cell phone service at last



7/25

We had the coolest downhill ride today ever. We rode uphill for about 40 miles straight and when we reached the top, the trees opened up into a grand view of the rolling hills of Idaho. We started at a pretty low elevation and just looking over the shoulder of the road made me feel uneasy because of how high we were. The descent lasted about six miles, but it was super curvy and the most fun I’ve had on a bike yet. The lack of a guardrail was somewhat unsettling because a tumble over the edge of the road would most likely lead to death. Funny enough, when we reached the bottom, the local newspaper had an article about a man who died from falling down a cliff after toppling over the shoulder of a neighboring road while on his bicycle. I’m glad all of our bikes held together for the whole ride.

7/23

So far, Idaho has exceeded my expectations. I imagined Idaho to be another state full of farms, but instead, as soon as we crossed the Montana/Idaho border, the bare mountains of Montana transformed into a lush forest growing from the mountains. The road through the forest ran adjacent to a winding river that had cut a path through the mountains. The cliff walls were extremely steep, but amazingly, trees were still able to grow and cover the walls entirely. It was a scenic ride through the mountain pass and it was mostly downhill as well, since we were following a river.

Right by where we were supposed to camp, we came upon some “warm springs,” which are definitely more hot than warm. After riding 65 miles in the roasting sun, hot water was the last thing we wanted to sit in. Fortunately, we found a place where the hot water drained into the ice cold river and people had moved giant rocks around to build little artificial tubs. The rocks blocked out just the right amount of water from the river and kept in the right amount of hot water to create a pool that must have been almost exactly body temperature. There were other less than perfect tubs that let in too much water from the river and were freezing cold, but the one that had perfect temperature was so comfortable, that we laid in there for over two hours.

Early in the ride, we passed by a touring cyclist named Tom, who was riding from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Eugene, Oregon. He had just left from Missoula that morning as well, but was only planning on riding 45 miles that day. He decided to put in another fifteen miles to reach our campsite so he could have someone to camp with. When we reached out campsite, however, it turned out that the site was closed. We had a vote whether we should camp there anyway, or ride 28 miles to the next campsite which had bathrooms and running water. We almost had a unanimous vote to turn the day into a century and ride to the next site for a better campsite and so that we’d have an easier day the next day. This was unfortunate for Tom, because he was doubling his planned mileage and had never ridden so far. The next campsite was well worth the ride, though, because the route was so scenic and the campsite was right by the river. The temperature was perfect, unlike freezing cold Yellowstone. We shared our signature lentil soup dinner with Tom so that he wouldn’t have to do another night of Top Ramen and peanuts.

We parted ways with Tom the next morning and continued our ride through scenic Idaho. Though the ride was easy, it turned out to be a day of terrible luck and clumsiness. I was messing with Connor by poking him with a long piece of wheat and he splashed me with his water bottle. When I splashed him back with my water bottle, I ended up unloading my entire bottle all over his camera instead. It doesn’t take pictures anymore… hopefully the water will evaporate and everything will be fine again. Five miles from our destination in Kamiah, Idaho, a spoke in Clinton’s rear wheel snapped and caused his wheel to lock up and instantly grind the rear tire to nothing until it blew out. We had to wait for the van to catch up to us, so we laid our bikes down on the side of the mountain wall and I climbed up the wall a bit to take a nap. While I was napping, I had my foot resting on a large rock, and suddenly it dislodged and slid down the side of the hill, and to continue my luck with destroying Connor’s belongings by accident, it hits his bike and leaves a big dent in the frame. I was at a total loss for words, and I’m really glad he’s a great guy and hasn’t murdered me yet. I might need a bodyguard when I go to sleep though…

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