After overnighting in a shopping center, waiting on my $400 solar battery evaluation, I decided that being parked next to a fancy donut shop all night was simply too tempting. Had a very productive day yesterday – put the bike in the shop, washed the filthy bus, dropped off ailing battery, did laundry, and even got some cleaning done. I think I deserve a little bit of deviance?
I have plenty of other things to do while waiting on the bike, and Ft. Collins is a GREAT place to do them. Blazing Internets, everywhere, and it appears everything I need is jammed into a few blocks. Everyone rides bikes or skateboards, or walks here? I even saw some bike-riding kids picking up donuts this morning. Look for more from Ft. Collins this week.
What a short ride I had yesterday, only rode about 7 miles from the bus, in the desert, when the bike just quit running. Could have been much worse, but I only wound up pushing the bike about a mile, then walking the 6 additional miles back to the bus. Did not have enough water for an adventure, as it started out as a scouting run. But that ended the riding day, and now I am trying to figure out the best place to travel to for resources. Last night I headed west to Salt Lake, as I knew they would have resources, and a BMW service guy or 10 if I needed them. Luckily I stopped in Ft. Bridger for Internet, and realized it was 95+ during the day in Salt Lake – looks like Rock Springs, WY is the destination. I will pull it out there to see if I can troubleshoot the problem, and order parts if I need to.
Spent a couple days in Bridger as consolation for the smokey Tetons, and I could not have been happier. First real rain I have seen in weeks, that turned to icey snow. Weird. On down south in Wyoming to explore some of these weird canyons before heading into Utah and Ashley NF.
“….the whole place is on fire out there.” My mother exclaimed in a voicemail, after reading a previous post. So I thought I would post a map below to reassure Mom that I am out of danger – fire danger, anyway. As you can see, there is nothing around me to to burn. Actually, the map is deceiving, as there is plenty of sage-grass, just no trees. AND, I can see any fire for miles, maybe even 100 or more? I am in the desert of southern Wyoming, headed south into Utah, and into Ashley Nat Forest(aka “Flaming Gorge”).
I am camped above Fort Bridger(the town), on a massive BLM hillside that has comm towers and loads of pronghorn. In fact, as I took the picture(phone) below, a herd of pronghorn came running up the hill, as if being chased by the sun. Once they saw me, they turned and ran the other way. I did capture some decent footage on the opposite ridge, so you can see them in the distance with the next post.
The coolest thing about the monument was, I got into the park before it opened. My pass allowed me to breeze right past the construction crew at the gate, and enjoy the solitude before anyone else disturbed it. I climbed on top of a cinder cone, took some pics and video with the phone – and most of it was screwed up – so no video. I did get a nice panorama from the cone.
On the way to Idaho Falls, a couple buzzed by on their Olds Kool rides, and clearly they were on an adventure. When I saw them pulled off I HAD to stop and chat. Daria and Martine were on their way from the west coast to Nebraska, by way of Tokyo. We are headed in the same direction, maybe I will see them again, barring smoke and fire.
I left Boise because of the heat and smoke, drifting down from the Boise Nat Forest. Riding thru the Boise was a bit nervous, breathing in smoke, passing all the fire crews, closed roads, and burnt forest. All to escape to Challis, north and east of most of the fire. It is really amazing to think of the effort put into controlling these natural disasters EVERY SUMMER!
Lots to see, ghost towns, rivers, mining history, and this behemoth, that apparently scraped a block of gold from the river, equivalent to 2 feet square.
After several days of escaping the encroaching smoke, I packed up yesterday and went south.
Not to paint a pretty picture of Idaho, without pointing out some of the downsides. The place seems to be on fire every summer. So much wilderness, and so much dry fuel, waiting for a bolt of lightning, it should not be surprising the place burns every year. My first time into Boise last year, I was shocked at the density of smoke, and I think that was even drifting in from Oregon. Seems everyone has gotten used to it – the place burns. Seems they have to pick and choose which fires to deal with and when. I even passed a couple of campgrounds that burned just a few miles from mine this morning. Well, I am having a hard time dealing with it. On my way down to Ketchum yesterday, the sky was crystal clear and blue. On the way back up to camp, it was smokey and sad. Lucky for me, I have a choice where I live, so I am headed east – gonna try to find a non-burning, remote spot in Yellowstone, as I head south into Colorado.
Rolling out of McCall, north towards the Payette was harder than it sounds. McCall is a beautiful lake/snow town, and no, I did not get any pics, as it seems I was always gathering or doing something else in town, other than relaxing. Night 2, I moved up to a nice hillside spot above Burgdorf – an old hot springs resort right off the road. I did some exploring the next morning, to get my bearings and find what all I needed to see in the coming days. I had talked to Alabama-Jared from Boise, and coincidentally, he was to be at an event, less than 3 miles from my camp, with his new hardcore-singletrack friends from TVTMA. While he got his soul-crushing single-track-fix, I did more exploring around the endless wilderness along the Salmon River.
I never did find the 2 hidden hot springs, or the prepper’s hilltop bunker, or any of the old mines, but I did find many other gems.
I also found it so hot in the valley, I had to go for a dip in the birthday suit – I did not expect any more paddlers, as the nearest upstream put-in was in Montana. I guess that explains the flag on the lead-boat of four, all with small children on board. I did have my pants on by the the time they came around the bend
Total number of animals almost killed while riding:
Tiny foxes = 4
Rodents(squirrels, etc.) = 50+
In fact, this morning while leaving, I realized the visitor I had the night before had either returned, or was still inside the bus. I have no pics, but somehow, a chipmunk got into the bus. I should know by morning if he hitchhiked all the way to Boise?
Rolled down some amazing switchbacks into the lower Samon Valley, and on into Riggins. I passed thru here a few days ago but missed the turn up river. It is much cooler up a few thousand feet by the lake anyway, so I am happy. This some amazing country.