August 10, 2015 – Sun 90 degrees
Miles Today: 15
Miles to Date: 5,499
States to Date: 21
Helena is a delightful town; I had a perfect rest day here. I started with an early morning spin through town – checked out Last Chance Gulch, downtown and the capital. I was fascinated by how the Helena’s founding purpose – gold discovered in Last Chance Gulch, shaped the capital into an unusual urban form. Unlike agricultural communities, which dwell in valleys, or railroad towns, which are linear, everything in Helena presses up against the north face of Mount Helena. The ‘center’ or town isn’t in the center at all; it is at the far south end of a community that continues o to grow north. The original, irregular, grid, which represents development from 1864 until after World War II is full of interesting architecture, significant Victorian mansions, lovely bungalows, and lots of shade trees. The sprawl is limited to the north and east, which makes it less dominating.
After a filling lunch of pizza buffet, I met with Krys Holmes, Executive Director of the Myrna Loy Center. She connected me with Edwin Bender of followthemoney.org and Tim Holmes, a renowned artist who’s embarked on a project of giving his drawings away to random strangers as a means to spur connection.
It was after six by the time I pedaled out to my warmshowers host. Dawn Bridges is a phenomenal host. She and her husband Scott gave me a room with a view of the western valley, a private bath with a view of Helena climbing the hill, laundry, a great meal that included fresh garden vegetables, and terrific conversation. We didn’t rise from the table until after eleven.