Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Missoula

There are a bunch of mini casinos all over Montana and I will have to get the scoop on what their deal is. This one was interesting in that it made me wonder if I had ever seen a sign that had only 11 words and 14 "E"s. I also wondered if the sign kits that are used to make these signs have a bunch of extra "E"s or did these folks have to buy more than one kit to make this message work.

This is Fred Gerlach a native of Versailles Ohio who has lived in Missoula for 32 years and I owe Charlie Keihl large for sending me an email with Fred's contact info. What a treat vit ws spending several hours with Fred yesterday. As Charlie said "he is a real interesting man".
Fred was on the faculty at the U. of Montana for a long time in the Forestry and Cartography dept. He was heavily involved in the developement of the GPS system and traveled the world testing it out andteaching classes on how to use it.
Fred is also a helicopter and airplane pilot who dropped smoke jumpers into forest fire areas as well as dumping chemical retardents on the fires.
I called Fred as I was walking the 4 miles back to town after dropping bike off at welding shop. He dropped what he was doing and drove over to pick me up. Although he did not know me he had known my dad and mom.
He gave me a very comprehensive tour of the area and we talked like 2 chatty kathy dolls the whole time.

There is one thing I should mention about Fred. In Versailles the word is that although the Gerlachs are very good people you have to keep an eye on them and Fred confirmed that yesterday. I offered to buy him lunch and he said "ok, what do you like to eat?" and I said "how about a salad bar?" and Fred says "ok"
So he drives around another 15 minutes and we stop at a place called Pauls which is a pancake house and there was not a leaf of lettuce in the building. Fred says "They have the best sour dough pancakes I hve ever had" so that is what we had. I knew I had been tricked and should not have offered to spring for the meal until after we had eaten. Fred wanted pancakes all along.

The cakes were excellent but I can not wait until Fred visits Darke County and we go out to eat . I will be driving the car then.

The time I spent with Fred was a pure treat and I look forward to many more conversations with him. We even had a great talk about how/why some of the names of places and things in the west were named and how some had to be changed because of political correctness. Fred was the one who brought up the subject. One local example is the changing of the originally named "Squaw Tit Mountain". Of course I told Fred I was already into this game and he gave me some neat ideas that I may apply somewhere down the road if the situation presents itself.

These are 3 more real bikers I was fortunate to meet in Missoula. On nthe left is Carl from Missouri , Hans from Switzerland, and Phil from Vancouver Washington.
Carl just arrived and will be joining Hans on the way to Astoria.
Hans is the fellow Sassy and I met in the Dakotas on the drive west. He is actually Swiss and not German as I previously reported.
As soon as Hans saw me he handed me a Bayern Dancing Trout Ale which has the coolest label
That Hans knows about the finer things in life.
Phil is the biker I met in Oregon about the 3rd day of trip. He is healthy again and heading to Yorktown Va.
Happy Trails to all.

Hans, Carl and I had a long conversation filled dinner at an oriental resuarant. I learned a lot from these 2 very experienced bikers who have traveled in many countries. Very good men.

I just had to include this pic because when I first saw it I immediately thought how cool it would have been to attend Hellgate Elementary/kindergarten back when your parents were tring to hard (and in my case unsuccessfully) to prevent you from using swear words in public. Hellgate is the name of a neqarby valley.
I can see myself as a 5 year old saying in a loud voice "Hey, you just go to HELLgate elementary and pick up a book" or "I have been to HELLgate school and back twice today". I wonder if these kids who actually do attend this school know how lucy they are.

It was another great day spent in Missoula and I consider myself lucky to have had the bike problem here . The fix was available and i would not have met Fred or the other bike guys if I had stuck to my boriginal plan.
I even ran into Jason the neighbor "roughing it "camper from a few days ago. He introduced me to his coworker and then said he had read the blog and wanted to clear up a few things.
First, the pancakes and bacon he fed me for breakfast were not left over from their breakfast--only the bacon was. Jason made me a fresh stack of cakes and they were good. Also Jason is not entirely the redneck I described him as--he actually has some couth.
Jason buddy I hope this squares things between us because I sure look forward to camping next door to you and family again.
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  1. favorite game when in don't have to think, just pick the numbers and lose. Great fun!

    I thought umpire work and officiating killed my legs and back...since you are the same age, and "larger" than ol' Hoot....I want a full report of the stess issues this trek put on you back and legs.

    Keep On Biking'

  2. Good luck Toni and keep your wheels turning!

  3. Thumbs up to Pat for kicking me over here! This sounds one adventurous trip, what a way to see the States, good on you Toni.

    Have you ever heard of the Isle of Mann TT races? I live right by Agostini's Leap, and my road is sealed off for most of the days it's on - I see some great wheelies rip past my drive. As chance would have it, it only ended last week. Every year our island is literally flooded with biker enthusiasts, I have made many friends from the top of our gate (they are closed in with us from morn til noon)!

  4. Pat nudged me this way, and I am glad he did. I will check in often. Watch out for Liberal drivers.

  5. A Baltes looking for a salad? Say it ain't so Tony!