Monday, May 18, 2009

Let Her Buck!

Red Ants Pants completed the last leg of the Coastal Tour at the 59th Annual Miles City Bucking Horse Sale. We rolled into town on Friday night towing quite a Red Ants Pants entourage. One truck towed the Ant Hill and another truck pulled the Bucking Ant all the way from White Sulphur Springs to the big city lights of Miles City.

No self-respecting float would be complete without a wonderful crew of supporters and a huge thank you goes out to: Rusty & Anna, Andy, Mike, Crystal, Becky, Anna B, Bethany, Jennie, and Fred-the best looking dog to wear a RAP t-shirt. You all looked great on the float and did a damn fine job of promoting RAP. Thank you! We rocked Main St. on Saturday morning with our float and throughout the day we saw lots of fans using the latest edition of RAP koozies.

Post parade, our entourage enjoyed the sunshine, warm temperatures and the impressive festivities. Dressed to kill in the latest RAP t-shirts and pants, we strolled through downtown, watching the rest of the 1 1/2 hour long parade, eating delicious street vendor food and, of course, cheering at the Bucking Horse Sale and Horse Races! As the sun set on all of those cowboy hats, we kicked up our heels at the street dance.

We're so happy and honored to end this leg of the tour with so many dear friends, newly formed friends and many supporters from the eastern corner of Montana to southern California, and the spectacular places between. Our most sincere appreciation goes out to all of our house party hosts for welcoming us into their homes and allowing us to bring "Work Strong" to their friends and neighbors. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our new customers and supporters--your enthusiasm, wisdom and hardworking soul is nothing short of impressive and continues to drive us as we drove over 4,000 beautiful miles.
So, this ends our blog for now. Sarah will spend some much needed time back at her home and shop, busy as ever with all the RAP duties. Nellie is most excited to stretch her four legs and chase around the shop cat, Magpie. What a travel companion she was! And Maggie will wander on home to Whitefish where Glacier National Park beckons her.

Friday, May 15, 2009

If You Build It, They Will Ride

Home sweet home! We arrived to White Sulphur Springs on Monday afternoon, unhitched Ant Hill and enjoyed some time off of the road. What a Tour de Pants!

But, we still have one more event on this tour: Miles City Bucking Horse Sale this weekend. Not only will we promote Red Ants Pants, we've constructed a float for the Saturday parade! And if you thought we can design and make some really wonderful pants, just check out our float construction photos. We've certainly taken our high school float building skills to a new level with the Buckin' Ant float!

We owe a huge thank you to John Hanson and the Riverside Ranch for lending us his flatbed trailer, use of his shop, and his workers, Ron and Derek for their construction and welding skills. Ron and Derek turned a 5 gallon drum into a bucking ant in no time! Also, thank you to dear friend Jennie for her painting skills, pizza delivery, and general float enthusiasm.

If you're near Miles City tomorrow, please check us out in the parade! We'll have guys and girls on the float, one rider who'll attempt to stay on much longer than 8 seconds--we're planning on giving all these rodeo studs a run for their money--, and lots of friends passing out the newest RAP koozies.

We'll see you in Miles City for a weekend filled with bucking horses, horse races, street dances and good ol' Red Ants Pants fun!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

North Bound

Our stint in Reno ended with Maggie climbing trees with some folks from the conference and Chief Sarah finding some much needed computer time. Ant Hill climbed out of the Littlest Big City to cruise over to Truckee via the gorgeous Highway 431 with views of Mt. Rose and Lake Tahoe. We spent the night with J.D., Maggie's brother and ate tacos and watched the Red Wings crush the Ducks. With just an hour and half drive ahead of us the following day to visit friends in Portola, CA we enjoyed a relaxed morning of jogs along the Truckee River and cruising downtown.

Portola was our last city in California on the tour. We visited with Sarah's friends from her SCA days and enjoyed a steak BBQ and chasing around Bell and Cedar, the Kooyman children. Goodbye California-we're headed north to Idaho!

What seemed like the longest drive of the tour, we journeyed through Nevada, Oregon and finally Idaho to our Boise House Party. Great thanks to Jill and Ron for hosting us and allowing Nellie to play Goldilocks in their beautiful house--is their bed more comfortable or the giant orange bean bag to lie on?!? We had a wonderful party and received the best road trip gift from Ron-new music for the Ipod-Billboard's Top 100 Songs from 1950 to 2003! DJ Doherty has never been so happy.

From Boise we travelled north to Moscow for our final house party on Tour de Pants. What a beautiful drive following the Salmon River in the sunshine. Our best to host, Caroline for a wonderful party and some great grilled vegetables. The guests really got into the pants--both literally and figuratively--even testing out the mobility of the pants in various yoga poses. What a great group of women in Moscow!

With the sun just beginning to set on the mountains, we packed up our gear for one last time and hit Highway 12 to put some miles under our belts before our final leg home to White Sulphur Springs. We parked along the Clearwater River and woke to the sound of rain tapping on the rig, and as we ate scrambled eggs and avocado, the skies cleared and we loaded into the truck, making our way into Mountain Standard Time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sarah Delivers Keynote at Western Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture

Two days of travelling through Pinnacles National Monument and Yosemite National Park, we've landed in Reno where Sarah delivered a great speech about RAP during the Women in Arboriculture Breakfast at the Atlantis Resort and Casino. Reno is playing host to the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture Annual Conference and Trade Show and we're honored that Red Ants Pants was asked to join in the good fun and meet lots of folks who are all about trees! And we've heard rave reviews, once again, about that wonderful gusseted crotch--especially for those who spend their days climbing trees in a harness! Great thanks to our friends for their support. We can't wait to see photos of the pants on these hardworking gals and guys.
Our stops in Pinnacles and Yosemite were nothing but grand. Sadly our condor biologist friend wasn't able to show us a live condor, but we were able to watch a young condor feed on a calf carcass from their remote surveillance cameras set up in the park. We did find a rather large evidence of bird scat on Ant Hill and Sarah even sent our biologist friend a photo of the scat in hopes that the young condor flew over the rig after his breakfast and left his mark, but we were told it wasn't condor on the side of Ant Hill.

We rang in Cinco de Mayo on the banks of the raging Merced River just outside of Yosemite. Our RAP koozies were a big hit with local raft guides. We cruised through the park in the early morning, taking in breath taking waterfalls and lots of impressive rock. If only we had a bit more time, but perhaps the next RAP tour will feature lots of hiking time in National Parks.

From Reno, we head just over the mountains to Truckee where we'll meet up with Maggie's brother and have our own personal guide of the mountain town as we spread the good word of Work Strong along with our koozies. We only have a few nights left on the road, head up to Idaho and then back to Montana. We can hear the Big Sky calling...

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Ants are Marching South

We left the coastal town of Arcata and headed south to Willets where we met Mary and her dauther Marta, the owners of the Marisposa Market and shared with them the great news of RAP. Thanks to a friend in White Sulphur Springs, we were introduced to quite a duo! Our night was settled in the Willet's KOA campground, which has thus far been the nicest campground! Located along the rolling hills of northern California, we found the most stunning scrub oak treee to tuck ourselves in its branches and watch the setting sun on our final night before entering the City of Angels.
No road trip in California is complete until you've visited at least one winery, so that's just what we did, mostly as a stopping point so Sarah could conduct a phone interview with a newspaper in Bozeman and as any good Tour Representative would do, Maggie wandered into the EOS Winery to experience her very first wine tasting. Maggie talked up RAP but restrained herself from passing out RAP koozies, beer koozies probably wouldn't win over the crowd at the winery!
Leaving Ant Hill behind at Pinnacles National Monument, we bid farwell to our rig and made the jounrey into Los Angeles to attend the 8th Annual Women Building California Conference. We stayed in a fancy hotel in downtown LA, and spent two days meeting an incredibly wonderful, strong and talented group of tradeswomen! We are so proud that our pants fit ironworkers, piledrivers, electricians, contractors, masons, plumbers, and all of the hardworking gals! Sincere thanks and gratitude to all of our supporters-we are overwhelmed by all of the enthusiasm, encouragement, and newly forged friendships as a result of this conference. Nevermore has our motto of "Work Strong" rang so true as it did this past weekend in L.A.
Sarah also met, finally, Beth, the RAP patternmaker! Beth lives in Malibu, and drove to downtown LA to meet us at the conference. Beth and Sarah have spent many hours working together on the fabulous RAP design via phone and email, so it was a wonderful face to face meet.
As we packed up our booth and loaded pants back into the rig, we escaped the city and headed south for a little sand and surf in Laguna Beach. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the sunshine and catching up with Mark and Erica and their two daughers, Eva and Clara--who are all good frinds of Sarah's and Mark is the artist for the RAP t-shirts. We enjoyed good laughs with gin and tonics on the beach and even spotted a humpback whale swimming closely to the shore! What a great way to end our southern Calfornia experience.
We've turned back north, and are returning to Pinnacles to spend some time in the park and hopefully see some condors, hitch Ant Hill back up and make our way to Yosemite. We'll be celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Red Ants Pants style along the Merced River.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Redwoods and Red Ants

We left the high Oregon desert and descended in Eugene for a family visit with Sarah's uncle, Ted and aunt, Karrin. We thoroughly enjoyed a homecooked meal in their festive house, the walls echoing all of their travels and adventures. We sipped wine and listened to their sage advice about travelling and how to live a good and simple life.
Ant Hill just made it into northern California, limping along with a bad tire. But she's now outfitted with a new tire, thanks to the kind folks at TP Tire in Arcata. We stretched our legs and played Frisbee on the shore and both Sarah and Maggie each found an intact sand dollar! A sure sign of good things to come! Although Nellie, Montana cattle dog, is still not too sure what to think of the ocean.
Our Arcata house party, co-hosted by Greta and Julie, was a great success and as friends tried on pants, we enjoyed homemade goat cheese, fresh from Greta's farm. Check out the photo of Greta milking her goats in Red Ants Pants during the party! It was a wonderful time to meet her family and meet some local women of this beautiful oceanside and farming town. After we packed up pants, cleaned up the sushi and salads, we enjoyed a quiet night's sleep in the rig, parked in Julie's yard--content with the rescued dogs, some chickens, and albino frogs!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

From the Ocean to the High Desert

From 84 West along the Columbia River Gorge to meeting the Pacific Ocean along Highway 101, the Tour de Pants chugs along in Oregon! With "Ant Hill", our '64 Airstream trailer and home in tow, and our faithful companion, Nellie, we've thoroughly enjoyed cruising the road.

Many thanks to Jean and John for hosting a great party in their beautiful home in Rockaway Beach, set up high on a rock bluff with nothing but jaw dropping views of the ocean and the setting sun! We enjoyed meeting the women of Rockaway, learning about gardening as many were Master Gardeners and indulging in John's award-winning chocolate mousse.

We headed west on Highway 20 (WOW! Oregon, you have so much beauty!) and climbed into the mountains--a little snow and rain don't scare us!--to find the high desert country of Bend. We toured the streets of Bend, sipping on beers from Deschutes Brewery and meeting folks at the Summit Saloon, listening to local bluegrass and passing out RAP koozies.

With frost on the windows of the trailer as we awoke to views of Three Sisters Mountaions, we're now off to Eugene to meet with Sarah's aunt and uncle and to spread our message of Work Strong!