We made it to Montana this afternoon, riding on Highway 12 along the Clearwater and Lachsa Rivers. It was amazing to continually look down into the rivers and see the rock bottoms–the water so clear. We also took some breaks to enjoy the area. So much to take in on this ride.
On our way up Lolo Pass, we stopped off at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. When I lived here 22 years ago (when Kait was in utero), I visited the hot springs with my friend Dave Stedman. It was winter, so we had to ski in to sit in the hot Idaho sulfur water. I would have enjoyed knowing, 22 years ago, that my soon-to-be born baby girl would some day do a bike tour with me so we could visit this place and soak in the spring.
Kait and I are in Kooskia, Idaho, on the edge of the Lolo National Forest. We’ll be out of Wi-Fi and cell range for the next 3 days, so there may not be many blog posts in the near future.
We just went to the Kooskia grocery store and loaded up on food for the next 3 days. We also decided to stop off at the Kooskia Cafe for a good breakfast before today’s ride. You need fuel, and this fuel looks pretty tasty.
The temps in Kamiah, Idaho are currently 87 degrees, but we just rode our bikes through some open stretches that had temps in the 90s. You stop when you can and appreciate a bit of shade. It’s just another small detail that I take for granted back at home–but something I greatly appreciate on this open road.
It’s 8 miles of straight climbing on the Old Winchester Road. It’s a 2,500 elevation gain, but you don’t notice the punishing uphill so much because the views are rather spectacular. And, the air gets colder as you climb into the trees.
I’ve been taking photos of Kait cycling. She looks the same in most of the photos, but the topography changes in real-time. It’s the magic of the journey.
The Middle Waitsburg Road, connecting Walla Walla to Waitsburg, is a pleasure to cycle. You have a bit of climbing to do, but the climb lets you slow down just enough to enjoy the topography. Rolling wheat fields, acres of dry peas, small farms peppering the landscape.
When bike touring, you need to eat. All the time. If you don’t eat, you become a grumpy whiner, and no one wants to bike with a grumpy whiner.
We have a ton of snack food; on my bike, I currently have gummy bears, fig newtons, potato chips, Nutella, peanut butter, trail mix, energy bars, bananas, rice cakes… and that’s just one of two food panniers. We stop, drink water, eat, bike, and repeat.
But the best eating is when we sit down for a meal. Kait has to make a point of finishing her plate and then having more; I, on the other hand, don’t need to consume nearly as much given my energy stores. When we eat in camp, it’s usually a simple meal such as pizza in a pot (hamburger, tomato paste, couscous, cheese, and a splash of red wine)–which is why it’s fun to eat out every other day or so. And, eating out means we get to have contact with humanity, which is a good thing to stay in contact with.
Kait loves stuffed animals, so she decided to bring one on our trip–Pig. He’s been with Kait since she was a little girl and has been on his share of camping adventures, but he’s never been on a journey such as this one.
It’s good to have a third member on our trip. He’s a quiet little guy, but he’s definitely part of what we’re doing.
Several days ago, we ran into Robert–somewhere between Portland and Hood River. He’s a Scotsman who’s been living in London for the last 6 years. He quit his job as a patent attorney so he could ride his Surly Long Haul Trucker from Seaside Oregon to Virginia. We’ve enjoyed his company thoroughly, especially our hours long conversation about best films:
- best Bond movie: Robert says Golden Eye, and I say Casino Royal
- Best war film: Robert says Platoon, and I say Apocalypse Now
- best Nick Cage film: Robert says Con Air, and I say Leaving Las Vegas
- best film of all time: Robert says Star Wars: A New Hope, and I say Apocalypse Now
- best comedy: Robert says Ace Ventura, and I say Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
- best action film: Robert says Terminator 2, and I have to agree
We discuss other topics too, and I greatly value Robert’s take on topics such as Brexit, Scottish independence, and the Trump era. Funny that a great way to meet a Scotsman is to ride your bike through eastern Oregon.