Been here in Olathe KS. for about a week now visiting Cindy's family and friends and attended her best friends mother's funeral service. We're camped out in Cindy's brother's driveway and have been riding the trails around and through Olathe, Overland Park, and Lenexa. The trail system while not scenic is great that it puts you into contact with shopping, restaurants, and parks, and is in an ongoing process of future construction. Seems that this community realizes the importance of a traffic free or traffic friendly bicycle trail system. Many of the streets have bike lanes if not outright trails right beside them, going by neighbor hoods, schools, and shopping. Gotta be careful on trikes when entering round-a-bouts though, sometimes the cars aren't believing eyes and may forget to yield to you already being in the circle. Heck, most aren't used to round-a-bouts. Will be here for another week for a wedding, then Sunday the 27th we gotta hi ball it to Floral City to open by the 2nd of Oct.
The worm has turned and we must be heading east. A few stops along the way to show the Sigma and ride a trail or two. Decided to pay a visit to Bill and Ruth, some winter friends of ours who summer in Iowa, where corn is king and soy beans are queen. Gotta say the trail system around Des Moines is really something to behold and we only did a small portion of it from Urbandale to Des Moines. There are trails going everywhere off the main spur making it easy to bike to grocery stores, and other needed retail establishments without dealing with a lot of cars, and this includes bars. Yes, bars, with beer and wine and booze and fun people. Bill and Ruth took us to the Des Moines Farmers Market and a HUGE market it was. I bought some frozen elk burgers and Bill suggested we stop off at Orlando's for a beer, no worries put the burgers in their freezer. We got there and there were bicycles all over the place even some trikes and a recumbent tandem, but no lycra clad riders, just a bunch of tattoed Harley lookin' dudes and gals. Figured the motorcycles were parked out front and the cyclist's were inside watching the Iowa, Iowa State game. Wrong supposition Regis, the guys and ladies outside were the cyclist's and there bikes were adorned with bags and coolers and cartoon characters, and I pods with speakers. These people are commonly referred to as "baggers" They ride their bikes where ever they go, carrying everything they need for the ride. Most have done RAGBRI several times. They were the nicest group of people I have met on this trip, calling their selves Misfits from A Christmas Story, and the misfit toys. Bill and I ended up having 3 beers and some good conversation. Now in Kansas to visit Cindy's family. More on this later, gotta get dinner ready.
Woke up too late to do the full 14 miles to Hyalite Peak but did make Hyalite Lake around 11 miles round trip, and what a beautiful hike it was. Pictures don't do the scenery justice, at least with me as the photographer, but post a few I will. The perfectly U shaped glacier carved canyon trail provides views of 11 water falls, wild flower meadows, kragy cliffs, a glacial lake, and surrounding mountains. This hike is said to be the premier hike in the Bozeman area and even though I've only been on one other, this one would be hard to beat. One of the falls, Apex Falls has a long sinuous scarf-like cascade with a water slide look to it's lower section. If ever in Bozeman this is a must do hike. Even my 10 year old dog can do it, and right now he is crashed on the couch.
Today was a run around day, from the campground to town , to farmers market, to Salvation Army all in car traffic. I finally had gotten my mountain bike out because I thought it would be more city traffic friendly and used it for a few days. Today I rode the Kett and found it to be so much more a townie bike than an upright. I could do anything I would do on the mt. bike, but without the possibility of dumping it. Curb hopping, tight turns, drifting around sandy corners, quick acceleration, being one with traffic and being visible was all spot on, all with the ability to carry a large amount of cargo. I do so love this bike and wish there was someone in the US that would build a more affordable quality delta trike. Kudos to HASE. Tonight we went to a place I saw on the map and checked out on the web called Norris Hot Springs. They had all on site grown veggies, local beef, bison and chicken, beer and wine, and live music. It was okay but I wouldn't drive 38 miles to do it again. They had the entertainer in a dome behind a plastic curtain which made it hard to hear him. The hot spring was 105 degrees but just like a big hot tub without the jets. Any way it was just marginal at best, not the way it looked on the web site, but on the drive back the cliffs on the river were great.
Sometimes you just have to pinch your self to make sure you're not in a dream, and today was one of those days. Nothing spectacular happened just a nice day starting with a good whole grain bagel at breakfast that I bought at the local co op in town, and a bowl of cereal, then a great workout hiking up a mountain side and switchbacking down again. On the way back we drove into downtown Bozeman and hit some thrift stores where Cindy got some great bargains on 1/2 off day. Back at the Camper she relaxed and showered while I took a ride on my trike and just got a thrill riding down the road climbing then descending, mountains all around, nice views and ended up doing a loop stopping to help a student here at the collage with a broken spoke on his road bike and getting info on the good hikes. Back to camp, a shower, then a bike ride into town for pizza and some live music, and to top it all off a ride back to camp under the full moon. As the shirts say, "life is good". Photo by Larry Varney
Started heading East yesterday and stopped at the National Bison Range in Montana. For a $5. charge we took a 2 hour drive up the mountain and got to see a bear, buffalo, pronghorn antelope , mule deer, and elk, along with some pretty incredible scenery. The valley below used to be a glacial lake and when we saw the sign marking the high water mark of Lake Missoula I almost fell of the mountain. Amazing volume of water. Now in Bozeman, Mt. and going to go on a hike or two, after fixing a tire on the Airstream that has developed a leak.