Saturday, August 20, 2016


Blackie and Robbie archived by Adventure Cycling
The official weigh-in at 87 pounds
The man himself...Greg Siple
ACA entry door handle
  Blackie and I completed our Montana ride with a visit to the Adventure Cycling Association headquarters in Missoula, MT. ACA created the first cross country route in 1976 for the American Bicentennial. Today this route is known as the Trans America Route and is the route I am primarily riding this summer. Adventure Cycling has increased this initial route to 45,003 total miles of charted bicycle routes that cris-cross the country through predominately small towns and back roads. In the back of each issue of their magazine are photos that co-founder Greg Siple has been taking of bike tourers when they visit Missoula. I consider it an honor to be included in this historic archive. Greg has over 5,000 photos accumulated since the first taken in 1982.   There are many aspects of bicycle touring that I highly enjoy.   Fragrancies...
  • Particularly the morning smell of sage in arid environments.
  • The smell of Ponderosa Pines as I climb from dry regions to the cooler, higher elevations.
  • Fresh cut wheat and grass.
  • Blooming alfalfa fields, sweetly aromatic.
  • Approaching rain showers...not very frequent this year. It has only rained once where I wore my rain jacket...on the Rocky Mountain National Park hike at over 12,000 foot elevation in a too-close-for-comfort rain, hail, and lightning storm. There have been more numerous late evening showers after I settled in for the day.
Meeting fellow travelers on-route and also locals...
  • Just being on a bicycle with lots of gear raises questions that lead to good discussions.
  • Everyone mostly at some time of their life has ridden a bicycle; some more than others. Several people are reminded of the long rides they did in earlier times and want to share their experiences with me. Some are still out there, such as 80 year old Ray ridding with 61 year old, slightly overweight Carl. They are from Helena, MT on a three day bike ride centered on the Big Hole Valley. Ray is a mentor to the younger Carl who is just taking up the idea of long distance bicycling.
  • Meeting fellow riders and then days later encountering them again. JT was riding with Corky and Marty when I came late in the day into Ennis, MT. We spent some time sitting outside the local library sucking up its internet access before riding out to the state park at the edge of town and on the Madison River. The camping fee stated $12 per person or per unit. I decided we were a unit, a family of sorts for a day, so we split the fee four ways. I met Corky and Marty in the small bicycle shop of Paonia, CO a month earlier as I replaced my worn out chain. Corky and Marty were making some final purchases before they set off on their first bike tour. They are traveling the country as WWOOF organic farm workers. I hollered out "Wahoo!" as I rode up behind the three riders on the street of Ennis. Corky and Marty remembered me! I did not recognize them in the newly placed beards they now sported. We all were up late that night sharing stories. The next day Corky and Marty headed north to a Bozeman, MT organic farm. I turned west to proceed to Dillon, MT. I lost track of JT. Then three days later upon arriving at a WarmShowers host in Missoula, MT, JT greets me at the door. He had ventured to Butte, MT just for the interest. JT was a commercial electrician in earlier life. Now, after many years of hiking the Appalachian Trail (three times), the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and biking cross country he decided he could write a better novel than Bill Bryce's "A Walk I the Woods". Bryce actually never fully hiked the AT. JT wrote "Black Heart on the Appalchian Trail: A Novel." One reviewer writes: 
    • T. J. Forrester’s narrative explores the weird heart of American darkness with echoes of Flannery O’Connor, Faulkner, cousin Raymond Carver, and the young and very talented Brad Watson. At times this book makes Cormac McCarthy’s The Road look like hallucinogenic cotton candy.
    • I will read this after completing the current journey.
WarmShower hosts are the greatest...
  • Darby, MT host Patrick and Haley, with their one week shy of five year old daughter Auburn and baby brother, welcomed me royally after a morning's telephone call. That evening I was treated to a warm shower, grilled chicken, and fresh linen. Breakfast included "perfect" eggs and ground elk...very tasty. Patrick's father began to experiment and ferment honey mead in early 2000. By the time of the 2008 recession the family retired their masonry construction business to devote their full time to the brewing of honey mead under the label Hidden Legends. 
    I am going to buy a few bottles of the caramalized, slightly burnt-flavored Dark Mead for Matt to try out at his wood-fired Asheville restaurant.
  • Missoula, MT host Bruce Anderson opens his house freely to all bicyclists as they come through town to sleep on the plentiful floor space or set up tents in the yard. Showers, laundry, kitchen, wifi, and computers are available. I have yet even to meet Bruce, though I have met Vince, one of the other house residents.
  • WarmShower hosts epitomize the graciousness, hospitality, and kindness that a bicycle tourist finds across all regions of this country. The realization of this kindness in so many that I encounter on this journey is truly the greatest benefit of bicycle traveling. It is my firm belief that people are inherently kind and compassionate to their fellow man...unless misguided by certain egotistic and self-centered movements I see in this current political season.

Teton National Park Photos

Tetons at sunset
Tetons at morning
Teton valley pioneer cabin

Yellowstone National Park Photos

Yellowstone Lodge
Prismatic Pond
Hot spring
Yellowstone River waterfall
Yellowstone River canyon...yellow colored slopes named the river
Blackie hanging out in Gardner River hot spring soak
Only hot spring to soak in in Yellowstone

Montana Photos

UK riders
Hunter's paradise
Beaverhead Rock...where Sacagawea with Lewis and Clark meet her Shoshone chieftain brother
Not the best idea some road engineer had
Lone late 1800s wilderness church
Blackie getting up close with Mary
My one artistic sunset shot
Near Big Hole Nez Perce Battleground
Teton, Yellowstone, Montana
   509 miles @ 8 ride days @ 63.6 miles avg per day, 37 saddle hours @ 13.7 avg mph @ 15,750' elevation climb
3,252 miles @ 53 ride days @61.4 miles avg per day, 265 saddle hours @ 12.3 avg mph @ 136,870' accumulive climb

1 comment:

  1. Bodega Dunes, Calif.

    Howdy Robbie,

    It is good to meet you as our respective rides near their end. I have a journal-in-progress at

    No doubt you will enjoy your week in San Francisco.



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