Antoine and Alex
I retraced my route from yesterday to get to the River Option that would take me to the Lapwai Alternate. It was pretty flat beings it was along the Clearwater River. I eventually ran out of bike path and had to get on Hwy 12 (literally...the bike path spit me out onto the hwy). Along Hwy 95 (after it splits off from 12), I came to the Nez Perce National Historic Park Visitor Center. Ranger Roger was very informative about the history of the area. The Nez Perce Park is part of the Reservation, but there are actually not many Nez Perce left living on the Reservation. There used to be a town where the park is. It was called Spaulding. Some of the buildings are still there, including the old general store.
I was lucky because Ranger Roger had to do some cleaning in the old store. So, another guy and I got to go inside for a tour (it's not usually open). It was a functioning store up until the 1940s.
This is the couple that owned the store.
Since it was only getting hotter, I needed to be on my way. I ended up just staying on Hwy 95 to Lapwai. I stopped at the store there and got some chocolate milk, a Gatorade, and two maple bars. I at the maple bars and drank the chocolate milk. I saved the Gatorade for later.
Once I rejoined the regular route, the road started gradually climbing. In Lapwai (at 10:30) a sign had said it was 94 degrees. I came to a restaurant/general store. I decided I would get more Gatorade, but they didn't have any. I drank a bottle of Dr. Pepper instead. I still had about half of the Gatorade I'd bought in Lapwai.
When I passed Culdesac (yes, that is the name of a town), I had two options. I could follow the route, and do a steep climb up Old Winchester Grade, or I could stay on 95. The gal at the restaurant said 95 would be more of a gradual climb and there would be more shade (very important when the temps are getting over 100 degrees). I opted for 95.
I climbed, and climbed, and climbed. It was very hot. But, as the gal had said, there were shady spots. I pretty much went from shady spot to shady spot. I finished the Gatorade, and was relegated to drinking hot water from my water bottles. Actually, it wasn't so bad (the hot water). It still kept me hydrated.
I was probably about two hours into the climb when I noticed that bouncy feeling. Oh CRAP, I had a flat! Fortunately, I was coming up on a place where a railroad trestle crossed over the road. There was shade underneath. Of course, I had to disconnect the trailer, take all the stuff off the top to get into the bag and retrieve the spare tube. It was difficult to get the tire bead off the rim, but I finally succeeded by putting the wheel up against the guardrail and pushing on the tire. I found the culprit--a staple (arrggg...I hate staples!). I got the new tube in and pumped up the tire. Then I had to get the wheel back on. It took me awhile, and finally I layed the bike on her side and got the wheel started in, then brought it upright. I got everything put back together and continued on. Again, stopping at shady spot to shady spot. It's not that the climb was steep. I never even got into super granny gear. It was just so blasting-furnace hot!
Resting in a shady spot.
One distraction was seeing the railroad trestles up high. There are, apparently, 7 tunnels. One is even horseshoe shaped.
At about 4:15, I came to the turnoff for Winchester. The road was still climbing, but I knew I was getting close. In Winchester (pop. 303), I stopped at the grocery/mini-mart. I needed some pasta. All they had were elbow noodles (but it cooks fast). They also had ice cream. I had a bowl of Huckleberry. It was delicious. There was a guy named Aiden and his two boys also getting ice cream. Turns out they are from Eugene! They don't live far from Kyle and Mallory. I gave him a card for my blog.
From the store, it was just a quarter mile to Winchester State Park. I arrived at the entrance kiosk only to be told the campground was full and there was nothing for me. Having encountered this before, but having no problem, I persevered in saying that there must be someplace. The gal called Bob, the Ranger. He came up and told me the same thing. All about how he couldn't break the rules for me because where would he draw the line (how about at arriving non-motorized)? His logic seemed ridiculous, but he wasn't budging. I asked if there was anyone I could share a site with. He said no, I couldn't go ask anyone (apparently, that's soliciting--another no no in Idaho State Parks). He said there was a hotel in Winchester. I told him I didn't have the money for a hotel. We went round and round. Finally, I employed the crying tactic. I told him I was exhausted having spent the last several hours climbing in intense heat. I told him there was no place else I could go. At last, he gave in. He told me to follow him down to the shop area. He set me up next to the shop. I have water and a picnic table. The restrooms are a bit of a hike, but that's okay. He still managed to charge me $14.54, but that was fine. In the end, he was a nice guy, just a bit of an overzealous rule follower.
Now I'm going to go to bed so I can get a very early start on tomorrow's 56 miles.
Total miles today: 43.33
Average speed: 7.03