Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Gifts from Montana

Actually, only the chokecherry liqueur is local. The stick jerkies and jerky/nut items come from Vermont and Texas. These are gluten free and paleo diet friendly. Hey, whatever the current fad diet may be, someone is sure to figure out a way to make a buck. Not sure about paleofriendliness/gluten freedom of the booze. It's 25% alcohol, 50% proof. So, should I choose not to drink it, I can use it to start a campfire. Or perhaps strip paint.

Breakfast with Mt Logan

I drove Going to the Sun Road East to West, starting early. The onslaught of tourists gets going West to East at 9am, when the parking lot at the 6646 foot pass at the Continental Divide would be a zoo. At this pull out I was alone and able to greet a father/daughter pair of touring cyclists going the smart way (14 miles of reasonable uphill Westwards, Banff to Missoula. The long 7 mile downhill on the other side is spectacular but soaked with spring melt. I think I'd do this ride in fall, before they shut the road for the season. For the same reason I only camp at Mt Rainier in winter, I think Glacier would be more rewarding in fall after the day trippers have left.

5:45am Cut Bank RS backcountry trailhead

This morning's alpen glow lasted 15 minutes. I decided last night to skip the 4 mi hike into the backcountry site I'd paid for. It was late and I was alone, both no-no's in terms of bear safety. So I slept in my van and woke to this.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Missoula is this sort of a town

A very nice Flathead Lake Brewery wheat beer in downtown Missoula to close out the end of my first Cycle Montana as a ride staffer. It's been very enjoyable supporting a pleasant group of riders.

Near Missoula

Today's helping of picturesque abandoned ranches.

Last Day's Water Stop

The cabins and dining hall at UM's Lubrecht Experimental Forest off SR 200. Makes me want to study forestry.

Friday, June 24, 2016

It's called a Beaver slide

You see these hay stacking contraptions all over SW Montana. Invented in Philipsburg during the mining boom of the late C19th.

Philipsburg, MT in its heyday

A photo on display in the Granite County Medical Center. This tourist town was once a wild wild western landmark.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Granite Ghost Town

I went for a little exploration outside Philipsburg. Made it almost the 4 miles on a dusty deeply rutted narrow mountain road before I decided I'd had enough. Got to see the mining ruins, tall slag heaps and this collapsing cabin. Been here since the 1860s so that's a lot of Montanan winters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On 569 towards Anaconda

Another lovely day with zero traffic and big views.

Find yourself a sapphire

A popular tourist attraction on the Skalhona Pass road, near philipsburg. A claim for silver mining turned up a byproduct of raw sapphires and garnets, and a C21st attraction was born. At the end of the paved road and a spectacular side trip off the Cycle Montans route.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Big Sky big fun

Gosh it's windy out here! I'm also getting roasted by the altitude 6000+ feet and sunshine. Time to cover up in classic western plaid shirt and long pants. Did I mention the mosquitoes around here yet? Ye gods!

Wisdom, MT

Yesterday I had the chance to chat with touring cyclist Julie, from Montreal, who told about the chance of a decent espresso inside. Julie was heading west, up and over Chief Joseph Pass, complete with her black lab in a trailer. She'd started in St. Louis and is traveling solo, like I do. Wow. Way to go, adventure cyclist! I'm driving the weeklong Cycle Montana route armed with an aerosol of spray chalk, marking the road to give the 60+ riders behind me the security of a tried and tested route. Not for these sensible folks my apparently "preferred" method of bike touring, which involves a bunch of initial planning, which goes off the rails about my second day out. From then I rely on serendipity and the kindness of strangers. It's worked amazingly well so far. But it's fun to get the chance to do it this way too.

Monday, June 20, 2016

On the Pioneer Mtns Scenic Byway

A very superior example of roadside art here in Big Sky country

Sunday, June 19, 2016

In Montana on 93 from Missoula

Trapper Peak outside Darby MT

Today's Adventure Cycling Event ride goes through the Bitterroot Valley with Bitterroot range on the left.
I am tasked with spray chalking to route one day ahead of the group, which is rather a fun job, though lots more driving at Montana speed limit of 70mph, a novelty.
It's nice to see a new place this way.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day 1 enroute to Montana via the Palouse

Just love the views out here in Eastern Washington's wheat belt.

Cataldo, ID

I'm driving to Missoula today to staff Cycle Montana. This is a part of Idaho that I've not seen before. I guess it's a Jesuit mission here in the Idaho panhandle. Beautifully unexpected.