So today was a day full of fun. I woke up at 5:30am determined to get out of Hells Canyon before it go too hot. I rushed through breakfast (bagel and almond butter with a cup of my decaf coffee) and hit the road by 6am. It was already so warm, I didn’t even put on my jacket and ears. First town I was going to hit (still on the canyon floor) was Lucile. I am not sure why they called it a town, I didn’t see a grocery store, a gas station, or anything other than a barn – weird. Anyway, this was 10 miles out and the sun hadn’t come over the mountain so it was warm, but not hot.
Just about 5 miles later, the fricken road turned to gravel! I mean really, doesn’t anyone that makes roads in Idaho ever travel by bike?!? Man, it was really rough going and not only was it difficult to ride through, I kept getting dinged with gravel flying out from the trucks rushing by! Ouch!
I was just about ready to get into White Bird and then the climbing would start. Rachel had caught up with me just before the turnoff and she passed me because I said all was going well as could be given the road condition. She had stopped not more than half a mile up the road (luckily) to wait for me at my next turn. Then, it happened. My first flat. So, I hopped off my bike, grabbed my phone and then I saw that I had no service. Ugh. So I walked to the other side of the road to begin my repair and wait (Rachel has my pump in the car). Luckily, she could see all that was happening, so she was quickly on the scene and I was off in no time at all.
I took the turn to get to White Bird and started to see the “Road Closed” signs. I kept going since Rachel hadn’t returned, but soon she did return. She had good news, I could go through the road closure but she had to go around. So off I went and began my 10 mile climb. The climb took me out into the open and there was no protection from the sun. The temps were rising, but it was still fairly early so it wasn’t so bad.
Finally made it to the top, got my picture at the summit, then continued to climb. How frustrating that was. Why do they call it the summit, if there is over a mile left of the climb?? Erg. Anyway, then I was on a skinny, twisting, steep downhill road with lots of gravel and pot holes and suddenly speeding logging trucks coming right at me. Scary! I hated the road and was happy 7 miles later to not be on it anymore.
We got into Grangeville and headed to the supposed bike shop where we would eat lunch and I would get new tubes. Well, they don’t sell tubes, only guns and I couldn’t figure how a gun would help, so we just sat in the parking lot and had lunch. At that point, the clouds were coming and the temps were cooling, so off I went towards Kooskia.
Another long steep decent with logging trucks and motorhomes rushing by and no bike lane! I was terrified to say the least. Part way down, I saw a wasp land on my leg, but I couldn’t bat it away because vehicles were coming, so it took a second or two for me to get it off, but it was too late, I had been stung – OUCH! I stopped for a second and got the stinger out and then got going again, still in a bit of pain, only to have a truck rush by and throw a mountain dew can out the window. I didn’t have any space to swerve around it so I hit it and nearly toppled, but kept myself upright as the traffic roared by.
I was so DONE on this road and only had a few miles to go for the day. So, I see this blue car pulled off the side of the road near one of those big gravel piles that seem to be everywhere. There is a guy and an old woman standing there – the guy had just come down from the gravel pile. Then, I heard a shot. I’m not sure what was shot, but if an old lady comes up missing in Idaho, it was a guy in a blue car that did it.
So, my day consisted of one hell of a climb out of Hell’s Canyon, 2 dead deer on the side of the road, multiple dead snakes, gravel dings, a wasp sting, an incident with a mountain dew can, something being shot and ended with a thunderstorm.
I’m still having a blast, but wow, what a day! My stats for the day were 6 hours 33 minutes on the bike going 77.35 miles with an average speed of 11.8 mph and a max speed of 29.6 mph.