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From plans to fruition

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What an incredibly awesome day our most recent ride turned out to be. My friend Jeff, and I can now honestly use that term, contacted me about 2½ months ago with a PM and told me he and friend were planning a trip that would, toward the end of their journey, bring them through my neck of the woods. He asked if there was a chance that we could possibly link up and meet for dinner. He had seen my posts over the last year or so and thought it would be nice to be able to at least meet up and put a face to the name since he was coming through. We exchanged contact information and he said he'd be in touch with the details. He thought it would be the 3rd week in August but would let me know.  A week or so passed and I got to wondering how tight their schedule was and if they'd have any time for a ride. I texted him and asked and he said boy that sure sounded like fun but they weren't bringing their machines.  It just wasn't in the cards for what their plans entailed, but thanks for the thought. He said he'd been through here once before years back and thought it might be nice to explore some time. Another couple of weeks went by and I had still been thinking it would be great to get them out on some of our trails. I contacted my nephew and explained the situation and asked what the possibility would be to borrow his two atv's. I  explained  to him that my wife an I would ride his and Jeff and his friend would use ours.  He texted back immediately and said no problem.  I contacted Jeff and asked if there was a possibility they could squeeze a ride in if I could get a hold of a couple of machines? He said that would be excellent that they're schedule wasn't that tight and they would be coming through close to a weekend. I told him him I it looked like I could get a hold of a couple of machines. Also that my 2 brothers would likely be coming along as well,  his immediate comment was the more the merrier. The kicker was, that it would be an all Can Am lineup up but if he could get past that, he might have a good time. We had a good chuckle over that he said he could deal with that. So I started thinking about what trail would be a good one that would give them some beautiful views and a decent experience of some mountain trails. And settled on one of our favorites that wasn't too far to the trailhead from home. Many messages and several phone conversations happened before finally meeting up.

The long awaited evening and day came this last Friday night as we met for a nice dinner at a local BBQ place. We had a great time of conversation, laughing, joking, instantaneously learning how to gang up and tease my wife.😁 Then on home to check out wiring connections for the trailer he was going to tow to the trailhead. We had a great continued visit well into the evening ending with a decision of what time to meet in the morning.

Woke to a beautiful day and a quick trip to the trailhead up Storm Castle creek and to an unloading temp of around 53°.  We rode up the main road a mile or so then turned off and started working our way up some old logging roads to the top of a ridge to the edge of an old burn that happened  about 15 years ago, chasing a cow moose and her calf off the road along the way, and stopping a couple of times  to let Jeff and his friend Rick just soak in the vastness our "Big Sky Country". We worked our way down into the next drainage stopping multiple times to take in more of God's beautiful creation and then along the bottom stopping for lunch in a beautiful shaded area next to the little creek(Swan Creek) that works its way down to one of our main rivers called the Gallatin. The Gallatin River runs through our "Gallatin Valley", and joins the Madison and Jefferson Rivers to form the Headwaters of the Missouri River,(25 miles from home) which runs eventually into the Mississippi.

After eating lunch we worked our way out of the creek bottom on a great meandering trail through the trees and up through a great forested trail back up to the ridge between the Storm Castle and Swan Creek drainages. Taking another break to stretch the legs, rest the backside, snack, and to try to smoke the meat sticks. Boy I tell ya it didn't take long for that Minnesotan to be a bad influence on my wife.😄

After that break we continued to work our way along the ridge and trees to another great view overlooking a small lake. From there a great trail through some lodge pole pines up to one of our favorite overlooks with some great rocks to park the machines on for pictures.

From there up to Garnet Mountain Lookout, an old Forest Service fire Lookout  now turned into a Forest Service cabin you can rent. There has been a look out there since 1930, the current building was built back in 1962, they just replaced the old outhouse with a new one a couple of years ago, they flew it up there pre-built with a helicopter. It's complete with beds, cook stove, wood stove, and full supply of firewood. No water or electricty.  The view from there is at '8245 ft and gives you a 360° view. In the right light and time of day its pretty amazing. Jeff commented he could've parked himself in a lawn chair and sat there the rest of the day looking around. We love it up there and hope one day to reserve that cabin for a couple of nights. After about an hour of soaking in the views we worked our way down to Rat lake for another short visit then on one final old overgrown road to take in one last view of the Storm Castle valley. Back to the trucks with dusty dirty smiles on our faces. Was a great day with my new found friend and family. It couldn't have been a more perfect day weather wise,  in the afternoon it actually clouded up and blocked out the intense Montana sun with a few drops of rain here and there. Was a great  day of fellowship and laughter and getting to know a fellow ATVer. I told him this is what the ATV world is about. Getting out, riding, doing simple things with like minded people, and enjoying life. What a great experience.


Jeff, I'm so glad you took the opportunity to reach out and take a chance to want to meet up. It was a true privilege to meet you and Rick and an honor to take you out and share something that we are blessed with and I think too often, take for granted. It was a great day and hope there are many more opportunities in the future.


























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So happy for you and your meet and greet.  Thanks for all the great pics.....

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I am too wore out this morning to post much. Drove straight home from there yesterday. 930 miles in 13 hours and 45 minutes. I've been riding since the early 80's and this was probably the best one I've ever experienced. I can't say enough what wonderful people Tracy and his family are. Like I told them, we may be quite different people but we are also very much the same. They are friends for life. We took a chance on each other and it worked out great. Too bad the rest of the world can't seem to do that. Thanks again for the great time Tracy and family. And whatever Renee says just do it!! ☺️ 


Side note - those CanAm's were excellent machines in this terrain.





Edited by PROV
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Now let me guess........  Prov that's you on the left, and Tracy aka FF aka freedomflyer on the right ? 


Thank you both for a great descriptive meeting, and congrats of the life long friendship, and totely agree the world would be a much better place if more of us could be like this, that's why ( the main reason) i hang around here, with you great folks. 


Just a side note we do have a member ( well standing ) who mentioned starting a thread so we could put a face to the handle, and NO..... I do not look like wilson wilson from home improvement haha! 

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Yup that's me on the left and Tracy on the right.

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