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The Day After

The Day After

It’s the day after our wedding party and I can’t seem to shake this overwhelming sadness. It hit me when trying to take a recovery nap this afternoon. I feel it in the chest and jaw area…and I feel like I’m going to suffocate. The sadness has to do with it all being over. It was the best party I could imagine. Friends and family from far away all in one place. Connections from so many different eras in our lives. And they were all there for us! It’s such a bittersweet feeling to know so many people care about you and want to spend their time with you. I just wish there was more time to talk about what they’ve been up to all these years, more time to laugh at who you were and what you did in the past together.

I keep wanting to go back to last night, but I know I cannot. Friends are in their cars and on planes heading away from here, getting further away with each minute. I’m not sure when we’ll get to see them again, most likely never like that, and that’s the part that’s really making me sad.

Day 21 – The Missoula Insectarium and Heading to Bozeman

Day 21 – The Missoula Insectarium and Heading to Bozeman

Missoula, in many ways, reminded me of Ithaca… if Missoula were Ithaca’s younger wilder sibling.
I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly what it was. But we really enjoyed our time there.  Jay had a few meetings in the morning. One of which was with Glen at the Missoula Insectarium. I’d never been to an insectarium before and really didn’t know what to expect… but Glen happily gave us a tour and introduced us to many arthropods.
Funny stick bugs, cool beetles I’d never seen…but I certainly didn’t expect to see THIS.
EEEEEeeeeeeeee! Don’t worry. It’s just a molt. But if you were to ask me, I still wouldn’t have touched it. This is a molt of Polly, the insectarium’s Goliath Birdeater. She’s a type of tarantula. I never knew tarantulas molted as they continue to grow. Let’s just say Polly is WAY bigger now.
I’m gonna go ahead and follow that up with a nice photo of a butterfly eating an orange…
I’m sure that helps even things out (unless you’re like my friend Amy who hates butterflies…then this may be a double whammy).
After Jay’s meetings, we drove to Bretz RV + Marine. Remember when I mentioned we broke one of the lids off the Airstream? So we purchase a new lid then went to Lowes to buy a ladder so we could install the lid ourselves.
We said goodbye to Missoula and headed for our next stop; the Bozeman Hot Springs Campground. Luckily we got there with enough time to hit up the warm pools before they closed up at 11pm.
Day 20 – Downtown Missoula – Montana

Day 20 – Downtown Missoula – Montana

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. 😉
Day 19 – Wandering along to Missoula – Montana

Day 19 – Wandering along to Missoula – Montana

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.
Days 17-18 – Whitefish ain’t so Honky Tonky

Days 17-18 – Whitefish ain’t so Honky Tonky

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.
Day 16 – Next stop – Whitefish Bike Retreat in Montana

Day 16 – Next stop – Whitefish Bike Retreat in Montana

We felt sad that we had to leave Canada, but we’ll be back. There are still many more awesome towns we didn’t get to see that are on our list to check out next time. Towns like Revelstoke and Nelson (and plenty more we’ve probably never even heard of!)
We set off for Whitefish, Montana, with no itinerary except to just get there. We hadn’t booked a place to stay yet, which proved to be a bad idea. Since Whitefish is very close to west entrance of Glacier National Park, every RV park we called was booked solid.
We decided to head to Whitefish Bike Retreat to check it out and do some biking from there while we mulled over what to do.
The staff was super friendly and the trails on their property are pretty rad!  They had some sweet wooden features, a DH flow trail, pump track and some jumps. I can see why this is a haven for mountain bikers from all over. After a quick pint,  we hit the trails. Smooth and flowy, not a whole lot of tough climbs which was nice. The forest had been thinned so you can see quite a ways in, which was absolutely beautiful.
The trails at the retreat run directly into The Whitefish Trail where we were able to tack on some more mileage.
The trail was super smooth and easy compared to the trails we were riding in Fernie. It was just nice to zen out for a bit.
That night we ended up boondocking close to the retreat on a quiet dirt road near Murray Lake. A local had clued us in that no one would bother us there and no one did.  Phew!