Days miles: 100
We rolled out of the campground around 9:30 and stocked up on food and fluids at the neighboring New Meadows. The day was already starting to reach an uncomfortably hot level on the local thermometor...so we made haste towards the winding, twisting watershed of the Salmon river which we would end up following for most of the day.
It was great to coast on down into the gorge area...we even ran into another west-bound biker who was from England. He was neat to talk to and a good excuse to rest our legs for a few minutes...
It was close to 100 degrees for most of the day, and we fought a head wind the entire time we followed the river through the steep grade of Idaho mountains. There were little trees along the path and a lot of traffic both on the road and in the river. Stephen adn I did opt to take a quick dunk the river to cooooooooooooooool off seein how monotonous the terrain was gettin and how the head wind was making noticing any progress very difficult.
We took turns in lettin the other person draft off the other, which was a good way to make time pass i guess. I tried to see if I could remember lyrics to some songs I liked, but realized, as I always do, that I can never quite recall all the verses to songs. As I was halfway through running through the Josh Ritter song "Idaho" my bike started to fishtail a little bit and just didn't feel right. It didnt' take too much brain function to realize I had a flat tire...and what ideal timing too!!! I was nearly out of water, exhausted, no food left, and we were only 10 min bike ride from the town were dunna take a break in!!! Hurrah!
Well, I popped the tire off, tried to pump up tire and ride off agains the wind and up the hill....after about 30 seconds it went flat again....dang it.
Long story short (running out of time here in library)...we stopped for lunch in a cafe called Hoot's Cafe (which served horrible Americanized food), patched up the tire so it was better than when it came shipped from teh factory's hands, and started the last big climb of the day....White Bird Mountain. It was another 13 mile climb up 7% grade road...about 2 miles up Stephen said, "Uh...Michael...I think I broke a spoke on the rear wheel."
We rejoiced for a brief 3.54 seconds and then assessed the situation and decided to risk it and keep on truckin on and up the moutanin....we had limited time...time was, of the essence and we needed to be in Grangeville....
We got to the summit (~5,200 feet) right when the light vanished and were coasting down the mountain when I saw a big, black animal-like object step out infront of where our wheels were about to roll....i thought it was a bear and was ready to attack with my bike, full speed ahead, when I realized it was nothing more than a bovine (a.k.a.: cow). That's when i knew i had to stop and warn Stephen of this potentially disasterous siutaion. But then, then there were more. Suddenly upon the scene about 13 other bovines joined the one and they all started to muttle about in a shuffle like manner going no where at all....I clicked my bike shoe into the pedal and that's when they all bolted down the mountain road....we followed them closely.
By golly...we were herding cattle! In Idaho! For 3 miles!
The best part is that an SUV was parked at an overlook (I'll assume they were watching the sunset) and all the cattle ran up to the SUV as if it were teh Mama cow and was going to protec them from our charge. the folks in the SUV were pretty startled and were like...wtf? and then they saw Stephen and I ride past waving and laughing all the while...ahhh...nothing like ending the day with a herd of cattle to be herded.
We camped out at a Ranger Station and, after stuffing our stomachs with complex carbohydrates, we called it a night....100 miles with lots of climbing through Idaho....enough said.