Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Missoula #3

Day 24: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Missoula #3: 11 miles

As I was cycling up the bike path from my overnight lodgings back downtown, I overtook an older gentleman on a bike. I struck up a conversation with him, and one thing led to another.

Jim Dunlap
Jim Dunlap, 80-year-old cyclist and woodcarver

Milwaukee Road depot
This is the old Milwaukee Road depot that's behind Jim.

You may have heard of A Carousel for Missoula. In 1991, a local woodworker offered a 1913 carousel free to the community if they would promise never to take it apart. There was a hitch, of course. It was in thousands of pieces, many of them needing a lot of work. What to do? Involve the community, of course! Volunteers stepped forward, people who had absolutely no woodworking experience ended up carving the horses and chariots, and four years later, after more than 100,000 hours of volunteer work, the carousel took its first spin. Today, it remains a treasured part of the community, staffed mainly by volunteers, who know all the horses by name.

Missoula carousel
A carousel for Missoula

catching the brass ring
Catching the brass ring

Jim Dunlap, the man I met on the bike path, was one of those who stepped forward to carve a horse, something he had never done before. A surgeon, he had retired when an accident left one arm paralyzed. He credits that carving task with restoring almost full use of that arm. Jim's horse is named Leo the Lionheart, and he's the second horse in the photo below. For a full photo, click on Leo's name, or visit the National Carousel Association.

Leo the Lionheart
Leo the Lionheart (second from left)

The next stop for me was Providence St. Patrick's, which is home to an outstanding heart institute. In the ER, they put me through a battery of tests: EKG, bloodwork to detect blood clots and other stuff, and wi-fi. That is, I got to work on my blog while lying in bed. Everything checked out normal, except that I was behind in my blogging, but they couldn't help me there. They did ask me to return the next day for an echocardiogram.

Then it was time for lunch. Jim had recommended Doc's sandwich shop. I liked their dessert labels, but was too full for any of that tempting stuff.

As you can see from the photo of the sidewalk outside Doc's, a lot of people ride bikes in Missoula. Just about every street is signed for bikes, and the city has a good start on cross-town cycle paths. Probably the fact that it's a college town has something to do with it.

bikes outside Doc's
Bikes on the sidewalk outside Doc's

dessert labels
Doc's desserts are deadly.
(Read the labels!)

Afterward, I checked out the carousel, watched some kayakers and paddleboarders surfing some whitewater right next door, and toured the University of Montana campus. I had no idea where I was going to spend the night, but, as luck would have it, I just happened to meet a cyclist. He was staying at a warmshowers house, and decided that I must stay there too. So I followed him home.

downtown surfers
Downtown surfers

UM campus
The classic shot on the UM campus.
Under the tree, that's either a boffing club
or some Games of Adventure players.

His name is Hyeong Joong Park, he's from Korea, and cycling the TransAmerica Trail is on his bucket list. The warmshowers house is very eclectic, with people coming and going all the time, a lot of projects in various stages of completion, and dozens of bikes (or pieces of them) in the driveway. I was welcomed, and soon made myself right at home, especially with the house cat.

Korean cyclist
Korean cyclist Hyeong Joong Park

bucket list
Hyeong Joong Park's bucket list

For supper, the Korean biker and I went back to Bridge Pizza and (of course) the ice cream shop. This time, I had a huckleberry and cardamom double-dip. Cardamom ice cream is a very interesting flavor!

wamshowers house
The warmshowers house: projects galore

I'm looking forward to that stress test, as my chest feels so darn tight.

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