Sisters on the Fly land in Miles City

STAR PHOTO/Sharon Moore
Christine Mengel, a member of the Sisters on the Fly vintage camper and camping organization, takes a break Friday at the KOA Campground in Miles City. The group of about 130 women towing about 40 campers stopped in Miles City for the weekend while following the Lewis and Clark Trail. STAR PHOTO/Sharon Moore
By: 
Abe Winter
Star Staff Writer

Kevin Oster was a happy camper over the weekend, and he wasn’t even camping.

The owner of the KOA Campground in Miles City had a busy time as the host of an estimated 130 women who arrived in SUVs and pickups hauling about 40 campers; and one who showed up on her Harley-Davidson three-wheeler.

They are part of the Sisters on the Fly, Inc. roadsters who came to the campground Friday and departed Sunday to continue their travels along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

“This is our largest group,” said Oster, who moved here from Cookeville, Tennessee, with wife Jenette and two teenage children — Adam and Molly. “I love it. It’s a great thing for us.”

And a great thing for the women, who got the royal treatment at the KOA in Bismarck, North Dakota before heading to Miles City and getting a police escort down Main Street.

“I think it’s pretty thrilling,” said Gail Buck, who carted her “old” Airstream Clipper from Mendon, Vermont. “We’re doing the Lewis and Clark Trail. That’s the whole purpose.”

Her Airstream is a vintage 1953 model. “Same age as me,” she said, then laughed.

Buck held several positions before embarking on a career that lasted about  29 years — operating a Christmas tree farm in Vermont.

Many of the Sisters on the Fly gathered in Eureka, near St. Louis, Missouri. Others joined along the way. Some will do the entire route; others will drop off and do a trip through Yellowstone. That’s what Linda Shay, 60, of Albany, Minnesota, will do after her husband flies to Billings to meet her.

Linda is in her first year with the Sisters.

“I love camping,” she said, “and we have five vintage campers from the ‘50s and ‘60s.”

Nell Lehman of Palouse, Washington, has been a five-year traveler with this group. She has fun all along the way.

“I absolutely enjoy it,” she said. “It’s a great group of women who are adventurous, independent and friendly. We meet new people every day.”

The MO of the organization, besides no men allowed, Lehman said, is “Be nice. No politics, no religion, and we leave no one behind.”

Pat Taylor, owner of a winter home in Quartzsite, Arizona, was the one on the three-wheeler.

“I don’t have another home,” the 74-year-old rider said. “I’m a full-time RVer.”

Why not ride in a pickup with one of her friends?

“First of all, you can’t smell the fresh-cut hay,” she said. “But you also smell the cattle, so it’s a trade-off.”

Still, she hopes for many more days or months or years on her Harley.

“I’m too young to quit riding,” Taylor said, adding that the longest day’s ride on this excursion was 400 miles. “But it’s usually 250 to 300 miles a day.”

(Contact Abe Winter at starcity@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)