Five Weeks Out And We’re Only Three Hours From Home

Hank – It was hard to leave Jack and Wendy’s house. They are such wonderful people. Kathy and I stopped in downtown Livingston to check out the Murray Hotel, a classic old hotel with a lot of history that’s kept its charm. Then we got out on the frontage road that ran alongside I-90 and started making for Bozeman. We had about 12 miles of gradual climbing to get over the pass. Did the headwind gods take a deep breath and start blowing?

Of course they did.

I took the lead and helped Kathy along. We rode smart during the climb. We took breaks and refueled every five miles. While it took us a long time, the climb went well for both of us. Near the top we were passed by a caravan of old cars. They must’ve been avoiding the freeway, too. The frontage road ended at the top so we took the freeway down the pass for six miles to the next frontage road. That part of the ride went fast. Although we had about eight feet of shoulder, the swirling winds from passing semi trucks still buffeted us. Once off the freeway we cruised into Bozeman and ate at the Western Cafe, which touts itself as the last best cafe. It was highly recommended by people outside the place and it lived up to the hype.

After our lunch we rode out to the airport to pick up a rental car. We squeezed our bikes and gear inside and drove to Missoula. We’re in need of a rest day, I want to have the bikes checked out by a mechanic more experienced than me, and we’re finalizing our plans for Glacier National Park and after. Our friends Mike and Patty Gaines met us in Missoula to hang out with us. They also brought my ukulele. I had sent it home within the first few days of our adventure. I was always too tired to mess with it but now we’re in a rhythm and I think I’ll have time and be more inclined to play now. Just for fun, they also met with Doug Clark who started Street Music Week in Spokane 15 years ago as a fund raiser for 2nd Harvest Food Bank. I had taken photos and created videos of the musicians for several years and last year I decided to play. I asked Doug if I could play while I was on the road and he agreed to make me a Street Music Week ambassador. I’ll take time out each weekday this week and play where ever we’re at.  Should be fun!

Kathy – I was concerned about our ride today after the 60 miles yesterday with the strong headwinds. Our 40 mile ride today included 2,000 feet of climbing including the Bozeman pass.  I was pleasantly surprised that it went very well.  The frontage road next to the freeway provided us a nice ride without being next to all the traffic.  It was mainly a gradual climb which also helped.  Those wonderful headwinds remained with us again today but Hank did a fantastic job leading to help reduce the impact on my riding.

We decided to rent a car in Bozeman, Montana to take 4-5 days off our travel time to Missoula, Montana.  Not going to lie, I still like traveling by car…it’s SO much faster!  Made it to Missoula and to the hotel.  I think I’m still a little short on my “hotel two days a week” and my “rest day one day a week” totals.  I need to work on that.

Our dearest friends Patty and Mike Gaines drove over from Spokane to meet us in Missoula.  It is great to see them and spend time with them.  Hard to believe our first day of travel was to their house five weeks ago.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  How our lives have changed.  Let’s just say the sore muscles, bruises from the bike and insect bites, are worth it so far.  🙂  Planning two nights in Missoula before heading on to Glacier National Park.  Ready for some well deserved rest time too!

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  1. Glad you got your ukulele back. Our group, Ukestra, will be playing for Music Week. I’ll think about you 🙂 So enjoying the posts. I saw you guys in the Spokesman a couple times and have been following. It looks like such fun – AND WORK! Have a great time and enjoy your much deserved rest.


    1. Thanks. I hope you and your fellow Ukestra members have a great time.


  2. Was reading about Music Week this morning. Love knowing you’ll be participating and reporting from the road.


    1. My participation will be mostly symbolic. I’ll make up for it with a donation myself.


  3. I Met a dude touring in California who had fashioned a waterproof gig bag for his guitar on the front rack of his bike.He had just funded a trip around the circumference of Australia playing for tips at campgrounds, Parks and pubs. I

    do hope we get some video blog posts of your ripping ukulele action! I heard the ukulele orchestra do a cover of psycho killer by the talking heads. It was such a fun version of that song, I had to take a whack at it myself!


    1. I’m not sure you could characterize my ukulele playing as “ripping” unless you’re referring to what it does to your eardrums.


  4. Love the video, Justin.


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