Day 15: Riggins to Grangeville, ID (50.5 miles)
Yesterday was a rest day and I really rested. I read and I sat around and I walked on the river’s edge, but I didn’t “do” anything at all. Today I rode my bike again.
Today’s ride was the most amazing of all amazing rides on this trip. The first 30 miles were back on US 95, the highway with lots of traffic and iffy shoulders. We rode along the Salmon River, which was beautiful, but nothing could compare to the beauty of Old US 95, which became our route starting at mile 30.
We knew there was a lot of climbing today and we knew it started with that turn at mile 30. We knew there were switchbacks. What we did not know was how spectacular the views would be from the switchbacks! As we were climbing, the valley below got so far away that it was a little surreal that we had actually been down there just a bit ago. One thing that stood out to me, in addition to the beautiful mountains and river below, was the incredible number of small sunflowers that lined the edge of the road we were climbing. They seemed to be smiling at us telling us to keep going. Back and forth we went up this mountain with the sunflowers encouragement.
Then the summit. My ears were popping. It felt really high up. Then came the descent. There were cautions, steep and windy roads are not what I like on descents. I like to be able to see far enough ahead to anticipate how much speed I can handle safely. There was gravel. There was shade, which made it a little more difficult to see the gravel and the uneven places in the pavement. The descent was fun.
What was incredible though was that the terrain was totally different on the way down. Gone were the sunflowers. Gone were the mountains. Now there were various colors of fields as far as our eyes could see. It could not have been more different from what we saw on the way up the mountain. What took so long to climb took virtually no time to come down. And we arrived in Grangeville, ID. It is a small town of just over 3,000. It feels huge compared to the places we have been staying that have fewer than 500 residents.
A couple of us walked to get some lunch at the “Melting Pot Café” where they served Asian, Mexican, Italian and American food. It was not clear if they have a specialty, but all of our food was perfectly fine. We are staying in a Super 8 hotel, which isn’t as quaint as the other recent independent motels, but it is fine in its genericness. And weirdly, we are back on Pacific Time. When we crossed the border into Idaho, we went from Pacific to Mountain time. We have been in Idaho for a few days now, but today as we started our ride we went back to Pacific time. My Garmin was clearly confused - or perhaps it was the satellites - because I gained and lost an hour multiple times until it finally settled into Pacific Standard Time. I do not know when we go back to Mountain time, but I think we do once again before we finish our trip.
To relive this ride with me copy this link: https://relive.cc/view/1855319856