Monday, July 26, 2010

Eye Popping Idaho

Monday 7-26 day 81 Layover day in Baker City.

Sunday 7-25 day 80 - 54 miles 3938 total. Halfway to Bakers City. Another hot day in Hell's Canyon. Bike computers measure 110 degrees. This was not in the shade, but there was no shade. no water and lots of climbing. This was a tough day!

Nice photo of a barn, but this is not Hell's Canyon. There are no trees in Hell's Canyon.

Saturday 7-24 day 79 - 80 miles 3884 total. Council to Halfway Oregon. New state day today: OREGON the final state. As soon as we crossed the Snake River into Oregon the river was lined with Cherry trees limbs bowed with fat ripe cherries. There were also lots of Blackberry bushes, but those who picked them received flats from the thorns. Then we entered Hells Canyon. I'm sure it was named for the heat there - 103 at Scotties Station. Had a wonderful dinner that night at Mimi's Cafe in Halfway. I had a great Salmon Burger and shared a delicious bottle of Hell's Canyon Retriever Red wine with Ray and Michel. This might have been the best dinner of the trip, and in such an unexpected place.

Dinner at Mimi's Cafe with Joe, Will, James, Jack, Michel, Bill & Ray

Nice barn in Idaho

Jack at top of climb

Friday 7-23 day 78 - 62 miles 3804 total. Riggins to Council.  Another fine day on the bike with an easy climb in the morning, but a tougher climb to end the day. Followed the Little Salmon River most of the day. Camp was a nice RV park with maybe the best showers of the trip.

Thursday 7-22 day 77 - 53 miles 3742 total. Grangeville to Riggins. There was a tough climb up White Bird Hill to begin the day, but fun fast downhill with many switchbacks. Followed the Salmon river most of the way. Camped at a pretty campsite on the Salmon River in Riggins - the whitewater capitol of Idaho!

Sunset at Riggins camp with Salmon River in foreground.

Wednesday 7-21 day 76 - 50 miles 3689 total. Lowell to Grangeville. Today's ride was up the middle and south forks of the Clearwater River. Steep climb at the end of the day was not as bad as advertised. I had the best smoothie of the trip so far at Hanna's Closet and Espresso.

You may remember Randy and Meg who started the trip with us, but left us at Chester, IL. They are from Idaho and Meg found us here in Grangeville. She helped us shuttle groceries and had dinner with us. It was nice to see her again.

James and Mort at top of White Bird Hill

Clearwater River

Tuesday 7-20 day 75 - 66 miles 3639 total. Lochsa Lodge to Lowell. Travel through the Selway and Bitterroot Wilderness and the Clearwater National Forest. Lots of history here. US Highway 12 from Lolo, MT, over Lolo Pass, to Lowell ID is the general path that Lewis & Clark took in 1804  on their Voyage Of Discovery. It is also the route that the Nes Perce Indians took on their failed attempt to flee the US Military in 1877. It was a very difficult trail at the time, but today it is a beautiful drive. Western Ceders reach to the clouds with Engleman Spruce, Lodgepole Pines and other pines joining in. The forest floor is covered with ferns and other growth. To the left is the everpresent Lochsa River with many streams and waterfalls flowing in from the right. The ride through it was 65 miles downhill with cool temperatures. It was truely one of the best days of the trip. This is a pretty and historic highway with little traffic. You should plan to drive (or bike) it someday.

Tumble Down waterfall.


Lochsa River

Robert, Jack, Olaf and Mort viewing Lewis and Clark Information

Monday 7-19 day 74 - 57 miles 3573 total. Missoula to Lochsa Lodge, Idaho. Traveled the Lolo Trail over Lolo Pass (5225') into Idaho. Idaho turns into a lush dense forested area wilderness. In addition to a new state day we also passed into Pacific time. Even with the Lolo Pass climb, it was a very enjoyable ride. Rod, Ginny, and Gregg from Adventure Cycling Association came down to Lochsa Lodge and put on a BBQ for us that evening.

ACA barbeque

Rod and helpers from ACA 

BetterBill at summit of Lolo Pass

Olaf and Robert at ACA headquarters in Missoula, MT

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Made it to Missoula

Sunday 7-18 day 73. Layover day in Missoula.

Saturday 7-17 day 72 - 74 miles 3516 total miles. Darby to Missoula - home of Adventure Cycling Association. A long uneventful day except for my third flat, but a very enjoyable downhill ride. Staying at Hutchins Hostel. A very nice hostel.

Bitterroot Mountains with shadow

Cranes in Field
Friday 7-16 day 73 0 77 miles 3442 total miles. Jackson to Darby. Climbed over Chief Joseph Pass (7241') this is the last crossing of the Continental Divide. We have been crisscrossing it since Hoosier Pass in Colorado. From now on we will be peeing into the Pacific. Visited Big Hole Battlefield National Monument Visitors Center and watched a video about treatment of the Nez Perce Indians. The days are getting warmer (90 degrees) but the nights are still chilly.

Beaverhead Rock a Lewis & Clark Landmark
Camp at Dillon KOA with Beaverhead River
Thursday 7-15 day 72 - 49 miles, 3365 total. Dillon to Jackson. Climbed over Badger Pass (6760') descended some then climbed Big Hole Pass (7360'). Big Hole Pass just kept getting steeper and longer. It almost brought me to tears before I topped it. It was tougher than I expected and I'm glad it was a short day. Two big passes just whipped everyone. Misquotes are becoming a real problem. Stayed at Jackson Hot Springs Lodge. The Hot Spring was very hot and sooo relaxing.

Breakfast at Virginia City

Ray practicing his post tour activities
Wednesday 7-14 day 71 - 73 miles, 3316 total miles. Ennis to Dillon. The day began with a long 8 mile 7% climb up the Madison River Valley followed by a long cold downhill. Interesting thing of the day was a cattle drive up the pass on the highway. Nice camp that evening at the Dillon KOA beside the Beaverhead River.

Ray and Michel chugging up Madison River Valley Pass

View of Madison River Valley

Montana Cattle Drive

Tuesday 7-13 day 70 - 73 miles 3243 total miles. West Yellowstone to Innis. Took no pictures today. Montana is Big Sky country, but not very photogenic. The most notable thing of the day was my second flat and hopefully my last - nope!

Monday, July 12, 2010

It Keeps Getting Better: Yellowstone National Park

Monday 7-12 day 69. A second layover day in West Yellowstone. Just relaxed and caught up on things.

Sunday 7-11 day 68 Layover day in West Yellowstone. Took a bus tour of Yellowstone National Park. This is a great way to be introduced to the park. The driver/guide was very knowledgeable and told us a lot about the history and geology of the park. Took lots of pictures. Following are icons of Yellowstone:

Yellowstone Falls

BetterBill and Yellowstone Falls

Elk With Rack

Old Faithful

Hot Spring




Bison - Buffalo

Old Faithful Pale Ale

Saturday 7-10 day 67 - 65 miles 3170 total miles, Ashton to West Yellowstone, MT. Another new state day, and we will be in Montana for several more days. I had a nice scenic ride today, but hurried along because I could see storm clouds building. I was the first rider into West Yellowstone and missed all but a little rain. Most of the others got dumped on with torrents of rain and large hail. It's good to miss the storms.

Teton Range from Idaho

Friday 7-9 day 66 - 84 miles 3105 total, Jackson to Ashton, ID. A new state day for a day, and ugh what a day. I started the day out with a wrong turn and went 4 miles off route before realizing my mistake. I got back on route and was confronted with a 5.5 mile 10% grade climb over Teton Pass. Later was caught out in the open in a rain/hail storm with marble to pea size hail - ouch!What was supposed to be a difficult 70 mile day turned into a tough 84 mile day. I slept very well that night.

Top of Teton Pass

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar - Jackson

Ray, James and Bill at Snake River Brewing Company
Hydration is important to a cyclist.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cycling Along The Spectacular Tetons

Wednesday 7-7 day 64 - 43 miles 3021 total miles. Colter Bay to Jackson. This was the coldest morning of the trip. There was frost on the table and the shorts James had hung out to dry were stiff. The sun arose and warmed everything up. Sunny day, little wind, mostly downhill ride into Jackson and drop dead gorgeous views of the Tetons made this the best day I have had on a bike so far! We now have a layover day in Jackson Wyoming.

Kayaks at Jenny Lake

The Cathedral Group

Grand Teton and cyclists

Reflections in Jackson Lake

BetterBill and Mt. Moran

Tuesday 7-6 day 63 - 65 miles, 2978 total miles. Dubois to Colter Bay over Towgotee Pass. There is construction on top of the pass that kept traffic to one lane. The construction people actually loaded our bikes up into pickups and drove us 4 miles up and 4 miles down to avoid traffic delays. I was a little disappointed in not being able to cycle over the top, but did save time and leg. There was a great view of the Teton Range on the downside of the pass.

Snake River Pale Ale another local beer that must be sampled.

Teton Range backdrop from Togwotee Pass

Pinnacle Butte

Monday 7-5 day 62 - 80 miles, 2913 total miles. Lander to Dubois, 50 miles of nice ride to Crowheart, then 30 miles of the worst headwinds of the trip - tough day! I guess if you have the Wind River Mountains on the right of you and the Wind river on the left, you should expect wind.

These guys were Strutting their stuff along the road 5 miles out of Lander. Where they came from and why they were strutting in mid July is a complete mystery to me, but there they are.

One last shot from the Cowfish Brewing Company in Lander.