What a freakin' amazing day! I went to bed not feeling so hot, had a horrible night of not sleep! Sore throat, couldn't breathe! Yuck! Finally dozed off at least long enough for the alarm to wake me up! Quick pack up and breakfast and we were off! Our goal is to get across the 66 miles of no services, but we have an escape plan in the event the climb is tough and we bail!
The road could not have been more beautiful!!! We were on the Lochsa River for the night and we followed that mighty river for 67 miles!! It was spectacular! Perfect temperature, and when it did get hot we could count on the rushing river to throw up some cool air for us! We had this beautiful view all day long! Maybe for a little bit the river flowed behind a stand of trees, but never out of ear shot! If we couldn't see it rushing we could hear it!
To me, it was something so beautiful to focus on, the road and the ride were second nature!
We should have figured it out, but I guess you have to get serveral miles under your belt to put 2 and 2 together. We gained elevation all day but almost toatally unaware of it, that is how steady and gradual elevation gain was as! Mike put it like this "we are flirting with the elevation gain"! We go up some and then down just a bit then back up! Since this is such a popular white water rafting river it makes sense that there is only a gentle drop to the river which means our climb up would be gentle as well! And it was! Basically today was the approach to our next pass, Lolo Pass 5,200 ft. We started out at 1600 feet this morning and when we finished for the day we had gained almst 2000 ft! It was over 68 miles, no wonder it was barely noticeable!
The lodge of last night was also a big white water rafting headquarters and we knew the Air Force boys were waiting to take their turn down the river today! The bus load of anxious floaters as well as their rafts finally passed us headed up to where ever they put in and started the float! We saw some pretty impressive rapids out there!! The anticipation of seeing them come around a bend kept us occupied most of the day as well! Finally we saw them in addition to a few single kayaks and what looked to be a guide in training! I saw them and was ready with my camera! Wild stuff! I was happy to be the onlooker. Been there, done that!
About half way to our destination we found a great spot for some lunch, we were doing really well and felt confident this was going to be a great day and we would get to our destination of Powell, Idaho.
We ran into the French couple that we met briefly last night at Lowell. We didn't chat much last night, they were still riding up to the next USFS campground! Today we had a chance to be more friendly and they were lovely! We Americans (and I mean us!) are so over prepared compared to Eruorpeans! No water for them, we probably have 5 liters on us! Sandals are their foot covering of choice, no clip but stirrups on their pedals and of course just shorts, none of these padded cycle shorts! I would guess they are older than us too! They don't even have the Adventure Cycling maps, don't know exactly what they had but it looked like a photocopy of someone's local map! We were headed to the same place so promised to catch up at camp! they had no problem keeping up with us, we thought we left them in the dust but when we stopped for water . . .there they were! If Marie is lucky, she might weight 80 pounds soaking wet! That doesn't hold her back!!!
I guess we had about 20 miles left and were getting quite hot and tired! No problem! The thunder boomers were floating around over head and covered up the sun for us, the river was still sending us cool air and it was just what we needed!
We kept pedaling, we were working on the distance being 66 miles before we found our camping spot and when we finally reached 66 miles, no lodge in sight! Good thing it had cooled down! We kept at it, our new French friends passed us by and before you know it we saw the sign for The Lochsa Lodge! It was just starting to sprinkle so we headed down the drive! We were greeted by a great guy almost waiting for us! Directed us to where we could put our tents! It was free! Yes we can let you plug in! Yes, we have a restaurant!, Hot showers! We have it all! So fantastic! The Dutch couple we met in Kooskia was here and already set up! We barely had our tent out of the bags and 4 more "kids" show up riding from Jackson Hole to San Francisco! So we have quite a little community going! Adults in the bar ,kids all in one tent out there somewhere!
I wan't sure I would get to update today! Just barely, no phone service here and we have to sit in the bar to connect to the WiFi, don't you hate that??
I am not feeling 100% yet, so I think I have some serious sleep to make up for! Tomorrow we should finish up with Lolo Pass about 5,200 feet then Missoula! Onto our third state Montana! We have passed the 1000 mile mark! Hard to believe! Still having fun!