Kurt Williams
Great Divide
Seeley Lake, MT Taking a breather on a bike tour is an essential tool for sustainability. Missoula was a first real chance to sit back, relax, and really take a break. Lucky for us it was the week of the 4th! This of course is off route from the Great Divide, and from what we heard, many people on this route skip over Missoula because it's 50 miles away.  I would highly recommend taking the time to hitchhike down to this awesome easy going town. For one, the Adventure Cycling Association's headquarters are here, which to my surprise was completely interesting. You walk in, they take your picture, get you an ice-cream and soda, and if you want, give you a tour of the library, facility and the entire works of this elaborate organization.  It's no wonder the maps and gps coordinates are as good as they are, this place is filled with cyclist who have real passion for touring, and producing the best established route out there.  Also, Missoula is a mini city, with all the amenities that you will definitely miss on your Great Divide route. Great grocery stores, breweries, parks, stores, you name it, Missoula has everything any other metropolitan place has.

Coming into town we contacted a warm showers host, who was out of town but referred us to his roommate, saying we could definitely stay, and that many touring cyclist have landed at their house in the last couple years.  This was certainly exciting to hear, but what we found at this welcoming house was beyond our imagination.  As we rolled up to this swanky neighborhood we were thinking, "do we have the right neighborhood?", "this can't be the place", but as we pulled into the address the home owner Bruce was headed out on his bike and said something along the lines of, "no one's home right now, I'm going to grab some beers, just take a look at the print outs on the table, it will tell you everything you need to know about our house, make yourselves at home."  Bruce owns a beautiful, large home, elaborate with a spiral grand staircase, multiple rooms and a beautiful yard.  He's hosted hundreds of cyclists, putting them up for as long as they need, providing showers, kitchen, but the distinction here is that h
e really makes his home yours.  He's explicit that you just help yourself, use what you need, clean up after yourself, just treat it like your own, nothing more nothing less. This is a relief if you've stayed at strangers homes before, it's always nice being put up, but this is a whole other dimension of generosity that only a man as smart as Bruce can see. I can only say that I looked up to him so much for how he viewed the world, and placed priority on some of his core values, and am inspired that he opened up his house to guests not only for the benefit of these travelers, but how he also saw it as an exchange for him and his son to be exposed to different people, and their own views and passions. I learned a lot from Bruce and I can't wait to meet him again.  Thanks a million.

If that wasn't enough, a surprise was in store for me. I got a ring from an old friend who was traveling in Europe. She called me on the phone and asked "what address are you at, I just got to Missoula!" Wow, Caroline had hitchhiked from Portland, catching 12 rides just to see me. So incredible. I'm sure you could have imagined the look on my face. There's nothing greater than the times you share with the people you love.  The days that followed consisted of picnics, swimming, sitting by the river, and enjoying the long relaxing days of summer. We were stationed just a couple more days in Missoula in order to wait for our buddy Spencer to join up, and make our party of two, a party of three. When he had arrived, we loaded up our bikes again, said our goodbyes, and off we went, a posse of three loopy dudes, all determined to keep the skids going on every corner, and the radical vibes alive. God Bless America.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Kurt Williams

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

- My Bike Specs -

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Kurt Williams
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? A few years ago I was touring through Central America and through the internet heard about the Great Divide Route. Since then I always wanted to do it, but it wasn’t until I ran across the Blackburn Ranger Program that I started to take it serious. I figured why not apply and see if it was meant to be.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have, done a few shorter bike tours in Oregon. Then, one trip from Denver back to Portland, OR. My most ambitious trip was a few years ago when I biked from California through Central America to Panama, that was a pretty eye opening trip to see where a bike can take you.
  • What is your goal for the route? To have fun with my buddy Sam!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to successfully bike tour with climbing gear and to use the bicycle as a means to get to climbing locations. A climbing trip completely fueled by bike touring!
  • What’s in my bag 1. Cat food alcohol stove - Always works, fuel is super easy to find in any location.
    2. Giro long sleeve button up shirt - Super excited to have this, I’ve always bike with a casual shirt. Versatile and also makes you not look like a cyclist, which helps you connect with people along the route.
    3. Blackburn Oversized Bottle Cages - Really happy to be using these prototypes! Forget the racks, use these!
    4. Tobacco Pipe - For lookin’ cool.

- Great Divide Milestones -