Silent, no more!

David Isaiah Beckley was my husband, he lied about loving me, he never honored his vows, he drank way too much, he became violent and cruel on so many occasions to me and towards others. His attorney threatened to sue me for defamation recently for writing about the abuse I faced while being with him. David blamed me for everything, he stonewalled me. If I made a mistake, he would completely ignore me-go to his mom’s house, not help with money, not see or talk to me- sometimes this went on for weeks or months at a time. He stonewalled each and every attempt I made at talking about things, trying to work things out or communicate. He lied about everything-going to therapy, his relationships with other women, being sorry for hurting me, getting sober and caring about me. It was all lies.

David raped me in November of 2018 at our apartment. He was drunk. When I attempted to speak to him about it he called me a slut, ignored me or told me I was a liar. He claims he doesn’t remember raping me even though he sent me a text message a few months before the assault, threatening to rape me and sent me texts after apologizing for and admitting it. I felt so lonely and sad. I tried to convince myself it didn’t happen or that it was okay. I told myself to be quiet about it, to protect him from legal trouble, to just deal with it. To just act like it never happened. That did not work out so well. It created deep craters of pain, anger and resentment inside of me. It began to break apart who I was.

I began to believe all the names he called me. I began to believe everything really was my fault. If only I wasn’t in a pissy mood, then he wouldn’t have called me a fucking bitch, or a cunt, he wouldn’t have ignored me for days. If I wasn’t a fucking bitch then he would have come to my sisters funeral with me. I must be controlling to ask him to come get his dog and I who are stranded after work instead of run with his buddy, he’s, right, that was controlling. How could I expect that? I was as bitch. How could I think he’d come see me when I am sick and help me instead of going paragliding? That was so controlling of me, thats what I would tell myself after he yelled at me or called me names. I began to feel as though reasonable requests were wrong and I was in the wrong to expect my husband to put me first or to ever be there for me. Like he said the day my sister died, I was on my own and I needed to leave him out of it. He wanted to be left alone and only be my husband when he wanted to be, otherwise, I was alone. The abuse challenged everything I believed about marriage and it left me feeling so bad about myself. Whatever little self esteem I did have, was gone. He would say to me, “If you were normal, I wouldn’t be violent.” I started to feel like the problem was me and me alone.

David has a very unhealthy dynamic with his mom, he lives with her and always returns to her house when he cannot handle things, its like his castle, where he is protected and no one can touch him or talk to him, even his wife. His mom has him locked up so tight there, that once he’s there, you cannot get him out of there. The morning my sister died, his mother called my father’s office and demanded proof my sister was dead. Of course this would upset anyone, seeing as this is abnormal and hurtful behavior. When I expressed to his mother how awful what she did was, of course, David took her side. How dare I talk to his mom like that? Absolutely zero acknowledge of what she did, it was all my fault and I was in the wrong. David constantly deals with his mom’s drinking and erratic behaviors when she is drunk. It’s a terrible scene and it only serves to encourage his drinking and abusive behavior. She rattles off insults to him when she is drunk, she does crazy things to him and others and she protects David’s poor behaviors at any cost. Some days I would be welcomed into the house with David and other days I wouldn’t be and I would have to sit in his truck outside and wait for him. I never knew when I was welcomed or when I was hated. It was insane. David never stood up for me or for our marriage and he allowed his parents to treat me as though I was less than human. I began to feel so lost and worthless because that’s how he treated me.

I am not looking for sympathy or anything else, I’m just releasing it all off of my heart and in doing so I hope I can start to heal and maybe help others find their courage to leave. I’ve spent long enough feeling broken and sad. I wish I could say that I didn’t love him anymore, but, that would be a lie.

Below is a document off of my phone notes app citing the abuse I faced, the names he called me, the things he did to me. I began documenting it in 2018 as a record for myself to try and give me the courage to leave. I didn’t leave then, but, I did recently.

Dumb Cunt
Crazy
Weird
Bitch
Horrible person
Says Why would anyone want me
Tells me I have little girl wants and ideas
He says I make him do what he does, it’s my fault
Says he can’t do anything without drinking
Says that I am Psycho
Ugly
Fat
Slut
Insecure
Needy
Piece of shit
Liar
Fuck you
Psycho
Go fuck someone else
I hate you
Tells me that i make him drink
Calls me a pussy when I say that I’m scared of him when he drinks and how he talks to me
Pathetic
Stupid
Tells me to just get over it when I tell him something that bothers me or hurts me

My anxiety is so bad, I can’t sleep or eat and my nights and days are miserable. I’m filled w so much shame being w him. I’m not perfect, but he’s awful when he drinks, 10 beers tonight, says it’s not a big deal it’s just beer.

He tells our intimate business and issues to everyone. I’m not safe confiding in him

He humiliates me in front of other friends when they are over at our place

He mocks me and laughs at me

Tells me he wants to take care of me and that it’s okay that I’m not working right now, then throws it in my face and uses it against me. He shames me all the time

I tell him to be quiet late at night so our neighbors don’t hear us and he tells me to shut the fuck up or says fuck you

Said he’s so angry he wants to hurt me
He says I am deeply disturbed and I’ll probably kill him in his sleep. When I ask him if he thinks he’s disturbed, he says no!

He patronizes me
He laughs at me
He doesn’t show me he cares, blows me off when I want to talk, says leave me the fuck alone. He says he cares but doesn’t really show me.

Records me
Slams bedroom door at night waking up and screaming it’s so fn hot.

Sexually assaulted me, have video recording

He makes me feel uneasy and anxious, I cant bring up any issues with him! He will ignore me, blame me, or attack me.

He said that Everyone in my family knew I was a pos.
He called me a Fat ass
Threatens to leave all the time
When I tell him he is acting crazy, he says you haven’t seen crazy yet.
Grabs my jacket and gets in my face

Fat fuck
Grabbed my hair and hit my head against the cabinet at my parents house
Left and got drunk and came back to my parents house
Called me a worthless pos
Never wants to talk and tells me to just get over it
Condescends me all the time
Points his finger in my face
Tells me to look at him, fn look at me
Said this isn’t bad yet, I’m not cutting your throat or something
Says I shouldn’t listen to his mom when she tells me that he isn’t like his dad

12/7/18
Called me a Cunt, psycho
Says He’s w me because he feels sorry for me
Says we should break up that he doesn’t want me
Contradicts everything he says, I don’t know what to believe
Hurt Zoroaster Thursday night out on a walk and then attacked me verbally about it when I calmed Zoroaster down after he ran into my arms because he was scared
Blame shifting
Ignoring me
Silent treatment
Name calling
Making me seem unstable to his family so I look like the bad one
Not apologizing for things
Says sex w me is not good
Dismissing my feelings and thoughts
Always is “tired” when I want to talk

Said I have no self respect because I stay with him

I am not allowed to ask him questions or he’ll attack me

Left me at the movie theater, blamed me for having to spend money to get home from the theater and the movie tickets.

12/12/18

I’m the shittest girlfriend
I’m selfish
Tonight we took a drive out near Faye Canyon and he was drinking, he was driving crazy, carelessly. He says it doesn’t matter because we are on a dirt road. He slid almost hitting a tree. It scared me so much, I got out of his truck and walked all the way home, while he drove alongside of me most of the way saying mean things and taunting me.

Then he said I was a pussy because I got scared when he almost hit a tree

He Grabbed my sides under my chest and pushed me against the wall in between the bedroom and bathroom doors, left red marks on my skin, in pics!

Thursday this week

He was so nice at Bashas though he was very drunk. Started to verbally abuse me when we got home- lazy fat fuck, selfish.
Took my phone from me, pushed me twice. Left. I called police. Then he said he almost ran into my 4runner and that he didn’t feel bad for putting his hands on me. Ignored me all Friday

12/15/18
Continues to ignore me, but said via text that I have never done anything for him and that I am selfish. Said he can’t be around me because it’s not safe, he’s the one who drinks and is abusive. Ignores the fact that Zoroaster needs food. And ignores me even though he knows it hurts me. Amazing still no apology for pushing me or what he did! It’s nuts!! Came home super drunk after driving across town and had a breakdown crying for hours. Told me he was gay!

12/22
Said he wanted to Light me on fire
Moron
Fat ass
Lazy
I am a witch
Kicked me, but then said, he didn’t and if he had I’d be in the hospital
Worthless
Said I was Entitled
Ignored me
Got very drunk (13 beers)
Said I’ve no work ethic
Told me my family wouldn’t care if I died
Asked me how far I wanted to walk tonight, then said, I won’t kick you out of the truck here 🙂 like it was funny
Told me I was so messed up, so fucked up he said this while he was driving completely intoxicated and emotionally abusing me and I was sitting in his truck trying not to say the wrong thing, being quiet! He says he isn’t fd up and has no issues.

He said I was lazy and bitches about me not working, when he convinced me not to because he said he wanted to take care of me, now he shamed me for his choice

Mocked my suicide attempt and said it Fd up my brain.

Very loud and drunk late at night and I am worried about the neighbors complaining, he says fuck the neighbors and continues to play his loud music on his phone.

Said he’d like to light me on fire

12/23

Bitch
Got in my face and yelled at me demanded I apologize for something I didn’t do
Drinking nonstop
On his phone nonstop when we are trying to play a game together- stood up got in my face and dumped the scrabble board over
Grabbed my leg while demanding an apology
Stupid

Tried to set boundaries with him and tell him how mean he was being, how much he was hurting me- he laughed at me, told me to get the fuck out of our apartment, get the fuck out of his face even though I was sitting on the bed, he said that my fat ass should leave him. That I suck! He’s beyond terrible! It’s hell living w him!

Choked me and told me to leave our apartment- neck is red- there are pics of my neck, after he choked me I was shaking and crying because I was so scared, he said to stop acting like a child, stop shaking. I am an adult and this is life.
My throat and neck hurt

12/24
Didn’t apologize for choking me, he said he didn’t when I told him what he did.
Spent the day without me, said he didn’t want to be around me because I suck.
Said he had to go get me a stupid gift
My neck still feels very sore
I hate you
Don’t want to be w you
Rather be In jail than w you
I wouldn’t be violent if you were normal
Said he isn’t paying rent anymore

7/2019
Blew me off when my sister died
Fucking cunt
Bitch
Ignores me
Breaks each and every promise since we got married
Terrible husband
Attacks me verbally and psychically all the time
Blames me for everything
I’m fn psycho for wanting him to come to Martha’s funeral w me
Never once asked me how I was when my sister died
Didn’t even come over and be w me when I found out, blew me off and said I was on my own
Drinking again
Says he’ll fix my car but doesn’t
Financial abuse, promises to help me w money then attacks me and says I should ask my dad for money. wastes money and lies about it so we don’t have money for a place or important things.
Uses my credit card but doesn’t help pay for it
Told me to quit my job and not go to fire, said he’d take care of me but then mocks me and is mean to me about not working.
Says I’m worthless and lazy and too good to work
Makes fun of my depression
Told me to quit Mick’s and focus on getting side work then he won’t go do bids
Won’t give me access to his bank info or money

Refused to come to the ER on 6/30/19 said I was lying and then came after few hours and was so so mean to me
Gas lights me
Ignores me, I can’t ever rely on him or trust him
He’s not ever there for me
Was terrible to me when Martha died, completely blew me off and refused to come to the funeral w me
His crazy mom called my dads office and demanded a pic of Martha’s dead body
Called me a Fn slut
Called me a fn Cunt, worthless, ugly and fat
Punched me bruised my arm
Punched my car by gas tank dented it
Drinking so much and saying awful things to me
Mocked and laughed at me when I try to talk about when he sexually assaulted me.
Tell me to get out of his fn truck and if I pass out he doesn’t care he’ll run me over
Blows me off for Xmas
Blows me off for new year’s
Lies to me about drinking
Blows Zoroaster and I off when we need help so he can run w a friend, Zoroaster and I walk the highway home.
Blows off our anniversary
Blows off Valentine’s Day
Calls me terrible names, mocks me, makes me feel so alone and of no value
Refuses to talk to me
Says he hopes I get Coronavirus and throws a gallon of water at me bruising my lower back.

5-8-20

Pushed me and hurt my neck while I was walking away from his truck.
Called me names
Blew off another pregnancy
Drinking and ignoring me
Lying to me about work
Lying to me about go to counseling
I setup Beckleys Tree service and David blew it off.
David broke every promise and marriage vow. Always said he wanted to work things out, but, never DID anything to make that happen, all talk. Blamed everything on me

I Filed divorce 6-16-20
Called me psycho
Said he didn’t love me
Said he hated me
Told me to get the fuck out of his life

Raped by David Beckley

David and I had planned on making pasta for dinner that night, it was a cold November night out and I was excited to spend time with him, to cuddle up and laugh and have a good evening. We were both in the kitchen, David was drinking, he started saying mean things to me and calling me names. When he drinks, I never know when that will happen, but, it is always sure to happen at some point. I attempted to calm him down, to talk to him, but that made no difference. I was a bitch, I was a miserable person, I sucked, I was a horrible person, on and on and on it went as he paced from the kitchen to the couch drinking and insulting me. I finally went into the bedroom and then to take a bath, just to try and get away from him. After my bath, I went back into the bedroom and laid on the bed. A short time later David came into the bedroom and crawled on top of me. I could smell the alcohol on his breath and he was still saying terrible things to me, he pinned my hands down on the bed and took my pants off. I told him that I did not want to have sex, but, he forced himself inside of me. He was rough with me, he just kept saying terrible things to me, calling me names- cunt, bitch, slut, etc. I told him to stop, I tried to get him off of me, but I couldn’t. He just kept having sex with me. I was crying and struggling to get him off of me. He didn’t care. He didn’t stop. He was so intoxicated that he seemed to not even be there. Like he was in a different world.

After it happened, I went back into the bathroom and took another bath. I couldn’t believe what he had done to me, I did not know what to do. Was it rape? We were dating. I did not know. I thought about calling the cops, but, I didn’t and I told myself it was okay. I sat in the bath for a long time. I was hoping he would fall asleep because I did not want to talk to him. I was hurting so much. I was crushed. Should I report him? Is it a crime? What just happened? He was drunk, does it matter? I did not want to get him into criminal trouble. I just sat in the bathtub and cried. I waited along while before going back into the bedroom, when I did he was passed out and snoring. I crawled into bed and laid awake all night, in the morning he got up and got ready for work, he did not say anything about what happened to me. He left for work as though nothing had happened. As though everything was okay.

I tried a few times to bring it up in the coming weeks and months to talk about it with him, but, he called me a liar and a slut and shut down the conversation quickly. I should have left him, but, I didn’t. I have been carrying this around, trying to convince myself that it was okay and that what I know happened must be wrong. That it wasn’t a big deal. It has been a long time since that night. David and I have gotten married and I have tried to put that evening behind me and go forward, because I loved him. But the truth is, I can’t forget it and though I have questioned whether it was rape or not, IT WAS. He raped me! Even if I am in a relationship with someone it does not give them the right to violate me and to blatantly ignore the facts about what they did. It is time to get this off of my chest and to try and let it go. David has the ability to be charming, but he is very dangerous and he has a major drinking problem. He assaulted his buddy last December and left him with permanent injuries, he claims he does not have a clear memory of that either. David believes it’s okay to treat people in despicable ways and that somehow it’s justified. I tried to justify it to myself, I couldn’t. I found that in trying to do so somehow it always lead me back to blaming myself and that’s completely misplaced, the entire blame is his and his alone.

Being silent about this has only served to destroy me more. I lost my inner security that night; I lost my confidence and strength and it has created such a terrible place for me inside of myself, a place of fear, anxiety, sadness and anger- it has robbed me of time, of happiness, of self worth, of safety. I still struggle with basic daily tasks. I feel broken. I feel alone. I feel so incredibly broken and that may never go away. What he did to me will never be undone and the only recourse I have is to tell my story, attempt to seek to process what happened and make sure he cannot hurt me again. David continues to lie about what he did and take no accountability, the worst part is, he truly doesn’t care about what he did or how it’s impacted my life.

The final day of the Divide!

Tonight, 10/23/20 I am staying at the Hacita Bike Ranch, owned by Jeffrey Sharp. It’s 11 pm and I cannot sleep. I rode 80 miles today from Silver City and I should be exhausted and dead asleep by now. However, I just can’t sleep. My mind is all over the place. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll arrive at Antelope Wells/ Mexican border and my time on the Great Divide will end. A few days ago while riding into Silver City I was overwhelmed with memories of my journey out here playing in my mind like an adventure movie. Scene by scene. And, tonight it is even more overwhelming for me, this journey has been difficult to say the least. I am no stranger to great adventures, to long adventures; I’ve thru hiked and traveled 1000s of miles on my own two feet. I have thru hiked Mexico to Canada and I know all too well the emotions that accompany the completion of these kind of adventures. But this accomplishment is more emotional than any of my past ones.

I set out from Canada on my bike, having not ridden a bike in 15 years, I knew nothing about bikes or specs, or maintenance. Hell, I couldn’t even pedal up a 200 foot hill 🙂 seriously!! I was a rookie in every way in regards to biking. I set out to heal, to reflect and process the loss of my sister and come to terms with the horrible man I married, the destruction he caused and my choice to divorce him. I set out to find the person I was and had lost through years of his abuse. He robbed me of time, of myself and of all my goodness and happiness. I thought that riding from Canada to Mexico would be just what I needed to heal. Tonight, as I lay awake unable to sleep due to the anticipation of finishing tomorrow I realize that my expectations of this journey didn’t come to life. I haven’t healed. I haven’t processed anything. I have had many many moments of tears, of wondering why Martha is gone and thinking about how I miss her so very much. How she was always my greatest cheerleader and she wasn’t here for this journey. I have struggled internally everyday to keep riding, to not give up, no matter how hard it got. I have met fantastic people from all walks of life, I have shared conversations, laughs, tears and food with so many amazing people. I have felt alone. I have felt lost. I have felt scared, happy, hopeful, sad, defeated- I have felt at one time or another out here every possible emotion. Yet, I haven’t healed and I fear that returning home tomorrow will bring everything back, everything I wanted to escape from. I worry that maybe nothing will help me heal.

Everyone carries their own definition of adventure- to some it’s having a baby, buying a house, moving to a new place, walking across or biking across the country, climbing Everest, etc. For me, adventure means mental and physical challenge and being outside among the wild for extended periods of time. I have always used my adventures in the past to help me heal and this time it just didn’t work. I hope in the coming days after I complete this journey there will be some kind of realization inside of me, some sort of healing. And, if not, I guess I’ll just have to keep adventuring until my heart is whole again.

Great Divide- Butte, MT to Lima, MT

My cousin, Mark drove me back to Butte after my stay in Bozeman. It was nice to be able to get to know him more, talk and spend some time together. We stopped at Dairy Queen before he dropped me off. We said our goodbyes and I spent the rest of the night preparing for the next day. I woke up early and grabbed some breakfast. I rode about 36 miles the next day, which landed me at Beaver Dam Campground- the haze from the fires continued to block any and all views. I set up camp and during that time a creepy guy drove up to my campsite, got out of his truck and walked over and sat on my picnic table. He let his dogs out of his truck, they were sprayed painted neon orange. When I questioned him about why his dogs were spray painted, he responded by saying, “there’s a lot of weirdos out there.” Oh my goodness 🙂 He then proceeded to tell me he had a cabin a few miles back and told me I should come stay there. He was way too interested in my route and itinerary and he began to really freak me out, he didn’t take any social cues I gave to leave and acknowledge that I was super uncomfortable. A few minutes later this red van pulled up to the site across from mine and I walked over to talk to them. The guy left and I was happy to be near others for the evening.

In the morning, I filled up on water and left camp. Today, I was to climb up and descend the famous Fleecer Ridge, which is an extremely steep unridable rocky section. Many great divide riders opt to avoid this section and take an alternate to save themselves the headache of navigating this section. The climb was moderate, the cows were so incredibly vocal during my ascent. Once I reached the top the clouds started to darken, it started to drizzle, but the views were incredible. I could see for miles and it was so peaceful up there. I walked my bike to the edge and began the descent. No way on earth could I imagine myself or anyone riding down that. I squeezed my brakes, braced myself and carefully walked/slid down the worst of it. My bike slid all over, it was very difficult to maintain footing and keep my bike from falling down. Once I got to the bottom the rest of the ride into Wise River was fairy easy.

Wise River was a nice little stop for pizza and charging up my phone. After lunch, I turned on to the Pioneer Mountain Scenic By-Way, which climbed for miles and miles but it was an easy grade climb, with fabulous views, running water, rainbows, trees and plenty of nice campsites along the way. I camped about 13 miles after Wise River. It continued to rain heavily all night and it was freezing cold the next morning while I packed up, but it didn’t stop me from heading out. The remainder of the climb from camp on the By-Way was a bit steeper and I walked my bike the final 5 miles or so. I was rewarded with a super fun downhill from the top and then an easy and very enjoyable rest of the day into Bannack State Park. A few miles from Bannack I was stopped by two guys in a car who offered me a coke and water. They pulled over and we began talking. The older guy told me about his adventure of riding his tandem bike across the country with his wife in 1989, we shared stories, laughs and then went our separate ways. I remember feeling so good this day, feeling like today was perfect. Then, right before Bannack I met the Denver boys. I kinda invited myself to camp with them that evening and I would end up tagging along with them for the coming two weeks. We all set up camp, then decided to go explore the old ghost town of Bannack. We visited each building, creating our own stories about what the history was in each of them. It couldn’t have been a better day.

The next day, I packed up early and left. The boys were still sleeping. My bike was soaked and so was my tent. I hate packing up wet gear 😦 My plan for the day was to ride 38 or so miles and camp after the big climb up to the medicine lodge/ big sheep creek Divide. Around noon after about 31 miles the boys caught me while I was eating lunch and Zach made a comment about riding another 51 miles into Lima. I laughed and told them I was camping at a lake off route and that there was no way I could ride another 51 miles. They took off and finished my lunch and dried out my tent fly. The climb sucked. I rode down the other side of the climb expecting to see the boys camped, I didn’t see them anywhere. I assumed they actually did ride another 51 miles into Lima and from somewhere I decided to ride into Lima to meet up with the boys. The rain started up again, it rained hard, it was freezing. I kept feeding myself donuts and riding, luckily it was easy riding. The route took me through this beautiful canyon area, it was even more beautiful in the rain. Miles and miles kept going by and I kept telling myself, “Elizabeth, just get into Lima”. It was mentally difficult to keep riding and I was more than exhausted. Just before dark I arrived in Lima, 81 miles from camp. I went to Jans to eat, there was no sign of the boys 🙂 I spent the night in Lima and the next day the boys rode into town around 1 pm. They thought it was hilarious that I had actually ridden 81 miles the day before and they told me that they had camped at the off route lake I told them I was planning on staying at. The rest of the day was lazy and all I did was laundry and eat a lot of food. My body was way more exhausted than I thought. I decided that day that there would be no more 81 mile days! However, I was very proud of myself for accomplishing that, but, knew it wasn’t something I could sustain. The day ended with a yummy dinner at the steak house in town.

Great Divide Part 2

Leaving Helena it started to rain and it didn’t let up for hours. I was soaked and cold for most of the day. The climb was pretty long outside of Helena and little did I know that the hardest part of the day was yet to come. I climbed up to Park Lake and turned off a decent road onto 1878-D1 a ridiculously steep and rutted out road, here I pushed my bike uphill over down trees and ruts so big I wouldn’t even of taken of Toyota 4Runner on that road. I’d push my bike up a few feet, my feet would lose their traction, I would slip and my bike would fall down, the peddles would cut my legs and rip my pants. At one point my bike fell and slid 20 feet down, I sat there crying, seriously considering just leaving my bike and hiking out. It was insane, for 3-4 miles I did this. Eventually, I got to a downhill section, but it was too steep and rocky to ride down. I was exhausted and just wanted to get onto a rideable road. About 3 miles later, I came out to a rideable road and began my descent into Basin. It started to rain again. I was enjoying the downhill when all of a sudden I was thrown off my bike and on the ground. My new tattoo was scrapped off my arm, it was bleeding and bruised and my helmet was dented. I was defeated. I was exhausted. Cold. Wet. Ugh! I got back on my bike and continued to ride down past all of the mines. I have never been so happy to see an interstate as I was to see I-15. I rode into Basin and went straight for the saloon. I cleaned my arm off and texted my tattoo artist worried I had destroyed my tattoo that honored my sister, Martha. He told me how to care for it and that we’d need to see how it healed up before we talked about touching it up. I was so devastated to ruin my tattoo. I ate a ton of food, talked to some locals about what I was doing, what was going on in Basin and decided to stay inside the community center for the night because the rain was not letting up. Being inside is a welcomed thing when you feel alone and exhausted and it’s wet and cold outside. I was grateful to be inside that night.

The next morning, I woke up and packed up. My goal was to get into Butte, which was about 39 miles away. The ride was pretty moderate into Butte. The sky was very hazy from fires and the day warmed up a lot making the last miles into Butte rough. I stopped for a break about 11 miles from Butte and apparently, I invaded a badgers hangout spot, he was very upset with me. He stood in front of me flaring his body up and down at me. I had never faced off with a badger and decided to just leave and get away from him. The damn thing really freaked me out. I rode the last little hill down into Butte and walked through uptown. The architecture is very interesting in Butte and I made my way through uptown enjoying the old buildings, shops and even a stop at Pita Pit for lunch. I also stopped at the local bike shop to have my derailer checked out. After all of my errands were finished, I checked into a hotel for the night.

In the morning, my auntie Karen picked me up in Butte and drove me to her house in Bozeman where I stayed for three days. Karen is hilarious, she has a small sedan that I was concerned about fitting my bike into. She instructed me to shove my bike in the back seat. I was super hesitant, but we did get it somewhat inside the back seat. However, my bike was stuck and hanging half way out of the car. I am not a bike person and admittedly didn’t think to remove my front tire and when I tried to I wasn’t used to the new quick release thingy so struggled to figure it out. There we were two women trying to shove this beast of a bike in her little car, then we got the bike stuck and it wouldn’t move in or out. Karen was inside the car trying all she could to push it back out and I was outside trying to pull it out. NO LUCK 😦 She then told me to go inside the hotel and get a man!!! I did, he came out and within minutes the front tire was off and the bike was inside her back seat. Karen now has a permanent hole in her car ceiling from my bike 😦 it was a hilarious adventure getting my bike to fit. Karen and I drove back to her house and I had a great few days off my bike hanging out with her, my two cousins Mark and Matt and her adorable dogs. I ate and sat around and ate some more and just enjoyed my time with family. There was a ton of laughs, a ton of food and a ton of laziness 🙂 perfect for me!!

GDMBR the first two weeks!

Day one: I left the Rooseville- US/Canadian border around 10 am. My friend Billy graciously drove me all the way up there from Flagstaff. I admit I was a bit nervous when he drove off. I was alone with my bike and the goal of riding it to the Mexican border, maybe further. I accidentally stepped too far into Canada and was immediately confronted by three Canadian border patrol agents running at me screaming at me and swearing at me. I actually thought I might get arrested. I didn’t, thank goodness, however, they did instruct me to go through US customs in order to continue. After that little debacle I started my ride into the town of Eureka 11 miles south. I was surprised at how quickly I got into Eureka, I ate lunch and made sure everything was charged. I did have some hesitation about leaving Eureka. I was alone and had never done a bikepacking trip, I wasn’t sure how it’d go and if I could actually even do it. After being told by this old guy riding his atv with his dog that I shouldn’t leave Eureka without a gun, I decided it was time to actually begin my journey and to leave Eureka. I peddled another 13 or so miles and found myself just after Grave Creek Campground. I camped near this guy Ryan and his beautiful dog, Yeti. Ryan kept me entertained that evening with his stories of conspiracies and political ideas very far from my own, nonetheless I was grateful for the company. Day 2- I left camp early because I knew there was a big climb waiting for me first thing and I was eager to get it over with. I pushed my bike up the hill and as I know now, I push and will push my bike up most hills 🙂 which is totally fine by me. I remember getting to the top of that climb, there was still a chill in the air and I sat there for awhile, taking in the peace and beauty that surrounded me. I felt proud of myself for starting this adventure and I was looking forward to how it would all play out. Then it was time to rally downhill and enjoy the breeze on my back, enjoy the ease and excitement of downhill. It was awesome and I made miles after miles. I eventually got to a turn on the route that lead to another big climb and decided to look for a place to camp. I had done 37 or so miles and I was beat. As I was sitting on the side of the route Brent and Ellen rode by, they explained they were going to camp in Polebridge, 5.5 miles off route and even though I was exhausted already my spirits needed the company and pizza sounded good. We camped near the river in Polebridge and ate pizza, candy and had an enjoyable evening. In the morning we went our own ways, they were out for only a few days and I needed to get back to the route and continue on. I climbed up to Red Meadow Lakes and then made the super fun descent into Whitefish lakes and camped there. I met an amazing family camped next to me and spent some time talking to them and sharing stories. It’s always the people you meet out on your adventures that you remember the most. The people that just happen to be there when you are in need of a short conversation, a word of encouragement, a plate of Mac and cheese or a laugh. I also met this couple from Colorado and their doggie, they had taken to life on the road after renting their house out and both of them loved to adventure with their dog. That made me miss Zoroaster a lot but I was comforted knowing he was safe at home and that I was having my time to be alone, to get back to myself and to adventure. I slept well that night 🙂 Day 3 I woke up early, it was freezing out. But I had to get going and I rode into Whitefish from camp. I was a tad overwhelmed at the tourists and crowds and shock of very different people than myself. I felt out of place and after eating lunch and charging my phone I decided to ride to Columbia Falls for the evening, it was a good idea. Columbia Falls is a smaller quieter place and was way more my scene and speed. I stayed at this cute little motel and had a motorcycle gang keep me company for the rest of the day. It was a good day and best of all, I was able to soak my legs in a bathtub 🙂

In the morning, I packed up and said goodbye to the motorcycle gang, they were headed into Glacier NP and I was heading to Big Fork. It was a nice steady ride into Big Fork, butterflies danced in and out of my wheels and the terrain was pretty easy. First stop in Big Fork was of course for ice cream and I ended up camping at the state park in town. Jesse and Sarah also camped there that night and we had good conversations about biking, gear, traveling and life. Leaving Big Fork the next day was a rough beginning, big climb, lots of pushing my bike and it was very hot. Up and up it went and I was drenched in sweat. It was a rough climb, but it only made the downhill part more worth it. The sweet smells of the forest that engulf you while you are rushing downhill on your bike, it’s an amazing feeling, it’s pure excitement and fun. It makes you feel invincible and wild. It’s extremely freeing! However, sometimes it can be a tad dangerous bombing downhill. I actually almost hit a moose standing in the middle of the route, I braked, I got off my bike and after a few minutes of staring at me, he was not impressed and he ran off. The route was open and clear again and I could keep going downhill. Of course nothing is always downhill all the way and downhill sections never last as long as you wished they would. I was spent by the time I got to Cedar Creek Camp and ended up camping alone right next to the river, which wasn’t the best choice because of the cold condensation the next morning. But the cold temps the next morning were short lived and after an hour or so it warmed up and I made the 1 mile climb back to the route and headed for Holland Lake. The ride to Holland Lake wore me out, but I was rewarded with a great dinner at the lodge, wonderful and kind campground hosts and a little camping spot that made for a good nights sleep. I had read about the next day and how it was supposed to be incredibly hard, lots of climbing and then 4 miles of downfall and carrying your bike up and over downfall. I was not looking forward to that, but, I planned accordingly and headed out early to tackle the day. About 10 miles in a biker named Blaize appeared, he stated how impressed he was that I could hike my bike as fast as he was peddling. We ended up riding the whole day together and it wasn’t as bad as what I had read. The climbs were rough, but tolerable and the scenery. Oh my goodness, hands down prettiest day on route so far. I couldn’t dream these places up. Absolutely fantastic! I wanted to sit on top and just be there forever. I didn’t want to leave. It’s a place that pulls on your heart and awakens your soul. It makes you feel alive and reminds you of how small you are on this earth. The smells, the colors, the rock, the sky, the trees, the flowers. Wow!!! Just perfect!!! No description can ever do it justice. After some time up there among the wild, we made the fun fast run downhill from the magical top. We got into Seeley Lake around 2 and ate a lot of food and setup camp and a nearby forest service campground. Wowzers, did it get cold that night. The next morning, the cold made it hard to start the day, but I packed up and headed towards Ovando. I was thankful for a short day of only 26 miles because I had a terrible migraine that morning and I could feel my body was telling me to stop, to take some time off. Even though it was just 26 miles, it was hard for me, my body wasn’t happy with me. Arriving in Ovando, I was greeted by a super cute Wild West town configuration, generous locals, cold root-beer in the store and my uncle John drove up to have dinner with me. That made my day better. It was wonderful to see family, it made me feel a little less lonely. Though, my body was still tired and I needed to rest. I slept in the biker teepee right in the middle of town that night and in the morning had a warm breakfast at the cafe. My plan for that day was to ride only 17 miles and camp at Cooper Lakes, but as I usually do I pushed on and ended up riding into Lincoln that day, another 22 miles. I got to town a hour or two before dark and decided that I was going to take Saturday and Sunday off, no riding!!! It was a much needed rest for me and I got to spend Sunday with my cousin Rivers, so it ended up being a great weekend of rest and lots of food!! Monday morning I left Lincoln, I rode to the llama farm, a place that allows bikers to camp there and it was a perfect day back on route after some rest. The climb leaving Lincoln was a tad ridiculously steep and unforgiving, it was a pain in the butt actually but the upside was that it was cloudy and the temp wasn’t that bad. Man, that climb sucked. The adorable llamas though made up for the climb and I had a short day and lots of rest. Today, I left the llama farm and rode 40 miles into Helena. Again, rough climbs, lots of ups and downs after the big climb, then at last a 2000 foot downhill into Helena 🙂 I actually ended up getting to 27 miles an hour today. I had to slow down it kinda freaked me out with all those sharp big rocks and flying downhill. This route has been hard and easy at times, it’s made me feel lonely and also connected at times to the natural world and to others. It has made me reflect, question things, it has allowed me time to face my grief of losing mArtha, it has given me a challenge mentally and physically and so far I have embraced it. I don’t know what’s coming but for now, I’ll keep riding south!!!

A girl, a bike and a new adventure!

As I finish up the last week of preparations for my upcoming bike ride from the Canada to Mexico, I feel many things, I feel strong, but, scared, scared of the unknown and the loneliness I am about to endure. I feel excited and also nervous because I am leaving a safe place and replacing it with living off of my bike, away from my life as I know it. I have done this dance many times in the past prior to big adventures and it has always provided a time of reflection and it has allowed me to push myself, to get uncomfortable and to embrace the adventure ahead. Biking is way different than hiking, it requires more focus, more logistical planning, more thought. I have been able in my past adventures to zone out while moving, to get in a routine of constant movement on the earth and to allow myself to get inside of my own head and face whatever comes up. When I am peddling, I cannot give myself that same freedom to explore my inner thoughts and just stay in my own head. I have to focus on where I am riding, what is up ahead and I have to connect not only with earth under me, but, also with the bike that I am riding. I cannot lose my focus. Maybe some can, but, I cannot, I will no doubt fall off my bike or run it into something. In many ways this new form of travel for me is a welcome distraction because it will require more focus and not allow for exploring my thoughts and what is in my head as much as I can do while hiking. Biking is a faster form of movement, you cover more ground and it is not as peaceful and quiet or connected to the ground as hiking is. But, it is still pretty grounding in its own way. Being on a bike for me, brings up feelings of being a little kid, it is a whole kind of freedom in its own way 🙂 My hopes are that with each mile I pedal on my trip, that some amount of healing will occur, that some shift will happen inside of myself. I hope I can remember my strength and use it at the moments when I am completely broken out there, because those moments will come up. I look forward to the next few months on my bike, stopping to see family and friends, breathing in mountain air, connecting to the mountains, connecting to myself again. I have no idea whether or not I can pull this off, but, I will give it my best go and whatever happens from that will happen. The last year has been the hardest year of my life. I lost my sister, who was a great support and friend to me and I have divorced a guy who was beyond terrible to me. I have had moments of indescribable sadness and pain, moments when I thought I could not go on, times when I wanted to pull all of my hair out and scream and never stop. I have watched as the world has changed. I have been shattered and it is time to pick those pieces up and make something worth while out of what has happened.