TT West 2022 Conquered the Rockies Despite Rocky Weather

By Larry Brickner, Life Member

We were climbing 11,000-foot Beartooth Highway in Montana when we spotted a weather squall ahead. After stopping to let the roadsters close their tops, the group soldiered through heavy rain while the temperature dropped some 20-degrees. Then the rain turned to sleet that covered the road with three inches of slush. This wasn’t good for TTs with summer tires. The group made its way slowly and ten minutes later, passed through to the other side of the storm.

Beyond the weather, the first day of TT West featured three scenic highways; the Chief Joseph, the Beartooth, and the Beartooth Front. The Beartooth is the most challenging with hairpin turns sans guardrails. That drivers were able to travel these roads at all required a heroic repair effort by the Montana Department of Transportation since portions were wiped out in June from floods that closed Yellowstone National Park.

Tuesday’s drive from Bozeman to Whitefish on the edge of Glacier National Park passed with no problems. Wednesday featured the Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Again, weather was a factor since 80-foot snow drifts were cleared a few weeks earlier. This road is all about the incredible scenery.  Unfortunately, the 6,600-foot summit was socked in with fog, though there were still beautiful vistas on either side to enjoy. Both the Beartooth and the Going To The Sun roads were constructed by the US Government Civilian Conservation Corps projects during the Great Depression.

Thursday took us to Libby, Montana where the group enjoyed the Yaak River Scenic Loop. The road follows the Yaak River north where drivers stopped by a waterfall for a scenic break. The road stopped in downtown Yaak (population 338 and two bars). The road south back to Libby was the surprise of the week, 36-miles of constant tight turns.

Friday marked a cross into Canada, the group prepared with passports, COVID vaccination records, and information in the required ArriveCAN app. We entered at the Kingsgate crossing, heading to the feature road of the day. Route 93 through Canada’s Kootenay National Park offers frequent passing lanes and fantastic views of the stark rock-chiseled Canadian Rockies while snaking through the valleys to Banff.

On Saturday we began our trip to the Ice Fields of Banff National Park via the Route 93. The views of the Rockies were spectacular despite drizzle and occasional clouds shrouding the peaks.

A unique feature seen frequently during the drives in Northern Montana and Alberta is the milky turquoise waters of the lakes and streams. Their origin goes back to the last Ice Age when the glaciers ground underlying rocks to powder. The resulting rock “flour” continues to be carried down streams to this day. When the sun hits the infused water, you get the stunning green to blue turquoise color.

Several decided to explore the east side of the Canadian Rockies via Route 40 Kananaskis Trail on the return drive. The vistas were spectacular, though another “nature event” encountered along the back roads of Southern Alberta between the Rockies and the Canada/US border were locusts. By the time we reached the border, the cars were coated in locusts. Radiators were covered so thick with the insects that drivers cleaned them at a “wand wash” over concern that engine cooling might be compromised.

Participation in this year’s TT West was 16 cars. Most were Mk 3 models as Mk 1 participants become fewer. The mix included four TT RS and a 2019 20th Anniversary Edition roadster. View more photos and videos of TT West on the event Facebook page,  The site also has a link to join the mailing list if you are interested in joining up for future TT West events.

Next year’s event will be in the Southern region of the Western states with information and registration announced on our Facebook page and web site by the end of 2022.

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