SEA TO SHINING SEA: A great day of pedaling

A group of rafters narrowly misses Castle Rock in the section of the Lochsa River known as The Set, for its succession of challenging rapids. On a sunny Saturday, the river was loaded with rafters and kayakers. BY DENNIS FORNEY
June 9, 2013

DAY 26 - Whitewater rafting across America. Sorry to miss yesterday's blog.  Pretty remote in this part of Idaho.  Remote and dramatically beautiful.  No cellphone service and only intermittent wi-fi. I'm catching up in Missoula but I'll get there in the next blog.

We broke camp at 6:15 a.m. aiming to log a good number of miles.  Several hours later we landed at a US Forest Service campground in Powell, Idaho with 66 miles to our credit.  963 miles total. Tomorrow we'll cross into Montana at Lolo Pass - 5,253 feet; sink into Mountain Time for good and break the 1,000 mile mark on our journey. We've been stitching our way back and forth between Mountain Time and Pacific Time and it can get confusing.  Jim back in Riggins has the best approach.

"What time zone are we in here Jim?"

"Real time."

That's about the truth.  We rise with the sun and fall asleep with the sun after a few chapters of Harry Potter and his adventures at Hogwarts. Not only do I believe in miracles but I also believe in magic.

But today we rode 66 miles up the Lochsa River in the same territory that Lewis and Clark explored back in 1805 and 1806. A professional photographer shooting rafters running rapids on the river told us it's called the Gauley of the west, referring to West Virginia's famous whitewater river.

It's a gentle grade up the river and we averaged 9.6 miles per hour - pretty good considering we were going uphill.  We were blessed with another tailwind that gave us a nice lift.

Hung our food in a bag from a slender branch on a tall pine in the campground.  No bears in the tent please. Motorcycle guys and rafters passed us all day.  When we pulled into Lochsa Lodge at the end of the day for dinner, a few of the bikers applauded us.

"Glad to see you made it.  We passed you a couple of hours ago.  That was quite a ride."

It was.  We'll be up early to cross Lolo before the winds and traffic rise.

Y'all be good.

PS: Now I remember: Mike the safety flagger guy told me something interesting the other day.  He said the safety fluorescent green we're wearing attracts tiny little yellow and black bees.  He knows.  He was wearing it too.  The day after he told me, one of those little suckers stung me on my shoulder blade right through the green cycling shirt.  Just saying . . . .

Follow our cross-country bicycle journey on Facebook by liking Sea to Shining Sea »