Its ok!!!! We don't have to sing again!!
Not the best night sleep I am sorry to say! I try so hard to keep things on a positive note, but last night was a trial! Since we checked in to our sweet little motel . . .did I mention they greeted us with a beer and homemade cookies?? Both got Mike's attention! Really wonderful host and accomodation, but there was a group of individuals just a few doors down that set the world's record for sitting outside and talking about nothing for 36 straight hours!! The weren't doing anything wrong, but they weren't doing anything right either, especially as it grew to be 11:00pm. At our request, the manager did ask them . . . Well i don't know exactly what he asked or told them because it made no difference! When they did finally fall asleep drunk(oops, did I say that??) I was pretty wound up! As the night progressed I tried to rise above it, focus on something else and be more forgiving and tolerant recalling all the times I probably disturbed someone's slumber by unwittingly (in a drunken stupor) found the most interesting things to talk about at the top of my voice!! I am sure we have all experienced it! I could go on and analyze my thoughts, but really who cares! Finally I drifted off to sleep and found the alarm singing to me entirely too early in the morning!
Once awake we could see blue sky and NO RAIN!! How could anyone be less than enthusiastic with that beautiful sight and inviting start to the day, especially since we managed to successfully hide out from the downpour for a whole day! We packed up and were on our way! Oh and i had a coffe pot that made good coffee right in my room!
The morning was crisp, peaceful and exhilarating! One thing I must mention and go back and correct on my photos, in Riggins, we were only on the Little Salmon River, not the big kahuna The SALMON River! Our friendly local river outfitter that we met last night at the local watering hole corrected me on that fact. Advised us it was just up ahead where The Little Salmon flowed into The Salmon River and now it was a HUGE river! In the still of the morning it was stunning and impressive! We jumped into, or I should say back into the Pacific Time zone, the time zone boundaries seem to zigzag all over the place, as we crossed The Salmon River. This river is one of the few remaining rivers in the US to run freely and uninterrupted!! So much volume! As we progressed along the route, the shores were dotted with fishermen and nature lovers stopping to admire and enjoy, all before the sun rose above the hills!!
The road was easy and downhill mostly until we reached the little town of WhiteBird. We thought we would probably stop here for the night when we left this morning. Even tho it wasn't far down the road, we thought if we stopped here then we could get up early and start fresh up the dreadful White Bird Hill and the almost 3,000 elevation gain we had been dreading to take us up and over 4,200 ft!
As it worked out, with our early start, we arrived in White Bird by 9:00am!!!!! So of course we knew we had to push on, we would get up that climb no matter how long it took us, we had all day. I for one had been dreading it, it looked awful on the map!
Once again, the topo map fooled us! It does indicate the general elevation gain, but no way does it detail or advise that it is going to be such a beautiful, peaceful climb!! To me it was the best one to date! So many switchbacks! that is what really had me worried because my experience with switchbacks is the extra effort it takes to get out of the trough sometimes and work your way up and around, doubling back on that switchback! Let me start by saying that in well over 3 hours and maybe 20 miles, we saw 2 cars and 2 motorcycles!! We were able to use the whole road so in the switchbacks we stayed high and it was a breeze (sort of!). Seriously if I could have all of my passes work out like this, i would be one happy biker chick!
We did have the pleasure of having a conversation with 2 of the 2 vehicles that passed us and one of the motorcycles! the first truck was a local resident, clearing the road for the bike race tomorrow! 60-70 bikers would be participating in a climbing race to the top!! He suggested if we wanted to, we could ride back down to White Bird, spend the night and have a free meal and join the racers tomorrow! Hmm . . Tough to resist! . . .NOT . . but thank you for the offer, once up this hill is enough for us! The second truck, much the same advice! The motorcycle was a guy from Boise riding to the Canadian border just for fun! Nice enough and we shared road experiences and what we knew about the pass ahead! One more surprise for us as we neared the intersection of the new Hwy 95, thanks to the race tomorrow we had brand new, unused port-a-pottys waiting for us!! Isn't it amazing the thrill that comes from the simplist things!!!
Did I mention the scenery??? OMG!! I just don't think the photos can possibly do justice to the "spacious skies" and endless rolling hills! As we layered back on those switchbacks, the views widened and were more expansive, more green and just more extraordinary!! When the free range cattle started to get up close and personal as they wandered without concern any where they chose, i had feelings of Heidi as she climbed to her Grandfather's cabin, or even Julie Andrews! It made me want to burst out in song again!
We did have to join the new Hwy 95 for a brief mile, so glad we did not have to struggle up it the whole way, it may have been shorter but the grade was uglier, the traffic way heavier and we were so grateful for the route we had taken! Once we left new Hwy 95, we found still a few more miles of climbing and finally were relieved to see the old lodge at the top! A brief rest as we munched on a chilled grapefruit, "sweatered up" before we started the descent into Grangeville.
We proceeded to drop down from altitude like a rock from the sky! We dropped right down and then we saw a glimpse of the high altitude prairie we were dropping into, Grangeville is still about 3,000 ft elevation! What a contrast to what we had just climbed up from! We descended at a rapid rate, just felt like we were in bear country and half expected to find one in the road as we rounded those tight curves! But we were ok nothing out there! It was FREEZING!! 57 degrees flying downhill. don't know why it effected me like it did, but I could not wait to get down to the bottoms where hopefully the sun would be warmer! I was freezing!!
We had not arranged a place for the evening, so as we got into Grangeville we had to do a little searching. We passed a nice RV Park just on the way into town, but it would have been a bit isolating because we were too far out of town and wanted to check out the Friday night life in Grangeville! There is a Lions Park where you can camp for free! We searched it out! One of the rangers saw us coming into town and came looking for us to help us out! Yes we could shower at the city pool, but oops, it doesn't open until tomorrow!! No electricity, unless we pitched our tent just at the door to the ladies room!! Didn't feel as if we could settle into camp and then leave everything to go into town, and it was only 2:30, didn't really fancy just hanging out in the park for the rest of the afternoon so we tried other options.
We called another Mobile Home and Rv Park for accomodation. Tina was very sweet in juggling things around to make sure we could have a spot!
So that is where i will leave you for today! We are weary, well fed, camping next to the sound of moving water, safe, warm and dry! And blessed . . .did I mention Blessed? We have been able to do and see and enjoy this wonderful trip because we are so blessed to be given the opportunity! I never lose sight of that for one second!
Good night everyone! Enjoy the photos and be kind to one another!!