Bronco busting

I almost didn’t see this sculpture, given its distance from the highway and its color that matched the background where it was placed. Having caught it out of the corner of my eye, but traveling too fast to stop, I instead pulled in on my way north.

The sculptor is Bob Scriver, and the sculpture is a version of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s official belt buckle. Helena’s Montana Historical Society has a bronze version.

Bronc rider

Bronc rider

Road signs, revisited

I know I’ve said this before, but entering Ontario via Buffalo and the Peace Bridge is a pain in the ass when you’re trying to cover new ground and there are no signs directing you. The Buffalo side has plenty of signs to point you to the border. The Canadian side continues to be a mystery, and finding your way – especially if you’re new to the area (or visiting after decades of absence) –  is a royal pain.

The monolithic tourist information center visible across the way was a nice touch, but I never saw a sign pointing towards it from the convoluted road system, either. Thus, I was unable to discover Ontario in the fashion and manner to which, I’m certain, Ontario would desire.

The absence of meaningful directional signs until 20 miles past the border, on some road, is ridiculous. But of course, it’s Ontario the good, isn’t it? Idiots.

Here’s a Wikipedia explanation of concession roads in southern Ontario. After reading it, there is no doubt that southern Ontario has got to have one of the most convoluted and stupid highway naming conventions in North America. And I haven’t even begun to talk about those miniscule white on dark blue county road signs that are hidden on electrical posts and lighting standards. Try following those through a city some day.

Put up a series of meaningful directional signs, you morons. I’d prefer a variety that is plainly visible, of standard dimension and color, and that actually point me in a direction that I choose to proceed. Of course, that’s only me. I’m sure local yokels who never travel out of the valley and other miscreants are quite happy the way it is.

Otherwise, don’t bother – which appears to be the direction that Ontario chooses to follow.

Going to the sun highway

A quiver full of... coffee?

Well, all right, but you go first. And, no, I didn't try any. It just didn't look right.

The ride up to and across Logan Pass is just one mountain and one mountain valley after another. Have a look at some flowers instead, while streams run down the valleys and snow lies on the peaks.

But if you must have a picture of a hill and a river, here’s one.

Logan Creek

Logan Creek

Yes, the Going to the Sun highway is a gorgeous ride. I’ve done it many times and appreciated it each and every time.

Travel adventure

It seemed like a good plan, too, since I’ve not been to Going to the Sun and Glacier National Park in over a decade. It used to be a quaint little ride through the middle of Nowhere, Montana, across Logan Pass and back down the other side. The road was a slow ride populated by queasy car drivers fearful of falling off of the edge of the earth. Some even kept two tires across the yellow line, obviously unaware of their own lack of driving skills.

It was mostly a good show to watch all of the city slickers stop in the middle of the road, heedless of traffic behind them, to take pictures through their vehicle windows. When they got back home I’m certain they proudly displayed each photograph and exclaimed how they braved the experience.

So, off I went, in search of adventure one more time. Instead, I found construction. Ten years worth of construction. And 2008 is only year two, according to a flagman on a segment of single-lane-only narrow park road. I figure that – and the price of gas – will doom this place to a long and lingering death.

But that’s all right, because it will keep traffic down, and afford those who can the opportunity to tour this magnificent piece of real estate in relative isolation. For now, the turnouts and pullouts are packed with cars, tour buses and people, all trying to take pictures of the same thing.

Should you enter this place from the east, you can get as far as the Weeping Wall with relative ease (in 2008) and then turn around there if you want to miss the construction delays, which can amount to three or four hours. You might have to wrestle for a spot in the parking area to turn around. The crowds seem to be drawn to this thing like a fly over a cesspool.

On the other hand, if you’re in a hurry to get through this thing, feel free to tailgate, or to pass everything in sight on blind corners. I experienced a lot of that. Mostly, it made me laugh. I had both sides of my lane to maneuver in, while cars have only a few feet to juggle. It particularly amuses me in situations like that, as cars pass in a hurry, only to be held up by the next 20 cars ahead. So funny. I find it my prerogative to ride behind the hurry-upper and let him see my shit-eating grin as he fumes away behind the next vehicle in a long line.

My question: If you’re here to see it, why would you be in such a hurry to get through it? Are you late for a court date on the other side?

My crowning achievement in four hours of constant amusement was watching drivers who poked cameras out of the sunroof and snapped away while either stopped in the middle of the road, or never stopped at all. Their heads were invisible as a detached arm with a camera attached poked its way up and forward, appearing much like one of the automatons in the original War of the Worlds.

Now that’s adventure.