Posted by: localmotive2011 | July 28, 2011

Finally in Montana!

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After leaving Lander, we headed north to Grand Tetons National Park. We had one of our most beautiful rides, surrounded by the mountains, pine trees, and rushing rivers. Family friends, Jeff and Kathy of Jackson, took us out to a marina restaurant where we enjoyed trading stories of bicycle touring and environmental projects. Kathy has ridden the Northern Tier tour (Seattle, WA to Bar Harbor, ME) and extensively in the southern U.S. Thanks again for meeting up with us!

We spent the night in a hiker/biker campsite and then headed on to Yellowstone National Park. The tourist season is in full swing, which meant lots of RVs and loaded cars were constantly passing us on the narrow shoulder. For the first time on our trip, we were no longer the only travelers. We saw some neat wildlife, including moose, elk, and bison. We learned from Kathy that the best way to avoid getting gored by bison is to ride alongside a vehicle (making sure to tell the driver that the average bike speed is about 10mph). One sign commonly found in the park told us that bison can run up to 30mph and for those who think they can outrun the bison, that is three times faster than a person can run!

Our second night in the park, we met Andy, Gary, and Nick from upstate New York. They came to share our campfire and swap biking stories. We’ve since seen many more touring cyclists, including many who are touring the Pacific Northwest.

Soon after we faced one of the most challenging rides in a while, which took us over two passes on our way to Jackson, MT. Luckily we had the promise of soaking in hot springs at the end of the day.

One morning, the company  Lightfoot bicycles caught our eye, as they had a recumbent bicycle (a more reclined frame than traditional bikes) sitting out by the road. We test rode a few of their bikes, including a  two-wheel recumbent, trike, and cargo carrying model. They also gave us a tour of the shop, where we witnessed the frame-building processes. Their mission to build reasonably priced and practical vehicles that are outside of the mainstream is inspiring.

We finally made it to our much anticipated destination, Missoula, Montana! This city is the home of the Adventure Cycling Association, the creators of the TransAm maps that we are following. We were fortunate enough to find a place to stay on WarmShowers.org, and  Brent and Bruce put us up for a few days in a beautiful home right outside of downtown Missoula. It turned out that several of our trail friends had also been welcomed into this house. We enjoyed falling asleep and waking up to the jazz music played by the house members and sharing meals together outside. One night, a friend from college, Duncan, and his younger sister Molly, joined us for dinner. We had a great dinner of pasta (with local vegetables from Turner Farms) and enjoyed hearing about Duncan’s trail work through the Montana Conservation Corps.

News update

We found Turner Farms via Localharvest.org, a wonderful web resource for finding farms, CSAs, and markets anywhere in the U.S. Erin Turner gave us a full tour of their 4 acre farm, which is right on the edge of Missoula. She explained that the surrounding farmland is being infringed upon by housing developers, causing controversy in the community.  Due to the current economy, however, little development has actually occurred in the last few years. The farm started because the three Turner boys wanted to earn money for a bunk bed, and soon realized how profitable selling fresh vegetables could be. On their land, the Turners raise hogs, chickens, pumpkins, and a variety of other vegetables. This year they have a twelve-member CSA (community supported agriculture) program; the members pick up a bag of fresh produce every Wednesday afternoon. We helped put the bags together for the CSA while visiting the farm.

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Responses

  1. Congrats girls,
    It sounds like you’re doing a great job and having fun. I hope Montana treats you well (I’ve always wanted to visit). Stay safe and enjoy.

  2. Seriously sounds amazing guys, super jealous. Keep having loads of fun :]

  3. Hey Girlsssssss!!!!!!!

    I love reading your updates — you are all extremely inspiring! I can’t WAIT to meet you on the tail end in Portland. Keep it up, stay happy and healthy and safe. I think about you often!!!

  4. Awesome awesome photos!! For a second I thought the jamming picture was outside the Waidner-Spahr library – I was confused =) Did you bring a mandolin or borrow one??

  5. So does this mean we can look forward to seeing your lovely mugshots gracing the “Open Road Gallery” centerfold in some future issue of Adventure Cyclist? That would be awesome! Oh, and BTW, did you know that the Adventure Cycling Association uses ArcGIS to produce their maps? They even have a resident GIS Specialist who is in charge of all their cartography. Maybe you got a chance to meet him?

    Still envious in PA…


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