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Tour of Montana - There's No Place Like Home

I didn't blog yesterday and I'm feeling particularly nostalgic tonight, so grab a drink and come along on my latest adventure home to Montana!

On Monday evening, we still weren't sure if we could swing a trip to Missoula for the inaugural Tour of Montana and had almost written it off. Wednesday morning, between yoga and work, we decided to go for it. I checked VRBO and a condo had opened up downtown, so I snagged it. I signed us up for the The Big Ride then let Nicole and our Montana friends and family know we were on our way. I just couldn't miss attending and supporting a cycling event in my home state. This is a big deal and I hope it continues to grow each year for the benefit of cyclists and the Montana economy.

We skipped our lunch ride on Wednesday in order to pack and get things in order. It was a bit hectic but at 4:30, we drove off. Leaving Salt Lake City during the evening commute is not advised, but my meeting ran late and there we were. A wreck on I-15 didn't help and we ended up in slow moving traffic for the next hour or so. Finally, we broke free and were on our way. Terry's back is still acting up, so we stopped every hour for a driver swap and walk. We rolled into Dillon just before 11p and grabbed a cheap hotel room. 

Moonroof views on the drive north to Montana
It was a long night thanks to a very uncomfortable bed and thin walls. I had to work for a couple hours, but then we did a ride under the Big Sky. The air, the wind, the scenery, the roads, the quiet, the friendly drivers, the license plate numbers, almost everything about Montana gets me thinking about how to get back. I love Park City and our life there, but I'm a Montana girl.
Hay! - We are finally riding again in Montana and it feels great!
Big Sky Country
We couldn't leave Dillon without a visit to the Patagonia outlet store, Bad Ass Coffee, and lunch at the Fiesta Mexicana (Taco Bus). Finally at 12:30p, we were back on I-15 headed to Missoula. Terry had never driven the Pintler Scenic Loop, so we exited and turned the podcast off. It was my turn to tell stories of growing up in Anaconda as we drove through town and beyond. I haven't lived in  (and rarely visited) since I graduated high school. I can't imagine living there again, but it was a great place to grow up and I'm proud of my Montana roots.

Taco Bus - My favorite burrito comes con no carne y no queso, just add mushrooms
Finally, we arrived in Missoula and got settled in the condo. The owner stopped by to welcome us in that friendly Montana way you just can't replicate. We are overlooking Caras Park in the heart of downtown Missoula so have a great view of the Clark Fork River and all the Tour of Montana events, including Downtown ToNight. DNA Cycling, also making the drive from Utah, was setting up the Tour of Montana tent. Can't say enough about DNA and all they do to support cycling events across the US, not to mention their great designs and fit. We had some time, so jumped back on the bikes for a quick spin before enjoying the festivities.
University of Montana campus and "M"
We had a nice evening catching up with everyone here to support and run the Tour of Montana, including Nicole, Kurt, Robin, and Dave. There are still available spots for the Crit on Saturday, The Big Ride on Sunday, or as a Volunteer. There is also another party tomorrow night in Caras Park.

We finished the evening with a grocery run to the amazing Good Food Store. If there weren't already a hundred reasons to move back to Montana, that store could seal the deal for this vegan! We still have 3 full days left of Tour of Montana and it's only going to get bigger and better. I'm so glad we made the last minute decision to come home!

It was so amazing, it got a photo. I'm planning a trip back for some bulk items.


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