Small Town TreasuresPosted: July 22, 2013
Initially, rolling into a tiny hamlet like Twin Bridges Montana you might get the feeling that you should keep on moving. You’d be dead wrong. Small towns can reveal a rich and interesting history along with some warm hospitality when you are open to it.
We were about to cross one of the pair of bridges when Heather said, “There it is!” We had heard about Twin Bridges Bike Camp and viewed the YouTube video, but here it was in all its humanitarian glory.
How the Bike Camp got its start in 2009 is an inspiring story of one person named Bill White extending his friendship and assistance to another in need. His initial act of kindness has blossomed not only into an oasis for touring cyclists, but an awareness among the residents and businesses that cyclists are most likely going to stay and leave some things behind… Appreciation and revenue. What we found here is rare in the grand scheme of cycle touring. First off, use of the facility is restricted to touring cyclists only. Really? The number one attribute of this fine inn of the road was the shower. Yes, you can go a day or two jumping into rivers and lakes but there is nothing like getting lathered up to wipe away the road grime. Well built and clean, it did the trick. (We discovered later that city workers cleaned the place while they were doing the public washrooms in the city park where the Bike Camp is located) Toilet, hot running water, sink for washing dishes, electricity for charging stuff and local info for the taking. All of this was contained in a building about the size of a garage – a place to get out of the sun, or rain, whatever was the flavor of the day. Donations are accepted to support the maintenance costs- rightfully so. While we were there, we had the chance to meet three other cyclists crisscrossing the continent. One had started in Vancouver, BC and the other two set off from Baltimore, Maryland. We had a great time sharing stories.
Twin Bridges lies at the confluence of the Ruby, Beaverhead and Big Hole Rivers which form the Jefferson River. One of the three run right by the camp and we were even treated to a show of building skills by a beaver who we just had to name Bucky. “Biggest damn beaver I have EVER seen! said Heather.
Bill White sadly passed away in 2012 after a battle with cancer.. We thank him his tremendous efforts to make the Bike Camp a reality and for the legacy he left to all the cyclists passing through his fair town.
Adventure Cycling Association published a great story on the bike Camp and you can still see the YouTube video interview with Bill posted by Russ at the Path Less Pedaled.
At the moment we’re resting in style in Virginia City, MT. It’s a vibrant example of a bygone era. Beautiful 1800’s era buildings that are still standing proudly having lived without the threat of fire like some other historical towns. The resplendent structures still have full inventory as if they’re open and ready for business. This fair town was also the site of a recent celebration. Chris turned 60 so a sumptuous dinner was ordered up at the Wells Fargo Café. Have you ever had Chicken Fried Steak? You have to try it… at least once. Today we’re touring Boot Hill and the neighboring Nevada City. Touristas on foot for a change. Tomorrow, we’re heading south again towards Yellowstone National Park. We’re sure It will be another surprise on a tour where every day is an adventure!
Riding for True Health
Chris & Heather