Day 6 – Saturday, June 19th

Challis, Idaho to Salmon, Idaho

In our travels in rural Idaho, we most definitely saw different political attitudes than other places we've lived. Examples of this is the woman who owned the restaurant where we ate breakfast in Mackay, declaring (with a straight face) that: “Computers are of the devil.” Not that I can't see how anyone who has worked with computers could come to such a conclusion...

In Challis, as we ate breakfast in the restaurant, some of the conversations overheard were downright scary, giving me the impression that if the people talking were to somehow discover that we didn't agree with their extreme conservative opinions, we might be taken out on some back road, beaten, and left for dead.

How I long for the days when people actually listened to other people's opinions, and tried to get along. With every segment of the country living in its own echo-chamber, hearing only opinions like their own, I fear the concept of getting along is gone forever.

One thing's for sure – we were (on this segment of the trip) living in the wrong echo-chamber!

When you travel by bicycle, you don't have room for bring many clothes. This means you have to go to a laundromat every so often. In keeping with this, we did laundry this morning in Challis, which also meant we didn't get a very early start cycling.

Starting out from our motel in Challis, at 11:40 AM

Given our late start, I should have been more concerned about our chances of making it to Salmon before dark, since it was 60 miles up the road. But the weather was good, and the temperature pleasant, again with a bit of a tail-wind. I just didn't worry much about it at the time.

We started cycling with little care or worry.

Heading north from Challis

Our carefree attitude was rudely interrupted when I discovered that I had neglected to zip up one of my panniers, and stuff I needed had fallen out somewhere back down the road. We weren't about to go back to search for it, so I learned the hard way about double-checking that all pannier zippers are secured. I had to purchase new supplies to make up for what was lost, and had to go without a prescription for the duration of the trip.

Cycling along the Salmon River, north of Challis

Still the weather was sunny, and the temperatures pleasant. We crossed a bridge to the other side of the river. Sometimes there were groves of trees shading us, with glimpses of the river to our left. Other times it was more open.

Cycling along the Salmon River, with storm clouds looming ahead

Our 'old friend', the rainy weather was coming to call once again.

You just don't get it, Picard. The trial never ends.”

Malcolm cycled ahead, his experienced eyes searching for a place to shelter from the rain, which was increasing in intensity. I debated stopping and putting on my rain poncho, but Malcolm knew what he was doing, and I couldn't let him get so far ahead that he was out of sight.

He finally found what he was looking for, and we left the road to shelter under the roof of a shed, waiting for the storm to pass. It took about a half hour, but the rain finally did stop, and we ventured back out onto the highway.

Thankfully, the rain didn't return for the rest of the day, but I should have been more concerned about the loss of cycling time in daylight.

According to the Internet, there were no stores or restaurants until we got all the way to Salmon, so we had brought lunch with us. In fact (in addition to that lunch), we always carried with us two meals each – one meal for supper in the event we got stranded somewhere, and the other meal for breakfast so we had the strength to cycle on the next day after being stranded. We also carried a minimum of one (each) package of trail-mix for quick energy.

A shady lunch stop along the Salmon River – Note Malcolm's sun-exposed face from the prior day

Further on along the Salmon River

A bit past here, although the Internet indicated there were no restaurants or stores along this stretch of road, we encountered an RV park, and it had a restaurant and store! Of course, we stopped. It turned out the restaurant was closed at that time of day, but the store had goodies, and we enjoyed some ice cream and a cool drink.

About 20 minutes after we resumed cycling, we were surprised to encounter a sudden, strong, up-canyon wind, which was for us, a head-wind. It seemed that the narrower the canyon, the stronger the wind was – perhaps a venturi effect.

Malcolm, tired of pedaling against the wind, got off, saying, “I'm going to walk for awhile.”

I kept cycling for awhile, but seeing him somewhat far back, waited for him to catch up. At that point, I had a terse statement:

It's 6:00 PM. You're walking at about 4 miles per hour. We have 18 miles to go to get to Salmon before dark. You do the math.”

He did resume cycling. Sometimes the head-wind was strong, sometimes it was less strong. It may also have depended on the direction the particular part of the canyon faced. As we got closer to Salmon, the landscape got greener, with more pine trees.

Getting closer to Salmon, despite the head-wind

Finally, the canyon opened up to became a wider landscape, and we lost the head-wind, to our great relief.

The late afternoon sun reflecting from the river as we neared the town of Salmon

The country-side was now green and verdant, and the road very flat. This was some of the beautiful country I had planned the trip to see, and it was pleasant cycling. Our worries were gone, since given our current speed and the distance left to travel, we should easily make it before dark.

Unlike when you travel in a car, this entire segment of the trip we were hearing the sounds of the river, which were soothing and pleasant. It was kind of like a river-trip on wheels.

We made it to Salmon before dark

We stopped to get a room at the first motel in town (the Sac Motel), but discovered that there were some big events going on in town, and we might not get a room. The motel person kindly called to another motel, who still had rooms, saying she was sending us over.

We stayed at the Deluxe Motel that night. We had to make a trip to the store to replace items I lost earlier in the day by neglecting to zip up one of my panniers, and we ate at a Subway Sandwich place.

We talked awhile afterward to a family who was in town for the car show. They were interested in our bicycle trek, and we gave then a card with the website.

On this day, we traveled 59.3 miles, with an average speed of 9.4 miles per hour.

Next Day

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