June 7 - 19: Idaho and Montana (and Idaho again)

6/17 - Lucile (78 miles 3347.5 total)
it was pretty chilly when we left our cabins at lowell this morning to venture over to the riverbank to make our sandwiches & eat breakfast. we had breakfast burritos....one of my favorites. even tho' i was the first to get to breakfast, somehow my biking biorhythm always seems to overshadow any earliness i might accomplish, & sari & i still ended up leaving at our usual last. this morning that was 6:15.
at lowell, the lochsa had split into the selway & clearwater rivers. this morning we rode along the clearwater.
here's a photo of a bridge spanning the clearwater; yesterday we saw half a dozen of these along the lochsa. sometimes they were public bridges; once we saw a family with towels going across the bridge to a hot springs they knew about hidden away in the woods on the other side. sometimes the bridges are private, as this one is, going to a ranch.
also this morning i saw 3 instances where heavy cables were strung across the river; from the cables hung a little gondola-type thing, tho' it looked more like a machine shed. those must be the only way for folks living on the other side of the river to get to the road. notice in the front of this photo some white blossoms. mock orange is blooming abundantly everywhere right now. they call it syringa; it's the state flower.
as the landscape widened out after we left the clearwater canyon, i noticed lots & lots of blooming wild rose. there were huge mounds of wild roses dotting many of the pastures. shasta daisys are plentiful along the roadsides, too. the other flower i noticed in particular today was the carnation. in several yards along the way i saw stands of huge, bright carnations...much bigger than the ones i see in gardens at home.
much of the day we rode through the nez perce indian reservation. along the roadsides often today we stopped to read signs that provided info on the battles that the indians & white soldiers fought in this area.
we paused in kooskia, 20 miles into today's ride, then at stites. no place looked promising (for pie), so we just continued riding 'til grangevlle & stopped at a convenience store for chocolate milk.
the climb wasn't too bad today. right near the top of white bird hill it got steeper, but for only about 5 miles. here's a photo from the top of the pass. the hills are magnificent. in the upper right is the road that we followed downhill. it was a 7% descent for 8 miles.
becky was today's sag driver. again she came up with a great idea. last week it was hot chocolate on a very cold day. today she had strawberry lemonade as an extra treat when we stopped at the subaru. by the time sari & i paused for refreshments at the bottom of the big downhill, it was quite warm. the cold lemonade really hit the spot.
the road from the bottom of the pass to our overnight stay was beautiful as it wound through the salmon river canyon. here's a photo of the river & the undulating hills beyond.
as we came to a bend in the river we noticed 2 raftsful of young people bobbing along in the water.
i called down to one group to "hold still" so i could take their picture. they didn't manage to hold still, but they waved, as you can see.
sari & i were merrily peddling along the edge of the canyon, stopping often to take in all the gorgeous sights, when we came upon the sign for our motel...the steelhead inn. it was 6 miles sooner than we were expecting. as it turns out, the inn is 6 miles this way of the town of lucile....tho' i suspect lucile is probably about the size of this motel. our rooms here are beautiful, & we're right on the bank of the salmon.
here's a photo of (from left), phyllis, gerrie, & sari at a picnic table only a few feet from our rooms....with the salmon river dashing along behind them.
i missed the map meeting tonight, but i think we're riding 45 miles tomorrow...mostly up...to the town of new meadows. sarah has lined up an all-day rafting trip for tomorrow; the manager of the steelhead will drive her to new meadows after her outing. what great folks! evidently the sewer at the inn or b&b where we were to stay at new meadows has collapsed, so we're not sure about accommodations there. sounds like the adventure will continue....
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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