Sunday, November 10, 2013


Ennis, MT. fishing access.
First morning on our summer trip to the winds.
This year I had the most fantastic opportunity to be a part of  Therm-a-Rest's new 'Dreamers' program. 

Here's the blog I wrote for them. Part 1: The Bike Ride (on Therm-a-Rest's blog)

Therm-a-Rest, the leader in sleeping pad technology for the last 20-30 years, is now making sleeping bags, and integrative sleeping bag/pad systems.

I tested the Antares 20┬║ bag; weight 1lb. 15oz.
 the NeoAir All Season pad; weight 1lb. 3oz.


More Awards!!!!

The combination of a new tent and sleeping bag/pad system 
lightened my load by over 4lbs.

Sleeping with the bag secured down to the sleeping pad, 
(with 2 flexible fabric bands,)
allowed for a more comfortable night sleep,
with less cold spots inside the bag,
 and more freedom to move.

Making for a warmer and more comfortable night out, 
with less weight.
Yes it won outdoor industry awards,,, again!

Just make sure you wake up on the right side of the sign.
(And look at the thickness of that sleeping pad!)

And, how do I say thank you enough, 
the 'Live Your Dream' grant for helping support
our 2013 human-powered expedition to the Wind Rivers
& the Tetons…!
Big Love,
From team Sweet-Bangs 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rainy Day Woman And Her Dog

Posted by Justene

I promised you another post as a sequel to my last one. In that post I went on a bit of a rant about the people that we meet along the way who seem to have lost their sense of adventure. Yes, it was a rant, but I want you all to know that, we meet all sorts of people while on the road and not all of them are  are like that, plenty of them could talk your ear off with amazing adventure stories.

Home is where you pitch the tent.

I'll share a bit about one woman we met recently...

On that same rainy morning I wrote about in my last post, Chris and I were riding back towards the highway from our undisclosed stealth camp spot. The clouds were grey and heavy with pending rain. It hadn't started falling yet, but it looked like any minute it would and neither of us were wearing our rain gear. I suggested we pull in to the lodge, grab a hot drink and put on some more water resistant clothing.

We always get pretty excited when we see other bicycle tourists and that morning we saw two fully loaded bikes propped against the picnic tables, so we parked beside them. Barking at us from underneath the bikes was a little Pomeranian cross, the toughest Pom I'd ever seen, sitting out there guarding the bikes like a pro. Amused, we patted him and headed inside for coffee and hopefully to meet this little guy's travel partners.

Ross, eager to get back on the road.

After looking over the expensive menu at the lodge's bistro, we settled on a cup of jo each, hoping they wouldn't boot us out into the rain for being cheap and not ordering food. As we sat warming our hands, a young woman approached the coffee pot for a refill, she had on soft-shell pants and a well worn merino wool sweater. We assumed she wasn't a regular lodge guest, so Chris said, "Are you the other bicycle tourist?"
With a smile she said, "Is it that obvious?"
She pulled up a chair.
He name was Marina, a Dutch woman who'd transplanted herself on the Island of Spitsbergen in northern Norway. Her dog's name was Ross and together, with their American friend, Norton, they were cycling a portion of the Continental Divide Trail...Banff to Colorado.
We were curious about how Ross did on the ride, he loved it! He had a little box strapped to the back of her bike that he would sit in and sometimes he even trotted alongside her, for pretty good distances too!

We exchanged some road beta; routes, dog friendly camping, hotsprings...
She humbly told us about her goldsmith business in Spitsbergen and how she used to own sled dogs there, her sailboat that is currently moored in Greece and her plans to move it Istanbul in the near future. Her travels had brought her to many countries and consisted of a variety of adventures.

I really liked how Marina thought about travel and trying new things. She said that when she took up sailing, friends wondered how she would just take up a new hobby as demanding as navigating a sailboat across the oceans to far off lands. The way she looked at it was, she had experienced the elements before and just by transferring this knowledge, she could try any new thing she had the desire to do. Whether is was dogsledding, canoeing, skiing, rafting or cycling, she was well versed at handling the wind, rain, snow, hot weather, frigid cold...How hard could it be to learn how to sail a boat accross the Mediterranean?
Her confidence and innate curiosity to explore the world was evident.

When she and Norton decided it was time to get back on the road, we watched them repack some stuff, Ross wiggling and barking with excitement the whole time, and off they rode...into the pouring rain, happy.

Marina and Norton, ready to ride!

Farewell new friends, and happy travels!
It may be a fleeting moment,  a wave to a passing cyclist on the opposite side of the highway, a smile and a nod, a high-five; or a good conversation, a shared camp spot for a night, an invite to dinner, or a cup of coffee while you wait out a rainstorm...either way, the exchange of inspiration that occurs when fellow travellers meet is a beautiful thing. The looks in their eyes tells you, they've felt it...the freedom of the open road.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In The Name Of Adventure

Posted by Justene

Now, I'm not saying that everyone needs to hop on their bicycle and ride to a far off mountain range to scale some famous peaks, but seriously...where has peoples' sense of adventure gone?
I can't even tell you how many times passersby or random people at gas stations or trail heads, have told us that we must be CRAZY to do what we do.

"Don't they lock you people up?"
"I'd rather be in prison than do that."

Kind of funny that we get these comments about being locked up, when what we do is actually the complete opposite. What is that telling me about our society today? How free are we, really?
Chris and I often talk about how freeing our style of travel is and we make it one of our missions to 'Inspire Freedom', but sometimes that goes right over peoples' heads and they just think we're crazy. Although, most people are smiling when they tell us this and then they give us props, but there is still no way that they would even think about doing something remotely as crazy as us.

We're just plain crazy I tell ya.

Riding our bikes 400 miles just climb here! Crazy!
One day when we were sitting out a morning downpour, a group of tourists came out of the lodge and were all standing under the entrance way with us. We looked at them, bedraggled but with smiles on our faces, it was no mistaking we were the bicycle tourists. As strangers usually do, we talked about the weather...

"Looking pretty wet out there."
"Yeah, we're just hanging out for a bit, waiting to see if it lets up, trying to find some motivation."
"Oh, I'll tell you where motivation is, it's parked right over there." As he points to his giant RV that probably costs $500 to fill the fuel tank.
I didn't even know what to say, I managed a sarcastic laugh and thought to myself, sure buddy, you will never experience Yellowstone National Park the way I did. 
He walked away, got in his vehicle, never to think about the sopping wet human-powerd mountaineers he'd seen in Wyoming again.

It's pouring rain and you two are still smiling,
how can you be wet and still happy?
We have had numerous motorcyclists tell us that they think we're burly, because they thought that riding their motorbike across a few states was hard...but we don't even have a motor!

And at the trailhead, "You rode your bikes all the way here just to go climbing??"
Yes! We did and the journey has been like nothing else I've ever experienced!

So, what did happen to sense of adventure I ask?
What happend to the Wild West, people? The pioneers of North America didn't make their way across country with the notion that is would be uneventful, shit, or even easy! They were looking for new lands and, inevitably, adventure. Of course, I know that our forefathers and mothers endured hardships that I can't even fathom, but think of their stories and the sights they saw. Nothing dull there, my friends! Think about it.

Modern comforts will be the death of the Adventurous Spirit, our ability to know the elements and the cause of our disconnect from Nature. We can't disconnect from Nature, we are Nature!

Too much planning is the murder of spontaneity. This can't happen...too much good can come to you when you open yourself up to the magic of the road or trail. So BE OPEN, let us not lose our natural curiosity to explore!

Where with the road take you?

Dare I leave you with back to back cliche sayings, yes I will... Throw cation to the wind! Step outside of the box! Whatever it is you choose to do, make an adventure out of it. You don't even have to go far away, just go outside, appreciate the beauty of each day, talk to the animals, smell a flower, hear the wind, feel it and most importantly, please respect the Earth.

Thank you

**There is more to this story, stayed tuned to hear about how my faith in the Adventurous Spirit was renewed....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Yellowstone and the Tetons

Biking through Yellowstone and Tetons. 
Oh Boy.
 I love the Tetons. 

Polecat Hot Springs, Yellowstone Country.

Grand Teton.

There's definitely something about Tetons.

Couple of nights at the AAC Climber's Ranch.

Morning commute to the hot springs.
Yellowstone Park pull over.

Morning approach, Teton National Park.

Exum Ridge, Grand Teton.

Having a seriously good time.

This ended our 31 day human-powered adventure 
to the Wind River & Teton Mountains
of Wyoming.

In the end, 
we renewed our faith in adventure, 
and our love for traveling and meeting other people.

Thanks to everyone that we met! And thanks to all the 
people who gave us food when we ran out.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wind River Adventure Photos

Climbing is my life.
Bicycle travel meets me people.

On our way to the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming,
we met a whole slew of RAD people!

Outdoor kitchen at Higher Elevation Permaculture Education Center,
Driggs ID. 
Christian Shearer, the man behind the project.

Solar Power Teepee, and volunteer tents.

A local dinner with new friends, 

Sandhill Cranes outside Bondurant, WY.

Riding till dusk was our normal day.
Wedgies happen!

Many flat tires later, 

and we made it to the Mountains. Haystack Mountain at Clear Lake.

Sunset at Clear Lake.

Cirque Of The Towers!!!!!!!

This was the second sign in 5 miles that read, 10 miles
to Big Sandy Campground. Stupid signs.

Super Stoked to be climbing in the Wind's.
North Face of Haystack.

Making the moves, high above all worldly troubles.

We love being matching climbing nerds.

And me without my wingsuit.

Our new BD tent from Timber Trails.... Thanks Dale!!!!

Sunrise and about to get vertical!

Half way up the 2,000 ft. East Face of Pingora. 

The 2,000 ft. east face of Pingora!
And a lot of off-widths, (not so awesome).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vegan Cheesy Kale Chips.
Our recipe is on our recipe page.

Justene and I are leaving for a month long human-powered expedition to the Cirque Of The Towers in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming tomorrow morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Crazy stuuuff! Super Stoked!

It will take about a week to bicycle the 380 miles, then hike in, and CLIMB SOME ROCKS!!!!!

Here's what we made to make those nights with the mosquitos memorable.


  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Fruit Leather - dates, bananas, maca root powder, spirulina, chia, flax meal, sesame seeds (yum)

Dehydrated Soup Mix:

  • Peas
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Garlic and garlic scapes
  • carrots 
  • radishes
  • green peppers
  • jalape├▒os
  • Sprouted quinoa
  • Sprouted lentils

Dehydrated spice mix:

  • Mustard greens
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Sage 
  • Cilantro
Dehydrated granola:
  • Sprouted Buckwheat
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Coconut flakes
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
Note: All veggies came from our community garden!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beartooth Bust

Hello Friends,

I made this for you. 

For you to laugh at,
wonder about,
and feel inspired by.

I hope you like it!

p.s. Spending a week in the rainy tent w/ vertigo sucked!

But somehow Gillian Welch (soundtrack) makes it all better.