Day 18

We left Columbia Falls and rode towards Glacier National Park on highway 2. Highway 2, especially near Columbia Falls would be very dangerous to ride in the heavy RV traffic that is present most of the summer, but traffic was light and, although not fun, it wasn't dangerous. The AC route uses back roads, including five miles or so of gravel road (the only gravel road [other than construction sites] on their northern route) and I would definitely use that when the traffic was heavy. We stopped 10 miles or so down the road for a good breakfast and then rode on past (sniff, sniff!) the entrance to the Park. Highway 2 is, at least before the season starts, very good riding and the views going south around the park are superb. We stopped for lunch at a cafe just before Essex and met a fellow tourist coming west. He had started from Minot ND and was headed for Seattle. He was carrying camping gear, but thinking of shipping it home. He said there was no place really worth camping between Minot and Glacier and I advised him that there were lots of places between Glacier and Seattle. As it turned out, like him, I didn't camp anywhere east of the continental divide.

Highway 2 goes over Maria Pass, the gentlest pass over the Rockies in the USA. It was an easy, fun, and beautiful ride with a good tail wind going up the pass. The easiest pass of the trip. East Glacier was a bit of a disappointment, and the hostel, although pleasant, was over priced. 75 miles with 3700 feet of climbing today.

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