September 11, 2009 GMT
Jasper to Salt Lake City

10/9/09
We have continued to have problems with email connectivity so this entry will cover the the last 10 days.
Our stay in Jasper was a time of resting so we only did a few of the countless touristy opportunities available there. We went up Whistler Mountain on the Jasper tramway, which is a cable car that takes 6 minutes to travel almost to the top of the mountain; on the way up we saw a Spyder (a mini-digger type machine) cutting trees under the path of the car - it does this by pulling itself up the steep side of the mountain and cutting the trees at ground level. The view at the top was obscured by smoke from forest fires in neighbouring British Columbia, but it was still possible to see the valley Jasper is in. We attempted to walk to the top of the mountain, but steep gravelly paths and a lack of interest meant we only walked a part of the way up, now if we were on the bike that may have been different! The following day we rode to Miette Hot Springs which is a pool filled with water from the mountains cooled to 40C! The ride up to the spa was a winding road with great views.
On the second night in Jasper we were retuning from dinner when we passed a couple who Marilyn recognised, it was a couple who had spoken to us for just a few minutes on our the first day of riding in Alaska! We caught up on our respective journeys so far and arranged to meet for dinner the next night.
The day we left Jasper started badly with the bike oil light showing only 15 miles into the journey, this was overcome with s quick rest and time for the bike computer to reset itself.The ride through the Glacier Highway as far as Lake Louise was a real treat and lived up to its reputation. Shortly after passing Lake Louise the bike overheated and we had to stop to refill the radiator, this was caused by a leaking radiator hose. We were helped by a passing road worker who told us he had been to Prudhoe Bay and back to Banff, in Canada in just 10 days in May! We continued to Calgary to pick up the brake pads we needed, the only F800GS set they had. As we arrived an employee from the bike shop came across to tell us he had driven from Calgary to Valparaiso in Chile, his homeland, on 4 occasions. He gave us a lot of information on travelling in Central & South America. The original plan had been to drive through Calgary and then find a small town to look for a motel, we settled on riding 40 miles from Calgary to Nanton. We stopped for fuel 5 miles out of Calgary and a customer stopped to tell me the chain was loose, I was aware it was slack and intended to tighten it in the morning, he persisted and found a broken link. He offered to take Marilyn and some of the luggage to his home town, High River, and show us a motel. A worrying 8 mile ride and we were in High River. In the morning I replaced the chain with a spare I had brought from England, changed the brake pads and topped up the oil and water.
The ride from High Water to the Canadian border was a dull dual carriageway with only hay bails and the occassional cow for scenery! This was prairie country bordered with the Rockies far to the West. The Border crossing into the USA was straight forward and we continued into Montana to arrive at Great Falls. We chose this destination because we assumed the name indicated a great waterfall which we would like to have seen and soon found a hotel - minus the seemingly obligatory casino that most others had. We found a leaflet that showed a series of water falls on the Missouri River. We set off in search off the geat falls in the morning but there weren't any - the falls in the leaflet are due to the power company letting water through the dam they use to generate electricity!
We rode to Gardiner in the heart of the Rockies and on the edge Yellowstone National Park, another great ride on mountain roads and the latter part from Livingstone alongside the Yellowstone River.
Our intention had been to stay at Gardiner for a night and then ride into the Park to find a hotel on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, however we had arrived on Labor Day weekend, the last holiday weekend of the summer season; when we tried to book in there wasn't any rooms available until the Monday. We booked for 2 nights at The Lake Hotel from Monday and stayed in a log cabin for 2 days in Gardiner. During the 4 days at Yellowstone Park we visited several volcanic sights and Old Faithful, a really impressive sight and took a boat ride on the lake. We saw Elk, Bison and an Eagle, but no bears!
We left Yellowstone on Highway 89 for Salt Lake City, a ride of 366 miles. Highway 89 is a scenic drive and the road from Bear Lake to Highway 15 is probable the best ride yet with mile after mile of fast sweeping bends and incredible scenery on both sides of the road.
We have spent today in Salt Lake City, visiting the Mormon Temple Square and picking up emails in the library (1 hour free computer use). From here we w

ill visit the Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats and then go to Bryce Canyon in South Utah.

Posted by Albert Sollini at September 11, 2009 02:39 AM GMT
 


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