Saturday, August 12, 2006

FAQ

Here in Montana, the public libraries seem to limit computer usage to 30 minutes, so I don't have a long time to upload photos and do a typical log. I figured this would be a good time to do a quick post of FAQ.

Everywhere we go, people keep asking us the same questions. I figured people out here in the world wide web may be wondering the same things. I may be repeating myself for people who have been following us since the beginning, but for all who have just tuned in recently and don't feel like reading all the way back to the beginning, these are the answers to the basic questions.

1. Where are you from.
This is a more difficult question to answer then it looks because it brings up many more questions, like what do you consider your true home. Ira and I started our trip in Chicago. We have both lived in Chicago for many years (me:8 Ira:6). However, Ira usually tells people he is from northern Wisconsin and I say I am from U.P. (although my family doesn't live there anymore) But to be brief, we say we started out in Chicago.

2. Where are you headed.
Well currently we are in Missoula, MT. We are headed back north east to Glacier Ntl. Park and then to whitefish MT, through Idaho, Washington to Vancouver BC and then south to San Francisco. We plan on taking Nov., Dec., and Jan off to be in the Midwest, spend the holidays with our families and get holiday jobs to add to our trip fund. Then in late Jan, we think we are going to start in Austin TX and work our way around the gulf, through Georgia, and up the east coast. This leg of the trip isn't really planned solidly yet, but that is the gist.

3. How do you plan your routes?
We have been planning things more day to day then long term route plans. We generally use the free state maps and plan around those. However, we have been asking locals in bike shops or cool people we've gotten into conversations with on the streets, what the best places in the area to go through. We also ask for road conditions and elevation changes. By doing it this way, we have been able to see a lot of things which we never would have known about, like the Bear Lodge Mountains in eastern Wyoming, and the shortcut on Trail Creek Road to Boseman.

4. What kinds of roads do you ride on?
We ride on mostly state highways and some US highways. When we were back in the Midwest, we rode on a lot more county roads, but out west the county roads are few and far in between and are generally unpaved. We have had to ride on the interstate 3 times. Yes, I know it is illegal to ride on the interstate in IL and MI, but out here where roads are few, we have hit patches where the road we are on dead ends at the interstate and it is the only option forward. The longest we had to ride it ever, was 20 miles in South Dakota, outside of Wall. Riding on the Interstate is not a lot of fun, but not totally scary either. They have incredibly wide shoulders, so if we hug the outside edge we basically have an entire lane between us and the zooming cars. However, we always try and stay on the roads with less traffic. Traffic was little to non existent even on the bigger highways in South Dakota and Wyoming, where everyone travels through on the interstate. Here in Montana, the traffic is a little heavier, but still nothing that bad. We always tell locals when they comment on bad traffic here, we are from Chicago, and nothing can be worse then that!

5. Are you guys rich?

This question is usually posed to us by bikers, by which I mean motorcylists. They seem to have less inhibition on just coming out and asking that. Others ask what kind of jobs we have to allow us this time off. The answer is, no unfortunately, Ira and I are both far from rich. We spent the last year of our lives, working overtime, eating beans and rice and hardly ever going out, to be able to buy a year of our life off. I worked for a large Custom Frame shop and Ira worked as an IT tech for a computer company. We quit our jobs and are now riding our bikes every day for our job.

6. Where do you sleep?
We camp or stay with friends and acquaintances. We have stayed twice in a motel. We generally try and plan our routes around where we have people to stay with. Otherwise, we will camp. Early on in the trip we were trying to find typical campgrounds all the time, but that got a little expensive, and we really didn't get to meet as many locals. We decided once we got into Montana, we were going to try and go the entire state without paying for a campsite (except in Glacier). We have been trying hard to find people to stay with through friends or the internet, and when we don't have any planned place to stay, we will just pick a spot on the map to ride to and then find a place when we get there. Usually by asking people if we can set up on their lawn or in their fields.

Well, I am running out of time. I know there are more questions to be answered and I only half answered these. If any of you guys have more questions, please make comments to us. We love when people comment, because it makes it more of an interactive experience for us and less like we are just yammering out in space.

Till next time...

2 comments:

Deborah Rogers said...

Andrea & Ira,
2 weeks from yesterday I will be in TREGO, MT and hope you will be too.I have LOVED checking into your BLOG. It really sounds & looks like you're living your dream and that's what makes it so fun to read about. Looking forward to catching up.
Love, Deborah

Anonymous said...

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Aram