Hank – After packing up this morning we swept the restaurant floors and left a thank you card for Shelli. We stopped at the Wilderness Eatery for breakfast. Martin and Holly own and run the place. Kathy got eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast. I went for the large bowl of oatmeal. It lived up to its name.
Martin swung by after I started eating and said, “Betchya can’t eat the whole thing.”
“How much?” I shot back.
“Whoa, that was too fast,” he says. “I’m not getting in on that action.”
Dang. Maybe I could’ve won my breakfast.
Kathy and I chatted with them for a bit. They told us to watch out for the last three miles of the climb going towards New Meadows. It’s a winding road and very narrow.
We rolled out of Riggins with a nice tailwind going our way. The clouds threatened but we only got some occasional sprinkles. The highway follows the Little Salmon River and the river was ripping. Along the road we stopped and viewed a number of waterfalls and beautiful river sights that you can only glimpse when you’re in a vehicle. You really see so much more in a slow pace of life.
A bike tourer coming our way stopped to chat. Unfortunately, the mostly quiet highway suddenly became rush hour. We couldn’t cross the street or yell over traffic so we went our separate ways. He sounded like he was Australian and he said he was headed to the east coast.
The tailwinds grew stronger and sometimes they’d swirl and knock us to one side or the other. But most of the time they helped push. The last three miles Martin was telling us about were fairly terrifying, especially for Kathy since this is new to her. Bicycles on six to twelve inches of shoulder and 18-wheelers on a narrow road make for some white knuckle moments. We got real good at hanging on to the right edge and made it through without incident. Coming out on top the winds pushed us so hard that sometimes we could coast at 14mph. We stopped once to take a picture and then we really felt the power. Kathy was almost blown over. So the last ten miles going to New Meadows went fast and easy.
Jenn Gray and Jim Griffith, friends of my sister Jan and her husband, Chip, picked us up and drove us to their house in McCall. They generously offered for us to stay with them and we gladly accepted. Since we’ve been on the road for nine days, we are overdue for a rest day. Tomorrow is that day.
Kathy – Our travels today took us from Riggins, Idaho to New Meadows, Idaho, a total of 35 miles with a total increase in elevation of 2,300 feet. As I awoke this morning my entire body was a bit sore from yesterday, and my thigh muscles were aching the first climb out of town. With the tired body I was happy for a ‘short day’ of only 35 miles. We were slow today with the ripping winds and the 25 miles of constant climbing uphill. That, in addition to the 30 miles of climbing yesterday, definitely wore on me. The past two days we rode 88 miles and climbed 5,100 of elevation with our loaded bikes. After nine days of cycling the body is ready for our rest day tomorrow.
As we ride we have lots of time to think. One of the things on my mind today was about the highs and lows of our trip. In the past two days alone I have had a vast array of emotions. Reaching White Bird Summit was great, but the climbing for hours up the mountain side with the wind were not always…fun. There were low points during the 5.5 hours of actual riding yesterday. I had to stop to catch my breath multiple times related to the exercise and increased altitude. You may want to give up but you don’t. Today was another tough day. I was so scared during the three miles in that canyon 25 miles into our 35 mile ride today. We were climbing up at only 5 mph because my legs were tired, then to have cars and trucks passing by you so closely with very little shoulder on the road and at the same time wicked wind gusts almost knocking your bike over was extremely frightening. I can only say I am SO thankful that is over with and I never want to do that again!
During my range of emotions over the past few days I thought about other times when I overcame obstacles, and knew I could do it. Running marathons made me reach really deep in order to finish those last few miles. What I have done over the last nine days is so much harder than running any of my past marathons. In nine days we have rode 332 miles with an elevation gain of 13,410 feet. We are in our 2nd of the 48 states we plan to visit. I have given up all control on planning nightly lodging and stopped to totally winging it. And, anyone who knows me knows it is huge for me to give up all that control. 🙂 What I am really trying to put into words here is for others to think about their lives. Get out of your comfort zones and try something new. It will not be easy in the beginning (nothing is with any significant changes in life), but do it any how. Trust your gut, work hard, and create the life you want. Hank and I are doing it now. Yes, it is hard at times but it is also amazing to see the beautiful landscapes up close and meet so may kind and wonderful people. With every change is a new beginning. Wishing you all peace and love. Goodnight.