A prayer in Hell’s Canyon, and hello Idaho

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 21, 2013

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun

Tonight I am in Cambridge, Idaho. It is a very friendly place. I have already had help with a bicycle tire, recommendations on a good motel, and been invited to the town barbecue going on in the park tonight. It is a nice little town surrounded by farms and lots of beautiful mountains. The only bad thing about those mountains is that I will have to climb one of them tomorrow.

Today got off to an OK start, with the first 20 miles going quickly as I proceeded through Hell’s Canyon. I saw the Brownlee dam and reservoir, but that is where I had my first trouble. By then, there was a strong headwind and I was amazed at how hard it seemed to peddle. I realized that my front tire was way down on air, but I couldn’t hear a leak. Not knowing what to do, I said a quick and heartfelt prayer. That prayer was answered in that I was able to pump up the tire with a CO2 cartridge, and at that very moment the only two cyclists that I had seen in two days pulled up heading west. They had already fixed a dozen flats and I am sure could have helped me do that.

The tire held up for the rest of the day, but I was worried about why it lost air. I stopped at a store in Cambridge that has books and bikes. Dinah Wells and Tom Lund took good care of me. Tom checked the tire and added a little air. Dinah hooked me up on a great place to stay, and she sent me to see Rozita Bailey at the Frontier Inn. All three were very helpful.

The climb over another unnamed pass today whipped me pretty good, but I did get in 60 miles. I am hoping for more tomorrow.

I left the Oregon Trail behind today. Deep ruts made by the wagons can still be seen in some spots. I saw the Snake River and was informed that often during this time of year it will be very hot. Temperatures can reach 100-110 degrees. Today the headwind actually made it cold, and I consider that to be a better alternative than 100 degrees.

It is good to be in Idaho, but they do have sales tax. If all goes well, I will see Montana in about 6 days.

My travels today were in highways 86 and 71. Tomorrow, I will head northeast on Highway 95. As always, there is another mountain to climb.

David Freeze is a Rowan County resident and freelance writer.

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