Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Saturday, July 05, 2008
We had a lovely night at the bed & breakfast, and a wonderful breakfast this morning. LaVina is a great story teller and has lived in the area for some 60 years, so she had all kinds of information on the history of the place and her house is full of antiques from generations of their families. Her husband's ancestors were one of the early pioneers who settled the region. She told us one story of their salvaging an old barn and transporting it to their place to use as a guest house. They didn't have any trouble until they tried to get under a railroad trestle a few miles from their house (see picture below). Luckily, a crew was there grading the road at the time and they just graded it a little deeper under the trestle so they could get through! We lingered over breakfast and finally got going around 8 am. We had a short day today with not much climb, so we figured we could be indulgent. We ended up going almost 45 miles in under 4-1/2 bike hours, arriving at our motel at 2:30, so it worked out.
We left LaVina's and headed back out the hard-packed gravel road their house is on to get back to Rt. 95. The road was very straight and had a lot of rolling hills, the kind we would usually fly down and try to coast up. Given the gravel, though, we had to be very careful on the downhills and even so, we did some slipping and sliding on one of them, but we made out ok. Shortly after we went under the trestle she had told us about, after 3 miles of gravel road, we were back on 95. We continued to ride past rolling, forested hills and farm fields with green or yellow (canola) crops and beautiful vistas. The road we were on was rolling as well, nothing too steep or long, though. We continued to see many historic markers today and took pictures of most of them. We eventually turned off 95 onto a series of narrower roads with not much shoulder but also not much traffic. These roads went through farm fields mostly with some great vistas and a geological marker for a change. They also had a lot of rolling hills, most of them short enough to be fun. We were struck by what good condition nearly all the farm buildings were in, not like the run-down, falling-apart buildings on a lot of farms in the South. They usually looked brand-new and spotless. We came upon a very small town called Greencreek which was also very new and clean looking, despite the fact that it was established in 1895, according to their town welcome sign. Very impressive.
By the time we reached the bottom of our last and longest hill, we were starting to get tired. We stopped to eat the oatmeal cookies LaVina had packed for us this morning and rest a bit. When we got to the top, the view was spectacular - the whole valley was laid out before us with more, bigger hills in the distance. We went downhill most of the rest of the day, with a fairly steep 8-mile stretch from that point. We went from our 4100-foot plateau at Craigmont down to about 1500 feet, mostly in those 8 miles. Towards the end, when it was less steep, we passed several large hills which may have been the Kamiah buttes, mentioned in the geological marker. Very picturesque. We reached Kamiah and stopped for lunch and then turned back on Rt. 12 and along the Clearwater River again (remember, we rode along it for several miles yesterday morning out of Lewiston). The river was as beautiful and fast-moving as it was further down-river yesterday. We passed a little beach and Pat screeched to a halt to go down to the river and test the waters. He found them pretty cool and refreshing. A group of kids with their parents were also enjoying the river nearby.
We reached the town of Kooskia shortly afterwards and pulled into our motel. After a nice cool morning, it had gotten pretty hot again, so we were glad to have ended early. Tomorrow will be another long climbing day, ending in a campground. We don't expect to have cellphone or internet availability so the day's page will probably not be up until the day after.