Sunday, August 19, 2007

Day 16 – Last day! Wood River to Stanley - Utah Tour

Day 16 – Last day! Also 10 year anniv. of start of ’97 Tour
Wood River to Stanley - 55.8 miles, 4:00, 13.8 avg

Had a good last night on tour. A neighbor, Stan, invited me over for pork roast and potatoes. So, I had a traditional Mormon camp meal! Complete with Jell-o. Four kids and Mom also. Oldest boy, Justin, going to BYU, and three younger girls, who all seemed to be afraid of me. Mom said they thought I would bite. All were very reserved and well behaved. After dinner we made “pies” with those sandwich cooker things. They had lots of games and a very lavish camp, complete with an outdoor TV for video game playing. It was a great time.

A lazy morning ensued, I think knowing it was the last day drained some motivation. Up Galena Pass was beautiful and pretty easy. Had a big muffin at Galena Lodge that powered me over the climb.

The last pass of the tour. Can you tell the end is near?

The descent was a screamer and had amazing views of the massive wall of the Sawtooths. I had forgotten that these mountains really do rival the Tetons for awe-inspiration.

The Sawtooth Mtns

Had a good visit to the Stanley Ranger Station, the ranger was very helpful and wanted to know about my trip. Flew into Stanley with a downhill tailwind the whole way from the pass. I think this is the first time the whole tour! It was great. I quickly found that all the hotels in town were full, but a chance visit to the largest one found a last-minute cancellation. We had a room!

I’ve showered, had a beer, watching TV in comfort, and it actually rained. First real rain I’ve seen in two weeks! Good timing I guess.

Looking forward to the next adventure! (You gotta enlarge this one)

Please check out my personal website, Tour Tales, for more bike touring fun.

Day 15 – Craters to Wood River Campground, Sawtooths Scenic Hwy

Day 15 – Craters to Wood River Campground, Sawtooths Scenic Hwy
78.8 miles, 5:37, 13.6 avg

Nice morning in the Craters, more shade from my lovely Limber pine. Which, I learned from the program last night, is probably a couple thousand years old. Can that be right?

My ancient Limber pine

Anyway, very fun downhill from the campground, went on forever. Payback for coming in yesterday! Caught up with the two touristas from the camp ground. I thought they were just day trippers because of their light loads, but they actually rode in from Hailey. Nate and Teresa, from Boise, were doing an over-nighter in preparation for Nate doing a Portland to SF tour in September. He had no panniers because they hadn’t come in yet. We all chatted the whole way to Bellevue. I hipped him to Tour Tales, he hipped me to the bike path that runs all the way into and past Ketchum. Also learned that two other touristas went through the Monument yesterday on their way to Rhode Island. Can’t believe I missed them! Did some shopping in Ketchum, the Beverly Hills of Idaho, and went on into the Sawtooth Rec. Area. Found a nice camp ground a few miles in. Will go over Galena Pass into Stanley tomorrow to meet Miss Elizabeth, if she ever leaves home…

Day 14 – Blackfoot to Craters of the Moon

Day 14 – Blackfoot to Craters of the Moon
82.6 miles, 6:28, 12.7 avg

A good day until the end. Got a pretty early start to beat some heat. Half the way to Arco it was actually cloudy and there was a thunderstorm. Big drops and some thunder near the Idaho National Laboratory.

Middle of nowhere, ID

Close-up of my "shield"

Arco was clear, but not too hot. Overall, it was a good desert crossing. Luckily for me, Arco was celebrating its Atomic Days, July 17, 1955, when they first turned on the nuke juice to power the city. There was a booth advertising free radiation testing for former employees of the reactor. Lots of food and good times to be had, the whole town was there. A classic car show, dunk tank, etc. For me, an Atomic Burger from Pickles. I also recreated the famous Arco photo from Tour ’97, not as exciting with no people in it, though.

Arco photo 2007. Minus a tree.

I left town with a hopefully semi-easy 18 miles to Craters. Yeah right. The first half was good, mostly down and very little wind. Then, as usual, I started going up and then the headwind kicked in. The climb up to the park was bigger than I had anticipated and I guess the Atomic Burger wasn’t enough food, because I quickly fell apart. A couple of mandatory rest stops and some fig newtons later, and I arrived at the Visitors Center where I learned it was 100°. Got some good info and a 7UP.

My "backyard" at Craters camp

Campground is OK, right amongst the lava flows. I’ll check out the Ranger Program tonight.

Wildlife today:

  • 5 or 6 pronghorn
  • Calling burrowing owl
  • Clark’s Nutcracker
Cinder cones on the way to Arco

Storm's edge on way to Arco

Day 13 – Friday! Lava to Blackfoot

Day 13 – Friday! July 13 - Lava to Blackfoot
64.9 miles, 4:39, 13.9 avg

Lazy morning, still left before most people got up. Good downhill to McCammon. Luckily found Old Hwy 91, so didn’t have to ride on 15. One of the best roads of the whole tour! Easy rollers, no wind, no traffic, cool volcanic cliffs. Ran into pack of road racing women who rode with me into town, Pocatello. Janet took me all the way downtown (I would’ve never found on my own), to the bike shop and pointed out places to eat. Dean at shop showed me route out of town, and we talked about riding in P town. Pizza was good lunch. Oh yeah, Pocatello has a cool old downtown, lots of old brick buildings.

Mellow ride out and through Fort Hall Indian Res., only two dogs chased me. Ran into another cyclist who told me roads to take. Stopped at store in Fort Hall. People on the Res. seemed to be into what I was doing. Got into Blackfoot and checked out town a bit. Also some good old buildings. Staying at the Y Motel. I guess that is the question, “Why?” Could be a loud Friday night, some homeys hanging around. A fight broke out not even a half hour after I got here. Looks to be a hot ride through the desert tomorrow. Got to leave early.