128 miles was in no way the plan for today but it’s what happened and it comes with exhaustion but a since of accomplishment. I spent 10.5 hours peddling today, which does not include down time, purely the time my wheels were in motion.
We headed 28 miles south from camp down to Harrison, Idaho to catch the trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s. The ride along the lake provided great views, but was never flat. Just up and down, often with 600-800 foot climbs. It was slow going but well worth it. Once we hit the trail, it was flat with what felt like a slight tail wind for one of the few times this trip. We had a small incident where I stopped quickly while leading due to seeing a moose in the path a head of us. It wasn’t close by any measure but it caught me off guard and I failed to signal to the guys behind me I was stopping. Ryan rode by, but Erik caught my back left panier with his front one. He managed to not fall somehow, but the contact caused my panier to break off its rack. After macgyvering it back onto the bike, I got moving again and caught up with Erik and Ryan about an hour down the trail. We made it to Kingston, ID, near interstate 90 and grabbed some food (two pieces of pie for me, one huckleberry and one peanut butter) real quick at the Snake Pit before heading out to Murray.
I was not in the best mood this day and had taken some space from the ride on the trail to Kingston and decided I still needed some more time on my own, so we agreed to meet in Murray, a town of 47. This was about 28 miles away and would put us around 93 miles on the day. About 8 miles from Murray I stopped at a standalone gas station to get some supplies and while checking out saw Ryan and Erik bike by. It looked like rain and the attendant said it would rain, so I packed away Mr. Sock Monkey, buttoned down the hatches and got my rain gear out and headed out for the last 8 miles to Murray. When I got there I didn’t see Erik or Ryan’s bikes and given how small of a town it was (it doesn't even come up on Google maps), didn’t do a whole lot of investigating, so I kept plugging forward and in less than two miles from town, a car coming in my opposite direction pulled over and stopped to take in the view. I slowed down and asked if they had seen two bikers come by this way, a woman in the passenger seat gave me the thumbs up, so I continued on. At that point I was about 8 miles from the top of Thompson Pass and assumed I would run into Ryan and Erik there.
Thompson Pass is no joke and took over 2 hours to complete. the pass took me up close to 5000 feet, my highest point of the trip. The grade is illusory in a way. While climbing up the pass it does not seem very steep, but your tires feel sticky and when you look back you realize how steep the climb actually is. I was hungry, dehydrated and definitely pushing my limits, but one peddle after another and I eventually made it to the top. The only problem was Erik and Ryan weren’t at the top of the pass. The view was just what I needed though. The sun setting and the ability to look back over Idaho made the climb worth it. I enjoy climbing, much more than fighting the wind, given you are almost always rewarded at the end of it, not just with a great downhill, but often a view that my pictures don't do justice. I'm trying though.
Since Erik and Ryan weren't at the top of the pass I figured I was lead astray and had definitely missed them in Murray. I could have went back, but was not into the idea of making the climb twice so I continued down the pass for 20 miles into Thompson Falls, where I was picked up by my warm showers host Bryan and Kevin for the night. It was dark, I had ridden 128 miles and while I had service, Erik and Ryan didn’t. I got a shower and got to chat with Bryan and Kevin as we drove to their house outside of Plains, MT. They were great host and gave me a bed to stay in.
As exhausted as I was, I had a hard time sleeping that night. It was the first time in the trip we had been separated and while I was sure my traveling companions were probably safe, I knew it was my fault we had gotten separated. Being the first time in the trip I had been isolated, away from friendship and comfortable conversation, it was tough to not think about Kelly. I was having a tough day to begin with because, as rewarding as this adventure has been, with two individuals who have taken me in as a friend and supported me immensely, I was missing my best friend, thinking about how she really wanted to road trip across the country one summer and unfortunately that is not one of the items we were able to get to. In a way, I know that is a large reason for why I decided to ride across the country, to bring Mr. Sock Monkey. It's more Kelly than it is me, it's a way to stay connected by doing something I know she would have loved to do.
Miss you Muppet