Yep, it is public land, and I have to share it with…………white people. Hundreds of honkeys riding up the mountainside every morning, in the bike-shuttles (think van-taxis for bicycles). My favorite is Coyote – they use several VW buses to drag people up. I always get a thrill to see the green one dragging up the hill, just a bit faster than my bus would take the hill. Then the other shuttles companies BLAZING up the mountain in the newer Fords.
White people. Hundreds every morning go up, and I never see most of them again. I am guessing the trails they are blazing down are north of me, and take them back into Moab. So I see empty shuttles, a few campers, locals cutting wood, and a few scenery drivers. Lots of white people. But I do see another variety coming down the mountain.
Black faces, thousands of them come down the hill, right past my camp. A few brown faces mixed in. Refugees? What exodus is this? Why are they coming down the hill? My only guess was that they knew that it would be a hard winter surviving up top, and their best chance would be at lower elevations. But what made them all come down in large groups -as if answering the call to dinner?
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?
112 miles across the knarliest forest road I have ever ridden, crossing the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states, all just to drink beer and eat this pizza.
It started raining again, but lucky me they have more Big Sky IPA. When it slows, I will try to cross back over the pass. It took me 5 hours with 5 Stops, and 1 interview. I will try to make it back over in 3 hours.
One single day of riding led to a chilling reminder of how we are not always at the top of the foodchain. No matter what kind of badass you think you might be, you are a play toy for the right size beast. Oddly enough, I just finished watching The Revenant two nights before, and the hero bounced down rivers, and escaped a deadly grizzly attack. Well it all seemed to gel in my mind that day.
Even worse, my rescuer the day after told me of the USDA ranger that suffered a fatal grizzly attack just two weeks prior, in the very same woods. Chilling.
It took awhile. Actually it was fairly quick, but when I first got here, I realized I had lost my phone. After trying fruitlessly to call the phone (thought I might have dropped it in the bus), I decided to return to the rest area where I last used it, and crawled under it to take this picture.
So after about an hour, I raced back 20 miles in the rain, to find my phone exactly where I dropped it almost 2 hours before. Covered with rain, the screen was in perfect condition. The back of the phone showed it had been run over at least once, and has sustained damage to the frame also. It is functional, and not really much worse than it was before. I simply cannot take pictures or navigate easily.
But I have a phone.
AND I am parked less than a block away from a pretty awesome brewery. Gonna overnight and find out what all this town has to offer tommorow. Stay tuned.
It may sound absurd, but give it some thought: The entire state is covered in corn, and America is injecting the by-products into our veins via cornsyrup. Seriously, when was the last time you ate CORN? You know, the crunchy yellow stuff on the stalk? If you are like most Americans, you are eating a serving of corn by-product at every meal.
Just left Green Bank, W. Virginia, home of the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. The GBT sits in the center of the National Radio Quiet Zone – 13,000 square miles of restricted by law for radio transmission. No cell phone towers may transmit into this area, so all comms are thru cable and satellite – very strict radio silence.
Only had to travel to N. Kentucky (just outside Cincinnati) to find the center of the universe for ignorance – the Creation Museum. The founders believe the dinosaur models they have on display are less than 6,000 years old, and they present them alongside displays of The Ark, and Cain and Abel.
Since I could not bear paying ANY money to see all this silliness, I simply snapped a picture from the entrance, uploaded my own silliness from the parking lot, and continued on my way to South Dakota.