Thursday, June 21st
We awoke the next day refreshed, and ate at the restaurant associated with the motel. The pain in my right knee was gone, and never returned.
We were on the road again at 9:00 AM. We pedaled south for about 5 miles, then turned west onto the highway that goes to the town of Freedom. After Freedom, it enters Idaho, becoming highway 34.
Entering Idaho, Going West out of Star Valley on Highway 34
This turned out to be a very beautiful part of the trip, and though it climbed most of the way to Wayan, Idaho, it was not nearly the climb of the alternative route which would have taken us over the mountains west of Bear Lake.
For a very long way into the canyon, though it climbed, it didn't climb steeply, and we were going at least 8 mph most of the time. Later on, it got steeper in places, but was still generally an easy hill.
Looking back down the canyon toward Star Valley
Looking back down the hill (in one of the steeper sections) at the stream
This stream was our constant companion for most of the climb. It appeared to me to be perfect for the kind of fly-fishing I like to do. Someday, I may get an Idaho fishing license and go fishing on this stream.
After awhile, the canyon opened up into broad meadows and hills, but the road also got steeper. Finally, after climbing for 12.3 miles, we reached the summit, not all that far from Wayan, Idaho. In spite of the climb, our average speed at that point (since leaving Etna) was 8.1 mph. We stopped for a victory shot.
Malcolm, at the Summit on Highway 34, a Few Miles Out of Wayan, Idaho
We had a few miles of exhilarating downhill gliding as we cycled into Wayan. There are no stores here. I checked our water supplies, and it looked like we had enough, so we didn't need to ask at a house to refill our water containers.
The highway went west for awhile, then turned south, skirting Gray's Lake, which is a bird refuge, and is very green and marshy. The highway was also very flat.
On Highway 34, Near Gray's Lake
As we went farther south, leaving the basin containing Gray's Lake, we climbed again, but it wasn't exceptionally steep.
Malcolm, Pedaling up a Hill, Approaching Blackfoot Reservoir
At the east end of Blackfoot reservoir, there is a town on the map named Henry. It even has a historic general store, but that store hasn't been used for decades. It appears that an RV park on the shore of Blackfoot Reservoir has overtaken and replaced the town.
On the trip up by car, we had noted that there was a restaurant in the RV park, and it was there we turned our bicycles, being hungry, and low on water.
The food was good, as were the conversations. It was a welcome respite, and we also were able to replenish our water supplies.
Leaving the RV Park with a Restaurant, on the East End of Blackfoot Reservoir, at the Town of Henry
There was a significant climb out of the basin containing Blackfoot Reservoir, then the slope leveled out, mostly downhill as we cycled through mostly agricultural areas. We made good time as we drew nearer to Soda Springs.
Looking Southwest, Several Miles North of Soda Springs
We noted that the entire distance of our trip, the landscape had been green and verdant. The agricultural areas were no exception.
It was fairly warm in the late afternoon, and we stopped a few places that had shade along the way to rest. Finally, we came to Soda Springs.
Entering Soda Springs, Idaho
We checked into the Trail Motel, where highway 34 meets the main street in Soda Springs, highway 30 at about 6:05 PM.
We met a person there (in the room next to us) who had bicycled all the way from Sandy, Utah. He was cycling to Yellowstone via the same route we had chosen, and was planning to do a big loop through Yellowstone, and return via the same route. He was retired, so he had plenty of time to do it. It was interesting talking to him about the many bicycle trips he had been on during his lifetime, and to get ideas for future trips we might do as well.
On this day (the longest day of the year), we traveled 61.9 miles, with an average speed of 9.5 mph (the highest average for the entire trip). We were pedaling for 6 hours, 28 minutes. It took us 9 hours, 5 minutes to do it.
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