Day 10: Canmore, AB, CA to Missoula, MT

We got up at 5am this morning and got ready in a hurry and hit the road. We made a quick stop at McDonalds for breakfast and coffee since the hotel wasn’t serving until 6:30 and that was the only thing close that was open at that time. It was just after 6 when we actually got on the road, and it was 47 degrees in Canmore.

We backtracked towards Lake Louise, but took the turn off for the Kootenay Highway to Radium Hot Springs. Shortly after we started down the highway, the temperature had dropped all the way down to 41 degrees. Let me tell you that it was rather cold, and I was so thankful (once again) for my heated grips and seat. Unfortunately I’ve never been able to find a pair of winter gloves that don’t hinder my dexterity to the point that I am fearful of riding in them, so I had on my regular Rev’It Chevron leather gloves, which have zero lining. With the grips on high it wasn’t too bad though, the only thing that got a bit numb was my thumbs, but who needs those anyways? Hahaha!

Although cold, the ride was beautiful, and I still found it enjoyable. It did seem as though the smoke may have receded a bit, which made me sad that we had to leave, because I think visibility may have been a little better today than it was the last two days. Go figure, they said the smoke had arrived the same day we did, so it is only fitting that it was dissipate as we left.

It was a 4 hour ride back to the US border, and after we made it to Radium Hot Springs, the rest of the ride was just retracing our tracks from the way we had come up on Tuesday. At the border, we had to wait in line about 10 to 15 minutes, but it wasn’t bad and it went fairly quickly. I did have a heart stopping moment while waiting in line where I tried to get my passport card out and handy, and couldn’t find it. It should have been in my wallet with my drivers license, but it wasn’t there, and after freaking out for a moment or two, I found it in the side pocket of my tank bag and remembered slipping it in there after the gentleman had handed it back to me when I crossed into Canada, intending to put it back in my wallet when I pulled forward, but I had forgotten. When it was our turn, everything went quick and smooth, and the gentleman checking our passport was super friendly.

We stopped in Eureka to take a quick break and get some Subway for lunch, and while we were there eating a gentleman from Canada pulled up beside our bikes on a GSXR and came in to have lunch as well. We chatted with him for quite a while, which led to our quick lunch stop being more like a 45 minute lunch stop, but it was fun to chat with another rider for a bit anyways, so we didn’t mind.

Unfortunately the temperature had jumped up quite a bit while we were stopped, and it was already 80 degrees by the time we hit the road again. By the time we got to Kalispell, it was 90 degrees, and we still had 2 hours and 15 minutes to Missoula. That was a very long ride, as it just continued to get hotter as we went. We did get a bit of relief, if you want to call it that, as we rode alongside Flathead Lake, but that relief came at about 86 degrees and full sun, so it wasn’t all that noticeable.

Of course, after we departed the lake, the temperature jumped back up to mid 90’s, and by the time we were 30 minutes away from Missoula, it had hit 100 degrees, which means that our temperature had a 59 degree variance from when we started out this morning to when we finished this afternoon. Talk about going from one extreme to the other!

We are now trying to decide what our plan will be for tomorrow. We decided a couple of days ago that Idaho is no longer an option, it is going to be too hot to do any dirt riding and actually enjoy it, and that’s the whole reason I wanted to go there. So, we will save that for next trip, and I think for this trip, it may just be time to head home. It is going to be miserably hot pretty much everywhere we could go, and I don’t want to go somewhere just to go, I want to actually enjoy it, so I think we will start towards home, we are nearly 2,000 miles away, so it will take us probably 5 days to get there, depending on how much riding we decide to do each day. With it being so hot we may just try to get as much riding done early in the day as we can and then call it a day, or we may just say screw it and get as far as we can each day and make it home in 4 days at the most.

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