Important public health announcement: We have found out that poultry especially is a health hazard when un-refrigerated for 2 hours – 24 hours is definitely ill-advised!
Howard and I are now back to health (Reed got his own food poisoning in Idaho Falls) and are in Victor, Idaho – one day away from our next state, Wyoming. We are looking forward to a 3-4 day layover vacation in Grand Teton National Park (including a day trip to Yellowstone National Park). We have been enjoying seeing the country in small mileage increments with its ever-changing scenery; however, even though the distances are relatively short each day, the pace of the trip has felt like a marathon too much of the time. There’s a lot involved in breaking camp, Howard cycling – and me cycling out and back and then moving the vehicle, setting up the next camp, food planning, buying, and packing, etc. Our self-inflicted food poisoning (we are now fully recovered – that was so stupid!) and quite a few rainy nights also have made us work harder.
Our trailer has been wonderful – providing us a dry place to cook, eat, and sleep in the rainy camps (we had a “slumber party” with Reed in our trailer – amazing that the bed is large enough to sleep three of us).
The weather has recently improved and we are enjoying living outdoors and sleeping in the trailer.
Going forward, we are planning to slow the pace down – adding more layover days, doing food shopping and packing on layover days and/or in the evenings. This may move our arrival time on the East Coast a bit later, but should make the trip more enjoyable. We are hoping to find more time to enjoy each location, read, play music, etc. while moving across the continent.
I have really been enjoying my cycling time (275 miles in ten cycling days so far) and am using less assist from the battery day by day (getting 42+ miles to the battery vs. 30-ish miles). Seeing the same stretch of road from a bike vs. car is so different. The cycling makes the scenery so much more vivid – the textures, smells, sounds of water and birds, fresh air… and seeing the same stretch of road round-trip allows me to see all of the scenery in both directions.
We are definitely not in our San Francisco bubble – and have had a few more interesting conversations with people who voted for Trump. Good to hear: the people we have been talking to feel that Trump will make a better deal (vs. not believing in human causes of climate change); and they do not like the Republican health care bill (they fear that too many people will lose coverage). Discouraging: the people we’ve been talking to are happy to share their views; when we interject that we disagree or that we feel that something they’re saying is incorrect, they don’t seem to be interesting in hearing our views.
But opinion has not been unanimous – in Victor, ID, we shared homemade wine with Garrett, a retired union man from Muskegon, Michigan, who blames management in general for vilifying unions and all that they have accomplished for American working conditions and wages.
I also heard relatively good news from a reliable source that the US pulling out of the Paris Accord has resulted in climate change being on the front page for many consecutive days – and many states, cities, and corporations making climate change commitments at a level not seen before; and that the Paris Accord was written in such a way that the US exit will not happen until the day after the 2020 inauguration.
Another way that I can tell we’re not in San Francisco – we were in Idaho Falls (which has a beautiful path along the Snake River and waterfalls) yesterday and went to a brewery where the conversation at the next table over was about protecting yourself against bear attacks!
It’s been great to have Reed’s great energy joining our trip – and his sweetie Amanda flew into Pocatello today. They’ll be with us until June 28 – lots of hikes, cycling miles, and shared times to come!
Amazing place to visit: Craters of the Moon National Monument with its lava, cinder cones, splatter cones, lava tubes, etc. Very otherworldly…
The pace of a trip like this one makes clear the immensity of the country. Even though we have been moving consistently eastward, we have been cycling for over a week entirely within the borders of Idaho. Yesterday at our campground in Idaho Falls, we met two young Brits who were cycling from San Francisco to Boston. Even though they are less than 1/3 across the width of America, they realized they had already cycled 1.5 times the equivalent of the entire length of the British Isles. And Britain is not more than 270 miles wide at its widest point.
Leaving Stanley last Friday,
we crossed the Galena Summit, the highest road in the Northwest. The climb was mostly gradual and completely stunning.
The mighty Salmon River is born as a small creek right below Galena Summit. We made it to camp north of Ketchum just before the rain began to fall. It was a cozy scene that night with Reed sleeping on one side of me in our trailer and Wendy on the other. Miraculously, we all slept very well.
The next day, we made a short pilgrimage to the gravesite of Ernest Hemingway in Ketcham, ID.
It was very moving to see the unadorned gravesite of someone who was so influential on literature in the 20th century.
We then rode south along a marvelous rails-to-trails pathway for around 25 miles to the town of Belleville. In the winter, the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing.
We will seek out these Rails-to-Trails projects whenever we can on our route east. We continued southeast from Belleville into the Snake River plain, through pastures and farms still green from the late winter.
We ended the day at Craters of the Moon National Monument. After 80 miles, I was done, but Reed still had the legs for another 10 miles through the park at dusk with Wendy. He’s a remarkably strong cyclist and has been a wonderful addition to the tour.
On Sunday, Wendy started the day with us on her bike, and then returned to explore Craters of the Moon while Reed and I rode 87 miles to Idaho Falls.
Along the way, we passed through Arco, “The Atomic City.”
This town is on the northern edge of the vast Idaho National Laboratory, where much nuclear weapon research has taken place over the years.
Many of the roads we cycled had long deserted vistas with gray/green sage and patches of blue and yellow wildflowers.
We had a rest day in Idaho Falls to recover from three hard cycling days, to look into a few issues with our car and trailer, resupply for the trip to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, and explore the great riverfront of the city. This small, unpretentious city seems to me to epitomize the word hardscrabble – poverty is more evident here than elsewhere on our trip – people living in trailers, lots of smoking, obesity very prevalent.
We must have eaten some sketchy food in Idaho Falls, because I had a brief bout with stomach issues, and Reed had digestion problems that plagued him today as we rode the 65 miles to Victor, Idaho – our last stop before the Tetons.
Reed is the strongest cyclist I know, and yet I’ve never seen him in such a weakened condition. The ride to Victor really laid him low. We’ve decided to stay an extra day in Victor, which faces the western side of the Teton Range, to give Reed a chance to recover his health for our final week together on this tour. Amanda flew into Pocatello, where Wendy picked her up, and together they drove to our campground in Victor. She is a fabulous addition to the tour.