Day 22 – The Ride Home – Kalispell to Calgary

Distance: 316 miles / 509 kilometres
Temps: Low 6 celcius (outside of Whitefish to border crossing) / High 18 Fernie, BC
Riding Time: 8:15 – 2:45pm

The last days of my summer tours are always a bit bitter sweet. I’m tired and glad to go home, but also I really do enjoy exploring and seeing new things and just plain riding. This trip was no exception. I haven’t taken nearly as many photos on this trip since I just really wanted to focus on riding and finding cool places to ride. Scenery and excellent rides do not always exist on the same route but I’ve enjoyed all the riding days just the same.

I wanted to be home by mid-afternoon so I was up at a decent time to ensure I’d miss some of the oddities of weekend traffic in the mountains. I’d intended to go back through Glacier the way I came and had even programmed it on the GPS for the return today.

When I set out it was only 10 celcius in Kalispell, which isn’t terribly troubling but is cool at highway speeds. I mentioned in my previous post about bringing things that you may not use – the just-in-case stuff. Well they certainly came in handy today. I have insulated running tights, a few layers of cycling/running gear, and my rain gear – most of which never sees the light of day on these tours. Today they were essentials. So I wore all my layers when I headed out.

When I reached highway 93 and was going to the turn towards Glacier National Park I realized that it could potentially be a ridiculously cold and wet journey today. Being wet, riding, and traversing high mountain passes is a recipe for hypothermia. I did, however, notice a sliver of blue sky off to the West and towards the route through Whitefish and Fernie, BC. I thought it was worth a try and it turned out to be a good decision as I missed all of the inclement weather except that infernal wind.

The temperature plummeted all the way down to 6 celcius and actually felt like snow at some points. Luckily, that did end up happening and once I reached the Roosville Border Crossing and over into the interior of BC things started to warm up into the mid-teens. No issues at the border – a few questions and I was whisked across.

When I reached Highway 3, I had another decision to make about the weather and my route. The ugliness was right over the Crowsnest Pass route and I could still potentially be wet and miserable or take highway 93 through Invermere and come home on the #1 or 1A. I chose to push my luck again and see if I could straddle the storm front. It worked. The wind in Crowsnest is an insufferable bastard and will nearly blow you off the road in spots, but other than that I was successful at skirting the nastiness on the way home. A quick stop in Fernie for breakfast at the Smitty’s (I love stopping there on the way home), over highway 22 and my usual route through Black Diamond, Millarville, Bragg Creek and home.

The thirteen days on the road have come to an end and it has flown by yet again. Another successful, safe and enjoyable exploration of the US West.