Mazel Tov from Montana!
Specifically, Buenas Dias from the Big Larch Campground on the Shores of Seeley Lake!
I’ve got a fun-filled evening of festivities ahead for my dear friends’ Other-Sam and Katie’s wedding; the welcome dinner is a full-on, down-home, southern-style pig roast! Before the fun begins, however, I thought I’d dash off a quick blog post about how I arrived here in Seeley Lake!
Yes, your erstwhile biking blogger is back up to his old tricks. Five days after my Seattle-to-Steamboat Twenty Day Cycling Sprint through the American West, I couldn’t resist the temptation to pack up my panniers, pedal my posterior long distances, and sleep in a tent for a few nights during the weekend of my friends’ nuptials!
Let’s rewind to Thursday, when I departed Denver International Airport on an evening flight to Missoula, Montana. My travel was a breeze; the security officer even deputized me as a Junior TSA agent.
When I arrived in Missoula I hailed the first cab I saw, which happened to be a hybrid vehicle! I appreciated the chance to reduce my trip’s already minimal carbon footprint and loved that Missoula is hip enough to operate green taxis. My driver was awesome, too; he plays banjo for Missoula’s Award-Winning #1 Psychadelic Rock Band, The Voodoo Horseshoes. Check them out on YouTube, they’re kind of awesome.
After a thoroughly enjoyable cab ride, my driver deposited me at my go-to sleeping spot if I’m only staying one night: The KOA.
I’m under no illusions about the KOA’s authenticity as a rugged outdoor experience. However, I love KOA Kamping as an awesome inexpensive alternative to making do with a cheap motel. The staff at the KOA is always courteous, the showers are always clean, and it’s WAY more fun to chat with your Kamping neighbors about their travels than sit alone in a dingy room with nobody but terrible television for company. Add in an excuse to sleep outside and the KOA is A-OK with this wandering nomad. I spent a magical night at the Missoula KOA, then got up bright and early to make myself breakfast and procure myself a bike for today’s travels.
I hopped a ride to Open Road Bicycles and Nordic, where the friendly and knowledgeable staff rented me a 51 cm Trek Lexa SLX outfitted with a rear rack for my panniers.
Technically the Lexa is a “woman-specific bike,” which means the cross-bar is slightly shorter and the frame is slightly lighter to accommodate delicate feminine sensitivities…or something. I didn’t notice any major hormonal shifts while I was pedaling the Lexa; in fact I appreciated the compact frame design. I’m a small person, so riding a smaller bike puts me in a more stable position. I wouldn’t necessarily BUY a Lexa for myself, but I’m certainly secure enough in my masculinity to rock a ride with sweet pink detailing during a weekend tour.
I encountered a single, minor hiccup while attaching my gear to the Lexa. One of my pannier hooks apparently evaporated into a black-hole during baggage-processing at DIA. Luckily there’s nothing on the planet that can’t be repaired with a little ingenuity, a positive attitude, and a zip-tie.
Satisfied with my jury-rigged solution I set out from Missoula towards Seeley Lake on Montana Highway 200 East.
My favorite portion of this morning’s pedaling, however, happened midway through when I encountered another bike tourer heading the same direction! His final destination was further than mine, but we chatted away for a good five miles about biking, touring, chafing, life, the universe and everything. At the top of a big hill we exchanged Instagram Screennames (check him out at @fearnohill, he’s got himself an amazing life) and went our separate ways. From there it was 18 miles of easy spinning to the majorly charming minor metropolis Seeley Lake.
That’s enough out of me for now. I’ll leave you with one more picture of pristine beauty and then I’m signing off the blog for a while. I may be a lot of things, but even I’m not so déclassé as to steal the thunder and social-media-itize my friends’ wedding!