Wednesday June 24th
I’m going to be wild and crazy here and do this day from end back to its inception.
We are officially Guerrilla camping. That means that we are staying someplace without anyones knowledge of us being here and not paying anyone. It’s not as daring as it sounds as we are not on private property and someone else is camped just a bit down from us and people have camped here for years. So it’s sort of lame Guerilla camping. But we’re not paying anyone!
How did we sink this low you ask. Easy, there were no other options. If there were, then Donna would have insisted on it. We knew we were entering a stretch of Idaho with no services but we were counting on a certain campground to be open. It was going to be a USFS campground which means no showers, a hand pump for water, and pit toilets. We found out about the closure of this campground after having ridden our first 30 miles of the day. This was a pleasant ride with multiple photo opportunities of White Water Rafters, Kayakers, and us looking out on the wild and crazy Lochsa River. All day long we rode along this river but in the opposite direction of the flowing water so we’ve actually gained over 1000 feet of elevation during the 48 miles that we rode.
Let me tell you a bit about the people who are camping in the same vicinity as us. Lewis was the first one to go down and meet them. Anyone new is a novelty, a treasure to be explored, a transformer to be manipulated into some new robot. So when Lewis didn’t return in 15 minutes Donna decided to go see if maybe he was going to be some evil River Rats dinner. When the vehicle pulled in I caught only a glimpse of the truck, not who was in it. Donna returned a few minutes later much relieved. A young couple, Anjin and Lucia, were playing Bocci with Lewis. (Photo) They were doing some kayaking and were going back to Montana in the morning. They shared some pasta salad with us as we were dining on Rice-A-Roni with chicken chunks and carrots. They also had an extra 5 gallons of water that we used to replenish our almost exhausted supply. Two really neat young people that happened to be in the right place at the right time to help us out. When I finally went down to meet them they had progressed to the celebration part of their day by cracking open a couple of beers. Not being a shy neighbor I asked if they had an extra and lo and behold, I was rewarded for my quick thinking. This would be the third beer of my day. Very nearly a record for this trip.
You are now asking yourself ‘where did he get his first 2 beers if he is in the middle of a 66 mile stretch with no services?’ Nope, I wasn’t carrying it with me. Just 10 miles back down the road we stopped for lewis to explore a footbridge that lead to a trailhead for hikers. (Photo) While Donna and Lewis explored the bridge, I relaxed next to the bikes and ate a granola bar and some prunes. Out of the blue a white pickup truck came roaring through the parking lot right at me. My initial impulse was ‘is this going to be trouble?’. Fortunately the guy driving the truck had seen Donna and Lewis walking the bridge and when he spotted Donna’s loaded touring bike he felt he had to stop and talk. The reason Donna’s bike drew his attention was that he was an employee of REI and he recognized her bike instatntly. He is from Kent Washington (just outside of Seattle for those who don’t know). Once we started talking and our story fleshed out, he was duly impressed. A few minutes later Donna and Lewis returned and that’s when he made the offer of a beer. When he asked us where we were spending the night and we responded with ‘We don’t know’ he thought that was so cool! On the side of the road I had a cold Coors and Donna had a Mikes Lemonade and Lewis had an ice cold Root Beer. In addition he gave us each one more to take with us. That is the story of the first 2 beers!
We had lunch on this backwards day at about 3:00. This was Hickory stick and carrots and fruit and was devoured at the historical ranger station. There was a volunteer ranger working who was the one to break the news that the Jerry Johnson campground that we were hoping to stay at was no longer open. This guy is also the one responsible for putting the idea in Donna’s head to camp anywhere along the river. There were literally dozens of places you could pull off the road and find a suitable private place.
The rest of the day going backwards escapes me now that I’m 2 days removed from this. But the total miles ridden this day 48. I;m also just a bit tired and it's so hard to think strait. Good night!