6/14/12 Council to Riggins – 60 miles
I had a pretty miserable night camping because I was cold. Even after putting on what seemed like 5 layers of clothes, I couldn’t get warm. Even my feet were a little cold, despite my newly purchased heavy socks. I Trundled down to the public restroom and parked under the hot hand dryer until I began to feel human again. I determined that 2 consecutive nights camping were enough unless I just couldn’t find a room at the end of the day. At 6:30 am, the cafe opened and I was there, eager for the coffee. I ate a great omelet with all the fixings and felt “comforted.”
We headed out before 9 am towards New Meadows. All the Council locals warned us of the steep climb that came right out of town. The road was fairly narrow and there was quite a bit of traffic. There was a very steep climb, but it was probably no more than 5-6 miles and came at the beginning of the day, so at least your legs have a little juice at that point. The climb was followed by a long flat to slight decline for miles into New Meadows. Along the way, I passed a couple of women who were riding from VA to Or, having started in April. I took that as encouragement.
We all met at this wonderful coffee shop in New Meadows, and I had a wonderful cappachino and chocolate muffin for lunch. When I went out afer lunch, I discovered my second flat tire. Frank was still there and kindly offered to help me change the flat. He had had some flat tire issues the previous couple of days and I think felt sorry for me. I took off for Riggins.
The 30 mile ride to Riggins was stunning. Pretty much flat to downhill the whole way, and running alongside the rushing, gushing Salmon River. It reminded me a l lot of the Blue Ridge Parkway at home. The downside was that the roads were narrow and there was a lot of traffic. So, you had to be pretty vigilant.
A few miles before Riggins, I came upon car after car parked alongside the narrow road. Apparently, this is salmon season and the fisher people were out in full force. It was interesting to watch. The guys and I joined up again just before entering town. Frank had had another flat (something like 4 in 2 days) and was about to opt for a plane out of Missoula, or perhaps cry. Because of all the fishing whoopla, it became apparent that finding a room was going to be difficult, and even the guys were having trouble finding a spot to camp. I finally located the last room at this little motel because of a cancellation and snatched it up. The owner and his wife were extremely nice, and even gave me detergent to wash my clothes as well as complimentary soft drinks and homemade cookies. I noticed a really nice grassy area around the motel and asked the owner (Scott) if he would consider letting my friends set up their tents since they weren’t having much luck finding a campground. Scott was very gracious and agreed. Since the motel was across the street from the City Park, they would have access to the public restrooms. I called Frank to let him know and the guys rode down and were ecstatic with their designated grassy spot.
For dinner, I ordered orange chicken with fried rice, etc. from room service. The owners’ wife is Asian and personally cooked the meal. This is a very small operation, so when I say room service, it is really more like shouting down to the kitchen and someone brings you dinner for next to nothing. Randy ordered the same thing and came to watch the NBA playoff game with me while we ate. It was fun. Roger joined in for the last few minutes of the game, and to announce that he and Frank were convinced that had found the source of the repeated flats. so, Frank was encouraged and back in the game.
Tomorrow we are scheduled for one of the most steep and challenging rides to date. I am a little apprehensive, but so far my fears have been pretty much unfounded. You just take it one pedal stoke at a time, and it all seems to work out in the end.