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Day 65 - 72 Coast To Coast 1999 by Eric K. Andersen (click on images to see larger pictures)

Day 65  Missoula, MT  I walked around downtown Missoula and picked up something warm to wear since it's been very cool out.  I went to the movies in the afternoon and then again in the evening with Larry and Jason after they checked into the hostel.  The TT's did not make it to town yet. After the movie the sky was ablaze from the setting sun.  People gathered on the bridge downtown to watch it.  Below the bridge a beaver swam in the river. Total Miles: 0

Day 66 Missoula, MT July 4th  It was raining this morning.  After breakfast I had to decide what to do.  I could stay in town for another day but the hostel requires that you leave during the day and return in the evening.  I would have to spend the day out in the rain or go to yet another movie.  The fireworks were to be held in the parking lot of the shopping mall which is not what I had in mind for celebrating the 4th of July.  I decided that if I was going to be out in the rain I may as well be riding so I headed out into a steady downpour. The rain eased after a little while as I headed out of Lolo up towards Lolo pass. A deer welcomed me as I came into the hot springs area. I stopped for the night and camped at the Lolo Hot Springs campground.  The hot springs is a commercial operation where they fill a pool with the hot spring water and add chlorine.  No thanks. I had a good meal with a couple of beers and the waitress gave me a Kamikazee shot. The booze and altitude made me sleepy so I turned in early. I learned the next morning that while I slept the locals set off fireworks across the street. They barely woke me from my deep sleep.  Apparently they got so drunk they were shooting them at each other.  Total Miles: 36
Day 67 Lolo Hot Springs, MT A thin coat of ice covered my tent and bicycle this morning.  The sun was on the other side of the valley and I hurriedly broke camp to get to its warmth.  It was cold!  I had breakfast at the lodge on the sunny side and afterwards spent several minutes talking to a motorcyclist about the joys of two wheeled travel.  I saw a deer as I left town and headed up to Lolo Pass and into Idaho.  Once over the pass it was all downhill for the rest of the day and into the next. I stopped at the Lochsa lodge for a quick cinnamon roll and picked up food for the ride. There would not be another place to stop for 60 miles.  The road followed the Lochsa river curving with every bend.   A few logging trucks passed but since it was the holiday weekend there weren't as many as I'd been warned about. Small waterfalls cascaded from streams feeding the river and Swallowtail butterflies were everywhere sometimes bouncing of my helmet and chest. The river was full of rafters and kayakers enjoying the great weather and holiday weekend.  I expected Lowell to be crowded with weekenders, but it was quiet when I arrived.  I got a campsite for $5 at the only place in town and after a soak in the pool(!) and some conversation with a Dutch couple bicycling east, I settled in for the night. Just as I was packing up for the evening Larry rolled into camp with a big Chesire Cat grin on his face.  He had come all the way from Missoula. Over 125 miles.  Total Miles: 86
Day 68 Lowell, ID   After Larry and I had breakfast I headed out. Larry decided to take a rest day and wait for Jason to catch up. The road continued along the river which was now The Selway which met the Lochsa at Lowell.  I picked up a sandwich in Kooskia and after Harpster began what was the steepest climb on the trip so far. It was hot and the grade was 6% for at least 5 of the 10 mile climb.  After Grangeville the road climbed for another 5 miles before descending into the Salmon River valley near Whitebird where I spent the night. Whitebird was the site of a major Indian battle with the Nez Perce. I was told the temperature hit 96 today.    Total Miles: 66

Day 69 Whitebird, ID I was on the road by 6:30.  It was cool with a few clouds.  It seemed that every road in Idaho followed a river and this morning it was The Salmon. I came into the major whitewater rafting town of Riggins and had breakfast. The river became the Little Salmon and I followed it up to New Meadows.  It was about 5pm but I decided to head to Council for the night.  After some ice cream I headed up for about 7 miles before descending down another 19.  I made it town around 7pm and and went for pizza and as I was waiting for my food I started to feel ill.  I ate the pie and went back to my motel room were I promptly became sick. I could not figure out what I ate that made me ill.  I think it must have been something I had for lunch. Total Miles: 89

Day 70 Council, ID  I spent the day sleeping and recovering in bed.  I didn't get up until 6pm when I felt a little better.  I walked into town and got a milk shake. I went back to my room and slept some more. Total Miles: 0

Day 71 Council, ID I felt better this morning but not 100%.  I ate breakfast and pedaled the 22 miles to Cambridge. I rested for a while and ate a snack.  I figured I could make it over the pass to the Gateway Lodge for lunch. When I got there all that remained was a pile of burnt wood, a couple of motel rooms and a mobile home.  There were two nice chairs under a big tree so I sat in the shade and checked my map.  The next food and water was 22 miles away through the heat of Hell's Canyon. The owner of the former lodge came out of the trailer and told me the story about the fire. He told me about a campground up ahead where I could get water. He didn't offer me any. He must have used all his up putting out the fire. The Snake river is dammed several times forming reservoirs.  Along the side of the river overweight, sunburned fisherman drank beers from ice filled coolers and fried in the hot sun. I passed a rider going east who was towing the same bicycleR evolution trailer.  We spoke for a while and posed for pictures.  I asked about what was up ahead. "Not too much" he said. I made it to Pine Creek, Oregon and drank and ate and drank and ate and drank and drank. I continued on to Halfway for the night. Considering my state of health and the heat I did pretty well today.  Halfway is considering changing its name to as a promotion for the web site and to draw tourists. (Since I wrote this they have done so.) Total Miles: 79
Day 72 Halfway, OR The road to Richland was dominated by a long climb and then an equally long downhill. I walked much of the climb as the temperatures climbed with me.  Eastern Oregon is primarily desert with few places to hide from the sun. It was 95 degrees in the shade when I got to the Triple M Ranch.  A building with a big sign that said "Cold Pop" welcomed me. I had a couple of sodas and some ice cream that the rancher sells to people who stop by.  I don't know what I would have done without him.  We talked for a while but I could barely understand what he was saying since he sounded like he had marbles in his mouth.  "Lots of wild life up thern a jut row sis sheep, deer and fooher" is what it sounded like. I headed back out into the hot sun and before I got to the top of the next ridge I finished up the cool water in my Camelback.  I had been pouring the hot water from my water bottles on my head all day and there was not much left.  Besides, the hot water was barely drinkable. Finally I made it to the top and then coasted the 8 miles into Baker City.  On the outskirts of town I rolled into a campground and quenched my thirst with a large drink from the soda fountain. I rested for a while before heading into town for dinner. I found a motel with a pool and took a dip before having a slice of pie in the cafe.  Total Miles: 55


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