Matt and I woke up about 6:30a and were both dragging and a little concerned about getting through the day. We had 84 miles to ride to Pocatello and it was going to be hot today. We were both worn out from our 90 mile ride the day before and then we heard the wind howling outside and were convinced we’d be riding into it (based on finishing into the wind yesterday) and today’s ride would take us 5-6 hours. But we made our Peet’s coffee we brought (thank goodness we brought Peet’s!) and then went and had breakfast and were ready to roll at 8a. We were prepared for a long day and had planned for Danica and Maggie to meet us in a couple of hours with new water. Matt has always joked that the secret to happiness is low expectations which we certainly had today. Anyway, we started riding down the road and I turned and looked at Matt and while hoping not to jinx us said that it appeared the wind was going to be at our back. What a day it turned out to be! We had a 15-20 mph tailwind the entire 84 miles. We’d hardily be working and would cruising at 25-32 mph. We stopped and called the girls and told them that we were making great time and to meet us in American Falls for lunch. Our total ride time ended up being only 3:54 to cover the 84 miles and we still climbed 1,977 feet. I told Brenda tonight that it was great to have such a nice recovery ride and she said “Chris you rode 84 miles that’s not a recovery ride”. This trip has already changed our perception of what’s a long ride. So now that you know the outcome let me tell you about the journey today.
We rode by LOTS of farm land and saw miles and miles of potato fields and potato processing plants. Certainly has effected the urge to order fries or a baked potato with every meal. But what a nice change of pace from the desert. Also, now there’s starting to be more small towns for us to ride through and choose to stop in some. One thing we do have to be careful about on the backroads is when you’re cruising along at 30+ mph and you come upon a cow grate. We went over the first one a little too fast and quickly learned it was best to ride over almost at a complete stop.
One activity that was not planned but has become part of our daily routine is looking for a photo for my nephews Ryan (age 4.5) and Landon (age 2). Let me explain. I had posted a video of Matt, Bruce and myself riding down Donner Pass Road in Tahoe and my brother Cliff had shown it to his sons. When they saw the video and car passed by on it and they wanted to know when a garbage truck or bus was going to pass us. Well since that day, Matt and I have looked for cool tractors, dump trucks, buses, etc. We stop take a picture and I text it to my brother Cliff and his wife, Jenny to show to the boys. What I’ve learned (I guess I had forgotten) is how tough young boys can be to please. No matter what cool piece of farm equipment or construction vehicle I send them they just want to know when I’ll see a garbage truck. If I don’t see one soon I’m going to have to stake out the local landfill site. However, I did score an approval from both of them today with my train photo (below). It’s become a fun activity for me and something that I’ll always remember as part of my trip across America.
We rolled onto American Falls at 11:30a and met Danica and Maggie at Casey’s which was a local diner for lunch. Gotta tell you when Matt and I walk in dressed in our bike gear and park our bikes inside the restaurant we get more than a few looks. When people ask where we rode from or where were headed and we say San Francisco and Boston they immediately want to talk to us about it and then tell us the farthest they’ve ridden on a bicycle. 100% of the people have been friendly and it’s led to us talking to the locals to find the best places to eat and what we should see. Traveling on bike certainly changes how you see and experience our country. One such example was at Casey’s we were talking at our table if there was still a waterfall there or not (they had built a dam in the 1920’s and the lake had changed things dramatically. A local farmer and his wife at the next table overheard us and told us that sure there was still a waterfall and then proceeded to tell us the story how in 1925 the entire town of American Falls had been moved up the hill so they could dam the river. He said you can still see the old grain elevator from the 20’s coming out of the lake since it was too big to move. He also told us that when the lake level is low the old city streets reemerge and people go walking around on them. So fun to hear the local history. We then went down to the falls and saw quite a few people fishing which brings me to a quick story for our friend Bruce Craig. Matt looked at me and asked if they were fishing for Salmon. Now mind you, we’re over 750 miles from the Pacific Ocean and Salmon live in the salt water and only spawn in fresh water. Matt then tried to tell me that the Snake River becomes the Columbia River that flows into the Pacific Ocean so it was possible. I proceed to tell Matt that was nice, but no they weren’t fishing for Salmon but rather trout and bass. We then rode the final 30 miles to Pocatello and arrived before 3p. Danica and Maggie had researched and found a natural hot springs (there are quite a few in Idaho) for us to go to in Lava Hot Springs which was about 35 miles away. After cleaning up we drove to the hot springs and had a great time. The Lava Hot Springs had 4 pools with the hottest being 112 degrees and the coolest being 105 degrees. It felt soooo good to sit in the hot springs and let the hot water revive our muscles. After that we walked down Main Street and ended up eating dinner at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill which was a local biker bar with half a dozen Harley’s out front. Can’t say I’ve been to many bars like this but we had a great time! Danica and Maggie certainly drew a lot of attention. In fact when Danica was at the bar a couple of the locals came over to talk to her.A fun tradition they had was that people had drawn on and signed dollar bills which were stapled all over the walls. Danica drew a bike for us and then we all signed it and stapled it to the wall. So if you’re ever in Lava Hot Springs, ID go to the Blue Moon Bar and Grill and look next to the Fat Tire Beer (seemed like an appropriate location) and look for our dollar:
Chris and Matt leaving our mark in Lava Hot Springs, ID of our ride across America