Day: 11; Daily Mileage: 61.5; Total Mileage: 554.3; Stopping Point: Cambridge, ID
On the way out of Halfway, we stopped at a small restaurant for breakfast. Todd, Mom, and I all ordered a pancake. When the lady brought out the plates, the pancake covered the whole plate and then some. Anyway, I was the only one to finish the whole thing. Dad ordered French Toast and bacon that he had no problem finishing.
After one wrong turn and some back tracking we got on the road and left Oregon. Our first state is over; nine more states to go. When I think back about Oregon, I think about cattle and water. This state is covered in rivers. Almost everyday there was a new river to follow. We rode along the Snake River, which it the state border, for a good part of today.
Shortly after we broke 500 miles, we saw a bright orange, homemade sign that said, "Cattle drive in process." For the next few miles we dodged road apples, but saw no cattle. When we caught up to the cattle they were just herding them into another pasture. Right in front of us, though, was more cattle heading in our direction. We pulled off the road and leaned our bikes against the guard rail. One lady on horse back rode over and told us to move. She said that they would never get the cattle through if we sat there. So we had to go back and behind the rail. I sat very still with the video camera and taped the whole thing.
We climbed a steep and long hill today, but what else is new. As we were coming down the other side I got my first taste of bug. I was breathing through my mouth and it flew right in. I coughed a few time then washed it down with water. My favorite joke as a kid always was, "How can you tell a happy biker? By the number of bugs in his teeth."
Day: 12; Daily Mileage: 53; Total Mileage: 607.3; Stopping Point: New Meadows, ID
We camped with two other biking groups. The couple was taking a two month trip and had left their 11 month old daughter at her grandparents house. The other group was a man sagged by his wife and three year old daughter. The daughter was really friendly. She really wasn't sure of what was going on, though. As the couple left she asked where they were going and the man replied California. This didn't make much sense to her. Last year he had started in Yorktown, VA and gotten somewhere near New Meadows where he crashed. Something had gotten wedged between his tire and fender causing him to stop abruptly. The weight of the bike didn't allow it to flip, but took a pretty bad fall on his head and left shoulder. This year he has come back to complete the trip. Recovery took awhile so he isn't in as good of shape as he would like to be, so that's why he's sagged (a car following, carrying some gear). The last thing that he and his wife discussed before they left was where they would meet for lunch. He was good inspiration for not giving up.
Today was all a gradual uphill. It all gets monotonous when you climb. I get to the point sometimes when all I think is, ". . . around, around, around . . ." One pedal follows the other and I think only of the top. If I'm lucky, I'll write stories in my head right down to dialog and thoughts. If I'm not, it'll be one song stuck in my head playing over and over again. I sang "Camp Granada" maybe a 100 times. Mom was having the same problem with Todd's gopher guts song. It's one of those kind of songs they teach your brother at summer camp and he never forgets. Todd can sing round after round of the same four lines.
When you ride you have bad days and good days. If a bad day happens to come while climbing, well, then you're out of luck. Dad was having his today, I had one last week, and Mom had one in the first few days. Now Todd, I don't think he's ever had a bad day while on vacation. There was one day while training that he wasn't doing so well, but that is the only time I can remember.
Camp for the night was at Zim's Hot Springs, with active hot springs. You can't actually sit in the hot spring because they are extremely hot(140 degrees), but they pump in the water to heat the pool. We didn't go swimming because of lack of time, but the lady said the hot tub was 104 degrees. The pool was only 10 degrees cooler. The showers were outdoors. It is the first time I've taken a shower while camping that the water was too hot. If two people where showering at one time it wasn't so bad, but when the other person turned her shower off, mine became scalding. We figure that they didn't have cold water, just cooled down hot water. If you ran the cold long enough it became hot.
Day: 13; Daily Mileage: 32; Total Mileage: 639.3; Stopping Point: Riggins, ID
We had planned today as a easy day, so we could end up in Riggins. It thunder stormed all night. I laid there, half asleep, wondering when it would ever stop. At 6:30am, it was still raining, so we slept on. During a lull in the storm near eight, Mom got out to go to the bathroom. After all of her struggling to get out of our two-man tent, I was fully awake. Todd got up right after her for the same purpose. We packed up in the pouring rain and ate Hostess fruit cakes and breakfast rolls for breakfast, saying that we would stop in the next town 17 miles up the road. As we were eating breakfast kids began to gather for swim lessons. Even thought the pool was outdoors and it was raining, they still swam because the pool temperature was so warm.
Just as we were leaving, Mom noticed that she has a flat tire and we stop to fix it. We are finally on the road at 11:30.
At Pinehurst we find a small café and stop for lunch. When I ordered the guy said that he hoped I brought my appetite, assuming I wouldn't finish all that I ordered. I ate everything plus dessert. You'd be surprised how much you can eat on a trip like this. Some days I'll eat four sandwiches. Our calories intake has to be much more than what we average at home. If we come home and eat the same as on the trip, we put on a few pounds before we catch ourselves.
We reached Riggins at 4pm and still have to do everything we planned on during our afternoon off. All of the gear was wet because of packing up in the rain, so it had to be hung out to dry. Clothes get washed out once a week, sometimes more if they get wet, and this is wash day. Some clothes that get worn often we will wash out and dry them on the back of our bikes the next day when riding. Clean clothes are really nice to put on especially when you didn't have a shower the night before. Often we will call ourselves the riding Laundromat because of the amount of wet clothes we drying.
Today is also shopping day. Mom and Todd went to shop while Dad and I do camp chores. Tonight was also going to be a night to relax and have some "quality family time," but as it gets later, I don't think we will have any.
Today was our day off. We went white water rafting on the Salmon River. One of the people we had been talking to earlier had recommended that we raft at Riggins because "there was a expedition group every other building."
We met at the Bundage Mountain Rafting office and borrowed their picnic tables for lunch. Then we put on wet suits, fleece coats, and spray jackets and loaded up the boat. It was just our family and the guide, Brad. We put the raft in and had a nice float to the first rapids. During the rapids we would paddle as hard as we could, though I'm not sure how much it helped. When the river was calm we would just float along.
We got to the end ahead of schedule and decided to go again. We put in about halfway up and went down to the pick up point. Dad and I got brave in the last trip down and jumped out of the raft. We floated down for awhile and get thoroughly cold. It was really nice to get back in the raft.
Later that night, after dinner, a couple, Arnold and Marieke, from New Zealand showed up in the campground. They were really nice and great fun to talk to. We spent most of the evening talking about our trips and different types of life in the two countries. They typed out messages to their kid on our computer. It made a late night, but it was worth it.
Day: 15; Daily Mileage: 49.7; Total Mileage: 688; Stopping Point: Grangeville, ID
We were up early and ready to go when Dad noticed he had a flat tire. We've gotten it down to about 45 minutes to patch a flat. It seems we've had quite a few flats this trip.
Near noon we reached the hill of the day: Whitebird. Whitebird Hill was the location of the battle that started the Nez Perce War in 1877. In that battle, the Nez Perce Indians were resisting being moved from their ancestral home. Captain Perry was sent to settle them down. The Indians sent an advance party to work things out peacefully. Perry attacked the advance party. The Indians lost no one in the battle while Perry lost 35 men. We saw a grave and marker of a US army man who had died in battle and was buried right where he died.
The old road up White Bird Hill was eleven miles long and full of switch backs. It proved very dangerous for cars and a few years ago the new road was built. The new road was seven miles covering the same height. We took the old road because it would be easier. The temperature got near 80 degrees. Mom got a flat tire halfway up.
We spent the night in the Lion's park in town with three other bikers. The city pool had showers for $1.50 apiece. They were warm, but nothing luxurious. The bathrooms at the park were locked when we arrived. After some calling around and complaining, they opened them up for us.
Emily was the first rider. She was traveling to New York. The other two were men who had started out to reach the east coast. The one man had gotten knee pains. From there, they were just going to see how things go.
When you do a ride like this on a designated trail, you see a lot of other riders. Of course you exchange stories and talk for awhile. We also ask if they've seen so and so, and how they were doing. Not too long ago I heard the Ryan had gotten shin splints. (Ryan was the man running from Missoula to the coast for youth diabetes.)
Day: 16; Daily Mileage: 74.8; Total Mileage: 762.8; Stopping Point: Wilderness Gate Campground (25 miles from Lowell, ID)
It's almost useless for me to keep mentioning these flat tires considering we have one or two a day, but Mom did have a flat tire before we left this morning.
We started climbing the greatly feared Lolo Pass. It is a gradual uphill for maybe two days and a steep five miles at the top. We reached Lowell in the early afternoon and decided to continue 25 miles to make tomorrow a short day. It rained. Twice we had really heavy showers. The first time it cleared up and got sunny. The second time we were expecting it to do the same thing, but we reached the campground soaking wet.
The Big Ride came through today. There are 750 people riding for American Heart and Lung Association. They are riding across the country in six weeks, but completely sagged. Ages range from 17 to 65.
We pulled under the canopy of the group picnic area and never left. We set up our tent on the cement floor and tied them to picnic tables. Awhile later, Ed showed up. He asked if he could share the canopy with us and we said so long as he didn't mind being kicked out when the camp ground host comes back. The host never showed up so we were clear.
We had a great night swapping stories and enjoying one another's company. Since it was bear country we had to do something with our food. We've dealt with bears in the past and since we didn't have a car we knew we had to hang our food. The rafters of the picnic area were the best choice, so we through over some lines and raised up the food.
It's been awhile since I've commented on the vegetation because it's been mostly the dry, dessert-like area. This area must get a bunch more rain. Trees are taller and cover every hill. They are mostly pine. We watched a helicopter logging. People in the woods would cut down the trees and hook them, a few at a time, to the helicopter. He carried them across the river and dropped them into a pile. Ground equipment was loading them onto trucks.
The moss we saw by the west coast is now back. It hangs down from the tree branches and looks a lot like hair.
Day: 17; Daily Mileage: 61.8; Total Mileage: 832.6; Stopping Point: Lolo Hot Springs
Today we continued up Lolo Pass. It wasn't a hard day, and we were keeping a good pace. It was going to be a short day and stop in Powell. After completing those 40 miles, we decided to continue over the top. We stopped for a break at a small mini mart. A storm blew in while we were there. We threw a tarp over the bikes and waited it out. It would pour really hard for a minute and then let up and then pour again. At one point it was hailing. I sure was glad we weren't in it.
When the worst was over Ed rode in. He had left camp earlier than we did, but had stopped in some hot springs. He stayed in Powell and we pushed on.
It was eight o'clock when we got to town. We were wet and cold and miserable from the downhill ride. We got a room in the lodge.