For more detailed maps, scroll down through the blog. Click on any one to enlarge it; use the backspace button to return to the blog. That goes for the photos, too.
Day 66: Wednesday, 5th September. Destination: Big Iron Motel, Riggins, Idaho
I started the day from Grangeville with a puncture, but after that a spectacular descent - a little over 2,500ft - straight down endless switchbacks to the Salmon River Valley. White Bird Hill should be called Bald Mountain: there are no trees on it, so you can see the road before you, unwinding endlessly and mostly without safety barriers. Thrilling might be the word; or scary.
On leaving White Bird (a small place at the bottom of the hill) after an early lunch I met another coast-to-coaster, Erin Roden (26), who's cycling from New York, NY to Newport, Oregon. Actually, she started off walking across America back in February but after developing a stress fracture in March and 2.5 months recuperation she set off again on the Appalachian Trail but on reaching Damascus, Virginia (in June) decided to continue by bike. Phew! Plus, she's carrying a tent and all kinds of stuff: kinda puts me to shame… but, anyway, there's the possibility of a bike buddy for the next few days. That'd be nice. However, she's taking it at a pretty gradual pace (around 40 miles per day, right now) and camping, so our route stages don't quite mesh. She headed off and I had another puncture. To make up for that frustration, I stopped for a delicious slice of 5-berry pie with ice-cream a little later down the dry, dusty valley, and fixed the puncture in my spare inner tube using a spare dessert bowl filled with water to detect the hole.
Passed Erin as she stopped to buy some cherries at a roadside stall, just before arriving at the Big Iron motel in Riggins for the night. This must be just about my No.1 favourite motel so far: welcomed with an ice-cool beer, given a cyclists' discount and a delicious bowl of Indonesian vegetable soup (home made), plus a whole shelf of VCRs to borrow. Thank you, Scott & Rose! I picked 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', but didn't get round to watching it, alas. Instead I wandered through town as dusk fell (looking out for those vampires), passed parked logging trucks, deer grazing in front gardens, and cheery neon signs for motels and diners, all against the backdrop of the high, steep, and treeless valley.
I've updated my blog. There are 3 reasons why: 1) so it reads from start to finish rather than the other way round; 2) so I can include some episodes that never made it to the original; and 3) to add some photos. A consequence of this is that the blog archive below reads as if all blogs were produced in June 2010. It's just the way Blogger works. The original dates are incorporated in the individual blog titles.
If you want to use the tags at the bottom of each blog, remember to click 'Older Post' when you want to go to the next, newer, one.
The detailed maps also work as chapter headings: they correspond to each of the 12 cycle maps I needed to get from coast to coast.
This Summer, I'm cycling across North America from Bar Harbor, Maine to Florence, Oregon. 4,300 miles, give or take a few. The first three weeks of my trip I'll be accompanied by my friends Edward & Ewa, and the rest will be solo. None of us are fitness freaks, but we do like the outdoors and looking at nice views. We've been in training since last November, and hopefully will be in reasonable shape come our start date, July 2nd.
I'm doing it simply for the adventure, but if you're interested, I'm also going to be raising money for the charity Architects For Aid. They do great work, and you can find out more about them by clicking the link at the top of this page. There's a link to my sponsorship page below.
I'll be updating this weblog regularly, so come back soon, John.
My Favourites List
TV Commercial: "Obsessing over celebrity is wrong..." Yup, the prize for best TV ad - and this will come as no surprise to Edward & Ewa - goes to Wendy's Baconator. Watch it here, if you dare (click on the black & white image of a guy screaming...)
Breakfast: Again, no surprises for E&E - a tie between oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar & maple syrup, and two eggs (scrambled) with hashbrowns and white toast.
State: Tough call, but the M's have it, in a tie between Minnesota and Montana.
The Internal Jukebox
I decided not to take my MP3 Player with me. Too heavy, and I wanted to listen to crickets and birds. But nature abhors a vaccuum so during this trip, from time to time, I've found myself singing or humming an assortment of tunes. In a roughly chronological order, here's the ones I remember:
Heard It On The X - ZZ Top
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Acony Bell - Gillian Welch
11:11 - Rufus Wainwright
I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles
The Carpet Crawl - Genesis
Don't Bring Me Down - ELO
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go - Bob Dylan
That Kind Of Love - Alison Krauss
Fun For Me - Moloko
Work It - Missy Elliott
Mississippi Delta - Bobby Gentry
Where The Lazy River Goes By - Teddy Wilson
I'm Gonna Love You Too - Blondie
Tie A Yellow Ribbon - Tony & Dawn
Big Sky - Kate Bush
Walking On The Moon - The Police
Old MacDonald Had A Creek / The Hokey Cokey (Medley)
Everyday America - Sugarland
Walk This Way - Aerosmith
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
The End - The Beatles
I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself - White Stripes
and , of course,
(I've Got A) Sore Butt (& My Butt Is Sore)