I spent the last 3 days traveling with Rose and Will, whom I met at Lochsa Lodge, on my first night in Idaho. I am amazed that we are getting up at the same time, riding at the same speed, hungry at the same time (which is always), do the same kind of mileage in a day and have similar views on places to stay. I am really enjoying their company.
And really happy about my decision to ride to Bend first, as it is an amazing road. More challenging than the direct road to Portland, but the rewards are there.
From Lochsa Lodge, we rode the longest downhill I ever road: all day down, but very, very gradual. We had to pedal constantly, but at least if wasn’t hard. We did a very long day (119 km), but the road was quiet, winding, along a beautiful river, all day long, and we had perfect weather. We all agreed that it doesn’t get much better than this.
After hours of riding, we ended up in a tiny town, called Lowell, where we stopped for food and chatted with some people on motorbikes. Then we only had a few miles to go to Syringa, where there was a campground.
But it was Saturday and there was a wedding, and the whole place was rented out. And we didn’t look (nor smelled) like people who would be invited to the wedding. Luckily, just a mile or two down the road there was a beautiful small beach, and this is where we spent the night, under the full moon, after a quick dip in the river.
The next morning, we rode to Kooskia, another small town that looks like it comes out of a Western movie, well, in fact, the whole states looks like it. I really enjoyed having a coffee in one of the funky coffee shops, next to a saloon that was already open at 8. Super friendly people, again.
And from there, we had a brutal climb, but also very pretty, on a small, quiet and very scenic road. We even had to push our bikes at times and almost ran out of water as it got very hot. I was glad to be there in September and not in July!
At the top of the long hill, we were on a beautiful plateau, and still climbing but more gently and with some descents as well. The wind started to pick up (headwind) and our legs were very tired, but soon we arrived in Grangeville, where we were kindly hosted by Reyna and Patrick. Reyna has some health issues, and I was deeply moved that she would still welcome cyclists to pitch their tent in the backyard and use her house to cook, shower, do laundry and relax. In fact we ended up 5 cyclists in her yard!
And today, we had a good climb to start with, but once at the top, we had the most amazing downhill I ever did. 10 miles down some crazy switchbacks, with spectacular views all the way, to finally arrive in Whitebird, another cute little friendly town. Probably not much has changed in Whitebird over the last hundred years! From there, we rode along the Salmon River, with a tailwind that just got better and better, until we reached Riggings, where we are camped tonight, in a RV park that has no toilet… But we do have wifi!