What a day! Last night was filled with sounds reminding me that I’m way out in nowhereville: a snarling dog running along the river near the campground, howling wolves all around us, furiously mooing cows. An artificial sound then cut through my slumber:one of the RVs in the lot had some kind of alarm go off. I tried to sleep through it but it was too loud. I headed over to investigate after 20 minutes of beeping. It was some kind of alarm actually within the RV, I suspect a low battery alarm. I don’t think anyone was in the RV, and I didn’t want to go in to turn it off so I just closed the door somewhat instead. It didn’t help much. I was fully awake at this point, and it was 4:50 anyways so I decided to get a move on. I packed up and had cliff bar for breakfast then got rolling. It was still dark so I used my fork mounted light to guide the way
The riding was carless, cool, and beautiful. I rolled through gently descending fields, seeing only a trucker pulled to the side of the road taking a bathroom break. I think I scared him a bit. I entered a canyon where the Little Salmon River descended violently through rocks, which meant that the road next to it had a steep descent. I loved it, but had a scary moment when one of my water bottles fell off and skittered across the asphalt at 30 mph. The descent levelled out slightly as the hills gradually opened up around me. It got slightly warmer.
I kept up a really good pace through this area due to the mild descent and lack of cars. My computer said 15.5 average which is great for me.
The rocks in this area are wild, you can really see how they have been thrust upwards through the crust:
Soon enough I was rolling into Riggins, a whitewater rafting town. I stopped for a tea and light breakfast. It was a pleasant little town right where the Little Salmon River meets the Salmon River. I’d love to come back and explore it more some time. The shop put a little owl sticker on my cup but I liked it so moved it over to my handlebar bag. Everyone meet Owlison, my new travel companion
As I rolled in I saw a tourer camping in a small park in town. I joined him and he told me he was a student about to join a meeting. We reviewed each other’s bikes, he gave me some advice about the upcoming climbs (he thinks Whitebird Pass and one a few days down the road are the hardest). He’s headed to the coast then South to San Francisco. He warned me that if I’m going up Whitebird Pass today I need to do it like now before the heat gets unbearable. There isn’t any shade to cool down for most of the climb. I wasn’t actually planning to climb it today but was still feeling good, so figured what the heck. I got some Gatorades too (turned out to be a crucial decision) then headed out. I rode for a mile or so before getting a view of the climb and it was… daunting Red is the first bit of the climb while blue is the second bit. Here’s a slightly closer view of the second bit
Both have just lots and lots of switchbacks, and as promised it was getting hot. I pushed myself to try and make good time before the heat got bad, but that was a bad choice: the heat was already bad. I drank lots of water and rested at the rare shade that was available: usually just a few scraggly tree branches leaning over the shoulder a few feet. I put on some music to help me climb and it worked great, it really took my mind off the heat.
Here’s the view from the first set of switchbacks, with the location the first photo was taken marked with an arrow
Near the top I went to switch from my first, now empty bottle to my second bottle, and found that is forgotten to fill it in town. I still had my 3L camelback bladder so it was nowhere near an emergency but still that was a bit scary. I drank the two Gatorades as a substitute.
I rounded a corner at the top of the last switchback to find more climbing
This was slightly demoralizing but I kept pushing. For about a mile I had to get on new 95 (I’d been climbing old 95 which is generally carless) and that was rather unpleasant but it was over soon enough. I had just a few miles to go to reach the top, and was still feeling good. It actually ended sooner than I’d expected. Here’s the last view I had before heading into trees
You can see new 95 on the right and old 95 on the mountain in the center. The start point is hidden behind the mountain. I was actually closer to the top than I thought and reached it quickly. Overall it took me about 2 hours to complete 2000+ feet, which is pretty good I feel. I descended into a valley and got my first glimpse of the terrain
It’s farmland as far as the eye can see, which isn’t that far due to the haze. I rode a few miles into Grangeville which was my stopping point for the day. I got a nice lunch and saw this parked out front
I then went to a park and fell asleep for an hour. I woke up and tried to figure out sleeping arrangements. Ultimately I decided to get a room for the night, for whatever reason I wasn’t feeling the city provided campground (it was nice, just exposed I guess?) In retrospect I should have gone to an RV park and tent camped.
I went shopping for supplies as apparently I’m entering a few-services zone soon.
Exciting news: I’m picking up a brooks saddle that was shipped to me here in town tomorrow. Can’t wait to try it out. Night!
- Cliff bar
- Chai tea
- Homemade power bar from coffee shop
- Jimmy dean breakfast
- 2x Gatorade
- Kerns juice
- Apple pastry
- 2x lindor chocolates
- Double cheeseburger
- Garlic bread
- Iced tea
- Off brand slushii
- Microwaveable pizza