Wow. Today we rode 50 miles south from Grangeville to Riggins. The first thing we did was climb White Bird Hill, elevation 4,200 or so. Over the crest we picked up Old 94, which is a serpentine descent worth of the Alps.
The new road is on the right- it's a 7% grade. On the left:
A windy, back and forth series of hairpins, with no traffic except for one couple cycling from San Francisco to Denver, and one motorcycle. Look closely and you'll see the new road on the far right against the mountain. Trucks were laboring up that.
Besides stopping to talk to the other cyclists, we also stopped to eat ripe plums.
They weren't being cultivated, they were just random roadside trees, like fig trees in Greece that drop their fruit all over the road.
At the bottom of this descent, we started following the Salmon River Canyon. That was incredibly scenic. This is one of the first days when I regretted seeing the odometer tick over the miles; I was in no hurry to end this ride.
This went on for about 25 miles. Easy peddling even though we were going upstream. Mid-way we came across a beach with full facilities, so I went for a swim.
The water was bracing, and the sun was very hot. Marie didn't want to get sunburned, so she only went wading. After lunch and a swim, we both felt like taking a nap. The temperature was probably 88 degrees at this point. We pedaled on, however.
About 8 miles from Riggins, we passed a fellow walking with a backpack. I asked if he had enough water; he said he'd just filled up. He's walking to Boise to get work picking potatoes. He'd had a number of jobs but was temporarily unemployed. I felt very sorry for him, walking in the blazing sun, no shirt, no hat, and a heavy backpack.
As you can see, very scenic but no shade.
We're staying at the Big Iron Motel. When you check in, you get a complimentary beer or iced tea (Bud, Bud Light, or Keystone Light). Let's just say that after downing our beverage, both Marie and I decided to read in the air-conditioned lobby for a while. Empty stomach, hot day, etc.
I read Hemmings (a classic car marketplace magazine), and Marie perused an ultra-right wing free handout newspaper with truly scary propositions. One writer claimed that public school education was a communist plot, we should all go back to home schooling. Some of the other articles were truly offensive. But these people are out there, it's good not to forget it.
Tomorrow we have a super-short day of only 35 miles (uphill) but that's probably good because it's supposed to be really hot.