Black Coffee Roasting Co. is a hip coffee spot located in asemicircular Quonset hut. I know it’s a “Quonset hut” because I looked it up. I initially assumed this was an old airplane hanger, but previous to it being a coffee shop it was a garden center.
Getting work done here was a little challenging due to the fact there was no wifi network but we sipped some coffee and hung here for a little bit.
I was killing a little bit of time before my hair appointment next door at Canvas Studios. I have to back up a bit and admit that about a week prior, I cut a good portion of my own hair off. That’s right. You read correctly. I. CUT. MY. OWN. HAIR.
I don’t advise doing this… But let me tell you my own reasoning so that you don’t think I’m a complete crack pot.
1. I noticed that my hair was taking forever to rinse in our Airstream shower. For boondocking, having long hair that takes a lot of water to rinse, isn’t ideal. More water usage = more gray water tank being filled = having to dump more frequently. When you don’t have full hook ups this can be a problem. Like the gray water starts backing up into the shower. (Yup, this totally happened our first week).
2. I had already planned on getting my hair cut at some point on the trip ANYWAY.
The folks at Canvas Studios were super nice and I’m not just saying that because they offered me a mimosa immediately. The stylist I had an appointment with, KaryAnn, was a complete sweetheart. I wish I could transport myself to Missoula everytime I needed a haircut because she was great to talk to and an awesome stylist. You can’t really tell in this photo, but KaryAnn had literally cut an entire cat-size amount of hair off my head.
She was able to cut my hair in such a way that it really worked well with my natural curl.
If you reside in or are visiting Missoula and need a new do, check out Canvas Studios!
And if you’re thinking about cutting your own hair…definitely bring in the pros. 😉
Before we checked out and headed down to Missoula, we talked for a little while with Sean and Shannon who were in the Airstream next to us. They’re originally from Colorado, and have been full-timing for the past 5 months with their 3 kids, 1 dog and 1 cat. Their kids were super polite and really enjoyed playing with Cooper. It was neat to meet people who were full-timing, as it’s something Jay and I have talked about quite a bit over the years. In fact, it was the original plan and why we purchased Jowanda the Airstream.
Shannon explained that they just sold their house and most of their things and hit the road. She made it sound really easy… and maybe it is. But for now, Jay and I are content with this first trip and where it might lead.
En route to Missoula, we stopped briefly to check out Flathead Lake.
One of the downsides of driving a giant trailer is that it’s difficult to pull over quickly. But luckily, we were able to find a pull-off large enough to fit us and we made our way down a technical descent to the lake. Beautiful clear water – Cooper dove right in, we followed.
The Flathead Lake area is known for its cherries. Knowing that I’m mildly allergic to them, I still ate one, and immediately my mouth/throat was itchy for 20 minutes. But dang that 1 cherry was quite worth it.
After getting into town and setting up camp at the Missoula KOA we headed downtown, grabbed a beer at Tamarack Brewing and then watched locals enjoy the river.
We headed back to KOA to make dinner and relax a bit. As you can see, Cooper was quite relaxed in the firepit for some reason.
Whitefish was cooler than we expected it to be. Actually… to be honest, we really didn’t know what to expect. A Canadian described Whitefish to us as being “Honky Tonky”. So our minds went straight to country music and cowboy hats.
I think the only “honky tonky-ness” I experienced was the architecture of some of the downtown buildings. The have an old wild west feel, but nothing too hokey. Really, Whitefish is quite a nice town. Beautiful homes, great downtown area and the locals were nice.
We needed to eat and get some work and laundry done so found a place to get all of these things done; the Pin & Cue.
It’s a catch-all building with a restaurant, bowling alley, arcade, bar & laundromat. BONUS: they had decent wifi. Which has NOT been the easiest to acquire.
For breakfast, we ordered the taco browns and they did not disappoint.
After breakfast, Jay checked in with work and I caught up with some laundry.
We piled our now clean clothes back into the Airstream, at which time we realized we had 2 problems.
1. One of our top vent lids broke off on our way into Whitefish. 🙁
2. We had no place to stay that night…
We called a bunch of RV campgrounds in the area to find a place to stay. This proved to be rather difficult considering we were at the height of tourist season and very close to the West entrance of Glacier National Park.
Luckily, Mountain View RV Park had dry camping available for that night and full hookups the next night. Dry camping is just a fancier way of describing a parking spot. It would do. The wifi wasn’t so great, so we left our Airstream while we went for coffee + internet use at Montana Coffee Traders downtown.
We walked around downtown and jumped in and out of a few shops. At which point I had a very momentous event happen… the purchasing of my first pair of Chacos.
That evening we headed over to Spencer Mt. We had heard from a friend that these trails were worth checking out.
As we pulled in, we noticed a guy with his arm in a sling, sweating bullets and looking rather pale. Immediately we jumped out of the truck and it became clear to us that he had dislocated his shoulder. He and his family are from Calgary, and he explained he didn’t quite make a double on the trail, Otter Pop.
His two young sons were also there and his had wife run back up the mountain to retrieve his bike. We helped them load the bikes into their truck, looked up the nearest hospital and gave his wife the directions.
Directly after they had left an SUV with Washington plates pulled in. Chris hails from Spokane and right off the bat we just sorta just decided to all ride together. He’s one of the owners of a bike shop out in Spokane called Bike Hub.
I was still taking it easy due to my fall back in Fernie and we just saw a guy with his shoulder dislocated…so needless to say, I was glad Jay had someone he could ride faster with.
It’s just so refreshing to meet new people in new places – and be able to share an experience, like mountain biking, together.
Fernie Alpine Resort sits to the west of the town. Since we were there on a weekday, the resort only runs 1 lift and it was pretty slow. But weekdays = less crowded so that meant we had more of the trails to ourselves.
The trails were fun and challenging, though conditions weren’t the best. The trails were super dry they a bit rutted out in spots but the wooden features were neat!
Afterward, we made a b-line for the Fernie Brewing Co. (on the opposite side of town) for some tasty beer.
Later on, we rode from the RV resort and brought Cooper with us to the Ridgemont trails. One of the nice fellows at a bike shop downtown gave us this little loop to try. If you’re looking for a nice loop from town, we’d certainly recommend this!
Cemetery bypass > Queen V > Eco Terrorist > Deadfall > Oh Dear
Here are Cooper and I taking a break right before the descent into Deadfall/Oh Dear.
After a long day of riding, we cleaned up and quickly rode downtown to get something to eat. We jumped at this burger night special at Northern Bar and Grill. You really can’t beat a pint of Fernie beer AND burger/fries for $12 CAD.
In the morning we packed up, did a load of laundry at Andy’s, and got ready to head out to our next destination, Fernie, BC.
We met Andy at Purcell Coffee to say our goodbyes, and hit up Long John’s Doughnuts on our way out of town. We were so excited about the donuts that I forgot to take a photo before we started devouring them.
On our way down route 95, we drove through a pretty large forest fire. These forest fires have been going on for the past few weeks in BC and down into Montana. I had never seen a forest fire, let along this close to the road before.
The road we were on had been closed just the day before.
We went straight to the Fernie RV Resort so that we could get set up. This RV park is really nice. It has quite a few spots and is very open compared to our little spot in Bow Valley. Full-hookups are always nice.
We decided we’d head out for a quick little ride right from the RV park. When you look at Fernie on Trail Forks, this is what you get:
We could really just head in any direction and we were bound to run into some trails. We decided to do a loop in the Mad Cow/Swine Flu area which climbs and descends about 1,700 ft.
The climb wasn’t too bad and there’s a bench at the top and we stopped for a breather and enjoyed the views of the town.
We took Swine Flu to descend. What a super fun and flowy trail. Plus, you gotta love these trail names. Yes, that is a pig with a thermometer in its butt.
FYI – Dogs weren’t allowed on this particular trail system since there are real cows that meander nearby. So Cooper had to sit this one out.
We decided to ride the town loop on the way back and head through downtown on our bikes to see what was going on.
Fernie has a cute little downtown with nice shops, bars, restaurants, and literally 4 bike shops within 2 blocks of each other. Every mountain biker’s dream!
We’re lucky enough to have a group of amazing friends back east. Our one friend Amy introduced us to her brother, Andy, and his girlfriend, Miranda, a few weeks back when they were visiting Ithaca. They mentioned if happened to wander out to Golden to touch base, and so we did!
We rolled in Golden later than expected. Jay and I didn’t anticipate such a gnarly, curvy, steep mountain pass once we crossed the continental divide. Andy lives on the end of a quiet, dead end street in town. Perfect spot for a giant shiny Airstream to park.
The locals are nice, they love being there. Andy works for Golden Tourism, but despite the fact that he sells the town for a living, you can tell he loves living and working Golden. He’s very proud of the town and after being here we definitely could see why.
Our first morning, Andy and Miranda made us a delicious breakfast and gave us a tour of one of the mountain bike trail systems closest to Cedar Lake. The forest there is beautiful.
I’m a big fan of smells. And I’m telling you… this trail smelled good. Tall pines and undulating singletrack make for some really fun, fast and flowy cross country trails. We covered around 5-6 miles with ease.
After our quick warm up loop, we shuttled up a pretty wicked dirt road to the top of Little Sir Donald (LSD). Having experienced the trail ratings in Moose Mt., I knew that this black diamond trail would be no joke either.
Boy was this trail gnarly and technical. LSD starts pretty mellow and then quickly turns into a fast descent complete with wooden features, loose corners, and steep rooty areas with 3-4ft drops in some sections. The trail was conveniently marked with arrows and warning signs along the way for the Enduro race happening the next day. I was very thankful for the signage.
After LSD you pop out on the Canyon Trail with amazing views. We had to be extra careful around some corners because of complete DROP OFFs in some spots.
After the ride we drank some beer and went for a quick dip in Cedar Lake while Andy + Miranda went to grab the shuttle vehicle.
Back at Andy’s place we took the dogs for a walk on the trails adjacent to his place. They had been recently damaged from high winds and micro bursts the ripped through the area a few days before (scary stuff). Entire trees had been uprooted and strewn across the trail.
After our adventure hike up and over many down trees, we biked through town on the bike path over to Whitetooth Brewing and ordered a pizza from Red Tomato Pie. Nothing like ending a great day with good company, pizza and beer!