Helena to Bozeman (or, The Hills of Methtana)

Helena proved to be a fun little town. There was definitely a more rural feel to it than Missoula, but it still had some great breweries and bars, and our Couchsurfing host was amazing. She showed us around town a bit (took us to Blackfoot River brewery as well as Lewis and Clark brewery), and she graciously let us take over her backyard and house for a few days. I feel like Helena has a lot more for us to find if we had time to explore and dive in a bit. Maybe someday we will be back for an extended stay.

Higgs. Chillin'.

On Wednesday (5/20) we hit the road again. Our next major stop was Bozeman, Montana…another city we knew nothing about but shows up on a map. The day started out a little late for us, it is always tough to gather up and get moving after a few days off, but by 11 AM or so we were back on the road. It wasn’t long before we were greeted by our old friend, Headwind. Headwind sucks and I want to punch him in his cocky throat. The first hour or so was a little rough with Headwind plus a slight uphill, but eventually the wind settled down and things got a bit easier. The time passed quickly as we wound through the mountains, and we even saw some antelope (antelopes?) in a field!

The last ten miles or so of the day were pretty easy, it was mostly downhill. We are now coasting along the Missouri River which eventually finds its way to St. Louis (thank you informative sign at the campsite for that info). Also, Lewis and Clark hung out around here a couple hundred years ago, which I find kind of cool.

Home is where the tent is.

Our place of rest for the night was a little campground along the Missouri (Indian Road Campground). It was free, which is always a bonus. Also, someone left a full can of Coke on the table near our spot so we mixed that with some rum we happened to have. I don’t remember where the hell we got a small bottle of rum but I’m glad we had it. It was nice getting into the campground a bit early, I was able to plug in the solar system, get some work done, and even do a little reading. This camping thing is pretty cool when you have some daylight to enjoy it.

The night was fairly uneventful and our morning was calm and relaxed. We eventually hit the road around 10:30 AM and made a quick stop at a gas station in Townsend to get some water. The campground we stayed at was wonderful in many ways (including being free) but it didn’t have any potable water available. But, nothing a stop at a gas station couldn’t fix!

The route for the day was similar to yesterday, a gradual uphill for about two-thirds of the ride and then a downhill into our planned camping spot near Three Rivers. Despite an early appearance by Headwind (blast him), things went smoothly until about 10 miles into the ride. Then, we hit some construction. This wasn’t just normal construction with flaggers or a detour of a few hundred yards, this was serious construction. The entire road had been torn up and was basically gravel-covered mud for about five miles. Hardly ideal for a car, much less a bicycle. We didn’t really have a choice, as no alternative routes showed up on any maps, so we just continued through the construction zone cautiously as semis blazed past us at alarming speed. (It seems they really don’t care if there are no road markings or actual pavement to drive on.) About halfway through the construction, one of the workers stopped us and said we could ride in an area that was sectioned off from the main road. Apparently they weren’t doing any work in that area today so it was all ours. It was still gravel, but at least we didn’t have vehicles flying past us spraying us with mud and flying rocks.

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line. Engines pumping and thumping in time. The green light flashes, the flag goes up.

We eventually made it through the construction, got back on solid road, and were finally able to take a much-needed break. We saw a hitchhiker who waved to us, but that was about it. Then, a few minutes later, we spotted a bicycle chained to a piece of farm equipment. Sitting nearby was a bedroll, a backpack, and some other belongings. One of the tires on the bike was flat and we realized the hitchhiker may have actually been a cyclist who needed assistance. If that was the case, we wished he would have asked for our help! Regardless, Anna and I both promised to start explicitly asking any travelers we pass, especially those on foot, if they need help instead of just smiling and waving. One benefit of riding so heavy is that we generally have plenty of water, food, and electricity to share with anyone who might need it.

Peter admiring that world famous "Big Sky"

Eventually we got back on the road after our break, climbed to the top of our hill, and found ourselves staring at dark storm clouds right in our path. It was tough to judge distance but we guessed they were a couple miles away, coming our direction. There wasn’t much we could do so we just pressed on and hoped for the best. Luckily, we somehow missed the storm and made it to our campground without really encountering anything more than a few random raindrops.

Hmm, that doesn't look good.

The campsite (Missouri Headwaters State Park) was a bit of a disappointment. First off, it is expensive as fuck. It is $28 for a tent spot (despite saying $10 online). Normally a campground will offer you some amenities for that price, like running water, electricity, possibly a shower and/or laundry facility on site, maybe a pavilion, or even just beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, this campground did not get the memo. It is miles away from any actual rivers or trails or anything you would come to the state park to see. There is no electricity, showers, laundry, or even trash removal on site. The bathroom is an outhouse. And the only place to refill water is about three miles away from the campsites…which meant we had to bike an extra six miles to fill our water bottles. We essentially paid nearly $30 for worse amenities than we had at the free campground the night before. Kind of disappointing, but not much could be done. (We were pretty beat at the end of the day and biking an unknown number of extra miles to avoid this campsite didn’t sound fun.) We set up our tent, ate some food, charged the solar battery for a bit, and went to bed. Soon, we would be in Bozeman.

Rainbow!

The road to Bozeman was fairly straightforward – we had some rolling hills with small towns and farms along the way. We met some friendly horses who ran up to their fence and eagerly snatched up a few baby carrots out of Anna’s hands. This might have been some sort of farming taboo, feeding horses that aren’t yours, but everything seemed to turn out okay.

Anna feeding some carrots to our biggest fans.

And, of course, we were surrounded by meth. Anti-meth signs were everywhere. The hand-drawn “not even once” posters dotted the landscape and every city advertised (bragged? warned?) that they were a “Meth Watch” community. I really never knew Montana had a meth problem and part of me seriously wonders why. Is it just impossible to get good drugs? I guess Montana is pretty far from the traditional drug pipelines of Seattle, Chicago, New York, Miami, San Diego, etc… but man, this is the age of the Internet. I know for a fact you can order incredibly clean MDMA online and have it delivered by the postal service, and all you need is an Internet connection, Google, a few hours of spare time, and a ninth grade level reading comprehension. Oh well, I guess out here meth is king, which is really kind of sad because MDMA is such a better experience. I’ve never actually done meth unless it was mixed with Molly to make it a bit speedier. Much like heroin it really doesn’t appeal to me, but I do know people who use meth recreationally and are functional parts of society.

I’m torn on these scare tactics. I could see them being effective in a limited way if only applied to certain drugs. If we had a comprehensive education program about drugs and ended the tyrannical war on drugs, then it could be effective to have a couple drugs (like meth) that are advertised as too dangerous to try even once. But clearly that requires us to stop putting weed, MDMA, cocaine, ketamine, 2C-B, LSD, shrooms, and everything else into the same category. If you tell students that all drugs are really bad (mmm-kay) and they end up smoking some weed and see that it isn’t that bad, then you undermine the entire program. If the government is willing to lie about weed, why should I trust them about meth?

Of course, the best thing to do is to legalize everything and put more money into health services like Portugal did. Further research into addiction is showing that the environment is a major factor, and people (or rats) don’t sink their whole lives into a drug if they have a community to be a part of. The research and work done by Dr. Carl Hart is really changing how we look at drugs and policy, but sadly not many politicians are listening because power is gained by blaming drugs.

Anyway…that was an unexpected tangent.

About halfway into Bozeman, we started getting some ominous clouds forming over us. I thought we were going to be luck out again, Anna wasn’t so sure. Anna was right. I should listen to her more. After lunch we ended up getting soaked for about 20 minutes. To be honest, sometimes that sucks more than it raining all day. Getting pissed on for just 20 minutes feels like a prank. Like Zeus and Poseidon are on Mount Olympus laughing at our happiness and thinking it would be funny if we had dripping wet socks, but not wanting the farmers in the area to actually get their crops watered. Fuck you Zeus and Poseidon.

Welcome to Bozeman?

Despite the downpour (and another one soon after that, which we escaped by hiding under a Safeway awning), we made it to our wonderful Couchsurfing host’s home in Bozeman around 6 PM. We chatted for a couple hours, despite all of us being pretty tired (she had early work in the morning). Our host is going to start a European bike tour later this year and it was fun to exchange experiences, talk about equipment, and hear each other’s plans. Sadly, we are only staying here one night and the rest of our time in Bozeman will be with someone we met off Warm Showers. She seems pretty awesome too so I am sure things will continue to be great. In some ways this bike ride is more about the people than anything. We meet such awesome fucking people. Hell, we even had a stranger offer to let us crash in his living room when we were buying supplies at REI. The world really is filled with beautiful, amazing souls who genuinely want to help others reach their potential and experience all this world has to offer. It is an inspiring thing.

**If you are interested in more photos of our journey we have a Facebook page you can follow (www.facebook.com/shiftsandhiggles).**

Helena to Bozeman - Map

Helena to Bozeman - Elevation

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A Dab Will Do Ya!!!

Pre-Post: This is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now. This was originally posted on our bike blog “Barely Functional Adults” on May 16th. We are getting into a decent routine and pattern in our nomadic life so I may start doing some more original, non-bike ride related blogging here again soon.

 

The home we were couchsurfing at in Petaluma was an absolutely gorgeous home on a farm just outside of town. Our hosts were a great couple who had some kids in college and turned the extra bedrooms into a place for couchsurfers and such to crash. They made us a great curry which we scarfed down while making small talk but we went to bed pretty early. Part of me hates that we don’t get to spend more time with our hosts, they have been such great people but we are usually really beat by time we come riding up to the door. It is especially difficult when a host family has incredibly soft beds, blankets, and pillows… these ones were unbelievable. I have wet dreams about sleeping in them. I almost quit the bike ride and begged to be adopted. If heaven exists then it is filled with beds like that and glorious curry.

 

After a restful night’s sleep we started riding north again to the town of Sebastopol where we could stop, get coffee, and chill for a bit. The city had kind of a hippy vibe but was terrible for bikes… the roads sucked, the people sucked, everything made me want to get out of the city. And to put salt into our wounds a local food/drink place called Tea Infusions advertised a ton of vegetarian/vegan options, including a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, but they didn’t have any. Apparently their website’s purpose is to create hope and inspire dreams only to throw them to the ground, stomp and spit on them, and then hit you in the throat with a golf club. Regardless, Anna got some work done and we continued on our way to Windsor.

 

The ride during all this time is kind of boring. The vineyards and rolling hills all kind of blend together and the lack of diversity makes the miles seem to pass more slowly. It has been pretty similar for days and when we arrived in Windsor we were ready for a break. Our plan was to go further that day but I think we were all pretty mentally exhausted and happy to grab a spot at a local sketchy RV Park that allowed tent campers. The park was filled with broken down vehicles, abandoned buildings, and overgrown fields. Basically, it was the beginning of a horror movie… but that’s cool, I love horror movies and know how to survive.

 

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Wanna race?

 

We were happy to get on the road the next morning and get on with the ride. We stopped in Healdsburg for some beer from Bear Republic and then moved on past Geyserville where we found a place to camp near a freeway overpass. I saw a skunk that night and stayed up way too late reading The Hunger Games (my cousin gave me a Kindle and I figured I’d read it before I wipe the thing clean and link my account… man, Katniss is one cool chick). Basically this day did not really have anything exciting happen.

 

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None of us got great sleep that night. The sleeping conditions weren’t great, I got too little sleep thanks to my unquenchable love for dystopian romance novels, and lots of critters came around the tent waking us up. We kept on moving and finally made it to Cloverdale where we were going to solidify our plans through a couple of days of riding that didn’t have any real cities. Our plans changed that day because Hans bang-buddy from Santa Rosa (let’s call him Jesus because he has an enviable beard, silky soft flowing hair, and I don’t want to use real names of people unless I ask) wanted to meet up with us for a day or three.

 

Now, I have a shitty habit of getting kind of annoyed when plans change. It passes after about 30 minutes but I tend to just kind of sulk until it passes. It sucks. I hate it. I want to change it but I’m not there yet and this happened when I found out Jesus would be joining us. The three of us had some kind of tense silent treatment and conversations during our coffee/shopping break in Cloverdale. I wish it could all be wonderful rim-jobs and rose petals but we are humans and that means we will sometimes get on each other’s nerves and have conflict. Luckily we all fucking love each other and are rational people so we can overcome any problems.

 

So, when we left Starbucks I was still kind of in a sour mood but we agreed to go to Ruth McGowan’s brewery (WE LOVE BEER) for a quick drink. As is often the case the quick drink took longer than expected because we met a kick-ass couple named Tidus and Yuna. They bought us a round of drinks, we talked about a bunch of adventures… they even gifted us half a joint and gave Higgs-Nasty a gourmet dog treat (which I didn’t really know existed). By the way, if you ever meet adventurers on the road and enjoy their company it is always wonderful to buy a round of beers or food or supplies for them. We love it. (Shameless Plug: Want to donate to us so we can fight off bears, drink beer, pay bail, and see wonderful parts of this continent? Want some cash to go to Karma Rescue where we got Higgins? Want a postcard from a random place or a picture of our biker butts? Check out our GoFundMe!)

 

After a couple hours at the brewery we hit the road determined to put down some miles, but knowing we had a shitty hill ahead of us. It was pretty terrible but we are getting used to terrible hills, they are just part of the experience and in some ways make us really feel like we’ve earned some of the amazing sights. We camped that night on a random spot about 10 feet from a road. It was another time when none of us knew the legality of what we did but we didn’t have a lot of options, besides we figure most cops are probably fairly decent people and won’t arrest us for trying to be safe. Regardless, I slept like a rock due to lack of sleep and nobody really bothered us except a small pack of coyotes (or some other dog) that howled in the distance for a bit.

 

The ride the next day was pretty easy, only a quick 20 miles to Boonville where we were meeting Jesus at Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Oh man, they have some great beers. Their Summer Solstice tastes like alcoholic cream soda, mmmm, I can’t stop thinking about it now. We had several beers, rested a bit, and got ready to go again when two awesome things happened. First, some random guy gave us a huge nugget of weed (I actually don’t smoke much weed so I have no idea if nugget is an appropriate description but whatever) that was like 1/3 the size of my fist. Welcome to Northern California.

 

Second, Hans met this girl in the bathroom who is a photographer and she wanted to take some pictures of us, including a couple of Polaroids that we have with us now. She was absolutely wonderful and a real pleasure to meet and pose for. I am usually kind of awkward when my photo is being taken but she had a calming effect and really got some great images of us. I hope she reads this blog and contacts us so that we can see the images when she puts them online.

 

After the great time at the brewery we all decided to have Jesus join us for a couple days of camping and floating on the river. He offered to take all of our equipment, including Higgins, in his truck so we could ride more comfortably. Oh man, what a difference. I had become pretty used to the 100+ lbs of gear I have and once I was free of it I felt like I was flying down the road. We made the 10ish miles to the campground incredibly fast. It was the tits.

 

 

 

The campground was a great little county park under the redwoods along a river. It didn’t allow RV’s which we like. Places that allow tents only tend to be a lot cheaper and not have all the unnecessary amenities like electricity and water at each campsite. We played in the river (Higgs first time), grilled up some food, and got a great night’s sleep before another day on the river.

 

The next day we rode without equipment again a few miles to a river access where we floated inImageJesus’ raft, drank a bunch of beer, and let our muscles and minds relax. We had been going pretty non-stop since Santa Rosa so a little day’s rest was perfect. None of us really wanted it to end but we had a few more miles to put down before camping again, this time on the beach as we got out of the woods and wine country for a while and back to the coast.

 

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The 10 miles or so before reaching the beach on Highway 128 was the best ride so far for us. It helped to be sans equipment but the beauty of riding through the beginning of the redwoods is impossible to capture in words. If you ever get a chance to ride your bike along the slight downhill on 128 you should do it, you won’t regret it. The ride is easy, the road well paved, the trees keep the hot sun off your face, and life is just so perfect. It really has made us anxious to see some more of this beautiful world and experience it on bike where you feel the wind, smell the environment, notice temperature changes, and really feel connected to nature in a way that seems impossible behind a screen or window.

 

The beach we stayed at was at the intersection of 128 and Highway 1. It seemed little known but fairly well maintained. The dogs loved playing on the beach (Jesus brought his two boxers) and we loved having a long afternoon to hang out around the fire and let our bodies rest. It was also nice to have separate tents so that we could have a bit more privacy sexin’ each other up. Anna and I clearly don’t have a problem with Hans being around but it was nice to not worry too much about waking anyone up. I know she was happy to have a couple days getting laid by Jesus as well. We left fairly early the next morning but Hans rode in the truck with Jesus while Anna and I hit the road on bikes for the 20 mile ride up the coast to Fort Bragg where we were spending the day and then meeting our friends Wakka and Lulu for a couple days in an Airbnb home.

 

Fort Bragg was a lot of fun. The weather was beautiful when we arrived so we went to the Glass Beach that had a bunch of sanded down glass bottles as sand. Jesus had to be on his way back to Santa Rosa pretty early so we said our good-byes and headed up to meet our friends at the Airbnb place, a gorgeous home with some gardens, animals, and probably the coolest atmosphere I’ve ever seen in a home. We have found there is a correlation between people owning chickens and being awesome (not roosters though, fuck roosters). I don’t think we will ever stay in a hotel again if there is an Airbnb option… the price is usually about the same but the atmosphere and amenities are 1,000,000 times better.

 

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Wakka and Lulu arrived a couple hours after us and we had lots of warm greetings, but our night was just getting started. We had some MDA with us and all decided to party a bit for the night. We actually thought it was MDMA but after taking it and doing a little research we were likely wrong. This is why it is important to use a test kit before trying a new batch of drugs. I usually have one but didn’t carry it on the ride. MDA and MDMA taste pretty similar, though the coloring was a little off which should have been a warning. We also heard from some friends who took some of the same batch and they said it was really intense/different than prior batches of MDMA (we were told they are Moon Rocks but I don’t think they were). Because of their warning we started off slower than normal, I took 100mg instead of the 150mg that I normally start a night of home rolling with and even that was a bit too much.

 

We all had a really good time though, despite the different drug. MDA didn’t quite have the euphoric or cuddling effects as MDMA, and it didn’t make you energetic, but we did get some cool psychedelic visuals and mental hallucinations where you kind of get stuck in your head. It also chilled us all out and we spent some time massaging, cuddling, and just enjoying each other. Hans and I also were able to talk a bit about our prior disagreements, which was really nice. We all swear by using MDMA to help resolve problems in relationships, open the doors of communication, and solidify love and intimacy. Fuck the DEA and government in general for taking this wonderful tool out of doctor’s hands. It is evil that they would keep medicine from people who are hurting. Ugh. I don’t want to go down that road right now, I’m in too good of mood and talking about those evil parasites who see prohibition of medicine as good always gets me riled up.

 

So, after a night of rolling (is it called that with MDA?) we slept in and slowly recovered from the hangover, which was substantially more than MDMA. We felt groggy and kind of light-headed but mustered up the motivation to go to North Coast Brewery and the beach again. The weather was a little ugly but we still had a good time. Once we returned to the home we got some more rest, I watched some House on Netflix, ate a pizza, and zonked out early.

 

Now we are still in Fort Bragg but camping nearby. We all needed another day or two to catch up on the blog, emails, work, banging, etc. Soon we will be on the road again towards Arcata where we will have more breweries, more big trees, and a nude beach (where we will likely take our nude biker butt photos that we send exclusively to those whodonate us a few dollars). We will take tons of pics and hopefully be able to update again soon. Much love!

 

 If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.