been so long in the rain, you feel like a dirty dish rag. But despite the
misery of your water soaked body, you look around to see verdant leaves
dripping with water. The air entering your lungs smells vibrantly clean. To
experience adventure, you must be willing to be uncomfortable at times and
enjoy the loneliness by being happy with your own singing. A song pops out of your
mouth… "It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was fine…””
- Frosty Wooldridge, Golden,
Colorado, camped out in Hyder, Alaska
(Statue of a mountain man in
Montana. Mountain men lived rough, tough and dangerous lives. They trapped
beaver, shot their own food, built their own cabins, traded with the Indians,
got killed by grizzly bears and lived hard lives. Watch the movie “Jerimiah
Johnson” with Robert Redford to give you a “romantic” glimpse of mountain men.)
at the crack of dawn, Robert and I packed our gear, ate some snacks and hit the
road with the rising sun. A detour route took us past a nest of
beautiful hawks where we could hear the babies chirping. Both parents flew over
our heads. Such beauty in the early morning hour!
hit Route 89 northbound on a flat spot in the terrain while we pulled away from
the pristine waters of the Yellowstone River. We covered so much history
and so much agony for the Indians who lost everything to the conquering
settlers, mountain men and U.S. Army. We rode on a main artery heading
north. Lots of “land yachts” with trailing SUVs blew past us. Those monsters
cost $250,000.00 for the Prevosts and up to a million bucks for the fancy
ones. Later, I’ll tell an interesting story about such a moment in a
campground with one of them.
I swear that
most folks go so fast on their vacations, their souls can’t keep up with them.
this 1959 Chevy Biscayne four door sedan in
great condition. Every small town across America houses old cars from the
past. It’s quite a treat to discover them as we pedal into towns.)
powered forward, a line of mountains to our east and west provided fabulous
views with green trees while snowfields lingered in the high country.
Contrasted with a cobalt sky, the route gave stupendous beauty for 360
degrees. Along the road, Canada geese paddled in another river that
sidled up alongside the road we traveled. Lots of red-winged black birds
sang for us. Muskrats dove and swallows bolted out from under every bridge we
crossed. They nest underneath them for protection from the weather.
rolled along in a peaceful manner. Robert talked about his plans to move
West. “I can’t live in Alabama anymore after riding through these
mountains. I think I am becoming a mountain man.”
about his work with www.NeverThirst.org
where he raises funds to bring water
to children around the world. Over 4,000 children die every day from lack
of clean water. He hopes to raise $100,000.00 to help countries drill wells to
secure clean water.
He said, “It’s amazing to think
that today, in a world of iPhones, space travel, and unprecedented wealth in
the American Church that there are almost 1 billion people living without
access to clean water - but sadly, this is the truth.
“Maybe it’s that the number seems too staggering or too big to be
true. Or as long as we don’t have a problem with it, it’s alright if others do.
One of our desires in all of our work is to be used to awaken the heart of
Christ and of His compassion for the poor and less fortunate.
“In order to do this, we know that we need to change numbers to names.
We ask that you allow us to take that 1 billion and introduce you to some of
them - to Charity Jackson or Louis Martin from Sudan. Or maybe Ranjana who
lives the life of a typical teenager in India - only she doesn’t have access to
clean drinking water.”
stop, I found Robert to be as passionate about drinking water for children as I
am about human overpopulation worldwide. Along the way, both our passions
may help bring positive change around the planet. I found myself really
liking Robert more and more. At half my age, he proves to be yet another
idealist who takes action.
pedaled along, I emptied my mind and sang some of my favorite songs. A
bicycle tour provides simple living which means I slow down so my soul can keep
up with me. Today’s society races so fast that a person’s soul struggles
Sarah’s backyard hammock. It’s tough being a long distance cyclist, but
somebody’s got to do it. You know something? American folks are so kind
and good hearted. You can host touring cyclists by joining www.WarmShowers.org
. You will meet really neat people from all over the world.)
Near the end
of the day, we stopped at White Sulfur Springs at the Buck Stop Saloon for a
Chef Salad and fries. Robert downed a huge burger with all the
fixings. Outside, we met Jackson and Ashly riding a motorcycle. Jackson
proved to be a funny, funny guy. A very tall and gorgeous Ashly happened to be
a country-western singer-song writer. We struck up a conversation that we
needed a shower and place to camp. Ashly said, “I’ll see what I can do.”
across the street to a store featuring a marquee “Red Ants Pants” and came back
with a very tall, attractive brunette. Sarah said we were welcome to take
a shower at her place and stay in her Air Stream trailer. “You’re also
invited to dinner,” she said.
just ate, no long distance touring cyclist turns down dinner. Before we
knew it, we stood in the middle of a party with wine, cheeses, crackers,
candles, elk burgers, salad, beer and outrageous humor. Jackson proved a
comedic genius. He could turn any conversation into laughter. We couldn’t
keep up with laughing so much.
dinner with Ashly, Jackson, Sarah and the crew at the Red Ants Pants culinary
hot spot in White Sulfur Springs, Montana.)
things calmed down, we discovered that Sarah owned the “Red Ants Pants” store,
which featured working pants for women in rural areas that fit them and
complemented them. She showed us her store and goods. Sarah also
organized the annual
About 12,000 people attend from all
over the country. It’s family oriented and exceptionally well received.
To tell the truth, it’s a country “Woodstock” held in a farmer’s field in White
Sulfur Springs, Montana.
and values statement:
develop and expand leadership roles for women
preserve and support working family farms
enrich and promote rural communities
recognize and cultivate strong work ethic
encourage and build self-reliance, especially for women
educate the public on the importance of maintain traditional work skills
provide opportunities for people with different perspectives to connect, build
bridges and discover common ground
be called an entrepreneurial icon: she worked Outward Bound for years. She
creates projects for technical skills, conferences, music festivals and
community grants. Country Living featured her on their front cover.
It sold out! She knows Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker and Guy Clark
personally. She won “female entrepreneur of the year” and more to come.
Check her out at: www.redantspantsfoundation.org
ever enjoyed yourself so much that you didn’t want to leave? Did you ever
find the folks you shared great times with that you wanted to take them with
you? Both Robert and I didn’t want to leave the next morning. We wanted
to stay for the country music festival. But, the border of Canada
beckoned us. I think Sarah carried a crush on Robert or maybe Robert carried a
crush on Sarah. She cooked up a fancy breakfast for us to power us down
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the
Arctic to the South Pole - as well as nine times across the USA, coast to coast
and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to
Athens, Greece. In 2010, he cycled 3,400 miles coast to coast across
America. In 2012, he bicycled the northern tier coast to coast across
America. In 2013, he bicycled 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada on the
Continental Divide, 150,000 vertical feet of climbing and 19 crossing of
passes, 10 of the Continental Divide. He presents “The Coming Population
Crisis facing America: what to do about it.” www.frostywooldridge.com
. His latest
book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by
Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure:
The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com
Live well, laugh often, celebrate daily
and enjoy the ride,
6 Continent world bicycle traveler