Glacier Getaway

Story by Glenn Roberts// Photos by Bill Petro and Glenn Roberts
March 1 2012

There comes a time in everybody’s life for a little rest and relaxation. While it seems that life in the motorcycle industry is spent riding, little of that is peaceful for me, since work is so often in the forefront of my thoughts.

Such was the case this past summer when a group of motorcycle scribes were congregated out west for the Canadian National H.O.G. Rally in Kamloops, British Columbia. After the rally wound down, we arranged to take a few leisurely days for a road trip that would begin in Kelowna and take us south through beautiful B.C. and on to parts of Montana, Idaho and Washington state before heading north back to Kelowna. The highlight of our ride would be Glacier National Park, or so we thought.

We left Kane’s Harley-Davidson in Kelowna on a variety of 2012 models supplied to us by Deeley Harley-Davidson of Canada. The selection consisted of a Tri Glide Ultra Classic and seven Harley two-wheelers, including a couple of Softails, the new Dyna Switchback and a variety from the Motor Company’s family of touring bikes.

With our front wheels pointing south out of Kelowna and a temperature in the low 30s, we rolled along the west side of Okanagan Lake in heavy traffic until we reached Oliver. Roadside signs proclaiming this area to be the wine capital of Canada also signalled the end to most of the traffic and allowed us to continue to Osoyoos, Canada’s only true desert region, relatively free from the company of our four-wheeled opponents. I had been on this stretch of 97 once before, but the highlight of this first day of travel for me would be the eastern section of Highway 3, otherwise known as the Crowsnest Highway. The Crowsnest, running from Hope, B.C., to Medicine Hat, Alberta, is about 1300 kilometres of twisting, undulating roadway that climbs mountain passes, follows rivers and lake shorelines, and offers some of Canada’s finest scenery.

Just a few kilometres east of our entry point on to the Crowsnest, we rode into our first set of hairpins as we climbed high above Osoyoos, the road offering us an amazing view of the town far below.

Continuing east on a sparsely populated high plateau with the temperature dropping, I couldn’t help but wonder how harsh the winters must be high in these mountains, and how the inhabitants of the few visible ranches are probably often trapped in their winter wonderland during those months.

A steep drop from the plateau into Kettle Valley and the town of Rock Creek signalled time for fuel. Important to the surrounding area residents, Rock Creek is a small town spawned by a short-lived, mid-1800s gold rush. Our plan was to change bikes throughout the trip, and this fuel stop would mark the first exchange. I began the trip on the new-for-2012 Dyna Switchback. Released just days before our ride, I was looking forward to spending as much time as I could on the Switchback and was fortunate to have snagged it at the beginning of our ride.


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