Oh look, there’s a river next to the road. 6-12,13-17. byMike

The motel in Lowel was another one of those 1950 style buildings. 6 rooms w outside doors, gravel out front. Air conditioner was a later addition and they just cut a hole in the wall and stick in a window unit. It was clean though and we were tired so it was great. 

For the next 66 miles we followed the Lochsa River along side of the road, it got to be a joke after a while (Oh look there’s a river along side of the road). We saw a lot of people rafting on the river and there was plenty of white water to make it interesting. The route was also too long for us to make it all the way to Powell, so we camped along the bank at The wilderness Gateway state park. Really a pretty place and very relaxing. 

Packed up the camp site and had coffee, got on the road pretty on time (Oh look there’s a river along side of the road:)  The sky was dark and stormy looking all day and we expected rain, but all day long it would only spit a little and never really rain. We reached Powell just as the rain finally got series, pulled into Lochsa Lodge and they had a really nice cabin style room with a gas fireplace. It was really nice.  The day had been pretty cold and dark and the the canyon kept getting more and more narrow. We also were gaining altitude all day so by the time it started  to rain we could see our breath. That fireplace was the perfect thing right then. 

Big Hole Montana 6-17-17

The path out of Missoula is paved and pretty easy, it rides along a railroad track that hasn’t been used for a while. There was was a long line of coal cars on the tracks that had not moved in a long while. The rust on the tracks and on the wheels of the cars tells me this track isn’t viable any more. The path went into Lolo MT and then on through Stevensville toward Hamilton our goal for the day. The Bitterroot Valley is what we were riding thru. Very pretty and historic. Lewis and Clark went through here and there are historic/histeric markers all along the route.  Deb and I stopped in Hamilton and started to look for a place to stay, the first place we went to was full up, but the nice lady at the desk  called every place in town until she found a place for us. THANK YOU LADY AT BITTEROOT INN. We stayed at the City Center Motel. Right down town and short walk to a brewery.  Perfect and reasonably priced too. 

This tour is way too much fun , not sure if I will be able to go back to work when we get done.(sorry Rick)

Grangeville to Lowell Idaho. 6 -11-17

The Grangeville Super 8 was very comfy and we did not want to leave. At breakfast Deb ran into two riders who were doing the same ride we are. A father and son. Turns out he grew up in Muskegon Michigan and is a Hope graduate. Deb and Carl compared notes for a long time. We have been following their blog since then to pick up tips a out the upcoming route. (I’m actually writing this on 6-19. Two days ago some jerk thru a large chunk of ice out of a moving vehicle and hit Ben, the son in the shoulder. Not cool.)

We had a heck of a time figuring out the route out of Grange Ville, but eventually got on the right road the ride was really pretty, mostly flat, except for an epic downhill down Lamb Grade Road. I wish I had an inclinometer to tell you how steep it was. It was steep and lo n g enough that the rims on Debs bike got so hot from the brakes that it blew out the front tire. It shriveled up the rim tape between the tube and the rim and cut the tube. Lucky she was just coming to a stop at the bottom of the hill. 

So I fixed yet another tire. We rode on into Kooskia and had a really awesome meatloaf sandwich at the local diner. 

Another 23 miles and we were in Lowell Idaho where we found an old but comfy motel right on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater river. 

There was a restaurant next to the motel where we ordered and while we were waiting, two riders came in. We invited Jesus and Jeff to join us and tell about themselves. They were both riding the Trans AM Race which is the same route we are doing only they are trying to see how fast they can do it. (Totally opposite of Deb and I. We diddle around so much we may not ever get there. lol)  Jesus was from Arizona and not really into racing, but doing it for the experience. Jeff was a software/computer engineer. He was trying to figure stuff out on the ride. He and his wife were on the outs. That’s as exciting as it gets in Lowell Idaho:)

Self preservation is paramount 6-10-17

We left Council heading for New Meadows. We knew from friends we made along the way that were ahead of us that this road was not really great for riding . Busy and naroww w lots of trucks. We left early and hoped that because it was Saturday the ride wouldn’t be too bad. We made 17 miles and both of us were a nervous wreck. It was a 2 lane road our side was 8 feet wide, a white line and a 60 degree bank down to the river along side of the road. We pulled into a Cafe along the route and went in to contemplate whether this was worth it. Deb starts talk8ng to the owner of the place, telling him about how nerve wracking the road is. After talking and drinking coffee for a while Deb says to him “I’ll give you $75 to take us to Grangeville (past the bad part). After a while he says I’m thinking. Deb s says $100. Deal. 

 So we got a ride and saved our lives for a $100. Good plan Honey.

Cambridge to Counsil 6-9-17

Today’s ride was pretty short. The sky was always dark and stormy looking and it would spit and sputter all day. Finally it started to get more serious toward the end. We got into Council expecting to find a room, only to find that they were building a by-pass route around town for traffic and the had torn down the only motel in town. Plan B. Ask around town. Some guy (Pat) at the local coffee shop says “let me call my buddy”. Turns out the “buddy” is Ron who runs an RV camp site, but has an unfinished room he is making into a Hostel for bikers. We could stay inside out of the rain if we wanted. Heck yeah. Showers and laundry in the next building over. Sweet. The weather got better after a while and we sat outside under a canopy enjoying the view until bed time.


Brown Lee dam to Cambridge 6-8-17

Our ride out of Brown Lee dam was pretty steep for a few miles and then leveled off and stayed pretty close to the reservoir for a while. The whole day was riding along one river or another up and down up and down. Pretty but not really outstanding. We got to Cambridge Idaho and found a room at the Frontier Inn. Nice place and a nice town. After cleaning up we went looking for food and cervesas. The little bar In town had some one out back cooking brisket and ribs and you could get a plate for 10$. We’ll take two. As we sat there eating we notice a dog in the bar (they allow dogs in Idaho). He goes up to a patron and bumps his nose into his leg the guy turns and puts a dollar in the dogs mouth and it turns and goes around the end of the bar and gives it to the bar tender.  Dog gets a treat the bar tender is making a fortune. We sit for a few minutes and sure enough to dog bumps Deb in the leg and looks up for a tip. What a racket. Wish I had thought of it haha. 

Richland to Brown Lee Dam 6-7 17

We had a nice motel in Richland. The town had  pretty small town kind of feel. C store, feed  and grain, fire barn, bar/restaurant and motel. We checked into motel at 5 or so and by 8 the park lot was full of Big pickups and fishing boats. I tried to talk to a few of them but no much interaction. By 9 they were all inside w/ lights off. At 4 AM the parking lot came alive w/diesel pickups firing up and off they all went with a roar  of dust and diesel. Fishing in the local reservoir must be a big deal???

Deb and I get off to our usual slow start and head out of town, knowing we have a big climb pretty quick out of the box. I think it’s called Richland Pass, but our bike map just says pass. 3653 feet. So we’re sweating up the pass and this old rancher in a jeep buzzes past my handle bars about 18 inches away. There was no reason to be that close as I could see in both directions for half a mile at least. I was instantly pissed and flipped him off. Bad idea. He pulled over and got out and went immediately to the ditch and picked up a rock. He came storming at me and was going to bash my head in. Not exactly sir of all the details from there but he never did hit me. Deb started taking pictures of him and his vehicle etc. I think that got him thinking about things . He read me the riot act about being on that road and how we shouldn’t be there etc etc. For 20 minutes he went off.  Finally after he cooled off I made my point that if you were so concerned about my health, why did you buzz me so close. I wouldn’t have flipped you off if you had straddled the center line like the other 500 cars that have passed me today. Just another day on the bike.

After the summit we coasted down thru Halfway and further on into part of the Hells Canyon Rec area. Stopped at a C store for a cold drink and started talking to the owner. He said you’re having pretty good weather today. Usually it around 110 degrees by this time of year here. I guess 90 wasn’t as bad as I thought. 

We rode on to Owbow and crossed over the dam into another canyon where the Snake river was rammed up to form the Brown Lee Reservoir. The water was dead calm and I got a few pictures of the reflections. It was a hot ride in the canyon and we were really glad to find a campground and cool off by the river. 

Writers block-sort of 6-5,6-17. mike

We’ve been pretty slack about writing lately. The beauty and grandeur of what we have been seeing is way more than my puny vocabulary can describe. It’s amazing how big things are. 

 We stayed in Baker City 2 nights. It is a medium/small town with friendly people. The museum in town was really interesting. A lot of stuff about gold mining and ranching. Also had a section about the guy who invented the Airstream trailer. He was from Baker City (who knew). 

I was hoping to be able to cook/heat water with an alcohol beer can stove on the trip. They are light and any alcohol will work for fuel, but it just wasn’t working out very well. Just on a whim I went into the local hardware to see what ideas they might have. I walked out with a little Primus ETA Lite stove. The last one they had and just happened to be on sale. Much better, we can have coffee in about 4 minutes:)

After our usual slow start we got out of town and headed for the Oregon Trail Interpretive center. Of coarse it is on top of a butte, with a 1 mile 400ft climb from the entry gate to the actual facility. We ended up pushing the last half mile where it got really steep. Pretty cool stuff to learn about inside though. After looking around for about 3 hours  and having lunch we headed for our stop for the night. According to the topography map it was mostly down hill. Only the topo maps can’t tell you the wind is going to blow against you hard enough that you have to pedal going down hill:(  We finally made it to Richland, but it was a long slog, made worth it by some of the most gorgeous views. 

There was another rider in town standing in front of the only store. He said can I split a 6 pack with you of some good micro brew? I said I didn’t think half a 6 pack was going to do it for me:)

2 Pass Sunday-Mike 6-4-17

The Bates campground at Junction City was terrific (Oregon has great campgrounds). Turns out it was a free camping day too. I guess the state does that every now and then. 

We had learned a lesson the day before about climbing in the heat of the day, so we packed up pretty quickly and only had 1 cup of coffee and some oatmeal. By 7:15 We were struggling up the first of two passes we needed to do today. The cooler morning weather was much better for this kind of effort. Nothing like working your guts out knowing you have another hill to go after this one. We finally made it over Tipton Pass and then over Sumpter Pass and were getting pretty hungry. There is nothing but prairie and buttes out here, no 7-11’s with cold slushies:( We soldiered on for 10 more miles into Baker City, where we found the first thing that offered food and chowed. The server pointed us toward a cheap motel and we crashed for a long nap. 

I went out later for a barley pop, but Deb couldn’t muster the strength.  It was a Sunday and everything was pretty quiet so I wasn’t out very long before I got tired and crashed again. 

And the hits just keep on coming-Mike 6-2&3-17

Drinking coffee sitting in a lawn chair, looking out over the buttes in Dayville was the best. Could have stayed forever. However this is a cross country bike ride, so we mounted up and headed out toward John Day. Riding was very pleasant, mostly flat through a valley of hayfields and beef cattle. Got into town pretty early and booked a cheap room. After cleaning up we rode into downtown district for some food and drink. We were locking the bikes up on the sidewalk and a guy comes out and offers to take us and our bikes up to the top of the butte on the edge of town where we could camp and look out for 40 miles in any direction. Wow what an offer, but we had already used and abused our room and didn’t want to pack up again. I really had to think about that one tho. People are so good.

As is our custom we got a late start out of John Day, coffee, breakfast, looking at maps and topography profiles take a lot of time you know. After 10 miles or so we came into Prarie City and saw a fellow bike traveler sitting at a coffee shop, so of coarse we sat and had coffee and exchanged story’s and email addresses.  Also Deb found a lady who spins yarn and weaves really beautiful wraps and stuff. (2 hours into this stop so far). Since we were going to have to camp that night we decuded to shop for a little food for the night and also get a quick sandwhixh at the local cafe. When they want to show an example of laid back slow moving life style I thunk they use this cafe as the most extreme example. (another 1.5 hours). Finally left town and started the climb up Dixie Pass. Of coarse now it was 2 in afternoon and the heat was on. Ride a mile and rest, repeat. Finally made it to the top after 3 extra miles that somehow were not on the map. Whew. But the looonnng down hill was awsome and took us almost to the campground without pedaling.