Fall Tour, Part 1: Day 1 – Edmonton to Choteau, Montana (Route map added)

Beastly cold. Near Shelby, MT where temps averaged -2 Celsius when we rode through

Beastly cold. Near Shelby, MT where temps averaged -2 Celsius when we rode through

Day 1:  Edmonton to Choteau, Montana, 723 km

(Scroll to end of page for route map, edited Sept. 8/2017)

Late September is always an ‘iffy’ time for a Fall motorcycle tour, especially in Alberta.

In 2014, we managed a glorious Fall tour into Montana, Idaho and back to Alberta in mid-September.  And we wanted to replicate that fabulous tour this year.

Scheduling problems and cold, wet weather caused us to delay our 4-day trip to the last week of September.  We were buoyed by the unseasonably warm weather in the mid-20s C just days before we were scheduled to leave on Friday, September 29th.

With the potential for rain forecast for Days 3 and 4 of our tour, we decided to take the risk and head to Montana.  What could possibly go wrong?

Our quartet of hardy riders included Paul (on a naked Ducati GT1000), group leader Robyn (BMW R1200RTW), Walker (Ducati Multistrada), and yours truly (BMW R1200RTW.)

At 9:00 AM sharp, we departed from our meeting point at Blackjack’s Roadhouse in Nisku, and proceeded south on the QEII highway, a mind-numbing freeway that’s the most direct route to Calgary and south towards the U.S. border.

It’s a cool start to the day and we’re bundled up for cold weather riding.  It’s times like this where the BMW R1200RT is in it’s element.  The big, aerodynamic fairing provides arguably the best weather protection in motorcycling, heated hand grips and heated saddle are more than luxury items in extreme cold, and an electric vest provides varying degrees of toastiness by adjusting the wired-in rheostat.

Day 1 of our tour is dry, but cool.

Day 1 of our tour is dry, but cool.

About 2 hours into our ride, we pull into Innisfail for fuel.  It’s a good time to get off the bikes, and Paul, tough as he is, needs to refuel the Ducati’s small gas tank and warm up.

Paul courageously rode in near freezing temps and even -2 Celsius for hours, protected only by his Aerostich riding suit. Tough guy!!!

Paul courageously rode in near freezing temps and even -2 Celsius for hours, protected only by his Aerostich riding suit. Tough guy!!!

Walker with his Ducati Multistrada

Walker with his Ducati Multistrada

Group Leader Robyn with his BMW R1200RTW

Group Leader Robyn with his BMW R1200RTW

We arrive at the very nice Stage Stop Inn at Choteau, Montana.

Our total mileage for the day is 723 km.

For supper, we have to ride a few minutes into town.

A beautiful Fall ride. In Montana, en route to Choteau

A beautiful Fall ride. In Montana, en route to Choteau

At Robyn’s suggestion, we take our evening meal at John Henry’s Restaurant, a casual, family-style eatery that serves up traditional Americana food.

I notice lots of folks eating great looking pizza, but after perusing the menu, I get suckered in by the Chicken Fried Steak ($11.50.)  This is one of those ‘special’ dishes I’ve only seen on U.S. menus – never in Canada, and I’m compelled to try it here.

John Henry's Restaurant's Chicken Fried Steak ($11.50)

John Henry’s Restaurant’s Chicken Fried Steak ($11.50)

Chicken Fried Steak is tenderized beef steak, breaded and pan fried, and usually served with gravy and potatoes.  That’s how mine came and it was ok.  My craving for the U.S. dish had been satiated.

Choteau, Montana

John Henry’s Restaurant, Choteau, Montana

Day 1 route, Edmonton, AB to Choteau, MT

Day 1 route, Edmonton, AB to Choteau, MT

 

 

 

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