Many towns out West label themselves “outdoor” towns—suggesting a populace eager to bike, run, ski, paddle, hunt, fish, hike, backpack, float and camp. Missoula, is one of these places, but it has a spirit that distinguishes it from the rest. It's reputation as a haven for seething, crazed liberals is evident on the streets. Hippies chortle on acoustic guitars, fanzine flyers cover telephone poles and head shops and trendy cafes abound. This is, after all, a university town that exudes tolerance for everyone.
It seems too cold for me, but children and adults are already floating the rushing Clark Fork River on inner tubes. A white-water pool was constructed right beneath the downtown bridge, where one can stop and watch kayakers and surfers practice in the standing wave. Pretty cool to see surfers in the middle of Montana.
Spent time putting on a new seat and configuring my bike without rear panniers. My bungee hobo setup experiment is about to begin. Then I hung out with the Adventure Cycling folks. Justin, whom works there, grabbed me and took me to the Iowa "shrine" in the office. He's a native of Iowa City and really dug my Hawkeye Jersey.
I had some fitful sleep after listening to this earth mother carry on and on about grizzly bears eating out the guts of her friend a few years ago. She went on and on with one gory story after another. Bears are a threat, but the locals told me that this woman was a bit off the plot. So, now I have to decide if I want to lug around a heavy can of bear spray. Damn.

Just finished lunch at Five on Black, a rice bowl joint, to fuel up on my trek out of here. One of the employees, a young Grizzly Adams dude, asked if I needed a place to stay and took genuine interest in my tour. He's setting out on one this weekend around Glacier.

Overall, Missoula gets a thumbs way up! I'll be back again, soon.
 


Comments

06/12/2013 1:49pm

keep the stories coming Jon, we are thinking of you as you enter the Mountainous beauty and beyond.
M+S+H

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Doug Novy
06/12/2013 2:42pm

Sounds like Missoula is a really cool place, but keep in mind that less tolerant places make for better narratives.

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Doug Novy
06/12/2013 2:44pm

I think I might have just jinxed you there^. Whoops.

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Jonathan Leahey
06/12/2013 2:56pm

Dang it! Now I gotta write about mountains and crap.

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Schwartz
06/12/2013 4:39pm

Hey, the Korean kid put his card up right before yours!

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Xtine
06/12/2013 6:48pm

Explain more about Adventure Cycling. Is this an organized route you are on?

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Jessica McLaren
06/12/2013 7:00pm

Love the description of local life and people of entertaining character. Sounds like you have good supplies for BUTT sores. Yeah, numbing agents wear off quickly and actually make the tissue more sensitive so you are right to use them only sparingly. I'm interested in how you secure each of your small packs to the bike so that they don't move too much. Glad you took a day to rest. Take care. Enjoy mountain time. Don't feed the bears.
Jessie

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Jonathan Leahey
06/12/2013 8:54pm

I saw that. He beat me to it!

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Jonathan Leahey
06/12/2013 8:56pm

Go here Xtine:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/

I've been a member for years. They support all sorts of touring, but mainly assist solo tourists with detailed route maps and advice.

Their magazine is full of rugged stories about people on cycle adventures all over the world.

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Schatz
06/12/2013 10:37pm

I'm laughing my butt off right now that auto-correct (a-hole) renamed me Schwartz.

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Jonathan Leahey
06/13/2013 9:21am

It's a good Jewish/German name.

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Cheryi
06/13/2013 11:01am

Hi Jon, So you;'re going to hook up with Debbie & John later today .Say hello for me. It's pretty amazing that you can do that. Bet you have seen some pretty country. Does your butt hurt? Have you had any rain? Watdh out for bears and cougars. Stay safe and enjoy the ride.
Love & Hugs Always, mom

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Jonathan Leahey
06/14/2013 10:20am

Thanks Ma. I'll see if Deb and John have time tomorrow to meet.

Be well and give kisses to my furry kids for me.

Love,

Jon

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