We got to meet Brad this morning! He got home after we went to bed last night, so I wasn't sure if we'd get to meet him, but he and Bill have an 8:30 class this morning, so they're up bright and early.
Brad came out to meet us toast piled high with butter and jelly. Mmmm, mmmm.
When we were all packed up, we got on our bikes to head to the Adventure Cycling Association, Brad got on his bike to head to class, and we rode out together. It was cool.
When we got to ACA, the first thing they asked us to do was sign their guest book, and then they took our picture and hung it on the wall! They photograph all the bicyclists that come through each year and put their pictures on the wall with a little bit of information about them and their ride.
After the photo, our first objective was...what else...food! We heard that ACA gives cyclists free ice cream, so we decided to eat our oatmeal at ACA and have ice cream on top. It's one of Nathan's favorite breakfasts - oatmeal with ice cream. I had never heard of it until we got married and one morning he made me his special "Baked Oatmeal". Apparently, he had it for breakfast at a camp he went to in high school. It's really good, so we were excited to recreate it at ACA.
After we were done eating, we were kind of just poking around looking at stuff when this guy Greg came and asked if he could take our picture. He is their official photographer, and we had to sign a model release for him to photograph us. He took us to a special area for the pictures, and we were each photographed individually and then together. ACA publishes a monthly magazine, and they post a picture and article about one of the bikers/biker groups that come through each month. So, who knows, we might be in the September issue of their magazine! That would be so cool!
While talking to Greg, we learned that he is one of the founders of ACA! He and his wife had the idea for ACA while they were on a bike tour of their own back in the 70's. Greg showed us a lot of ACA and bicycling history throughout the building. We had such an interesting time talking to him that we decided to get a video of him for you. Meet Greg :-)
While we were getting ready to go, we met two bicyclists from France. They've been on the road for about 2 years, and they've traveled about 18,000 miles on their bikes. Woah! Our trip is really cool and all, but I don't know if I could live on my bike like this for 2 years straight.
When we finally pulled ourselves away from all the cool stuff to see and do at ACA, we headed for Hamilton, MT. This was of particular interest to Nathan since he grew up in Hamilton, IN.
On the way, we were talking about how we'd met way more bicyclists from other countries than we had met from America, and then, wouldn't you know, we met a group of 6 American bikers. Haha. So now I think we've met the same number of foreign and American bikers.
They were a big group, and only 1 of them had a helmet. The others held to the theory that if they got hit, they'd die anyway, so why bother with a helmet. They also gave us a tip about how to stay at campgrounds without having to pay for it. Sheesh. Needless to say, we didn't follow any of their advice.
A little further down, we saw something that made us laugh pretty hard....
After riding through a long, highway construction zone, we made it to Hamilton, MT, where, of course, Nathan wanted a picture. The Hamilton that Nathan grew up in has about 1,300 people in it - so this Hamilton is MUCH bigger.
We called a place that advertised "Bicycle Only Lodging", and were surprised to find out that it was someone's personal residence. We were expecting a hostel or motel. Terry, the lady who answered the phone, said they had a kitchen, a bed, laundry, and showers, and we were welcome to stay for free. Woo-hoo!
Nathan and I pedaled towards her house, and right when we got there it started raining pretty hard. Fortunately, there was a covered porch that we could put our bikes under, so they didn't get wet.
Terry and her husband Carl were both at work, but their son Johnathon was home with his wife and new, 18 day old baby, Riley Marie. She was soooo cute.
After cooing over the baby, we focused on that same "first priority" I mentioned earlier - food! If you haven't picked up this by now, we eat all the time, and we love to eat, and we think about food almost constantly.
After we had dinner and took showers, Johnathon made some ribs and sauteed some squash and asked if we wanted any....SURE! It was delicious.
When Carl and Terry got home, they were pretty happy to meet us. After asking if we needed anything, we dove right into a good, long conversation about Christianity, the bible, and end times. Carl is teaching a class at church on the Beatitudes in the book of Matthew, and we talked about how those could, and should, be applied to our everyday lives.
Then it was one of my favorite times of the day (after meal times), time for bed. Nathan and I are in a guest room with two twin beds. We joked about sleeping in one together since it's about the same size as our tent - but we ultimately decided to just take our own bed each and enjoy the extra space. Plus now I know that Nathan won't hog the blankets. Ha!