Powell to Lowell 66miles
Was today the most scenic of the entire trip? It might very well be. An absolutely beautiful day of riding today, with the road twisting it's way downhill as it hugged the Locsha river.
Started off by having breakfast at the lodge I camped at. Leo and Sandy had already packed everything up and set off straight after breakfast, whereas I was taking a more relaxed approach. I eventually set off about 8.30, and as soon as I pulled out on to the main road, I saw the pair of them pushing their bikes back up the hill towards me. Apparently Sandy's chain and dérailleur had suffered some sort of major mulfunction, causing her chain to get caught up in her back wheel. It was a right mess, with a whole load of bent, broken spokes. Their only option was going to be getting a lift back to Missoula, and hopefully getting it fixed there.
For me, the day was a lot better. The scenary really was stunning. The river and the road ran through a steep sided valley, with the surrounding mountains covered by pine trees. Just absolutely, and endlessly gorgeous.
The other good thing was that the entire day was on a gentle downhill grade, so riding was pretty easy. Although I'm not sure Whiskey enjoyed it. Probably the only bad thing about today was the road itself. A very poor surface, which was a bit of a bike rattler. At one point they were obviously part way through re-surfacing one stretch, so I had to ride on the horrible, grooved, baselayer as the top layer of smooth tarmac hadnt been done yet. There wasnt shoulder to speak of, but the 6inches of road over the white line was sometimes smoother than the actual road!
But thats a small price to pay for the views. With all the tree covered mountains, it reminded me of the Blue Ridge Parkway, only this time I was at the bottom of a valley looking up.
|The entire day looked just like these two photos|
I stopped at a historical ranger station for a bit, and then made it to Lowell by about 1.30pm. Although it was only a tiny place, I decided to stop for the day. One consequence of my lower elevation is hotter weather. This afternoon was definitely one of the warmest I've had for a while. I'm actually now down at around 1,500ft. I dont think I've been that low since maybe back in Kansas.
Although I only did 66miles today, it was still more than I need to do. I didnt really fancy doing what would have been around 90miles to get to Kooskia. At this stage in my trip, I dont need to be doing 90miles a day. Actually, I dont need to be doing 66miles a day! But I like to feel that I've put in a reasonable stint, and it means I'm building up a bit of surplus for future rest days.
One thing I've realised whilst out here is that if I ever lived in the States, I would need to get some pronunciation lessons! I tend to pronounce place names fo-net-ic-ally, which usually ends up being wrong! So today I kept talking about the Locsha river and lodge, pronouncing it Lock-sha, whereas it turns out the 'c' is silent. So I always ended up sounding like an idiot! Tomorrow I'm aiming for the town of Grangeville. I reckon I can just about say that one without sounding too stupid!