Sunday, June 28, 2015

Day 12--A Fortuitous Meeting

This morning I got up at 4:30. I was on the road at 6:00. It was a pleasant 64 degrees. Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way for long. But, in three hours time, I had made it to Cottonwood. What is so special about Cottonwood? Welł, it is the home of the Dog Bark Park Inn. It's a B&B. I'd seen it in National Geographic Traveler magazine.
It's a giant Beagle!
And now there's a smaller one too! The grounds weren't overly fancy, but I still thought it was pretty cool. 

I stopped in Cottonwood for a mid-morning snack. Then, I was back out on 95 heading toward Grangeville, probably the largest town since Lewiston. I was feeling really slow, and it was getting hotter by the minute. I was thinking of calling it a day in Grangeville. When I got into the town, I saw a Subway. Even though it was only 11:00, I decided I'd eat lunch and determine my next move.

As I was eating, a couple came in. Turns out, they were also biking (or "triking", as they were on the coolest German-made recumbent trikes). They're Susan and Bob from Ohio, and they're doing the Trans Am. Lucky for me, they had the map that I, apparently, decided I didn't need to bring. I was able to take photos of the necessary panels. 

We chatted for awhile. I was feeling much better, and decided I could continue. Because I got to see the map, I knew how to go over Whitebird Hill. If I hadn't seen it, I would have just stayed on 95. As it was, the ACA route went up Old Whitebird Hill Grade. I'm so glad I went that way. It was a lot of climbing, but there were lots of shady spots, and, due to the lack of traffic, I could follow the grade of the road through the switchbacks. I found it to be quite nice, even though it was pretty warm (although, I think it would have been hotter on 95). Then I met the cows (Susan and Bob had warned me about them).
A couple of Bessies and their babies.

As I approached them, they started mooooving on up the road. I asked if I could grab onto one of their tails so they could pull me up the hill (they're quite speedy when they're trying to get away from a bike).
Hey! Wait for me!

I made it to the top in pretty good time. 

I started coming down, but I had to stop to take this photo.
To the right is the descent.

I came out of Old WBH back onto 95. I stopped at the summit sign for this photo.
The descent was very long and very steep (mostly 7% grade). On top of that, the hottest wind I have ever felt was blowing...sometimes in my face, sometimes from behind. I had to stop and take the rear fender off because it was getting pushed sideways and rubbing the tire. I had to brake most of the way down, just to keep it to a manageable speed. Plus, of course, it was the highway, so there was traffic. My lower legs felt like they were on fire! Down in Hell's Canyon it is 110 degrees in the shade. It must have been at least 10 degrees warmer coming down. I was very glad to get down to the turn to go into the town of Whitebird. Bob and Susan had stayed at the Sweetwater RV Park. I had planned to stay at Hell's Canyon Jet Boat place. I pulled in there (because it was before Sweetwater) and asked the gal about staying two nights, and doing a jet boat ride. Well, tomorrow, Tues., and Wed. is Non-motorized River time. So, no jet boat ride. And, since the tent sites were $25/night, I decided to go on to Sweetwater. Here it is just $10/night. Still, I'll just stay the one night. Here's the thing, after I complete the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, I will be coming back this way. Yes, that means I will have to go up the humongous hill I just came down today. On the Trans Am, it is considered the most difficult climb. I will probably stay here again, and do a jet boat ride too (just not camp there). The timing should be good for not a non-motorized day. I'm seriously pondering trying to get a ride to the top. I do not feel compelled to ride up it! 

So, here is my site tonight. It's probably the nicest site I've had so far on this trip.
Right on the Salmon River!

And here's a cool dragonfly.

Total miles today: 59.57
Average speed: 9.72

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