Part 3, Conclusion – 2015 Great Schnitzel Run

Phil (L) and Walker (R) refueling in Montana

Phil (L) and Walker (R) refueling in Montana

Day 3, Orofino, ID to Fernie, BC

Sunday morning at the Konkolville Motel’s continental breakfast, some of our group are saying they’re still stuffed from last night’s steak dinner.

Joseph Chapman is looking after the breakfast crowd in a shirt and tie, ready for church.  I try the biscuits and gravy, a culinary item available only in the U.S. and something I’ve never seen in Canada.

For the uninitiated, biscuits and gravy is a favoured dish with origins in the deep southern United States, and they’re an America version of British scones, but to my taste, much heavier.  And instead of serving them British style with butter and jam,  it’s a savory tea biscuit served with a pork-based white gravy.  Most Canadians seem to prefer the British style scone to the American ‘biscuit.’

As usual, it’s ‘wheels up’ at 8:00 AM and various self-organized groups of our entourage depart around that time.  It’s another cool morning and we ride from town across the small bridge linking us to US Highway 12 (aka the Lewis and Clark Highway), eastbound for Lolo Pass on the Idaho-Montana border.

Day 3, Orofino, ID to Fernie, BC

Day 3, Orofino, ID to Fernie, BC

We’ve ridden the Lewis and Clark Highway every May for the past few years, and there’s a good reason why this is always rated as one of the most scenic drives in America.  Mid-morning we take our customary coffee (second breakfast for some) break at Lowell, where there’s a gas station, diner and motel.

A second breakfast, mid-morning, at Lowell, MT provides much-needed energy for the hard work of riding on the scenic Lewis and Clark Highway

A second breakfast, mid-morning, at Lowell, MT provides much-needed energy for the ‘hard work’ of riding on the scenic US 12, Lewis and Clark Highway

Around lunch time we’re northbound in Montana, skirting Flathead Lake.  Denis and Louise are leading Robyn and me, and we join up with Garry and Esther.  Along the way, we pass a roadside diner and see the rest of our group’s bikes parked outside.  They’ve obviously stopped for lunch, but we continue riding.

A few miles later we pull off the highway into the parking lot of what looks like a restaurant, but it’s a retail store.  We’ve been in the saddle for a few hours and welcome the break to use the washroom, stretch our legs and grab snacks we’re carrying.

Riders sharing snacks at a roadside stop

Riders sharing snacks at a roadside stop

Our border crossing back to Canada is quick and efficient, and we arrive at our motel in Fernie late in the day and tired.

Instead of a dining experience for supper, we decide to phone for delivery pizza, and everybody is happy to stay at the motel and NOT have to go somewhere for our evening meal.

A local pizzeria delivers $100 dollars’ worth of pies and everybody is just happy to have food and chat in motel’s lobby.

Day 4, Fernie, BC to Edmonton, AB

Our final day is another transit stage.  Leaving Fernie our onboard thermometers are showing 1 Celsius, and Denis reports his uncovered bike has frost on the saddle.  Everybody plugs in their e-vests and crank up their heated grips and saddles.  A bright, sunny day takes some of the sting out of the cold start to the day.

The ride from Fernie to Edmonton takes us from B.C. on the Crowsnest Highway 3 into Alberta, where we turn northbound on Hwy 22 The Cowboy Trail.  It’s scenic, but the open road runs through remote southern Alberta ranchlands, and with long vistas, the terrain begs you to run fast.

Seasoned riders know that the RCMP and Alberta Sheriffs will be out in full force, especially on this Victoria Day long weekend.  After being part of a convoy traveling at an indicated 10 kph ‘over’, Brian, with Gale as pillion, decides to pick up the pace and accelerate steadily away from our group.

A few minutes later, we see Brian at the roadside having a nice chat with an Alberta Sheriff.  Brian later reported the Sheriff let him off with a warning and saying, ‘we’re after the guys who are going 140 and 160 (kph).’  Nice to know.

At Olds, AB we stop for lunch at Grouchy Daddy’s restaurant, a trendy-looking eatery on the main road through town.  Coincidentally, the rest of our group has stopped next door at a fast food restaurant, which is not our preference.

Our lunch at Grouchy Daddy’s starts off on the wrong foot.  Our server pours coffee that’s lukewarm, but she quickly apologizes and replaces it pouring from a fresh-brewed pot.  I order a fancy-schmancy Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese, which arrives bubbling hot, but it’s under-seasoned and I’m challenged to find any recognizable ‘chunks’ of lobster.

From Olds, the ride on the QE2 is surprisingly civilized for a holiday Monday.  Traffic is running at a reasonable pace, the highway is not overly crowded, and we don’t encounter any vehicles traveling much faster or slower than the main stream of vehicles.

Just after 4:00 PM, I roll into the driveway.  Our 4-day Schnitzel run, round trip, door-to-door has been a solid 2522 km.  It’s been another great trip with good friends, memorable food and terrific motorcycle roads.

2015 Schnitzel Run, 4 days, 2522 km round trip, door-to-door

2015 Schnitzel Run, 4 days, 2522 km round trip, door-to-door

 

 

 

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