Category Archives: family

July 16

Today started out okay. We got to Moe’s bike shop in north bend not long after it opened. The store is located right after you come across the bicyclist’s bridge from hell.

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Alan Moe himself helped us and didn’t charge us anything! We didn’t really have a problem but the tire was under inflated and the tire rim was under the wheel rim in a small section which made it go bump slightly in every rotation. He inflated us and we left with big smiles.

We then went to the coffee shack. There are drive in coffee boxes everywhere. Next we went to a thrift store. I got a brand new bathing suit for 3.50 and Noah got a high school jacket for the same price!

Outside the store we met the local weatherman who told us there would be no wind. That was not the case! It slowly increased and became what felt like thirty miles in our face. We’d be climbing up the hill and look at the long grass on the side of the road and it would be bent to 45 degrees!

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There are old old cars on the road a lot up here. It doesn’t make sense since we are on the salt water coast which is bad for cars.

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In this area you see oyster shells everywhere. In some places more than others.

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We biked the wrong way for about twelve miles. It was a dead end road without the dead end sign. It was beautiful however and we had lunch there.

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While we were here being lost without knowing we were lost we meet four women my age from Salt Lake City. No kidding.

At the dead end we bike back almost to Charleston where Hwy 101 disappears.

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From there we take the one and only way from Charleston to Bandon which is

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And it’s every bit that. The seven refers to these crazy steep grade hills. It’s only twelve miles but it was almost impossible. The wind was way strong in our faces and as we climbed higher and higher it got quieter and weirder. At one point we heard this strange very loud repetitive yowl which I assumed was an animal but I am not sure as we never saw the source. Roads that were driveways looked third world.

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Half way through it started to rain. We were freezing with that and the wind. It was also beautiful and serenely soundless.

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Beautiful but still strange

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The long and short of it all is that at the end of only 36 miles we were exhausted beyond going further much less the next 28 miles to the campsite. We secured a tent site in an RV park but it was too wet and freezing to stay. We couldn’t go to sleep at five. The lady there understood and refunded us our ten dollars.

We then went to an odd cheap hotel run by a really nice Iranianan man who used to love in Oakland. It has a funny middle eastern touch in the room decor. It is warm! After we warmed up a bit we walked to the grocery store. After you bike all day every day, walking is a strange slow luxury. I got a progressive vegetable soup and heated it in the microwave. It was wonderful.

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July 10 continued

Josh moved to Utah for the skiing but when he is not working or hanging with his wife ( who goes to Utah U for 5k yearly) he is running swimming and biking. He takes five hour bike rides after work, putting on the headlights at nine and pulling into home at eleven. Why? Because he is training for a ride in Utah that is 14,000 feet of climbing (up & down & up & down) in 88 miles ! It gets even more insane… Are you ready? He does it on a ONE speed! No gears.

He claims he is nice to us because so many have been nice to him. He just finished riding the continental divide and said lots of strangers helped him so he is paying it forward. After him, I got a lot to pay forward.

We ride from kimball junction which is where the hotel and first food is after the summit into Park City which is where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held. Beautiful farmland coming in.

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It becomes quickly apparent that this is an extremely wealthy place. High end everything especially restaurants and galleries.

This next photo pretty much sums it up.

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They framed a Banksy!! I love the little iron posts on either side. A Banksy depicting an idiot uprooting (killing) the beauty of nature to document it. The whole thing was so crazy Noah and I got a big kick put of it.

For those of you who don’t know, Banksy is THE most counter culture of all street artists. He is so wild and righteous in his way that no one even knows who he is and he’s never been photographed. Smile.

So we get our bikes boxed in Park City
and Josh takes us to the greyhound bus station where I have bought tickets online for the midnight bus to Portland. We hug him goodbye and wait in line within the atmosphere of poverty where folks have way more time than money.

When I get to the counter, the nice bus lady has no record of me buying these tickets. There is no room on the bus tonight or tomorrow. It is eleven at night. We have our boxed bikes and our panniers.

More later. Gotta go to dinner now.

July 10

We were done with the Rocky Mts and we weren’t even through the preliminary Wasatch Mts.
We went down the hill into town and booked into the first hotel we saw. There were no campgrounds until Jordanelle 14 miles away. Josh called and offered us his place to stay but we’d already committed to best western. He said there’s a rule to never quit or make big trip decisions at the end of the day. We were not following that rule.

Clearly we’d never make Denver in two weeks and the heat was unbearable. We decided to go back to Salt Lake City and then go to Portland and bike down Hwy One for a cooler easier route. We were through with the bristley desert and longing for a cool ocean breeze.

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We did not want to bike it back. To get ourselves with our bikes back was very problematic. All sorts of people shuttles buses and taxis wanted to charge us $125. Also we had to get our bikes boxed to ship to Portland and one can’t walk around with two panniers and a boxed bike. Josh offered to take us to Salt Lake City in the evening which was amazing since he already had to drive there in the morning for work at 7:00 and then came home at 5:30 and was willing to take us again at seven at night. Unreal kindness, right?

Here’s a little about Josh. First of all I wish I had a photo of him but I don’t. He was about 28 I’m guessing and nice looking. Bright lively eyes. Quick smile. Small nose. He was born in Pennsylvania, didn’t like his home life and begged to go to a ski academy boarding school. That’s how he left home at 14. He became an engineer and is doing well for himself “sleeping at seven thousand feet” as he puts it.

Ok. This day isn’t done but I am not sure how to save it so I’ll publish it and continue later. I am trying to get caught up.

July 9

Tired, after little sleep, we are not in great moods putting together the bikes. It is sweat hot by 9am. We started early on bike mechanics and tent round up but we don’t have the bikes together until about 9:30 and we don’t have them together well at all, especially mine. Seems when I boxed it up in Oakland, I left out a half inch ring on the neck.

We get them in rideable shape and get to the bike shop (Contenders) in SLC which Brett our bike man in Berkeley from Mikes Bikes has recommended. It takes us forever to get to them because the addresses in SLC are confusing and mapquest leads us wrong. 500 E W can be 5 E W or fifth.
People drop zeros and its all urban sprawl desert style. We go through good neighborhoods with old mansion homes and poorer neighborhoods. It can change from one to another in a block. After calling the Contender guys no less than three times, we finally get there. It is at the intersection of Ninth and 9th. We drop the bikes off and go across the street for breakfast. It is a cool neighborhood and we like it but there is no breakfast, only a cafe. I tank up on coffee after my fashion and especially after no sleep and Noah gets a drink and a big muffin.

At Contenders a guy named Ryan is super cool and completely knows everything there is to know about the routes around here. We want to go to Jordanelle State Park but we do not want to do interstate 80. Many people say you have to do 80. Ryan takes lots of time with us and explains all the back roads, twists and turns through emigrant canyon and such leaving only a tiny bit of 80 at the end.

We are FINALLY on our way and its 11:30 and a hundred degrees.

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We climb from 4,400 feet to 7,000 and we are fine but starting to run out of water. We were going to buy groceries before we headed out but Ryan told us there was food 15 miles out so we didn’t. We reached the first summit

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And we were doing OK. The spider bikers which is what I call the speed demons in tight colorful clothing with big mirrored glasses are flying past us. One of them going the other way yelled to us, “You guys are AWESOME!” That was nice. We met one at the summit and he took a photo of us.

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After the up came the down and as fun as that is you know you are just going to have to climb up it again.

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Flying down to the reservoir, we had to climb up again to a little more than seven thousand again. We were not physically wasted in terms of exhaustion but we were out of water and had been sweating constantly. The climb was not steep but steady for hours and with all our self-supporting gear we were really slow.

We knew we were almost to the food and water Ryan mentioned when Noah’s legs started to cramp uncontrollably. He was in horrible pain and felt like he was going to die, like he had to go to the hospital. I knew cramps pass but still. Then I started to cramp as well but not as bad or as often. I was however cold with goosebumps even though it was a hundred Fahrenheit. We had to walk the bikes the last mile to the second summit.

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By the time we got to the summit, there was a gas station and the cafe was closed but a few miles downhill, the gas station man assured me three times when I asked three times “Downhill? ALL downhill?” there were “too many places to eat” he said.
,

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We hung out at the gas station for an hour with Noah’s legs cramping and drinking water and apple juice and salted peanuts. I know it sounds crazy that we started with so little food but we had had a huge dinner the night before and thought we’d have food ten miles into the ride. We passed up that cafe thinking we’d eat at the summit where there was a Whole Foods. We didn’t know the summit was going to take forever. We climbed four thousand feet in five hours but only did around twenty five miles.

Noah’s legs stopped cramping and we got on the bikes to go downhill. We went downhill but then there was a little uphill and cramps started and we got off to walk. That’s when we met Josh. He stopped his car and asked if we were OK. No, we weren’t OK we said and explained our situation. He assured us that YES there was food and yes it was downhill. We exchanged phone numbers and he said he’d check in with us after his run.

We went downhill and found a hotel and checked in, fifteen miles short of our Jordanelle campground goal.

July 8th

We arrive in Salt Lake City around noon and figure we will go to the train station and pick up our bikes, take them out of the boxes, put them back together and then bike around town to the bike store and make sure we are OK with the mechanics before we start out.

Wrong. The train station is only open from 10pm to 5 am. Really. So we take the light rail (subway above ground) to the KOA and set up our tent and put our packed panniers in the tent and head into town (again on the light rail). The great thing about this light rail is that it just opened in April. Imagine riding on a subway that is three months old! It is so clean! And a large part of the downtown route is FREE! It’s $2.50 to come in from the airport but it is on the honor system. No one checks for your ticket. Wow. That said, this train is the best thing about this city.

There is ONE thing to do in SLC and that is

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Temple Square and it’s a square block. It’s 100 degrees here and the men are in white shirts with ties and black pants. Many men are dressed liked this. These Mormons don’t drink alcohol or coffee and don’t believe that dinosaurs ever existed. They think the dinosaur “issue” is a test from God and I’ll just leave it at that.

Everyone here is friendly and things are much cheaper than the Bay Area. The truth is you can go to university of Utah as a resident for 5,000 a year!! Gap products in the Bay Area that are always $20.00 (an item I buy every year) is $12.00 here. People are upset with the high price parking lots that charge $3.00 a day. (Not $2.00 an hour like Oakland) The seats on the light rail all face each other.

Family is big and shopping centers are very family friendly. In the food court, there is a large area of giant plastic animals on bouncy flooring for kids to climb all over. Outside there is a large square where water shoots up randomly and kids go screaming around and across it getting gratefully soaked in the way too hot weather.

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Anyhow, we killed a day in SLC and then got someone from the KOA to take us to the sketchy Amtrak neighborhood and we got our bikes. The night patrol at KOA told us they’d been having big problems with bike thieves and to keep our bikes in our RV. Right.

So we put the bike boxes and our gorgeous Ortlieb bags in the tent and slept outside the tent. Only problem with that was the bugs and the hot weather. Being in the bag was too hot but being out of it, we got eaten alive. So we got not much sleep.

Oh, I forgot to say that we ate dinner at this cool restaurant called “Diamond Lil’s” in a semi sketch hood which was in a super original pioneer old west days building which had so much cool stuff in it

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July 6,Randolph UT to Evanston Wyoming

We set off from Randolph about ten with only thirty five miles to go to Evanston where we were to meet Kaline and her son Santi who were going to take Sa home with them.
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We stopped at a small “country store” as they are called here. They are as close as you can come to a grocery store and we bought yogurts and bananas for breakfast.
We weren’t going fishing but I couldn’t help but to photograph the worms for sale in the fridg as I’d seen it a lot.


In the back rooms of these country stores are hairdressers. Ladies come from as far as fifty miles away to have their hair done.
Around here, gun control means using both hands and men enjoy having lawn mower races and kids have names like “Gunner” and “Pixie”.
While eating outside in the shadow of a country store we saw a black bear go by in the back of a blue pick up truck!

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We crossed over into Wyoming….
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and made it to Evanston still early in the day.
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Here’s where it starts getting sad. This day is the last day of the long ride which totaled 985 miles which is almost a third of the country but not the entire thing.
When I was 21, quite a while ago, I bicycled from San Francisco to Washington, DC. I have done this once and have no great need to prove myself. Maybe any proving to myself I had to do, I’ve done from Oregon to Wyoming. I feel younger and more capable than ever physically and very cleared out mentally.
The highest part of the trip clearly was doing it with Sarita (and Noah when he was with us.) We were more like comrades on an adventure that constantly needed readjusting rather than a parent with children.
I want to continue but really there is no point in doing it alone, especially not with the unusually high temperatures and wind and fires.
The last couple nights I have been open to dreams for guidance and twice I dreamt about yoga and once I dreamt about putting an engine on a bike.
As if that wasn’t enough we met firefighters at breakfast. They were huge and rough. They were recruited from the west coast of Oregon to fight the fires in Colorado and Wyoming. Their descriptions of these situations was brutal. We met firman at lunch as well. They were helicopter fireman and said that firemen were being recruited from all over the country to fight these western flames. I can’t see riding through all that around me alone. In the morning, the firefighters short circuited the electricity by using the microwave, toaster and waffle iron all simultaneously. I thought that was kind of funny.
So with a saddened grateful and accepting heart, Sa and I went to the thrift store and got new old overalls and changed into them.
This is us in the dressing room (no camera here but ours).
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In our new outfits we got boxes from the thrift store and boxed up our bike clothes and helmets and everything else except for our toothbrushes and soap and sent it all back home as Kaline doesn’t have much room in her car. We hope she will have room for me too if I don’t have a lot of stuff.
Then we got the cheapest room in town and headed out for the rodeo!!!
Wow! For us it was a phenomenal experience as we’d never been to one before!
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Whatever you think of a rodeo, think again. It’s totally a family affair with kids as young as eight riding horses and roping calves. Girls too! Here’s a quick candid shot of one of my favorites.
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Most of the families out here seem to have four kids and there’s lots of blue eyed blonds. When the rodeo announcer would call the name of the contestant and the town they were from, we often had ridden through the town.
I now know why there are all those beautiful horses I saw in the pastures.The rodeo was like a different culture in another country. There
are even college rodeo scholarships in this other country.
The cowboy fashion was fantastic. Big cowboy hats on the tiniest boys and all the girls in pearl covered snap button blouses, fantastic belts and embroidered boots; jeans with rhinestone stitched pockets. I wanted to photograph the crowd as much as I wanted to photograph the horses but doing either was hard due to the angle of the setting sun from where we were sitting in the red section (cheaper) stands. We were sitting next to 2 kids who were with both sets of grandparents.
Once or twice when the announcer would call a name and a town he’d say “well now, that fella must a changed zip codes because that family name belongs in such and such a town”
We saw the intense events (which is what the ambulance is on hand for) like the bucking horses and bulls. That stuff is about exciting as pure power gets and when those guys fall off it seems like just plain luck that they aren’t trampled. We saw one guy get a little trampled but he amazingly got up and wobbled off on his own.
There are less frightening events like roping cattle and running the horses around barrels (which was one of the events the little process in pink did) and best of all: trick riding.
An event Sarita and I laughed our heads off watching was the “chicken catchers” for kids five and under. They lined up all the kids and then they simultaneously let three chickens and all the kids (about thirty) go at once. The chickens ran and darted around and the kids fell all over each other trying to catch them which they eventually did but not easily. It was hysterical.


The tremendous belonging and success of family and community is profoundly felt out here. Even with the bus loads of Christian field trip kids, you get the sense that these kids have something to do and something that holds them in place.
I am not advocating organized religion or oppressive conservative politics or anything. I’m just saying I think people do benefit from belonging. Here in Evanston this morning we saw a parade of sorts. At first I thought it was an old car parade.
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It was a parade of “Red Devils” the mascot for the high school and the cars were from all the graduating classes and there were a lot of people of all ages in the parade.
At the rodeo when we were locking the bikes they were playing the National Anthem and I thought, “oh no… I guess we’ll have to put our hands over our hearts or who knows what might happen”.
Looking up from locking the bikes I was amazed by the hugeness of the symbolism. Handsome young men and women on heroic horses prancing around with large Flags complete with a lady in the announcer’s box singing the lyrics in a forceful yet elegant voice. It surprised me so much it brought tears to my eyes.
If only I could understand and believe in this “freedom” these conservative politicians talk about. Is this ┬áthe right to kill Trevon Martin in Florida or what? What about the 500 times (or however many more than any other country) people we have in jail?? Is this freedom?
Well, it’s complicated I guess. Like this cafe where we have been hanging waiting for Kaline to pick us up.
The husband of the woman who runs the cafe is this guy
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His brochure is written like someone running for a position in junior high school student government. He is running for senator of the state of Wyoming. Quoted here is the back of the tri-folded folder.
“Pro life. Pro family. Pro liberty.
Pro 1st amendment , 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th and some of the rest.” And the front; “Conscience, constitution and common sense”
The sign in his wife’s cafe however says this
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I’ll take one of those too.

To go!

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July 5, Montpelier Idaho to Randolph Utah

We woke up to light rain and that was a huge relief. The mega heat wave at this altitude was really taking it out of me. If I never see another “Power Bar” that will be alright for me. On the road like this, you have to resort to them to keep going.
We had a wonderful first ten miles into Paris Idaho.
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We ate breakfast at the Paris Grill. The place was mostly empty and we talked with our waitress for quite a while. She explained life in small towns here to us. Basically, everyone is related to everyone. At her annual family reunion, there are literally hundreds of people. Her father was one of thirteen kids. There were 16 kids in her graduating class and most of them were related.
Perhaps this explains the large faded billboard in town which declares “Get the US out of the United Nations now! – John Birch Society”
Maybe we can blame this mentality on the fact that they haven’t discovered dating outside the family yet?
Most of the people here can trace their families back to the founders! The people came and they stayed. We see covered wagon remains everywhere proudly displayed in front yards. We are traveling on the Oregon/California Trail. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for these people. They had to drill for water and had lots and lots of jugs (not plastic) of water all along the sides of the wagons. I’m talking now about the wagons being pulled by two oxen. Some families pushed their own carts and the folks that made it, did so by eating each other. ­čśŽ

Our waitress was just out of high school and shared with us the dress code here in public school. Shorts must end below the knee (like capris) skirts must reach the knee and shirts may reveal no more than four fingers below the collar bone. In the picture she took of me and Sa in her cafe, my shirt is zipped down too far. For this I would be sent home from school.

From Paris, we had our pleasantest day yet as the turf was flat and small towns with something open every ten miles.

We stopped at a small store which sold semi antiques and we got six mechanical pencils that work from the 1940s! They are so cool. The store was in the original jailhouse from 1888. (that’s the silly jailhouse picture).
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Riding was a peice of cake as by then the rain had stopped and it was blessedly overcast.
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The above picture is a tabernacle built in 1888 (completely put of place if you ask me) by the Mormons or the Church of Jesus and the Latter Day Saints (can’t tell between the two even though the difference has been explained to me.)
Either way, both groups eat “fry sauce” which is put on everything fried, which is everything. It is a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup. Saves time I guess to have it pre-mixed.
The reason why there were so many active towns on the ride today is because we were riding beside the beautiful Bear Lake and it’s turquoise water.
Along the side of that lake we changed states.

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Thirty miles put us in Garden City where we stopped for a Mexican lunch ($10 covered both of us) as it was starting to rain more. We researched hotels as thunderstorms were predicted and we didn’t want to set up the tent in that. One thing money will buy is shelter from the storm, provided there is a hotel, which there wasn’t in Laketown the south end of the lake where we were going to camp. Researching in the Mexican place on the iPhone we found a family hotel thirty more miles away. When we first called them, they said it was fifty miles away. I was talking to one woman on the phone who was conferring with another woman and a man in the background who she was ignoring.
On Mapquest it said their hotel was thirty mules away so we went for it. By then it was pouring which I preferred to the sweltering heat and sun but Sa didn’t.
We found out that what the man was saying in the background was that there is a mountain between their town of Randolph and the mexican restaurant town, Garden City.
The climb was so hard that it was the only mountain where I considered walking my bike. Locals say they think the summit is 10,000 ( from the 6,500 at the lake). There was NO SIGN! At the summit so I can’t say if they are right but it was the most never ending climb we did. (Again I say, thank god in the rain).
It went up and up and up at a pretty intense slope. What you do in that situation as a bicycle rider is, you don’t look ahead because it is too overwhelming and discouraging. You just look at the ground and do one spin at a time over and over and over again.

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After a lot of this, around each turn I was hoping for the descent. That’s when the run away truck ramp on the other side appeared and I knew I was way far from the top. There was so much rain and so much sweat I couldn’t distinguish between the two.
I started to think of every person I had ever hated and why. I wondered about the possible catharsis or transformation that might occur from something like this self induced trial. I remembered the science experiment Sarita did in 3rd grade. We tried to lift a person who was thinking negative thoughts (photographed it) and then tried to lift the same person when they were thinking positive thoughts. When you are on a bike ten hours a day there’s a lot to manage in your mind.
Miracle upon miracles we finally made it to the top (and there was no sign).
For a while, unusually, we stayed on the top. It was like a plateau and we could see for miles and miles. Like the “Birds” song: miles and miles and miles and miles and miles.
We are not masochists. The thrill of the top is incredible. The experience of riding through wilderness without homes or electrical wires or anything but land and sky is beyond words which is why I haven’t tried to describe it yet.
The overwhelming beauty of an endless horizon in truly majestic land is so breathtakingly overwhelming it’s like one ceases to be themselves but just dissolves like a dot of nothingness in the great expanse of supreme nature. The essence of life is so glaringly obvious and simple next to all our complicated personality fabrications. One is just whole heartly grateful to be part of it all. So much of the day during this trip we are surrounded by nothing and that is the juice. Like a sign we saw “sell the sizzle, not the steak”: it’s about the experience of being IN all these out-of-the-way places; so much so that the summits are just things to get over.
I will say however that when we are in a hotel room and see an ad for the Olympics we completely identify. Not that we are great athletes or anything but that we are giving it our all, our 100% and that’s a wonderful feeling.
Anyway, we soon left the top and had a gradual descent into Randolph pictured here.

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The hotel turned out to be four cabins behind a drive through burger joint where we had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner after our sixty mile day. Here is a picture of the cabins. Ours was the second one. The green plastic furniture was bolted to the deck.

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July 4, Lava Springs to Montpelier Idaho

Everyone warned us that there was a huge climb over a pass out of Lava Springs so we got out (somewhat reluctantly) right after breakfast.
The climb was twelve miles of up but since it was early, the sun wasn’t merciless and we made it up just fine.

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After that it was 2.5 miles of 5% grade down (just like the yellow-orange sign said) and for me, that’s the scary part. Over and into the shoulder of the road at that downhill speed can really do you some damage. The climbs can be brutal but no chance you’re going to hurt yourself on one.
Anyhow I break a lot in the downhill, Sarita flies and no one gets hurt.
It’s always amazing to me how the landscape on the other side of the pass always looks completely different.

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A little more than twenty miles puts us in Soda Springs where we make our usual grocery store stop. Or not so usual.

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I love that all of these were over the pet food aisle.

After the grocery store we went to the geyser which is carbonated naturally. In the early 1900s people were drilling for warm water and tapped into this majorly explosive source. They could not use the water for anything as it was so heavily laden with minerals. The geyser was so powerful that soon after its discovery the Secretary of the Interior (US Gov’t) contacted the city of Soda Springs because their geyser was upsetting the schedule of “Old Faithful” which was world famous. Therefore Soda’s geyser is now artificially regulated and goes off every hour on the hour.
We were there for it.

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We knew what we were there for and we even had a watch but I was shocked almost to the point of screaming when the thing went off. It was so powerful and 70 feet high!

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There was a 4th of July Fair going on and we bought a homemade chocolate chip cookie bigger than a salad plate and a paperback novel for only a dollar. We passed on the quilt raffle and continued our way under the now hot sun of 6,000 feet plus.

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We rode on another thirty miles with no shade so we stopped by a tree on someone’s yard and ate the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we had made at our Lava Springs all-to-can-eat buffet breakfast.
We did another surprise summit before the town of Georgetown, Idaho. I don’t know why the photo is so hazy. Perhaps the heat?

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We were very tired by then and hoping for some cool drink in Georgetown even though it only had a population of 200.
We came upon this building there that had “EAT” in big letters on it’s roof but when we got closer, it was closed and for sale. This happens to us several times a day.

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Finally we made it to Montpelier and there was nothing there either even though it’s name on the map was in bigger print as the town’s huge population was 2,100.

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We couldn’t find the KOA so we called. It was 2 miles off the highway and I called to ask if there was any food there and the lady said there was food, like breakfast burritos and pizza. She made it sound like food. We went the 2 miles and found the KOA and the “food” was packages (of chemicals) in the freezer box ready to be microwaved.
We rode back to the grocery store and got food. As it was 4th of July and there were red white and blue decorations everywhere.
There are always lots of flags around these parts and usually a black MIA/POW flag flying with them. There are also many yellow ribbons tied on trees. If there are no trees, then the ribbons are tied on posts.


The police were out in force in Montpelier giving tickets to drivers for precious little. When we were biking back from the grocery store we saw them pull over the people in the tent site next to ours.
For the last two weeks we have seen countless fireworks shacks on street corners but now that the 4th is here there’s a $500 fine for setting them off as the unusually high temperatures and winds are making fires that are demolishing homes.
Sarita and I did our clothes in the laundry as usual. To save time, we changed quickly in the laundry room as everyone else was at the campground 4th’s activity. We locked the door as we did this and then went back to the site. It happened then that Sarita couldn’t find her cell phone so we went back to the laundry room to find it but we had locked it shut. We went back to the office to tell the lady who didn’t know what food was that we had locked the door by mistake and even confessed that it had happened as we were changing. She advised that we should never do that as there is a surveillance camera in the laundry whose images are shown in the office!
Why have a surveillance camera in a small room with two washers and two dryers and one sink?
In the bathroom there was 24/7 CNN news program on a screen in the wall!
It was a weird KOA that had a sign at the entrance (pretty much in the middle of nowhere) that said, “No public restrooms” as if you couldn’t “go” anywhere around there. I was looking forward to getting out of there.
We went to sleep in the tent listening to private fireworks.

July 3rd, Lava Springs

We hung out here for the day at the ┬áLava Springs Mineral Bath┬áInn. It is a very old place and not kept up too well. It’s ten bucks more than the campsite and has everything in one place so we are down with it.

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It’s sort of like belonging to a club. Room comes with an all you can eat for breakfast which is where we met the clan which is this huge white multigenerational family staying here for a family reunion. We pass them here and there around town which is six blocks of “Main Street”. We share a bathroom across the hall.

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All the towns we’ve been in have their initials marked on a hill above, this is just the first time I’ve documented it.
There is native American influenced splashed around here and there as well.

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The mineral baths pools, of which there are many of different temperature and sizes, are super relaxing. They have lots of minerals in them, those being manganese, calcium bicarbonate, sodium, zinc, sulfate, potassium, magnesium and fluoride.

The other BIG thing here is to “float” down the river in an innertube

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When we were having lunch at the taco truck (after being told there was no Mexican food in town), we encountered a guy who had very badly scraped his foot so that clued us in about needing shoes when tubing down the quickly moving river.
We rented our innertubes, which were huge, and walked up to the put-in point of the river, resigned to soaking our specialized pricey bike shoes.
There is a reason you sign a piece of paper with lots of small print absolving the tube people from anything that may happen on the river. The lady explained that this is not a theme park tide but a real river with rocks and trees and such. We were told since we were new at this not to go down the difficult waterfall but we were clueless and went over everything because we didn’t know any better. It was super scary and fast and I could never get the thing to point in the right direction so I was continually swirling and going over rapids backward. All in all it was fun but too scary to do more than once and we were super glad we had our shoes which dried by dinner time in the intense sun.
After the “float” we had the massages I’d scheduled for Sa and I! ┬áMy neck and upper back feel locked into a permanent biking position and I’d been hoping for a massage for a while now.
It was the best oil massage I’d ever had! and that’s saying a lot since I’m at Esalen often.
This town is a strange mixture of conservative redneck (general area) and new age (mineral baths) and we’ve enjoyed it tremendously.
Here is another shot of the square scoop ice team shop. By the way, you never say “soda” in Idaho. It’s “pop”.

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