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To put it simply: Montana, you're my favorite.
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To put it simply: Montana, you're my favorite.

To put it simply: Montana, you're my favorite.

As Adam said in the last post, we were pleasantly surprised by North Dakota. That being said, we also were eager to move on and enter a new state, in this case Montana. So late one afternoon we left Williston and the hospitality shown us by a girl named Mariel, and her father Frank, and headed onward.

30 miles later we reached Fairview, MT, which has the distinction of being half in Montana and half in North Dakota. No really, Main Street is a block west of the state line. Adam wanted to celebrate by buying me a Shirley Temple, so we stopped at the first bar in town. Standing outside was a curious gentleman who, when he found out about our travels and our excitement over Montana, offered to buy us a drink to welcome us to the state. Things were looking very good, and at only half a mile in to a state that would take us ten and a half days to bike through (not counting rest days).

After a few days of riding, watching the terrain get hillier and spying the reappearance of pine forests, Adam got his second flat tire of the trip. Might I mention, that there is a huge difference between touring on a bike that has seen heavy use for 6 or 7 years (like Adams') and one that was built for this trip (like mine). I have not had any mechanical problems, parts break, or flat tires... Yet. We still have 400 miles left.

Anyway, when he was putting the quick-release skewer back on, he managed to overtighten and strip the threading on it. Luckily he was able to put the end cap on backwards and ride the 55 miles to the next bike shop, as long as he didn't put any extra torque on it.

We took a break in the shade about 7 miles from the town, Miles City, with theintention of biking there and then continuing on another 25 or 30 miles. As we were enjoying a delicious can of pineapple, a farmer pulled up, parked his truck, walked over and sat down with us in the shade. We got to chatting, and evidently we seemed like decent people, because the next thing we knew he was calling his wife to see if we could come over for supper (the noontime meal is called dinner around here) and inviting us to stay the night. Oh what a tempting offer! There was just the matter of the bike shop, and the 30 more miles. Well, Roger Muggli had a solution. He'dgive us a ride.We didn't want to miss any miles, and have an asterix next to the decleration "We biked from eastcoast to west coast*" (*exceptfor 3 miles here, and 7 miles there, and...) So, we biked to town, got the part Adam needed, gave Roger a call, and he came and picked us up. Montana was winning in the hospitality department. We got to meet Carla, Rogers wife, who made a delicious dinner, and Rogers dog, Winston who is a giant Great Dane, standing taller than Adams 6' 4" when on his hind legs.

Roger and his HUGE dog WinstonAfter dinner, although we were tired, we joined Roger on a tour of his farm. He got to talking, and told us the amazing story of his life. I wish I had the time to tell it all here, and the ability to describe it as eloquently as Roger, but here's what I've got:

As a boy, Roger was upset about the fish that would come down the irrigation canal from the dammed Tongue River, and end up in the fields. He would fill his bucket with the fish, taking it back to the river and dumping them in. When he got old enough to realize the futility of bucketing fish, he decided he was going to make the river fish friendly. So, he got his bucket of fish, took it to the office of the man in charge, and plopped it on his desk, asking him "What are you going to do about this?" He got booted out of the office, and again the next week when he put his bucket of fish on the desk, and the next week, and the next. Roger changed his tactics, and got himself elected to a position (unfortunately I forget the exact organization)

overseeing the Tongue River irrigation system. Still no one cared. He decided to talk to the Native people on the reservation through which the Tongue River ran, and that was upstream of the dam. Finally someone was listening. Roger got the Tribe on board, and another organization, and another, and more and more until eventually it was just a matter of making it happen. He designed and had built a diversion system that would keep the fish out of the irrigation canal, and put them back into the main channel of the river.Rogers work was only half done at this point though. The fish could get down stream, but not upstream. And so the whole process began again. This time when the money was raised to build the fish ladder, all the bids to do the work were twice as much as the budget alloted. So, Roger said he'd build it himself. And he did... Eventually.

Roger is in his early 60's, and had started this mission when he was a teenager. It wasn't until 2009 that ever

ything he had been striving for was complete, and through Rogers tenacity and ability to inspire people to his cause, the Tongue River is fish friendly.If we had been more attached to making more miles that day, we would have gone on our way and not met such an amazing person in such an unnassuming place. Roger himself is very unassuming, and quite humble for a man who has made a lasting positive impact in a world with so many problems. Most people would have gotten discouraged a long time before this dream came to fruition. I know I probably would have.

The next day we left with promises that Roger and Carla would come see us the next time they visit their sons in Beaverton, OR. We set out in the direction of Billings, where we were to meet up with my friend Pi and a wonderful couple we found on warmshowers. As usual though, I've written more than I intended, about less than I intended, so that will have to wait.

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