Portland, Oregon to Chicago


Fall 2008


Denis Kertz, ©2008


Day 7: Sun, Sep 07, 2008 - Vale, OR to Boise, ID [72.2, 5:57:35, 12.1 mph]

I was up early because I wanted to get an early start.  I thought the restaurant next door didn't open until 7:00 but I discovered it opened at 6:30 on Sundays so it was perfect timing.  I had the ham and eggs and pancakes which was fine.  I was the first customer but then a local, Vernon, showed up so I asked him about my route.  I had the option of either taking US26 to Nyssa or a back route to Nyssa, both essentially the same distance.  Vernon noted US26 as flat but the other route had some climbing to a pass.  It was also part of the Oregon Trail route so that decided it for me.

I left at about 7:30, headed south on the road right at the intersection by my motel which turned into Lytle Road.  Shortly after leaving a guy in a pickup asked me if I had lost a jacket and I realized I had laid my jacket on top of my rear rack but didn’t strap it down under my shock cords.  This guy graciously drove back to pick it up and deliver it to me.

The climb was fairly modest and I climbed mostly at 6 mph.  Along the way I had some itching on my legs.  I thought I was affected by some biting flies but discovered my problem was biting mosquitoes and I couldn't out run them on the climb.  At the top of the pass I noted my front tire was going flat.  There was a Oregon Trail turnout which was convenient for me to pull into to fix the flat.  I found a small puncture and patched the tire.  Then I checked the tire at the location of the puncture and noted on the inside a small something but it didn't feel sharp.  When I checked the outside of the tire I discovered I had a thorn still stuck in the tire that apparently just barely puncture the tube.

The flat cost me about 30 minutes.  From there I had a nice descent that was too nice.  I forgot about my turnoff from Lytle Road onto Enterprise Ave but was reminded when I spied a green road sign.  It read Grand Ave which meant I had overshot my turn.  So I turned on Grand and headed east as far as I could go and then rode north.  Turns out I overshot by about a mile but that was relatively minor.

I rode into Nyssa and rejoined US26 and crossed the Snake River into Idaho.  I rode another 7 miles to Parma and stopped for a cold drink where I also changed out of my long sleeve jersey and tights since it was getting warm.

I made good time riding US26 to nearly I84 where I took Farmway Road north a short distance and then 44 east towards Boise.  In Middleton I stopped for another drink and continued on to Eagle where I picked up State Street.  Where State ended it was a short jog north to take Hill Road the rest of the way to my niece's house where I met Julia and Thomas along with Edward, Louis, and 5 week old Beatrice.  Julia and family had a church commitment for a couple hours so when they left I cleaned up and did my first laundry of the trip.

When Julia and Thomas returned, we had a nice meal and a walk around the neighborhood before retiring for the night.

Day 8: Mon, Sep 08, 2008 - Boise, ID: rest day

I slept very well and didn't get up until 7:30, which was late for me.  After breakfast, Julia took me on a hike to the top of Table Rock, a flat topped outcropping of sandstone, with a view over Boise and the entire valley.  In the afternoon I walked to a coffee shop for some reading and did some grocery shopping on my walk back.  Then I got to enjoy the antics of a couple of energetic youngsters, Edward and Louis, and reviewed my route through Idaho with Julia and Thomas, which promises substantial climbing and great scenery.


Day 9: Tue, Sep 09, 2008 - Boise, ID to Lowman, ID [72.2, 9:11:04, 8.5 mph]

I slept well again and didn't get up until almost 7:30.  I had packed most of my stuff the night before so I didn't have much to do except eat my cereal breakfast and a banana.  After Thomas returned from dropping Edward off at kindergarten I bade my farewells and took off at about 8:15.  It turned out that it was good I arrived and left Boise when I did since Julia and Thomas were leaving on vacation the following day and today was their packing day.

It was easy to get out of Boise.  I took Hill to 15th to Fort to Warm Springs and was on my way.  When I passed a grocery store on Warm Springs I decided to get some cash.  Then I remembered I had left some food in the refrigerator but it was too late to go back and retrieve it.  So I replaced the food at the grocery store and took off.  A little further down the store I saw a guy standing next to a car waving me down and then noticed it was Thomas.  I was amazed they had noticed the food in the refrigerator and went out on a hunt mission to locate me.  So now I had an extra cache of food.

As I had been riding I noticed a bike trail next to the road but had no idea where it went.  Now Thomas, a bicycle racer, explained I could take it but he didn't like it because it had some rough spots.  So I bade Thomas good bye again and headed down the road.  When Warm Springs Road ended I took 21 north to Idaho City and was on my way for good.  There were some nice views as I passed Diversion Dam and then reached Lucky Peak Lake, made by an earthen dam to form a reservoir.  The setting amongst the brown hills was very scenic.  However, I had to climb about 600 feet to get over the foothills, a pretty significant climb.  Along the way I met another unloaded cyclist who had just completed a ride across the US from Seattle to Acadia National Park.

At the top there was a grill that served breakfast until 11:30 and the good news was it was only 11:00.  The bad news was they only served breakfast Thu-Sun and this was a Tuesday so I was out of luck.  They also didn't have any milk for a second breakfast so I ate a pastry and was on my way.

From this summit it was a nice downhill with another view of the lake that had wrapped around the foothill that I had climbed.  At the bottom, the road followed the river as it cut through a gorge that was also very scenic.  Then it was a basic moderate uphill grade to Idaho City.  There I found a restaurant that served breakfast all day so I had my second breakfast at 2:00 pm after 43 miles.  I also stopped at a food mart and met another cyclist who had ridden up from the airport and was resting up and then riding back to the airport.

Unfortunately, the hardest part of the ride was still ahead.  I had a major climb to Moore's Creek Summit followed by a descent and then another climb before the descent to Lowman, my destination.  The climbing leaving Idaho City at 3,900 feet was moderate but as I got near the summit it became very hard.  I was riding at 3 to 3.5 mph the last several miles as the road switched back to make the summit.  I finally made the summit at 6,180 feet a little after 5:00 pm.

Then 21 descended several miles and started another 5 mile climb from 5,200 to 6,050 feet.  This was also steep but not quite as bad as the previous summit.  It was 6:30 by the time I reached the second summit and began the 8 mile downhill to Lowman.  This was a great descent with no pedaling, just occasional braking to keep the winding descent under control.

At the bottom I passed thru the small town of Lowman with basically a lodge and a small food mart.  I wasn't sure whether I would have to get a cabin because there weren't any campgrounds yet.  However, at the food mart I was told there was a nice campground a mile down the road.  So I chugged a chocolate milk and rode a mile down the road to a USFS campground that was nice and cost $15.  I got a site right next to the Payette River and set up.  I used the food stash that Thomas had delivered to make sure I got some use out of it after all that effort.

Then I whipped out my PC to take care of the daily report.  However, it was dark and the light from the PC attracted every gnat from miles around.  So I had to leave the picnic table and hole up in my tent to finish my report.

Day 10: Wed, Sep 10, 2008 - Lowman, ID to Stanley, ID [65.3, 8:20:34, 7.8 mph]

I packed up in the morning and rode back into town, less than a mile.  I stopped at the lodge which had a sign saying it served breakfast, lunch, and dinner but it was not open.  I stopped at the service station food mart, which was inside a trailer, and saw they had no milk so I just bought a pastry and went outside for my breakfast using powdered milk.

I took off at 8:45 on a cool, sunny morning.  I could feel my legs were tired from yesterday so I was determined to make today as easy as possible, if it is possible to climb 3,200 feet over 32 miles easily.  Fortunately, the climb looked less difficult than yesterday and there was only one climb.  My destination was Stanley, 57 miles away.

The Lowman area’s distinguishing feature was its recovery from the forest fire of 1989, which devastated a huge area, starting at the top of yesterday's second climb and continuing for miles today.  The route also followed the South Fork of Payette River which was nice.

The initial part of the day was modest climbing and I took it easy, always trying to use an easy gear.  After 13 miles I came upon the Sourdough Lodge which had a restaurant so I pulled in.  The signs said all the right things but the neon Open sign was off and when I entered everything was dark.  It didn't look good for breakfast.  However, a woman came by and said they had a power failure but assured me they could serve breakfast.  So I ordered their sourdough pancakes which were very good – 2 plate sized pancakes.

As I continued along the route it got gradually steeper.  I did get a nice view of the Sawtooth Mountains at one point in an opening through the pines.  I continued to plug away as the grade steepened and I used my lowest gear, plugging away at 3-4 mph.  I was unsure how far away the summit was so I ended up taking a break about 3 miles from the summit to build up my energy.  Finally, after 35 miles and 5.5 hours I reached the Banner Summit at 7200 feet.

In contrast to most climbs which are followed by a fast descent, this was followed by a short, modest descent.  Then it climbed moderately for a few miles and descended moderately the rest of the way.  The scenery was very nice with open meadows and occasional glimpses of the Sawtooths.  There was one overlook that provided a great view of the string of Sawtooths.

With the modest down grade and a bit of tailwind I raced into Stanley, pop 100.  I wasn't very optimistic in finding reasonable (eg, inexpensive) accommodation so I headed to a pizza/deli place and ordered a sandwich.  I would have preferred pizza but I was afraid I didn't have time to wait for one.  Afterwards I checked a couple places and the cheapest was $65, as I kind of expected.

So I retreated up the road about 3 miles to the turnoff to Iron Creek Campground that I had noticed on my way in and figured was the closest campground to town.  I had to ride a dirt/gravel road a mile or so to another turnoff where I finally found what passed for a campground.  It wasn't much of a campground but then it had a great price - $0.  I picked the first place I saw and settled in, glad I had previously filled my water bottles so I didn't have to bother filtering water from the nearby creek.

It turned out to be an easier day that yesterday but not by a whole lot.  I still spent almost 8.5 hours in the saddle.

Day 11: Thu, Sep 11, 2008 - Stanley, ID to Challis, ID [64.2, 6:19:54, 10.1 mph]

It was a cold night, which shouldn't be too surprising since Stanley was at 6,260 feet.  Some time in the middle of the night I realized I was just a little uncomfortably cold so I put on my tights and long sleeve jersey and that did the trick.  In the morning I wasn't in a great hurry, hoping the sun would come over the mountains and kick start the temperature.  I had rinsed out my cycling shorts last night and left them out to dry and they were frozen so it had gotten at least a little colder than freezing.

The sun was shining when I left but it wasn't enough.  I had put on my Seal Skinz socks because I knew my feet would be cold and they were despite the socks.  Riding back was slow because of the corrugated dirt/gravel road but I probably wouldn't have wanted to go fast even if I could because of the wind chill.  It was 1 ¼ mile back to the main road and 3.5 miles overall to get back to town.  The Sawtooths looked really good in the morning sun.

I stopped at a restaurant for breakfast and had my usual pancakes which were fine.  I lingered to give my toes and fingers a chance to thaw out but they seemed reluctant to completely thaw.

It was nearly 10:00 by the time I left town and headed north on 75 to Challis, my destination for the day.  I expected the day to be somewhat easier than the two previous because it involved no major climb and was mostly modestly downhill as it lost 1000 feet on the day over 56 miles.  This route was the start of the Salmon River Scenic Byway.

Immediately the road passed along side the Salmon River as it did for most of the day.  It was very scenic with the river threading its way through very steep hills on both sides of the river, the north side mostly brown and barren and the south side covered with pines.  This area was a noted mining area starting in the 1860s and there were a number of historical markers attesting to that.  There was also a hot spring along the road that several folks had stopped to use.

After some 30 miles, not far from Clayton, I stopped at a service station/food mart and got milk for a second breakfast around 1:00 pm.  A few miles later I passed through Clayton, another historical mining town, and the scenery changed dramatically.  The road continued to follow the Salmon River but the hills were all brown and barren as you would expect to find in a desert environment.  The river valley also broadened, no longer hemmed in tightly by the hills, and some farms and ranches started to appear.  The green of the irrigated fields, mostly hay, and some cottonwoods along the river side provided a stark contrast to the desert brown.

Not too far from Challis, a road sign warned that bighorn sheep could be on the road for the next 2.5 miles but I saw nothing.  Just outside Challis the Yankee Fork Visitor Center covered the mining, ranching, farming history of the area.  I spent a little less than an hour there and then rode the few remaining miles into Challis, pop 909, 9 times larger than Stanley.

There were several motels in town and I picked one on main street for $43 that had WIFI.  The town also had a Subway so I ate there.  I chose Subway rather than a pizza place I wandered by because there was no one around the pizza place, not a good sign.  After a little grocery shopping I retired to my motel to write my notes.  However, I couldn't access the WIFI from my room so I had to go to the bar, which wasn't all that bad since it gave me an excuse to have a beer.

Today was a much easier day, as expected, than the last two days, because it was slightly downhill with no major climbs and was a reasonable distance.  I enjoyed being able to pedal rather leisurely without worrying about making my destination at a reasonable time.

Day 12: Fri, Sep 12, 2008 - Challis, ID to Salmon, ID [63.8, 5:31:11, 11.6 mph]

There was a cafe right next to my motel so I went there for breakfast.  There wasn't anyone else there but I had decent pancakes.  Later some other folks started coming by, probably a trend started by me.

I left a little before 9:00 on another sunny day.  I expected a ride similar to yesterday since it was all downhill from Challis at 5,280 feet to Salmon at 4,000 feet and 60 miles.  The scenery picked up where it left off yesterday, following the winding Salmon River through farms and ranches.  Later the ranches mostly disappeared.  The interesting feature of the ride was that the road would disappear in the distance into the hills and there seemed like there was no place for the road to go but over the mountains.  However, each time the road just swung left or right as the river wound its way through the mountains.  It was great scenery and easy pedaling.

A few miles outside Challis I stopped along the road to admire some horses in the field that appeared to be Appaloosa.  When I detected other movement in the field I saw 3 antelopes who were a bit skittish when seeing me.  They loped away but I noticed 3 other antelopes.  I watched for a while and eventually the original 3 decided I wasn't an unfriendly and came back to the field and met their colleagues.

I wasn't sure there was anything between Challis and Salmon, especially since a sign leaving Challis said there was no gas for 57 miles.  Fortunately, I didn't need gas.  After about 35 miles I passed through Elk Bend and there was an RV camp with a small store.  They didn't have any small cartons of regular milk but did have chocolate milk so I had the chocolate milk and some of my other food in lieu of a second breakfast.

After Elk Bend it seemed like the scenery deteriorated some.  Either that or my senses had been overwhelmed by the earlier scenery and were now numb.  I rode into Salmon around 3:00 and scouted the town of 3,000.  When I spied a Subway I decided to eat there again.  The Subways have $5 specials for certain foot long subs and that was a hard deal to beat.

At the Chamber of Commerce I found a brochure for an RV park that claimed to have a hostel so I checked it out.  They had a private room for $26 but you couldn't take your bike in the room.  For me a large part of the attraction of a motel room was the ability to just roll the bike into the room and only have to unpack a little.  So not being able to take the bike in the room killed that deal.  The park also had a cabin with 5 bunks for $16/bunk but again the bike wasn't allowed in the cabin.  However, their tent site was $10 and included a shower and WIFI.  That was a good deal with the only negative part being that it was next to the road so would be a bit noisy for sleeping.

So I took the tent site and set up.  Later I moved to the porch of the Laundromat where I could plug in my PC and use the WIFI.

Day 13: Sat, Sep 13, 2008 - Salmon, ID to Lone Pine, ID [94.3, 8:14:01, 11.5 mph]

I packed up and headed back into town where they were setting up the main street for the day's marathon run.  I stopped at the Salmon River Coffee Shop for breakfast and it apparently was the right choice with lots of folks there.  I had my usual pancakes and they were fine.

I left around 9:00, not in a great hurry because my destination was Leadore, 45 miles away.  After Leodore there was nothing until Mud City, another 75 miles.  In addition, the route climbed steadily from 4,000 feet to just over 7,000 feet to Gilmore's Summit, about 68 miles away.  I didn't expect to make great time since it was all uphill and figured the 45 miles to Leadore would be about right.

I took Hwy 28 south between the Bitteroot Range and Beaverhead Mountains on my left (east) and the Lemhi Range on my right (west).  There is a lot of history with this Lemhi Valley and the most notable was that Lewis & Clark crossed into the valley at the Lemhi Pass where Sacajawea met her long lost brother, then a Shoshone chief, and helped L&C purchase horses after the Shoshone convinced them that they could not follow the Salmon River.  So L&C passed through the valley and north of Salmon to Lost Trail Pass and eventually up the Bitterroot Valley to Lolo Pass and across Idaho.  There were a number of historical sites along the way commemorating the L&C passage.

The ride was a very scenic ride through the valley of ranches.  Early on I spotted 10 deer in a field.  Through my biking travels I have learned that deer/antelope spook most easily if you stop before you get to them.  However, if you keep riding a little past them they are less likely to get spooked.  I did this and then stopped to take a photo which they accommodated before bounding off.  While I was stopped watching the deer a guy pulled over and asked if I was OK.  I said I was and was headed to Leadore and he mentioned a campground for a rodeo just outside Leadore where I could camp.

Riding was easier than I expected.  Initially, I was riding about 8 mph and then later that increased to 10 mph.  I think the increase was likely due to some tailwind that picked up since the upgrade was a constant slope.  I stopped at the one building town of Tendoy, which was a small store with the post office in it.  They didn't have small cartons of regular milk so I just had a chocolate milk and rode on.  A little further I encountered Lemhi, another one building town with the same arrangement except this store was closed.  For some reason on Saturday it was open only from 8 to 10 am.  Since the post office collection box said pickup on Saturday was at 10 am I guessed the store was only open shortly to accommodate the post office requirement.

I made good time and rode into Leadore, pop 90, around 2:30.  It had a bar/restaurant but the restaurant was not open at the time so I stopped at the store where I got a cheeseburger.  The lady at the store told me there was another place, Lone Pine, 30 miles down the road with a campground just past it.  Since I was feeling fine and had no great desire to linger the rest of the day in Leadore I decided to ride on.  This also had the advantage of making tomorrow's ride to Rexburg much shorter whereas otherwise it would have been about 105 miles from Leadore.

However, when I left town there was a sign that said Lone Pine was 42 miles.  That made me think again since it was almost 3:30 and it might take 4 hours to get to Lone Pine.  Nevertheless, I decided to continue on.  Up to this point the road had been a constant gradual grade and it was actually hard to tell that I was really climbing.  Now the road started having some grade variations and I wasn't always able to maintain the 10 mph that I had earlier.  So I pushed a little harder than usual but taking care not to over do it.

The character of the land also changed somewhat.  The almost continuous ranches kind of phased out with only occasional ranch fields on my right.  The land was obviously more desert-like than earlier but it was still scenic.

Around 5:00 I rode up a steeper grade than usual which made me think this could be the summit although I thought I had further to go to reach the summit.  Nevertheless it was the summit and I reached it a little after 5:00.  At that point I was confident about making Lone Pine since most of the rest of the way was downhill.  Initially, it was a good downhill but mostly it was a modest downhill that only required easy pedaling and I was churning out the miles in rapid order.  This part of the route was a wide, high desert where you could see the road stretch out for miles ahead.  It was exhilarating to churn through this distance in relatively rapid fashion.

Shortly before I reached Lone Pine I saw a herd of antelopes in the field on my right.  Unfortunately, I couldn't ride past them and take a photo because I would have been staring right back into the sun.  So I stopped short and they hit the trail.  I counted at least 24 antelopes as they loped off into the distance.

A few miles later I stopped at the small cafe in Lone Pine and had a cheeseburger.  It was 7:00 so I didn't linger due to pending darkness in about an hour.  However, the proprietor did tell me that they got a fair amount of cyclists through the area which surprised me.  Then I thought perhaps the TransAmerica route came through here but I checked later and that wasn’t the case.

I rode 3 miles further south to the Birch Creek Campground, a BLM Campground with no fee for camping.  I picked out a site quickly and set up as darkness arrived.


Day 14: Sun, Sep 14, 2008 - Lone Pine, ID to Rexburg, ID [69.9, 5:55:51, 11.8 mph]

It was another chilly morning so I had breakfast in bed waiting for the sun to come up over the mountains which happened around 8:00.  I left around 8:30 and immediately zoomed down the road.  Not only was there a modest downgrade but I had a tailwind.  So I was easily doing 20 mph with occasional pedaling.  Since it was downhill most of the way to Mud Lake, 33 miles away, I thought this would last most of the way to Mud Lake.  However, after about an hour the wind just stopped.  At first I thought it had switched and become a head wind since I started feeling the wind in my face but it was just the wind stopping.  Then I had to earn my cycling at about 14 mph.

I got confused at one point when the intersection with 22 showed Dubois to the east.  I couldn't understand how to get to Dubois, WY going that way until I learned later that there was a Dubois, ID.

As I rode along, the mountains on each side receded and it was just wide open desert.  I passed through an area of INL – Idaho National Laboratory.  The INL was established for research in nuclear energy and is noted for being the first to harness atomic energy to generate electric power.   At this point the previously non-existent shoulder became a wide 4 foot shoulder.  However, the shoulder was sprinkled with chip seal.  The old pavement was very smooth but the chip seal created a rough pavement and the mixture of the two was even rougher.  So I rode inside the white line most of the time since there was almost no traffic. 

As soon as I left the INL, the shoulder became a consistent chip seal and it was fine for riding.  The land was also immediately transformed from desert with shrubs to irrigated fields.  There was even some modest uphill as I rode to the end of 28 and the intersection with 33.  I turned east on 33 towards Rexburg, my destination, and immediately rode through Mud Lake, pop 270.  I had hoped that Mud Lake would provide breakfast and it had 2 cafes but they were both closed on a Sunday morning.  Just a little further was a large Mormon church with lots of vehicles in its parking lot.  Apparently this area had a sizeable Mormon population because this church was larger than Mud Lake.  There was also no service station open in the area either so I resigned myself to continuing on without a second breakfast.

The area surrounding Mud Lake was agricultural and then it reverted back to desert as I climbed a long, modest hill.  There were no services at the intersection with I15 but there was a Port of Entry with a restroom at Sage Junction that I used as a rest stop and filled my water bottles and ate some snacks for energy.  From there it was another 20 miles of up and down to Rexburg where I arrived at about 2:30.  I stopped at a Food Mart for a drink and a snack before riding into town.

Rexburg was a town of 27,000 whose claim to fame was BYU-Idaho, a Mormon supported university.  I rode through town on Hwy 33 expecting to find several motels.  However, I saw only a Comfort Inn by Hwy 20 and a Super 8 a little further in town.  This is where my PC came in handy.  Back in Challis, the guide at the Yankee Fork Visitor Center showed me an Idaho services guide that listed motels for all Idaho towns.  The guide offered to let me take the guide but it was much too heavy to pack along with my other belongings.  Instead, I searched the Internet and found the guide split into multiple PDF files and I downloaded those for the east and central regions. 

Here I stopped my bike and whipped out my PC and checked for Rexburg motels.  I discovered there were only 4 motels so there were only two I hadn't seen.  The Super 8 was listed with rooms for $40-70 and the Days Inn as $48-70.  So I stopped at the Super 8, which I have not been a fan of since they upscaled themselves from their modest beginnings.  I was shocked to get quoted a rate of $71 that the lady said she could discount to $65.  I quickly said no thanks and rode two blocks south to the Days Inn where I got a quote in the $50s and then a quote of $45 with my AARP discount – a savings of $20 over Super 8.  This was still a little more than I thought I would have to pay but it was in the ball park and it included a continental breakfast which was probably worth about $5 to me.

After settling in I walked two blocks to a Dominics Pizza and got a large pepperoni pizza with breadsticks for $9.  It was more than I needed but it was a special and was cheaper than ordering a normal medium pizza.  Then after gorging on this extravaganza for a while, I took advantage of the WIFI to check email and write my daily notes.

Day 15: Mon, Sep 15, 2008 - Rexburg, ID to Driggs, ID [55.8, 5:37:39, 9.9 mph]

I checked the continental breakfast in the morning and was greatly disappointed.  It was only toast, some mini muffins/donuts, and coffee.  Usually these continentals have at least some cereal but not this one.  So I had a couple slices of toast but knew that wouldn't be enough.  When I left the motel I rode to the east end of town, did a little food shopping, and then searched for the breakfast place I had spotted yesterday.  I had trouble finding it again but finally found it and had their pancakes which were fine. 

I finally left town around 9:30, which didn't figure to be a problem since I only had 46 miles to Driggs.  There was a bike path just outside town and I rode that for a couple miles before it ended.  Then I rode through 3 small towns, Sugar City, Teton, and Newdale.  This was farming territory and not very exciting scenery wise because it was flat. 

Heading further east, it started getting hilly and the scenery became more interesting.  The predominant land feature was huge wheat fields.  Most of the wheat had already been harvested but there were still a few areas where harvesting was still underway.  I spent a few minutes watching one operation where a combine unloaded into a grain wagon and then a tractor drew the grain wagon alongside a truck and unloaded it.

Continuing east I had a little fun with a big truck.  The traffic on Hwy 33 was fairly heavy all day and it featured a lot of large truck traffic.  Most of the time there was a good enough shoulder that the traffic wasn't a problem, just noisy.  However, there was a stretch of at least 5 miles where the shoulder narrowed to maybe a foot and a half and it was cracked and not good riding.  There I had to watch the traffic carefully.  Later when the shoulder was fine I had to climb one fairly steep hill and when I was climbing at about 5 mph I heard this big truck groaning up the hill behind me.  I realized I was pedaling kind of easy so I decided to give it a go and raced the big truck to the top of the hill and winning without much difficulty.

All along I could see the Tetons in the distance but not very clearly because it was hazy.  As I rode further east the views continued to get better.  Finally, a few miles from Tetonia there was a scenic overlook that had a nice view of the Tetons and the Teton Valley.

Since I hadn't eaten since breakfast, I stopped in Tetonia and had my second breakfast at about 1:30.  When I left I encountered my first jerk of the trip.  A driver in a dump truck blared his horn as he passed me while I was on the shoulder with no one coming in the other direction.  Of course, the driver didn’t give an inch despite any competing traffic.

After that it was only about 8 miles to Driggs where I was set to stay with Frank and Kim, friends of Julia and Thomas.  I rode through the Teton Valley with continuous views of the Tetons until I reached Driggs.  There I stopped for another break – ice cream and a cold drink.  Then I called Kim and got directions to their place, which was 2 miles back and then 2 miles east.

When I reached Frank and Kim's place Frank was in the process of assembling a cyclocross bike for one of the team members on the cycling team he manages Giant Bicycles.  He needed to have this bike ready by the time he left for Las Vegas on Wednesday.  So we chatted some while he worked on the bike.  Then he showed me my room, which was an apartment on the second floor of their house which had a direct view of the Tetons.  This apartment was built with the house by Kim before she was married for rental purposes to allow her to afford the house.  It was a great accommodation and almost seemed wrong to take advantage of it.  Almost.

I had a problem with one member of the family – Sally.  Sally was a 2 year old lab who was scared of me and wouldn't come near.  Frank tried to coax her but to no avail.  Then Frank played a little game with Sally called “throw the ball and bring it back” and I knew I had found Sally's weak spot.  So when I finally got the chance I grabbed the ball and heaved it and Sally had no choice but to chase it and bring it back.  Then she played a game of tug, refusing to give up the ball.  I quickly learned that if I didn't play that game Sally would finally drop the ball, realizing I wasn't going to throw it again until she did.  Then the only problem I had was Sally would come bounding back to me at full speed with the ball and almost knock me over unless I dodged at the last minute.

We had a late dinner because Kim had to work in Idaho Falls and didn't get back until late.  Then she had to nurse Tyler, their 5 month old baby.  But it was a good meal and better than another day at Subway, although I like Subway generally, and the apartment was far superior to a tent.




Copyright Denis Kertz, 2008. All rights reserved.