After our tire blowouts we stayed in Butte, MT for a night then headed to the big city of Missoula. Baylee's 12th birthday was earlier in the month but we haven't been able to find a party store to buy the appropriate fete materials. Missoula had a Party America store (along with just about every other big chain store you could imagine) so we were ready to celebrate the old girl's birthday. Baylee is the only family member to celebrate two birthday's on the road. Her 11th b-day was in Chowchilla, CA, just a few weeks after our journey started.
Robby has been interested in magic for some time now and he earned a cool magic trick set that Joss bought some time ago. He's been practicing on us but didn't have the complete magician ensemble. Well the trip to the party store fixed that! Now Mr. Mysterio (as I call him) is decked out with top hat and cape. He wanted his little brother to be his "lovely assistant" but Sawyer wanted too much of the limelight! Words were said, blows were thrown (just kidding) and Sawyer is now on this side of the stage with the rest of us!
Along the trip, one of the really cool things that happens from time to time is we meet up with fellow travelers. Sometimes, as with the Wiley's in Baton Rouge, we meet in one place, then we stalk them...I mean go to visit them, in their hometown. It's fun for all of us to reconnect and we've made some great friendships that way.
Well, while we were planning our trip in early 2007 and doing online research about families on the road, we came across the Vogel family that was biking around North America. They had twin boys, Davy and Daryl who were 8 at the time. They wrapped up their first trip and headed home to Boise, Idaho as we were getting close to leaving on our trip. They only stayed put for a year before embarking on a HUGE bicycling trip from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the southern tip of S. America in Argentina. When they're done the boys will become Guinness World Record holders as the youngest people to cycle the Pan-American Highway! They left in June on this 2 1/2 year trip so we've been following their blog (http://www.familyonbikes.org). As we were closing in on Missoula, MT we read that they were planning on staying there for a few days. We emailed and made arrangements to meet.
After meeting up, we all decided to go hiking up Rattlesnake Trail. The weather was beautiful in Missoula and made for great hiking. The Vogel's were staying with hosts Laurie and Ed they met online through www.warmshowers.org. Laurie took her nephew and his friend along so we had SIX boys under 11 years old. Good thing we were outside!
Some river shots along the trail. If you're reading this blog in a big city and have never sat along side a natural river/creek...put it on your list of things to do before you die (and do it often!)
All the boys as they double dog dared each other to jump in fully clothed (or not).
After hiking we went back to Laurie's house near the University (of Montana) and ordered pizza. The boys had a great time playing in the basement with Lincoln logs and other toys. It was nice to see that even if you're a 10 year old that is bicycling across two continents, you are still a kid at heart.
The next day, I picked up the boys and we did some Geocaching on the UofM campus. Here the group is investigating a micro cache (35mm film canister hidden behind a plaque).
That evening, Sawyer was tuckered out so he and I stayed home (the Missoula KOA campground) while Joss and Robby took them back. Here is the Vogel family with Joss and Robby at Laurie's house. The next day (Friday) they were taking to the road again after getting both wheels replaced on their tandem bike. We were taking off also after getting some of our tire issues taken care of.