Friday, July 3, 2015

Home (when you're not home)

One of my favorite moments from the coast to coast tour of 2010 was spending time with Elaine and Dan, who made their home into a rest place for bikers.

Yesterday, I experienced another transcendent moment. A moment that almost wasn't.

As stated in this post, I intended to night over in Lincoln, MT because I was hot, tired and knew that the climb up Stemple Road was going to be tough. Not wanting to pay for a hotel, I decided I'll make the climb and see if I can find a camping site on the other side. The map said that there was a place for bikers to stay at Barbara Nye's. Just call. Well, there's no service so that wasn't going to happen. I zoomed down the road to the stop sign looking for the place. I was at Mile 88.9 and according to the map and that's where the spot was supposed to be. I rode half a mile down the other road to no avail. Checked the map again and saw that she was at Mile 88.1!

So I rode the eight-tenths of a mile back up the hill and saw her sign. I was going too fast down to notice. I knocked on the door and asked how much for camping? She said I could have the cabin. How much to stay? "Free," she said. I was excited.

The cabin was built eight years ago. She didn't tell me why, but said about 4 years ago she began allowing bikers to camp and stay there. It's small, maybe 15x10 with a loft that has a double bed on one side and a single on the other. She's set a new solar shower that she was excited for me to use (water was still cold). Inside, there's a stove and she even has a small stash of food for cyclists to cook and prepare if they want.

It was just such a well thought out place and she obviously put some thought and consideration into it. It wasn't just a place to sleep, someone put heart into this and wanted to make visitors feel welcome. Like they were home.

It was a godsend that I found her place. I wasn't on National Forest property anymore so camping meant that I make the steep climb the way I came or go 5 miles off the route.

The bonus of the cabin, besides being so welcoming and a great place to rest is that the views were stunning and her three llamas were your greeters in the morning. I arrived just before 8:00, giving me plenty of time to eat dinner, clean clothes and write in my journal.

My travels always reveal to me that people are good and there are good people. I think we're bred to think the worse of people sometimes. I am often shocked at the kindness of strangers. At this point in my life and the experiences that I've had with them, I shouldn't be. Just on this trip, I've had a stranger give me a ride off the mountain and a free meal and conversation with the campground hosts in Basin. And I stayed at the Llama Lodge, one of the highlights of my trip.

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