Friday, June 19, 2009

An amazing day in Conner/Darby Mt.

This is a pic taken from a helicopter flying above the Bitterroot mountans yesterday. See below for explanation of how I got in this helicopter.

Castle Peak pic taken from helicopter yesterday.

The helicopter and me (I am on the left).

Last nite's campground along the West Branch of the Bitterroot River which makes an S curve in the distance.
For Charles Keihl and all you boy scouts out there , that fire was started with all materials found in woods and 1 match--no paper, gas, or lighter fluid.


What a day ! What a day!
It started normally enough , after being rescued by the proprietor Mary fron riding around all over Montana thinking I knew where I was going, and staying in a nice cabin I was on the road by 8 a.m. heading for the climb over Chief Joseph Pass and a brief stop at Lightfoot Cycles in Conner about 2 miles off the route. I took a few pics in Darby on the way to Conner and all was cool in the world. I did have a first in that I saw my first bear and he stood still long enough so that I got a great pic of it(see other post).

I had read about Lightfoot after running into them by accident on the internet while looking for something else and was intruiged by what I saw. Besides producing a line of unique bicycles (including recumbents) they design and produce amazing bikes for special needs riders. They also build custom bikes to order. I liked how they presented themselves on the site and wanted to meet these folks .
One thing that has begun to enter my mind since I started this trip is that after having some doubts about being able to make/finish it I am considering other future trips already. I am pretty sure I can do this on a regular basis and having passed that mental marker I am thinking I want to do this more, a lot more. Touring the country on a recumbent is wonderful and I want to continue.

So with that in mind I have been making notes on what I liked and disliked about the bike I have been riding. While riding a recumbent or "bent" is wonderful compared to a normal bike or "wedgie", not all recumbents are created equal and when you add a body like mine to the mix you start to notice things that could be improved at least for an idividual's needs. It is sorta of like buying a bed, if you are going to be spending a good portion of your life in it then it better be comfortable and fit your body etc. I had done weeks of research on the internet and tested several brands of recumbent before settling on a Rans XP HD (heavy duty). All reports were good and it felt good to me when test riding. It cost about $2800 for bike and several extras I added. It is considered a top of the line recumbent.

So I find the shop which is about as off the beaten track as a bike shop can be. It is located in a former horse barn in an area where bears mess with the garbage, moose screw up gardens and seeing a wolf is not uncommon. Per instructions on their website I had called ahead for an appointment and met Rod the owner. He showed me some of the things they are currently building and we talked about 15 minutes . I explained that after I got done with this ride I was considering having a bike made that corrected the things I did not like and something modified to my needs. I would be in touch this coming winter or spring. He gave me his card and I was ready to leave. When he asked for my card I said I would run out to bike and get one.
Rod walked out with me and we started to discuss my rig. We kept talking as I showed him some of the things I thought could be done better. Pretty soon his son Ben and wife Marty and ace welder Wayne came out to check out my bike. We talked bike talk for an hour and it seemed like every time I made a point about something I thought should be changed they all said that
"That is standard with our bikes".

So finally I asked to test ride a demo bike they had . I rode about 3 miles and when I returned I said "You guys just ruined my whole trip". Riding their bike I could feel how supeior it was to mine and how much more comfortable it was. Damn it felt good--I did not want to get off. So we talked some more and I said "How much for that demo?" The price was $2000 and I said , "Deal, when can you have it ready to go with all the extra stuff I currently have on my bike?". The answer was a day and here I am waiting on it to be done.
I know I can get $2000 for my basic bike pretty easily as soon as I list it. Lightfoot will keep it here and ship to wherever when needed.

I asked if there was any campsites nearby and Marty says we have some property down by the river you cann camp there, and it was beautiful.
Then Ben says he had to leave to give someone a "ride". I then learn that Ben is an ace helicopter pilot and he offered to give me a ride around the area. I have never been in a helicopter and the thought of seeing some of this scenery from up above was more than I could handle. Ben gave me a 30 minute ride over some of the prettiest wilderness in the world. Places where no one lives and hardly anyone even goes. I could not take enough pics and videos.

It will probably take me 10 more posts to cover all the stuff that happened yesterday --what a day ! what a day!
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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an incredible day. I like the helicopter shots. What cool progression of events as well. I hope the new bike treats you well. Take care sir.