One of the many advantages of the this “local” tour is not only to connect with fellow mountain folks, but also from a driving standpoint, it’s relatively a short drive across southwest Montana and the Teton regions of Idaho and Wyoming. So, we took our time leaving Dillon, indulging in a delicious breakfast–all made possible by a group effort–and then a little retail therapy at the Patagonia Outlet. After a lunch of spicy pork tacos at the taco bus, we crossed the Beaverhead River and made our way to Jefferson City, just south of state capital in Helena.
Our party host, Debbie, connected with Red Ants Pants after she came across us in a clip from the Western Souvenirs section of Via, AAA Companions magazine. Debbie then went to our website, checked out the information on Tour de Pants and wanted to host her own party. So, the Anthill cruised into her neck of the woods, which actually is better described as stunning rolling hills for a night celebrating the women of the Helena area. We are quite jealous of Debbie’s gorgeous 360 degree views from her home.
Debbie’s guests and friends are an impressive bunch of women–many are outdoor enthusiasts in varying and wonderful forms. And in the small world of Red Ants Pants, and in the smallness of the world in general, a handful of the party guests were first alerted a few weeks ago when Maggie appeared on stage at Helena’s Myrna Loy Theater to present the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation’s film fundraiser, Telluride’s MountainFilm on Tour. And what would any respectable and stylish presenter wear on stage introducing the organization but Red Ants Pants? If her savvy public speaking skills didn’t capture the audience it was the pants and the many RAP shout-outs as RAP generously donated door prizes. And if you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’ll remember our earlier entry about RAP supporting “The Bob”.
The Helena RAP performance by Maggie inspired one audience member, Jane, to introduce herself and learn more about the pants. And as luck would have it, Tour de Pants was rolling through her area the very next week. So, we connected Jane with Debbie, our party host, and again in the small world of connections, Jane knew Debbie and friends. Jane’s also a very special woman. She’s our first customer that we’ve met face-to-face who wears a prosthetic. She lost her leg to cancer but this difficult setback hasn’t held her back. Jane’s a vegetation biologist for the state and also backpacks and mountain bikes–she is not limited by her prosthesis. And in her new RAPs, you can’t even tell she has a prosthetic leg. What an inspiration!
The Jefferson City party blended together women of all ages and they connected over pants and savory appetizers. As the sun drifted into the hills, we gathered on Debbie’s deck to take silly and somewhat serious photos of these beautiful women. And we’re quite lucky that Helena is not all that far of a drive from our home in White Sulphur Springs, so there will be many more RAP reunions in the future.
The party ended just before 10 pm and Sarah and Maggie loaded up the truck with all the try on pants (we do not travel light, folks) by an near-full moon. With goodbyes given to Debbie and her husband Dean (we believe he was hiding somewhere in the hills with their two dogs during the pants party), we hitched up the Anthill and made our way west over McDonald Pass and slept along the Little Blackfoot River.
It’s on Stevensville to lend a hand with a women’s dream home and, of course, sample some local beer.