Coming in hot but buffeted by snow

More has happened in the three weeks since my return to the states than could have happened in months of bike travel. I had a job offer in my lap less than 24 hrs after landing in Denver, and made the quick turn-around to be back in MT as soon as possible. First, I snuck up to Fort Collins to congratulate my cousin on his graduation from CSU. Then, I climbed back on Surly Sue and spent a good chunk of a day riding from Denver to Colorado Springs with my sister’s boyfriend, Brian. We made it as far as Monument before taking refuge from a spring thunderstorm in my favorite coffee house, Seranos (hand roasted coffee on the premise). From there I connected up with the Sante Fe trail that runs through the Air Force Academy grounds and down to Colorado Springs. The trail was soggy, and the temps were a million degrees colder than anything I had dealt with in Central America. Because of the rain, I had the trail to myself, and was in heaven. Mud, dirt, grit, determination, pain, chills, burns, and a warm shower, fire, and hot tub at the end. What was all that bike-touring, self-mutilation, all about?

I came in hot to Bozeman and was fortunate to overlap with some good friends who were also visiting town. Our go-to brewery, the Bozone, is under remodel, but 406 stepped in to fill the void and give me a place for a welcome back toast with some great friends. An apartment had slipped into my lap about as effortlessly as the job, and I spent a few days moving in and tracking down all my random things about town. I can’t complain about being able to sit next to the duck-ponds along the Galligator trail with a steaming cup of coffee, or a cold beer. I am thrilled at my new place.

At work, Medicine Hat Inc. (that emblem stitched to my black fleece that was a curiosity to so many on the road), was in a pinch on a project deadline and I jumped right into throw sparks and mold metal. Having settled into a permanent room, my body finally found its chance to rest, and I was flattened by some illness. It overlapped with a trip to Rapid City to congratulate my step-sister on her graduation from HS as Valedictorian (which I misspelled at first, but since I am not in those highly intelligent ranks it doesn’t concern me).

The irons were in the fire when I got back to work last Monday and didn’t subside until the varmint trailer was delivered this Saturday. Long days (14 hours) in glorious springtime Montana were the name of the game. By glorious I mean, cold, windy, wet, and snowy – damn, it sure was good to be back. We had a special project and deadline for the client that we were involved with before I departed on my trip 2 yrs ago. It was a great opportunity to get back into the thick of things; get dirty, use muscles not required for pedaling a bike, and make some outrageous stuff. In ten days we turned a flat-bed trailer into a customized mobile gopher hunting platform. On Saturday, when we delivered the trailer, I was able to see the finished pre-fab house that took some of my blood and sweat, but also funded the first section of my adventure. It is an amazing project.

Life is throwing things at me in rapid succession, which I take as a sign that I am supposed to be back and moving on with the next stage. I don’t know what all this will result in, perhaps a move to Boston or Portland, but just having options and deciphering the value of each one on my future is a pleasure I had forfeited towards the end of my trip. I don’t feel lost and alone, and that is immeasurably important. Oh, and I can pick up my road bike with one hand, smile, and take a picture of some snowy mountains on a new loop ride around Bozeman!

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