food at the hotel, Phew that was close! We sat with the local farmers and ranchers, we are not in a hurry to get home, listening to great old stories, laughing with new friends and discussing where in Alberta we will go next?
Mossleigh & Aspen Crossing
We decide to ride the next weekend and continue just east and south of Calgary through pristine ranching and farming country. Heading east from Calgary on highway 22 towards Carsland we are drawn to a backroad where out of the field in what seems lost the middle of nowhere is a fertilizer plant and a nitrogen plant. Obscure in their location and we wonder what brought them to the area? We hop on highway 24 which takes us to the small, farming town of Carsland (which incidentally a lot of the residents are employed by the plants). Continuing south on the meandering blacktop we cross the mighty Bow River and notice the many fisherman who ply their trade on this world famous waterway. We slowly sneak up to the small farming town of Mossleigh when a sign over the right side of my fairing beckons us, food and Aspens… WHAT? We jam on the brakes and slide into Aspen Crossing, it’s one of those places we have rode by a thousand times and never gave two thoughts of it. Have we ever been missing out, Besides having a tree nursery and small garden centre this place has cars…
We mean railroad cars, Cabosse dinner cars, freight cars. There is an old passenger car that they have made into a restaurant and after eating there you may well go back for seconds. In the back of the massive property is a full service campground which is reasonable in price. Now if tenting is not your thing there is a rail car that has been converted to a fully detailed suite. So if you’re in the area stop in and say hi to the owner Jason. Pretty sure there will be other motorcyclists there to share your surprise, We will definitely be back.
2 unique towns with interesting stories
After leaving Mossleigh we took a highway 547 to Arrowood, this small village also relies on farming and ranching. It is named after the Arrowwood shrub, which was a choice of wood by indigenous people as it was very straight and strong. We backtracked to highway 24 heading towards Vulcan. We decided to head east on highway 542 and check out McGregor Lake and the town of Milo. The lake is a major source of irrigation for southern Alberta farmers and is quite large. The town of Milo has an interesting history. It had positioned itself in advance of the railway coming through. When the railway aligned itself it was 3km away from the early town, so what did they do…Well moved the whole town to be on the rail line… Ingenuity in action.
Vulcan Alberta… home to Star Trek Days
We backed tracked west and headed for Vulcan on highway 23. Vulcan was named after the roman god of fire and not for Spocks home planet as the name implies. Although there is a tourism and trek centre and a scale model of “STAR TREK” Starship Enterprise. The town should not be missed; especially if you’re a fan of the show.
We left Vulcan and headed west on highway 534 towards Nanton. The highway heads south and aligns with highway 533 west which took us back to Nanton where we stop for a burger and a beer at Rumors Pub before heading back to Calgary on highway 2
Next week On the Backroads with Ride Stop N Go
Next week tune in as we are privileged to be a part of the 2012 Calgary Motorcycle Ride For Dad. 400 bikes, poker run, great charity event, great executive and over $150,000 raised.
Ride Safe and we will see you next Sunday Oct 21 at 8:00pm MST
Troy & Ang, 2 passionate people who love to ride
Below is the map of our travels, 2 different maps as we rode it 2 different weekends.