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

6/7 - Driggs (34 miles 2734.5 total)
another lovely day. we're so fortunate to keep getting this beautiful weather. it wasn't that chilly this morning in jackson. the sun was shining; by afternoon the temps were in the upper 70's. the management at the sundance inn provided us a delicious breakfast complete with homemade pastries. sari & i packed up & were on our way toward the mountain by about 7:30.
just on the western outskirts of town we turned onto highway 22 & pedalled toward the pass. traffic was heavy today....all the way up & down the road over the pass. after about 5 miles we started up. it didn't take long for the 10% grades to kick in. then it was up & more up at a grueling angle 'til we reached the top around 10 a.m. at about mile 12. i walked & pushed my bike maybe a mile of the total. sari always kept biking; she said her mph was often around 3. we made several stops along the way....to breathe, drink water & gatorade, unlayer some clothing, & to take pictures.
here's a photo sari took of (from left) lee, me, & patty fainer about a mile from the top. patty made me go over there near the edge. notice our road waaaay down there; that's the way we biked up to where we are now.
at the summit there were several reporters from local TV stations. they interviewed some of us & took lots of video footage. sari & i can't figure out how to work the TV in our room here at the lodge so will likely not see any of the coverage of our group. but we did hear an interview with patty fainer--even tho' we couldn't see it thru the snow (on the TV screen)--& other riders have told us that the station used parts of the interviews they did with sari & me.
then the worst part of today's ride (for me), the best part (for everyone else): down hill. tho' judith tells me i wasn't the only one who found those first 3 miles at a 10% downgrade "terrifying." i feathered my brakes 'til my hands ached. then i came upon a somewhat level spot to get off my bike & exercise my hands before getting back aboard. certainly the scenery going up & even going down was beautiful....thick pine forests, mainly lodgepole pines, on all sides.
we hadn't descended quite to the bottom when we came upon the sign welcoming us to our 8th state---idaho. by the timei got there patty fainer & sari were already being interviewed by a reporter from local channel 8 (abc) out of idaho falls (70 miles away).
here's jared from channel 8 interviewing patty.
as you might remember from an earlier update (see houston, 5/8), patty is one of the cancer survivors in our group. much of today's news coverage emphasized our purpose to generate funds for the national breast cancer coalition fund (see info on this web site for how you can contribute).
coasting down the hill a bit further we came to the town of victor. gloria had told us yesterday that we should stop at the emporium in victor for a huckleberry shake, courtesy of womantours. so of course we did. huckleberries are a very big deal around here. they're like gold. the vines can't be domesticated. people who know where the wild ones grow never divulge their secret picking places. at any rate, the huckleberry shakes were delicious....& purple to boot.
the 10 miles on into driggs was on a blacktop bike trail about 30 feet from the highway. as if that weren't pleasant enough, we had strong tailwinds, so that we just coasted along at 20 mph with no effort whatsoever.
we're at the intermountain lodge here in driggs....actually at the east end of driggs.
notice in this picture that we have a beautiful view of the back of the tetons. our log cabins are nestled in the trees along the right side of this photo. our rooms are absolutely lovely.
sari had scheduled a hair-cutting appointment here in driggs. around 2 she rode back into town for that. after a while i biked downtown, too, & met sari at the hair cutter's so we could go in search of some pie. someone at the haircutter's had recommended auntie m's, so sari & i set out to find it.
what a hidden treasure auntie m's is! it's a precious little tea room nestled away in a building just off the main drag in driggs. each table has fresh flowers in a glass, beautiful place mats & tablecloths, & lovely little china cups & saucers....all different. auntie m--m is for mary--has operated the place for about 1-1/2 years. that's when she moved to driggs to be near her daughter & grandchildren. we asked about pie. she had made a strawberry-rhubarb one this morning, but said that it was quite soupy. we didn't mind soupy, but then she said she also had made some brownies with chocolate chips melted into the tops of them & that she could make us some brownie sundaes with chocolate sauce & huckleberry-raspberry syrup on top. we had just had rhubarb pie in dubois, so went for the sundaes.
here's sari holding her sundae with the young waitress, liberty, looking on. this isn't the typical cafe setting in which you've been seeing us these past 2 months, is it?
as we started savoring our sundaes, mary told us that, if we found we wanted more ice cream or chocolate sauce (oh boy) to finish off our sundaes, just to let her know. sari & i got down to the last few bites & indeed, there wasn't a representative remainder of each segment of the sundae (you know how frustrating that can be), so sari had another blob of ice cream (schwann's vanilla) & i had some more huckleberry-raspberry syrup. we sure enjoyed our visit at auntie m's, & hope you will be sure to stop there if you're ever in driggs. i think she also has soups, & i know she has a variety of coffees, teas, & healthful fruit-juice drinks.
this evening we went over to gloria's ranch for supper. it's on the southwest edge of driggs. gloria grilled some huge salmon filets. anne made a wonderful cucumber/fresh mint/rice-wine vinegar/feta cheese salad. it was a beautiful evening to sit on gloria's large decks enjoying a delicious supper & looking out over her horse pastures & the mountains to the west.
here's a photo of gloria's partner edie with one of her favorite horses. edie is a 3rd-generation idaho cattle rancher. she operates a business that provides trail rides for women. the other 3 women in the photo are womantours staffpersons.
tomorrow we pedal 101 miles to w.yellowstone. gloria says we'll have a tailwind. we sure hope she's right. i thot we were done with mountain passes for a while, but i guess tomorrow we encounter a minor one, targhee pass, at a little over 7000 feet. after scaling teton pass today, i doubt we'll even notice targhee.
gloria will now stay in driggs. becky is back to lead us all to oregon.
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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