This should be the route I'll be following...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Wednesday 26th August - Riggins, Idaho

We are on our second-breakfast stop....
I'm getting behind again on the blog. I think Idaho is the least populous state so there aren't many towns to go through and libraries are thin on the ground, plus being on a school trip now means more time messing about. The TransAm boys might be pulling away from the rest of us today so the school trip aspect might be over.
So we left Missoula on Monday, eventually. I think it was a 1130 start which is bad even by our standards. We hit some cafe for lunch and some of us ate food we had with us rather than spend more cash. Perhaps me or Lady Chris (as she is now known) should have stopped Mike eating his turkey slices that he had in his pannier for 3 days, but we didn't. We've all been eating food that perhaps we shouldn't so it didn't immediately ring any alarm bells....
Several hours later we stopped for dinner at a very nice lodge where the was live piano music and even a harp being played and we ate lots..and lots. Mike agreed to carry Lady Chris' trailer instead of paying her the $70 he owed her, as well as all his own gear, which is something of a challenge but he is 21 and can do anything. We all headed off to the Hot Springs where we were going to camp. Me, Shaz, Aaron and Callum got to the turn for the springs and waited and after 10 minutes or so decided to go to the springs as it would be getting dark soon, presuming someone had had a puncture or something. The mile walk up to the springs was well worth it as they were heaven...once we had disturbed the lurve-making naked American couple who were in the next pool up. The temperature was perfect, just sat in a river, surrounded by forest. Bliss. We eventually decided something was wrong as the others hadn't appeared and headed back to find Lad Chris (as he is known) looking for us - Mike was pukeing and shitting for England it seemed. We got back to camp to find half the place was out of bounds due to the contents of Mikes guts being evenly spread about and him lying on the floor in his sleeping bag. Lad Chris had been an outstanding friend and washed Mikes shitty shorts in the river as Mike had been unable to co-ordinate the delivery of partly digested food out of both ends of his body at the same time. So once Mike was holed up in his tent we set about trying to hang our food out of reach of the bears which turned into a 3 act play as we were surrounded by the wrong kind of trees. It's very difficult when you're surrounded by conifers it appears. Broadleaved trees are best.
Having not been maimed by bears or mountain lions in our sleep as Callum thought we might be, some of us had a return trip to the springs then headed off again into Idaho, which was beautiful at this point. Tree lined valley, clean rocky river, sun, downhill all the way...I felt like I was in an extend 'Famous Five' story by Enid Blyton.
We found a sportmans lodge to stay in that night in some town I can't remember the name of. I actually had a bed again - yes!! So good. We bought a load of food and cooked a big meal, had a couple of beers, it was great. And there was even wifi...what more could you want? Another late start followed yesterday morning and we hit the road aiming to do 70+ miles, not all downhill sadly - a big hill in the way. Idaho suddenly became very dry and arable, with fields of wheat (?) waiting to be cut and lots of brown / golden fields. Even Kansas was greener than here.
There was a ridiculously suicidal hill to get down with far too many hairpin bends or an alternate route via the main highway. Callum had gone ahead so missed the turn off down the hairpin hill and we lost him for 2 hours...we were camped out on the side of the highway, Mike cycling back up the hill looking for him, us flagging down drivers asking if they'd seen him etc. We were outside some house and the guy came out to see what was up. Lost no time in telling us he was a conservative and brought his dogs up that way too (dobermans) but he was quite funny and he gave us cold drinks which was good as it was banging hot. Eventually he look Lad Chris up in his truck to look for Callum but to no avail. Finally we flagged another car down that reported a cyclist having dinner in the nearby town who was now on his way to us...
We didn't have too much food at this point so 3 of us went back to the gas station for supplies. Thought it was a good time for a restroom stop, until I got in there that is. The toilet and urinal were separated by a wall of glass bricks , no door other than to the corridor and the toilet seat on the floor in need of a good clean. I decided I could wait. So at this mornings cafe stop, the toilet did at least have a solid partition, but again no door. You couldn't come on this trip and have a problem about going to the toilet in semi-public. They aren't big on privacy.
So it should be 80 miles today to Council and tomorrow is Hell's Canyon...exciting. We may well melt going through there...


  1. Hiya Matt, was talking about you and cycling with Sally at work today and thought it might be a good idea to check out your blog...bit late I know, finger on the pulse as ever!
    Any way I was always under the impression that bikes rides and such stuff when done for charity were supposed to be arduos tests of stamina and endurance whereas you seem to be having a bit of a good time what with the wind in your hair and cute little puppy dogs for!
    take care pal, full of jealousy and admiration, mick cant

  2. The lodge that you stayed at was the Idaho Sportsman Lodge in Stites, Idaho. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay.