We had one full day to see Missoula, Montana as we passed through on our trip out west. Barry always does a thorough job researching the cycling options in any area we stay in or pass through. Whatever did we do without the internet?
Since Missoula was named a "gold" level bike friendly city in 2012, he easily found plenty of bike routes, lanes, and bike paths. We made a day of it with plenty of stops and saw an awful lot of the city in a 41-mile ride. There was plenty of cool stuff to see!
We started out riding the bike lane on busy Reserve Street right outside our hotel. The morning was a little chilly, so I had to don arm warmers and a vest. The mountain view featuring snow-capped peaks to the south was excellent.
Soon we crossed over the Clark Fork River for the first time. We'd cross this beautiful river many more times during the ride on several different bridges, both pedestrian-only and shared with motor vehicles. The river and Missoula itself were featured in the Oscar-winning 1992 film, A River Runs Through It. I've never seen it, but now I want to!
There was a great view from the bridge.
We took a bike path for a short bit and checked out a nice garden to the right.
Then back to the road and approached the cute and artsy downtown area. Thanks to the warm sunshine, I've now been able to shed my arm warmers and vest -- sweet!
Crossing the river again, downtown awaits on the other side. This was a super bike friendly downtown with marked bike lanes and crosswalks everywhere. Many cyclists and bike racks were in evidence as well. Nice!
Here's an interesting sculpture downtown. I had no idea what the four x's signified, but found this online (see what I mean about wondering what we'd do without the internet?)
Crossings -- N. Higgins.
And here's the Northern Pacific Railroad Depot right behind the sculpture. X marks the spot!
Continuing our exploration of the downtown area, here's more of what we saw.
I loved this sculpture too. Entitled Wooly Rhinoceros, it was designed by Drummond artist Bill Ohrmann and stands in front of the Art Museum on the corner of Pine and Pattee streets.
Across from the rhino on Pine Street, we found the Adventure Cycling Association -- we've been members for many years. They have an excellent magazine promoting bicycling (especially cycle touring) if you join.
Moving on and in need of a pit stop, we found this lovely park. I love the timberframe architecture of the shelters.
Here's an attractive (well, except for the graffiti) pedestrian bridge over the river, and a nice river view.
Naturally, when we rode by the Big Dipper ice cream parlor, there was never a question of whether we'd be stopping in. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that we love our ice cream!
No visit to Missoula would be complete without checking out the University of Montana. This was the perfect time to do it as there was only a sprinkling of people around, perhaps for summer school or doing research. The attractive campus sits in the valley right in front of the large hills surrounding the city.
Had to get a photo of Barry in front of the grizzly bear statue in honor of the U of M Grizzlies.
Football is a big deal here, and you can tell they love their Grizzlies.
I, on the other hand, was more interested in the fact that the entire campus, including the grounds, is tobacco-free. Heck, my dorm wasn't even tobacco-free at UNC-CH. How far we have come!
I was also enamored with the Prescott House, formerly a private residence but now owned by the university and used for special events. Charming, no?
This older bike path we rode was a rail-trail.
On the back of a building along this bike path, we were stunned to find this exquisite mural. This is one of those "hidden gems" you just don't see if you're driving in a car. We felt so lucky as it was one of the most memorable things we saw all day.
Dated 2014, the colors were incredibly fresh and vibrant. It appears to depict native flora and fauna in this area. I had fun trying to identify as many of the flowers as I could, but I certainly don't know them all.
By this time in the afternoon, traffic was picking up when we got back on Reserve Street. Glad to have a nice wide bike lane to get back to the hotel along this busy road.
That night we treated ourselves to an excellent "Caribbean" pizza from MacKenzie River Pizza Co. and some cherry ale. We were able to walk to pick up both from our hotel thanks to the pedestrian crosswalks. Thanks Missoula, we wish more cities were as bike and pedestrian friendly as you!
Stay tuned...Idaho is up next!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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