Saturday June 20
This day is now over. And we are in Idaho. Goodbye Oregon. Couldn’t happen soon enough. I’m hoping that things improve now that we’ve left Oregon behind. The scenery throughout Oregon is spectacular and there are certainly more nice people than not nice people so what am I whining about? It must have been the weather! Speaking of weather, today was not so bad considering we spent about half the day riding in Oregon before crossing the Snake River and entering Idaho. The skies were friendly and the predicted thunderstorms never materialized. We rode into a tiny sprinkle just as we approached our destination but it was inconsequential. The high temperature had to have been somewhere in the low 70’s which is very fortunate for us as the Hells Canyon area of Oregon and Idaho typically has summer temps topping out in the 90’s and above.
Todays ride (58 miles) was a bit trying at times especially once we entered Idaho. In fact Idaho was bugging me today, literally. I inhaled some small insect that just wouldn’t leave me alone. And not an hour later while we were screaming down the backside of a mountain, a bee of some kind smacked me in the face, right on the lip where it decided to deposit it’s stinger! Initially it was thought that I had just encountered a large bug but when my lip started throbbing and my gums became numb, I figured it out. This is when I finally pulled out the stinger which was still embedded in my face.
There are quite a few steep sections of the route that involve elevation changes of 3000 feet. We did one of those today but it turned out to not be as steep as the climb we did yesterday. I’ve discovered our threshhold of climbing and it appears that in our current state of conditioning, we are able to maintain our cadence while climbing if the grade is at 7% or less. All new highways in this country are constructed with the grades not exceeding 5%. Unfortunately we are riding on quite a few older roads and highways. We dismounted and walked twice today. It doesn’t bother me in the least. Donna seems to think that if she has to get off and walk then she’s failing. I tried to get that ridiculous idea out of her head. She equates riding a bike with running a road race. Totally not the same. She remembers having to walk in a couple of the longer races (half marathon) and felt that was some kind of failure. I reassured her that in nearly every instance that we’ve walked, I was relieved when she made the call. Now that I’m in touring shape, I leave it up to her to decide if the road is too steep to continue. In the beginning of this trip I was the one to get off the bike first. Especially when I was pulling the Bob Cart trailer which only added to my struggles.
So we are currently situated in Cambridge Idaho. This is a small community of 360 persons. We didn’t pull into town until nearly 7:30 so were unable to purchase any groceries as the towns only grocery store closed at 7:00. Time for a restaurant tonight. We ate Mrs. G’s place. They specialize in chuckhouse style food. I had a burger (half pounder with fries) while Donna enjoyed a taco salad and Lewis had the mini-corndogs and tots. They actually called them tots on their menu. This brought to mind one of our alltime favorite newer movies that was set in Oregon. Napoleon Dynamite. If you haven’t seen this one yet, do so. We’ve seen it at least 3 times and it is now tradition that we have to share it with our exchange students while they are with us. Lewis decided that he was Pedro and not Napoleon.
Our sleeping accomodations for tonite are just a bit austere. Donna isn’t too thrilled with camping in the city park but it is a tradition that cyclists have been doing for years. We have flushing toilets but no running water. Which means no shower. I had expected this and took the extra time after dinner to sponge bathe in the restaurant (the restrooom, of course) with our community wash rag and the restaurants warm water. I put on a clean t-shirt and even managed to wash out the filthy t-shirt I’d been wearing for 2 days now. I try to impress upon Donna how this is the way it is done but she is just not on the same page with me, yet. I think that if she’s sees this adventure through to the end, she will have been converted into a bonified touring cyclist! As of right now, it’s one day at a time. I can’t ask for anymore than that.