Fun Bikes and Balloon Hats–Life on the Road

As you may have noticed, I haven’t written a billion word essay in awhile. It is not that I’ve run dry of  words/thoughts/ideas/personal life confessions or suffer from a blockage of creativity. I’m just kinda lazy, lack self-discipline and direction and I’m also traveling this week with my dear friend Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants.

Like the past two springs, I’ve left my little mountain town of Whitefish and ventured across the country in a giant red pickup truck towing a 1964 Airstream trailer adorned with red ant decals in hopes of selling the best damn workpants for women and spreading the good word of Red Ants Pants. Since Sarah’s running a top notch operation and her tours have seen great success in sales (and landing on the cover of Country Woman magazines hasn’t hurt either) she’s needed a bit more in her office than on the road, so our grand Tour de Pants has been shortened to a quick on the Montana roads this week. As the tour rep, I’ve reported to duty and am charged with sizing up women’s beautiful behinds in the cities of Helena, Missoula and Bozeman. My other major Red Ants Pants tasks include writing the ANTcedote, updating all of RAP’s lovely followers on the major social media outlets and keeping the general fun level at Code Extreme. Internet connections aren’t always available and work comes first, so sadly, I let Love and Long Underwear slip by the wayside.

My sincere apologies.

But now I’ve got a bit of downtime sitting in a coffee shop in Bozeman and my daily chores are complete and I can turn my attention to my little Internet baby — good thing this blog is not a real baby because by now it would have probably been turned into child protective services and my fat butt would be swathed in orange and I’d be penning my prison diaries. Selling pants across the country might sound like serious business but allow me to dispel any myths surrounding the life of a workpant groupie. Yes, it is tiring lugging around 4 giant bags of pants that weigh a minimum of 70 pounds up and down stairs–sometimes to be locked in an elevator for several claustrophobic minutes. It can also be tough to eat 12 slices of homemade pizza and chug home brew just to appease party hosts, but the tour rep job is one  I take seriously and so, pizza and beer goes down my hatch without complaint. And not having water, electricity, heat in the “Anthill” Airstream trailer can be a bit difficult in regards to grooming and looking all fine and respectable, but then again I am blessed with charm and good looks, so greasy hair be damned. Plus truck stop showers are a mere $5 and they give you wonderfully plush towels.

As you can tell, life on the road can be tough but then there are those moments (and we have a lot of those fun moments with Tour de Pants) when work translates into fun and you find yourself wearing a balloon hat and riding a Fun Bike through the streets of Missoula. One of Sarah’s new friends not only is an expert in making balloon hats –a skill I clearly do not possess–and this guy also has in his possession two Fun Bikes. Fun Bikes are the adult version of a tricycle.  The three-wheeled contraption is the ultimate low-rider human powered contraption and instead of a steering wheel you direct the bike by tilting your body left and right.

After a long day spent in a coffee shop and finishing the highly specialized task of putting up posters of the Red Ants Pants Music Festival (the festival is sure to be the biggest music event in Montana, if not the west, because Lyle Lovett and His Large Band are coming to the tiny ranching town of White Sulphur Springs) Sarah and I set out on a Fun Bike adventure that also included a much needed hydration pit stop at the Kettlehouse Brewery. Missoula is an incredibly friendly town for pedestrians and boss and peon rode safely around the town, crossed the raging Clark Fork River via the bike bridge, and chatted with passerbys who were clearly jealous of our awesome bikes.

Let me just be truthful, as I always am in this cherished space, I am not a fan of conventional work. I’d rather have an impressive resume of all the fun I’ve managed to cram into my life than the projects, committees, or percentages I’ve successfully wrangled for some business. Writing is fun, although it can result in week long broodings when my ruminations turns sour, but riding a bike and wearing a balloon hat are just good plain fun.

Another 600 miles in the mountains or so and I’ll be home. And then I’ll begin my search for my very own Fun Bike. May we all have our own versions of the Fun Bike.

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