Day 17: Syringa to (almost) Powell, ID (60 miles)

The ride from the River Dance Lodge in Syringa, ID to Powell, ID continued along the river and it continued to be gorgeous. The power of water was evident everywhere as we saw all different shapes and sizes of rocks in and next to the water. We saw so many huge trees down and washed to their current location. We passed many signs identifying the creeks that flowed into the river. There were rapids and there were places where the river seemed, from the surface, to be still. Miles and miles of spectacular river scenes.

On most days, we have the opportunity to stop at a café or restaurant for lunch, but this area of ID was so remote that there was nothing available to us between the two accommodations. So 40 miles into our ride, our guide Cy met us with the trailer and had a beautiful lunch ready for us. At that time, she told us that she had gotten some additional information about the construction ahead. We had previously been told it was at about mile 60 of our planned 72 mile ride, but a couple of cyclists had come through and said it was much closer than that. Our expectation, based on the guides previous inquiries, was that the highway department would have a school bus to transport us through the portion of the roadwork that was not safe for us to ride.

Much of the road was beautifully smooth and it was evident that there was recent paving on much of our route. However, as those of us who were towards the front of the group rode on, we saw no signs of any school bus. There was no sign of dangerous riding conditions until mile 60 where there was suddenly no middle line and instead “candles” that were spaced in a way that would prevent drivers from passing us and there was no shoulder or safe space for us to pull off onto when a vehicle needed to pass us. We waited and waited for a bus to show up - in vain.

Ultimately, the guides’ investigation determined that the bus was on the Missoula side of the construction not our side and there was no way for us to get to our hotel except by the WomanTours van/SAG car. As is my consistent experience with WomanTours, there was a clear positive attitude and we all loaded bikes and people up and in and we were shuttled through the construction to our next stop in Powell: the Lochsa Lodge.

The Lochsa Lodge was again a series of cabins, but these were much smaller, and more rustic, than those at the River Dance Lodge. I was again in a double and we were among the lucky ones who had indoor plumbing. We were told on our arrival there that there was wifi and that the bar in the main building was the best location for reception. Many of us tried unsuccessfully to connect and gave up worried that our families would be getting increasingly worried when they had not heard from us. We couldn’t get on long enough to even send a “safe arrival” text. We had to hope that they would trust no news is good news.

While the accommodations were quite rustic, the food was very good and the chef at the Lochsa Lodge was the most attentive to my food needs of any of the non-tour chefs. He made me something special for both dinner and breakfast, both of which were delicious and filling. It has been rare that I have been able to share in the desserts on the trip, and while Sue the WomanTours chef has found treats for me occasionally, most of the other venues have left me dessert-less. Not so at the Lochsa Lodge. There was a blackberry cobbler for dessert and I was able to enjoy the fruit without the non-vegan cobbler. It was much appreciated.