Livingston, I Presume

Hank – The thunderstorm in the morning did not set the tone for the test of the day. It was mostly to the west so we only got rain. But I made tea before it hit and we sat in tent and had light breakfast while the rain fell. The sun and the wind quickly dried the tent and we got packed up to go.The tent bag ripped again so I finally had to toss it. I used a couple of straps to snug a Tyvek sheet around the tent parts and strapped that to the back of my bike. My brother John would be proud of me.

When you can ride easy in the big chain ring, you’re having a good day. We made good time heading north on Hwy 89. After 15 miles we stopped to have a snack at a campground. About 20 miles later we stopped in Emigrant MT to eat. The Follow Yer Nose BBQ sounded good so we went there. While we were putting our bikes aside and figuring out what to eat, Sarah and Scott saw our bikes and started talking to Kathy. They were excited to learn about our adventure and we chatted a bit and then thought we were going our separate ways. But they, along with Sarah’s dad Jack and his wife, Wendy, were there to eat, too. So we ended up having lunch together. We said we were headed to Livingston next and Jack said, “If you don’t have a place to stay in Livingston, you’re welcome to camp at our house.”

That’s a huge part of what this adventure is about so we obviously accepted. Sarah and Scott recommended riding the East River Road instead of the highway. We headed out that way and a thunderstorm came. Thinking we were going to get hit we returned to the restaurant. Arriving there I realized I grossly miscalculated that path of the storm and we were now behind it. Since we were there we decided to continue on Hwy 89.

This is when the good day, riding wise, stopped being a good day. A headwind had picked up and it was really taxing Kathy. I didn’t realize how much it was affecting her until we stopped for a break. I took the lead after that and made the ride easier for her.

We arrived at Jack and Wendy’s house around 5:00 pm. We had a choice between tenting in the yard or sleeping in a bed. That was an easy decision. They told us they were having a barbecue and friends were coming over for dinner. It was great. We had excellent food and conversation. Jack is a retired carpenter. He’s quiet and thoughtful. Wendy is a retired teacher. She volunteers at the community food center where she is the bread baker. Yeah, they have a kitchen and bake bread for families in need. How cool is that? Apparently, the Livingston program is quite the deal and other cities have come to see how it’s done. Sarah and Scott live in Taiwan. Scott is an engineer for Nike. I had no idea what engineering goes into shoes and soccer balls but I’m up to speed now. Sarah is a graphics artist. Moving to Taiwan didn’t affect her business and she says she still hasn’t met a number of her customers. Jennifer, who says retirement is the “lived happily ever after” part of life, tried to prank me, which I thought was awesome. I ran into her when she came into the house. Everyone else was out back. We introduced ourselves and she asked, “Who’s house is this?” I told her it was Jack and Wendy’s.

“Oh, I must be in the wrong house.”

Before I could respond she told me she was joking. But apparently one Fourth of July weekend Jack and Wendy woke to find a strange man sleeping on their couch. He had gone in the wrong house. Jennifer’s husband, Scott, publishes Montana Quarterly. a wonderful magazine. We also met their neighbor, John, who brought Rainier beer to the party. He gave us some advice about our ride from Missoula to Glacier National Park. John (a different John, not the neighbor) and his wife Shelly, who is a nurse, rounded out the party. John has quite the wit and he’s also a cyclist. The conversation was lively and fun. What a treat to meet people who open their house to you and treat you like family.

Kathy – So another 500 feet of climbing during our 60 miles of riding today.  It was supposed to all be downhill, but the headwinds made us pedal the entire way.  As Hank stated all was going great until after lunch when the Hellish Headwinds decided to join us.  I am definitely a much stronger rider than I was five weeks ago when I started this adventure, but there are two things that drain the energy right out of me: headwinds and hills.  When you put those two together, it can be very taxing on the body.  After eleven miles, Hank took over the lead which helped me greatly.  Not gonna lie, it was a tough day in what I initially thought would be a very easy day.

The day did end on a great note.  We had such a wonderful time at Jack and Wendy’s place.  Meeting Jack, Wendy, Sarah and Scott during lunch at the restaurant was a great treat.  They area all truly amazing people.  Opening their home up to us, meeting their friends, and providing us an outstanding meal and excellent conversations made for and fabulous night.  We are truly blessed to have met these outstanding people.  I almost cried this morning when we left their home because I was going to miss them already.  We really connected with them and hope to see them again sometime in the future.  Their hospitality was remarkable, and we are grateful.  I hope Jennifer (their retired teacher friend who specializes in grammar, doesn’t notice too many mistakes in our blog post.  😉

It was such a fun evening after our long day of riding.  So thankful for wonderful people in this world like Jack, Wendy, Sarah, Scott and all their friends.  It was an excellent way to end our day.  Happy to report my, “Make America More Beautiful” campaign is still in full swing.  I planted my flowers is Wyoming, and Wendy will be planting the Montana state daisy’s in her yard this week as she wanted to clear out a few garden beds first.  One packet of flowers planted in each state, just doing my part to help beautify this country a bit more.  The difficulty of today’s ride totally disappeared with the kindness of strangers…or should I say new found friends.  Feeling thankful for this day.

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  1. Dear Kathy & Hank, Cheers to new friendships, indeed. It was serendipitous to cross paths with you two lovely adventurers. We so enjoyed your company, stories and all around good energy – you completed our Thursday night BBQ! And now you have a slew of new blog fans in Livingston, Montana! Thanks for sharing your adventures (keep ’em coming) and making America more beautiful (love this idea). ~ Sarah


    1. Sarah, we are so happy to have met you, your beautiful family, and your wonderful friends. We absolutely loved our time with you all. We hit the jackpot! Wishing you and Scott safe travels and fun times with your sister. After a nice break, we are looking forward to starting our cycling adventures back up tomorrow. All the best. 💗💗💗


  2. Wow, the food with newfound friends aspect of bike touring makes the actual ride and Mountain Vista almost incidental.


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