Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-07-25Idaho page 11 of 54

Day 11, Idaho

From Grangeville to a campground by the Lochsa River

This morning I started out from Grangeville at first light, dressed in only t-shirt and lycra shorts because the temperature was mild. The road kept going down, and down, and more down. And the more down into the sink, the colder. By the time I reached the bottom of the canyon I was shivering.

The road from there to Kooskia was so rough that I had to pedal at about 8 mph to keep from breaking a spoke.

In Kooskia (mile 26) I stopped in a café for breakfast and to warm up. Then I turned onto Highway 12 (and passed a hitchhiker, more on him later) and began a 99 mile plod along the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers to Lolo Pass. This part of the trip was so beautiful, with the pristine river on one side and the pine and cedar forest on the other. In a few places the cedars were old-growth, and positively magnificent.

Someone fishing on the Clearwater River. Its beautifully clear.


The highway along the river, with a wide shoulder (bike lane).

At mile 49 I reached Lowell, and saw the same hitchhiker standing beside the road, and this time we gave each other hearty waves, like old friends. The store in Lowell was not well stocked so I didn't buy much except for cold drinks, for by now the day had grown hot.

While sitting in the shade, a guy with a motorcycle came up to talk, and said that he usually rides his bicycle but that he also had put over 100,000 miles on his motorcycle. He was interested in my camping gear because my bag was so small.

As I pulled back into the road, the hitchhiker gave another wave, and I mention this only because traveling solo is a whole different world where you can find friendships in the most unlikely places, if you are so inclined. That hitchhiker was not evil; he just had no car and wanted to go somewhere. Not everybody is like that, but I've met many that are.

By afternoon I was starting to fade in the 100 degree temps, so made many stops in the shade. The river looked pretty good, so I drank my fill often.

The rock on the right (in the sun) was ideal for taking a nap on. It was flat, hidden from the main road, and - at the time - shady. Granted, It could have been more ideal by being hidden from the spur road also; but there was very little traffic and anyway I was too tired to notice. But 15 minutes later the shade moved on, and that woke me up.

A stop to get water. I drank from this river, as is. In the course of my thru-hiking I developed an "iron stomach," and during this year's A.T. hike I didn't treat my drinking water beyond the first 3 weeks.

At one place I was sitting on the ground, resting hidden behind the guardrail, and was so tired that it felt better laying down. Never mind that I was lying in the dirt. I felt like a hobo, someone that you might warn your children to stay away from.

When the odometer turned 100 miles, in the same place was a pretty campground called Colgate, so I pulled in and called it a day.

This is a campground, I'm not in a designated campsite, but off to the side. I preferd the grass under me.

Colgate campground and the Lochsa River.

I'm the only one here, and the Lochsa River is just a stone's throw away. . skip. . .skip . . kaplunk. I have taken a bath and pitched my tarp and spitfire, and crawled in. The sun has gone down, and the day's triple digit temperatures are quickly subsiding. Life is grand.

A few "notes":

1) 2-wheels: B sharp

2) 4-wheels: F flat

More notes:

3) I'm writing these updates on a smart phone and sending them to my website.

4) Jenny and I spend hours on the phone because we have free calls between us. As an aside, we have been asked many times whether we have separated, on the theory that she no longer accompanies me on most of my trips. In fact we are still very much together, and love each other more than ever. But I think she has come to her senses, and no longer feels obligated to follow me over every hill and dale. She is more interested in her running goals, her family and pets, and she works like a dog at Ray-Way Products. Me: I'm still chasing my dreams. And in the days of old I was a loner, so I feel quite comfortable out here.

Miles pedaled today: 100.2

The story has 54 pages. This is page 11.
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