Sunday, July 1, 2012

A freemanff in Banff, unfettered and alive

There was some concern whether Daniel would be able to cross the Canadian border because, although he'd registered his bike in Hawaii, he'd neglected to bring the Hawaii license plates with him. So, his Buell, which he bought used in Billings last summer, still had a "Montana Permanent" license plate.

Luckily, the nice young woman at the Canadian port of entry either didn't notice or didn't pursue the license plate issue and only looked at our passports.

David was a few hours behind us, having decided to get a new rear tire before leaving Butte. We agreed he'd meet us at the campground in Banff, where I'd reserved a site back in April.

Once over the border, we stopped for lunch at Canal Flats, BC, where the restaurant exterior was discouraging but the food turned out to be great. Dan had fish and chips and I had a cup of cream of broccoli soup and a chicken quesadilla before we continued north to Kootenay and Banff national parks.

A gaggle of big horn sheep greeted us just inside the gate of Kootenay National Park.
Flanman gets his first good view of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
The roads through Kootenay National Park aren't challenging, but the scenery is gorgeous.
The town of Banff is snuggled between giant slabs of granite.
Banff Springs Hotel -- now managed by Fairmont hotels -- is the city's man-made landmark.
Not to be outdone by New York's Central Park, Banff features horse-drawn carriages. When the driver saw me skooch down to take this photo, he told the horse to perk up his ears. In the visitor business, you want to put your best ears forward.
Banff's mountains seem to jut right out of the downtown grid -- no foothills. A surprising number of visitors are Asian -- perhaps the majority.
This little sight-seer was taking a break on Banff Avenue.
Some people just hate to leave behind any transportation options.
David and Daniel take a break in downtown Banff, where we frequented McDonalds for the free wi-fi, bathrooms and cheap eats. 
Two girls pose in front of Banff's downtown waterfall. The water in all the rivers we saw was on or past the brink of flooding.
This MGA 1600 Mark II parked at the waterfall was as ageless and stylish as the Banff Springs Hotel.
The Sulfur Mountain gondolas carry skiers up the hill in the winter and sightseers in the summer from just outside downtown Banff.
Unfortunately, the cost of a ride up and down the hill on the gondola, $33.95 plus tax, was a little too rich for my blood.
Sightseeing isn't a job for wimps.
Our campsite backed up to a prairie dog village and the little guys were up checking us out. They also let us get close enough to take their pictures. 
The campground was called Tunnel Mountain, a name awarded by early railroad surveyors who thought they'd have to drill a tunnel through it. Subsequently, the railroad found a way around the hill, but the name stuck.
The municipal golf course in Banff, open to the public, offers spectacular views. It's a little hard to carry clubs on a motorcycle trip, unfortunately,

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