Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Sunshine in the morning; nothing better to improve the outlook of a cyclist. Especially in the case of my friends Ty, Drew, Mac, and Mac’s father, Tom.

The night before, while I was devouring the Kub Burger at the Hub Restaurant (biker’s welcome, the type that burns hydrocarbons, not carbohydrates), they were struggling in the dark, in the rain, descending into Kamiah. Remember that I had taken the river route with a profile that’s pretty much flat as a pancake. These four weary cyclists had started in Lewiston at just under 1,000′ above sea level and pedaled a longer route, eventually climbing to nearly 4,000′. Ty’s knee was really hurting which slowed them down also. They limped into town at 10:00 p.m. soggy, hungry, and tired.

There was no way for us to contact each other because we were next to “the middle of nowhere”(SETI has a better chance of finding an extraterrestrial radio signal than we had of getting on the ‘net). I relied on serendipity to find them the next morning. I set off for the days ride, went about a quarter of a mile, and immediately came upon Mac and Drew, waiting for Tom who had gone back to their hotel to retrieve a forgotten pair of sunglasses.

20120609-144045.jpg

Ty was nursing a swollen knee and would get a ride into Missoula. We were headed to a campground 60 miles up the Lochsa (lock-saw) River.

20120609-144434.jpg
The Lochsa was designated a Wild and Scenic river in 1968. It has no dams and the water flow is unregulated. At this time of year it is popular with river rafters as it has long continuous stretches of white water. We would mimic the twists and turns of the river on lightly travelled Route 12, eventually reaching the river’s headwaters on the next day. This was an exquisite bike ride with constant views of the rapids and the rugged, conifer covered Bitterroot Mountains.

20120609-145348.jpg
I had yet to use my camping gear but it is a good thing I had it. We spent the night in a National Forest campground and cooked dinner over scavenged firewood. The stars were finally visible after 9:30 and the Big Dipper appeared directly overhead, framed by the towering pines surrounding us. Bonus photos follow;
Tom gets his traditional after ride refreshment (well earned);

20120609-145910.jpg
The ultimate angel was Ginny, wife of Tom and mother of Mac. She works at Adventure Cycling as the “Route Coordinator” and had driven to Kamiah to pick up our injured cyclist and bring him into Missoula. Here she poses with Tom, Mac, Drew, Frank (the pug). Maudra, the yellow Lab, is not present, she was off chasing a butterfly.

20120609-150655.jpg
Motivational road side sign;

20120609-151315.jpg
Please limit your comments on Drew’s socks;

20120609-151536.jpg