Thousand, that is.

Today we pedaled 83 miles to Challis, Idaho.

Challis, as seen from the motel parking lot.

That brought our mileage so far on this Ride to 733, and our total since 2011 to 13,012. That’s farther than from NYC to Perth, Australia.

Here’s a glimpse of what and who we saw today as we broke the Thirteen Thou’nd Barrier. (Dad joke!)

In 1803, President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the West. President Hayes was in office in 1877 when the Nimipuu (Nez Perce) Nation tried to flee to Canada.
A beautiful morning. It rained and sleeted in the afternoon, for 20 miserable miles.
Snow, trees, and barren hills.
In late morning, we reached Salmon.
L to R: Mike, Tracy, Emily. Outside a motel, Jeffrey’s sign caught Maintenance Man Mike’s eye. He rushed to confirm that we came from NYC. He’s from The Bronx, and used to be a Manhattan doorman on Manhattan’s East Side. His mom moved out west; Mike visited her, liked Salmon, and stayed. Jeffrey and Mike tawked some New Yawk. Tracy, who manages the motel, and her daughter Emily, are from southern California. Tracy gave Jeffrey some route advice. All three of these worldly sophisticates say that Salmon welcomes outsiders. We’re glad to hear it.
JL (she prefers that moniker to her long and lovely Catalan-French name) greeted us in downtown Salmon. JL’s shop features handicrafts from poor artists in Guatemala and South Africa. She laments what she sees as an American trend toward selfishness and does what she can to push back, for her neighbors and for people from abroad.
Karen was educated in Washington State. In Oregon, she ran first a construction firm, then a wedding and event provider. Like Jeffrey, she grew up Republican when that party was a big tent. Karen said Salmon is a caring community: poor, but people (including a growing prosperous cohort) help each other regardless of politics. Kind Karen does her part: she used her contracting skills to build accessible housing for the elderly. She goes to Washington or Oregon once in a while to get a (progressive?) fix. She cheered for us when Jeffrey told her that Representative Jerry Nadler is our neighbor.
JL snapped this picture as Karen got into her car. Both our new friends wished us well on the road.
As we left Salmon, rain began. It changed to sleet. We shelterd briefly in the vestibule of a waterless toilet at a deserted trailhead. Only we fools would be out in such weather.
For a while today, it felt like we were closer to the North Pole.
A few miles later, Dave saw our sign and pulled over to ask about our trip. We hope he follows our journey and tells his friends.
US 93 has few guardrails. A moment’s inattention can lead to a sharp drop into the Salmon River. In some places the drop is from much higher.
These photos don’t convey the beauty of this canyon.
Note the dugout by the abandoned cabin. We saw several log cabin ruins.
Beef cattle.
What is that giant metal device at the edge of Challis?
Along the road, we lost a bolt that helped secure our cargo rack and rear fender. We weren’t sure that we had a replacement, so we went straight to a hardware store before it closed. We met Pennsylvania Bob outside. Bob cared for dying relatives while other kin got on with their lives. He rewarded himself by moving to Idaho, from where he’d heard fantastic hunting stories. He loves it here. He hasn’t lost his eastern Pennsylvania accent.
At the hardware store, Ken didn’t have a long enough bolt for the job . . .
. . . so he and Jésus got down in the dirt and improvised a solution to get us back on the road.
Hotelier Bodhi thinks the Ride is cool. He’ll follow our journey and spread the word.

We saw wonderful things today—among them, black-billed magpies, a herd of deer, red cliffs, two diesel pickup trucks that gassed us with ”rolling coal” (I hope those fine young drivers have fun bragging to their saloon buddies that they harassed a cyclist)—too fleeting to photograph, or it was dangerous to stop, or we were wet and freezing. And we can’t convey here the richness of our conversations.

We don’t have words or pictures for much of what we experience on the road.

3 thoughts on “Thirteen

  1. You have discovered spring in the mountains. Idaho is a wonderful place to be in July. Wish you had had time to enjoy the hot springs near Challis. And your post reminded me of our family trip rafting the Salmon River–no more beautiful place! Hope you enjoy the descent.

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