The power in Stanley was still out when I woke, which meant no coffee, no WiFi, no blog. It was a lovely morning. I emerged from my warm cocoon and began lugging luggage back to Badger just after 7:00 am. The only other signs of life around were a group of whitewater rafters and crew who were attempting to shoot a film on the Salmon, but had been rebuffed by extremely high water levels so were departing for Oregon in search of friendlier rocks.
I chased the intimidating Salmon River downstream, on the twisty 75 out of Stanley, to the 93 north from Challis up through Salmon, North Fork, and into Missoula. Lots of bike traffic south of Missoula, undoubtedly drawn by the fantastic Lolo Pass ride which Badger and I missed this time through. (Kill'r and I rode it in 2014 headed south.)
Missoula pitstops were 2 for 2, scoring some new handguards for Badger at the well-stocked Big Sky Motosports, and scoring a burger, fries, and shake for myself at the last chance Five Guys. Pushing northward, I chose the 35 along the east side of Flathead Lake over the 93 along the west side (Butler highlighted both as good roads) into West Glacier. I got U-turned in Glacier National Park due to the Going To The Sun Highway not yet being open for the summer (road report: "Closed Due To Plowing") which added 71 km to my route. Unfortunately, Google Maps does not seem aware that the GTTS Hwy is not open.
I crossed back into Canada at Carway without issue -- just a couple of probing questions to confirm that I wasn't importing a foreign bike -- and finished out the evening getting splattered by bugs and retraining my brain back to km/h road signs. In the USA, I'd developed a system whereby the first digit of the recommended speed for marked corners directly corresponded to the right gear selection, i.e. 45 or 40 mph = 4th gear, 25 or 20 mph = 2nd gear, etc. This worked right from 1st through 6th! My only other in-helmet thought which I remember was concluding that I should use hotel pools more often, because after a day riding, I'm already wearing contacts, undressed, in need of a shower, and within 100 feet of a hotel pool -- all the work is 95% done!
The day finished as it started, touched by the generosity of a stranger, when the guy running the highwayside greek restaurant in little Claresholm, Alberta insisted on giving me two bottles of beer out of his cooler to drink with my to-go pizza, even though it was past closing time and he had to stay late with me so as not to violate his liquor license. I slept at the Bluebird Motel, whose online reviews led me to expect a spotlessly-housekept retro 60's roadside motel, but was in fact a spotlessly-housekept retro 40's roadside motel which reminded me of a visit to Grandma's. Nothing wrong with that. I'm within striking distance of Badger's 9:00am tire appointment.
Day total: 973 km, 13h10m
Trip total: 8,736 km
Start: Stanley, ID. End: Claresholm, AB.
Soundtrack: Squishy, soft, soothing, delicate, luxurious foam earplugs.