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International Peace Park Tour
* Part 2 *
Continued from Part 1
Motorcycling articles by Leonard R.
The morning was beautiful. We had to take down the tent and pack everything back into the trailer, because at the end of the day we would be staying at a different campground on the Canada side of the park.
We took the same route as the previous day taking the Going To The Sun Road to St. Mary. We checked out a few of the remaining campgrounds we had missed the day before. Since we had food in the trailer, we could stop at the visitor center and eat. We also discovered we could have made some money selling sandwiches, should the park have allowed it. A few people thought we were a vendor. I guess we weren't the only ones hungry.
I have to insert a note here. At one of the campgrounds we saw three people playing alpine horns, but I forgot which campground. It may be they play at various campgrounds throughout the year. I just don't know. Also somewhere along the way, we saw these odd red tour busses. |
At St. Mary, after fueling, we turned north on highway U.S.# 89. This stretch takes you through the town of Babb, a distance of 8 miles. As you near Babb the terrain opens up a little bit revealing some wide open meadows and monoliths. Judy and I recall only seeing one old gas station, so I suggest fueling at St. Mary, just in case the Babb station has closed.
Four miles north of Babb we turned left onto Montana state highway # 17, going past Mt. Cleveland. (10,448 ft.) This route will also take you past Chief Mountain. It sits by its self on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. The only road we saw heading towards Chief Mountain was dirt, so we kept on rolling.
Roughly 13 miles past the highway #17- #89 intersection you cross into Alberta, Canada. We slowed for the boarder guards, but the guards on both sides waved us through. Highway #17 now became PV #6.
The stretch of road from the border to PV #5 is about 18 miles. It was a nice stretch of road to ride. When we got to PV #5, we turned left, (west) heading for the town of Waterton Park and Townsite. Along the way, we went past the famous Prince Of Wales Hotel, which sits over looking Waterton Lakes |
Waterton (Or Waterton Park as some one corrected us) is a nice village with everything you would need. Several lodges and one café. We found everything to be about 30 percent higher in cost, as compared to goods in the larger towns outside the park. I suggest you buy everything you would need or want before going to Waterton. We always travel on a budget, my budget, so I am very cost conscious. Okay, I'm a miser, I'll admit it.
We checked out the Waterton Lakes Campground. It is a nice campground and worth staying there if you choose. And it has showers. There were some really nice tent spots overlooking streams and several cabins to rent. The tents sites were going for $22 a night. At the South end of Waterton Park is another place called Townsite, which has a campground too, but no showers.
After spending a couple of hours and more money then I want to recall, we headed back to PV #6 and once again turned north. We were headed to a town called Pincher Creek.
This stretch of road was more flat with many longer curves and actually was a relaxing road to ride. I think my Navigator actually dozed off for several minutes. The country side was beautiful and a little different then what we had seen.
For you that might use this article to plan your trip, The distance from St. Mary to PV # 5 is 43 miles. The round trip from PV # 5 to Waterton Park and back is 24 miles. From PV #5- #6 intersection to Pincher Creek is 28 miles. So the whole loop is about 95 miles. Thus, top your tank off at St. Mary.
Pincher Creek is a small town and did have one gas station and a cafe. We didn't see a whole lot going on and not much else of interest except for a few shops. The town has a private campground called Sleepy Hollow. It is a nice campground. Twenty Three dollars will get you a tent site, showers and an arm load of fire wood. We would happily have stayed there if we didn't have our sights on the Old Man River Provincial Recreation area. |
We did top off our tank before heading west the two miles into Old Man River Dam Provincial Recreation area. I'm sure there is some story behind that name, but I never found out. The recreation area is broken into 4 or 5 different campgrounds. We stayed in the only one that had showers, which was called Chinook. We also had to sit the tent where normally an RV would sit. This cost us a little extra, but we had electricity for our little tent heater, which was a god send on that cold night. The recreation park does not accept reservations, so again, you may want to get there as early as possible.
It would have been nice to spend a couple days here, hiking, fishing or swimming. But we didn't have the time. We set up the tent and decided to cook for our selves, since we had a nice camping spot and a picnic table. We cooked a nice supper of Pork Chop Delight (see Campfire cooking) and settled in. |
A group of four people walking together in the park stopped to chat for a while. They were lured over by the smell of my pipe. It turns out they were two husband and wife couples from England, over here to see the sights. When I saw one of the older gentleman take out his pipe and quietly mused that he had forgotten his tobacco. I gave him some of mine and we sat and talked about various pipe tobaccos.
They had rented an RV to tour and camp. One of the wives exclaimed how fearful they had been at first driving all the time on the wrong side of the road, that is, from their perspective. Then I asked her if she meant the left side was the wrong side. She said, “Oh my no... the left side is the right side.” I was more confused then ever. They were truly a delightful group and I am sad that we never got their names or address.
After they ever so politely excused themselves, we crawled into the tent and called it a night. It had been another good day. The total miles including the side trip to Waterton Park was about 165 miles and 10 hours, including our touring time. |
Going to Waterton Glacier International Peace Park from the Canada side
From Lethbridge, Alberta, go west on PV # 3 to Fort Macleod. From Fort Macleod go south on PV # 2, to Cardston. From Cardston you can go in two different directions to the park. You can go West on PV # 5, which takes you eventually to Waterton Park, or from Cardston, you can go south on PV # 2 which takes you to Babb, Montana.
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