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

6/18 - New Meadows (49 miles 3396.5 total)
i forgot to mention 2 things about yesterday. one was that in grangeville, when sari & i stopped for some chocolate milk at a convenience store, we met a cross-country biker....the self-contained type. his upscale cannondale touring bike was loaded to the hilt. we traded comments about our destinations. he asked when we left the east coast & we told him april 9. he was headed in that direction, but he said he had less than a month to make the trip. that means he has to do that distance in less than half the time we did. i can't imagine accomplishing that.
the other thing about yesterday...something that'll make your mouth water...is that last evening a few of our group went down the road a couple of houses to a woman's yard where there were trees loaded with bing cherries. she had urged us to come pick all we wanted. the cherry pickers came back with a huge salad bowl filled to the brim. some were in the subaru today for snacking. i've never had such fresh & scrumptious bing cherries.
as for today: when i looked out the window of our room at the steelhead inn around 5:30 this morning, a fading full moon was slipping behind the mountains across the river just outside our room. golden rays of sun were starting to reach the tops of the mountains. what a lovely way to start any day.
here's a photo of patty fainer & marcia as they prepare to leave the motel. sari & i picked a fine time to leave lucile: 6:45.
at about mile 12.5 we crossed a new bridge. beside it was a sign notifying that we were entering the mountain time zone (again). we'll be in this zone for 2-3 days 'til we go back to pacific time. just seeing that sign made sari hungry. after all, it was suddenly a whole hour more since breakfast.
the canyon narrowed as we rode on south. at about mile 15 we entered riggins, whose welcome sign proclaims it "idaho's whitewater capital." it felt a little bit like being back in a colorado ski resort...substituting whitewater shops for ski shops. several fellows outside one whitewater business tried to flag us down as we went by, hoping to entice us to spend the day rafting instead of biking. a bit later one of the made-over schoolbuses went by that whitewater companies use; sarah waved out the window. she was on her way to spend the day bobbing down the salmon.
like any resort town, riggins had its share of espresso shops & cute little restaurants with outdoor decks for dining. we saw some riders stopped at one of the espresso shops, but we biked on to see if we'd notice bikes parked outside a cafe. yup...there were 4 of them. the sign advertising the cafe's blackberry cobbler also caught our eye(s). as it turned out, the blackberry cobbler was probably the worst choice we've made in a long while. but considering how many times we've picked super-duper treats, one dud isn't so bad.
idahoans sure love fishing. i don't think you can see them very well in this photo, but lots & lots of fishermen lined both sides of the salmon at this curve; their camping vehicles were parked up to the right alongside the bank. guess those dads were determined to spend the day doing their favorite thing.
another 13 miles put us in pinehurst. we stopped at a trading post to use the restroom & in the bargain found anne & debby there. in the parking lot was a pickup with 3 dogs in the back. i've never seen so many pickups with dogs in the back of them as i have in montana & idaho. (i always worry that they're going to fall out onto the road.) i asked the fellow driving the pickup if i could take the dogs' picture; he said only if i promised to take the black dog with me. hah.
here's debby & some new canine admirers.
patty fainer came out of the trading post raving about the marionberry pie. now sari & i had 2 reasons to go inside. we decided to split a piece of the marionberry pie since we'd so recently had the cobbler. sure wish we had skipped the cobbler & had a whole piece of pie each; it was delicious.
we've been sharing the road with lots of motorcyclists the last few days. my oh my they're noisy. in fact, today's traffic was heavy. besides the motorcyclists there were lots of pickups & RV's....& more semis than i would have expected on a sunday. the heavy traffic coupled with the narrow shoulders (often with glass in them), relentless (tho' gradual) uphill, & a few headwinds made it a tiring day. i was glad the mileage was minimal.
despite the drawbacks, the scenery was again awesome. except for the last few miles, when we emerged onto a high meadow, we again rode along a river most all day. here's a photo of a section of rapids alongside our roadway.
i've never come across a sign like this.
sari & i couldn't resist stopping just a couple of miles short of our destination to take pictures. there was a display of related information inside a nearby "45th parallel visitors' center." sari & i had quite a discussion about photos at this spot. there was a 45th parallel sign on each side of the highway facing opposite directions. sari wanted me to take her picture beside the one that had a nice white fence & grassy pasture behind it. ok, it was very pretty. i decided the sign on the other side of the road had better lighting from the sun at that time of day. so you'll notice my background turned out to be of a fellow fixing a flat tire & that the power pole looks like it's sticking out of my head. sari promises to send me a copy of the photo i took of her so she can prove how artistically pleasing a well-planned photo can be.
we're staying here in new meadows at a place that's on the national register of historic places. the house is a b&b (altho right now the plumbing doesn't work so no visitors can stay there) & around back are some motel rooms, which is where we are. the rooms are cute...& they have phones ;->
i'm writing this report as i sit outside the town's laundrymat [sic]. i'd gotten to the point this afternoon where i couldn't face doing one more bathroom sinkful of handwashing, so i bundled my duffel full of dirty clothes into my alternate bike bag, added some laundry items from other riders to make the trip worthwhile, threw in my iBook, & here i am. unfortunately it's right next door to a convenience store, so there's almost always a pickup's front radiator grill at my right elbow.
supper again tonight was fantastic. patty made chicken al fredo (with noodles), some slaw with different colors of cabbage in it, steamed fresh asparagus, & fresh peach cobbler for dessert. i forgot to mention that last night she was able to use the grill at the steelhead inn, so grilled pork chops & chicken breasts. along with that we had a big green salad, steamed fresh brocoli, garlic mashed potatoes (she puts in lots of garlic...& leaves the skins on the potatoes--oh boy), & cheesecake for dessert. guess it's not hard to understand why we so look forward to suppers around here.
tomorrow we ride 43.5 miles to cambridge. we'll go up for the first few miles, then mostly down, except for some sharply steep hills. we've become resigned to the fact that there will be no days without hills.
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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