As my routine has become I was up and on the road by 7am. Today my whole route was off the freeway which i was greatly anticipating. My plan was to only go to Lewiston, which would be about 270 miles, an easy day. I put on a lot of layers when I left, the air was cool and I figured it would be a cold morning. I completely underestimated the chill the air would have going through the mountains on the Payette Scenic Byway. The first 40 miles I was freezing. When I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore I pulled into a little cafe on the side of the road. The ride in was beautiful. It was hills and mountains with a fast moving river winding along the side of the road. The sun was still pretty low in the sky and the mountains and trees kept a lot of the road in the shade. When I pulled off my gloves my fingers were completely white. I put my gloves on the top of my primary to heat them. I went inside and drank two cups of hot tea waiting for my hands to gain some color.
The couple that ran the place were an older couple and there was old black and white pictures up of them when they presumably bought the place. The man shared with me about his drive up the AlCan years ago and about how he was moving a bunch of stuff up to AK and all was upended in the trailer from the rough roads. I told him it was still like that in the Yukon. After I was finished with my tea I went back out to my bike to add some layers. I ended up tying a bandana around my neck backwards so the thicker part would cover the back of my neck and then put my leather bandana up to my nose. At this point I was really wishing I would have brought my chaps and heated gear. Since I was riding from Tucson, I pretty much packed summer gear. Half helmet, jacket, gloves and I am glad I brought my leather bandana and bought that fleece headband!
I was still cold when I entered Cascade, and I saw a sign for a scenic view/park so I took the turn and headed down the road. It was supposed to only be 6 miles back…when I got to the end of the road there was a round a bout that took you up to a really cool resort that was hidden in the mountain. Although it was a pretty ride, the wildlife viewing area that it promised was non-existent. I didn’t mind the slower paced ride for a little bit to “warm up.” When I got back to the main road I pulled in the gas station at the intersection to get some coffee. Put my gloves back on the primary and drank my coffee and called Jon. If you have never used your primary as a glove warmer, it is amazing. It was like putting heated gloves on! I headed back on the road, and at this point my two delays had helped me get some warmer weather as the sun was higher now.
McCall was a really cool town to ride through. I wish I would have stopped to walk around a bit, it seemed like a little mountain village with a bit of tourist action, maybe like something you would find in Colorado. After McCall the road went into some meadow space that was like a scene from Little House on the Prairie. After the meadows it was back in the mountains. This really was a pretty ride. I would recommend making the trip, enough twisties to make it fun but not too technical that you are tense the whole time. From here on out it was pretty much all vast open spaces and rolling hills. It was pretty amazing how many farms there are and so many different colors. I was getting warmer now, as the sun was up and it was actually starting to get hot! When I was going through Grangeville, it was fields of different crops as far as you could see with distant hills and mountains surrounding this flat valley area. I was taking my time since I had such a short ride, so when I saw a sign that said something about mammoths and historic site I made the turn. The road took me straight across the valley almost to the other side then it dead ended with another road that was dirt. At this intersection there was no sign for a historic point in either direction. So I turned around, this was the last time an Idaho historic marker would lie to me! If I couldn’t see it from the road I wasn’t going looking!
When I got to Lewiston, there wasn’t much going on. I saw the HD shop in town, but they are closed on Sunday so I kept following the road toward what appeared to be downtown. As I desperately searched the buildings there was no sign of life. I finally found a restaurant that was open so I parked across the street and started pealing off layers. At this point it is HOT! The restaurant was a little more “upscale” but at least I figured the food would be good as long as they let me in. The waitress was nice, and I told her the open sign was still off she was thankful for the reminder. They were still serving brunch, since I had gained an hour heading north and it was only noon. I had an awesome huevos rancheros that was totally worth every penny! When I was finished I chatted with the waitress about my ride so far. I asked her about Lewiston, and she said there wasn’t much going on there. I was trying to figure out where I was going to stay for the night. It was too early to stop for the day. I asked her about Coeur d’ Alene and she said it would be worth the ride and would have a lot more action tonight. So, I headed out with just my tank on so I could get some sun on my arms. Within about 50 miles the coat was going back on, it is like Alaska, when you are sitting in the sun it feels warm but the air is still cool.
Coming into Coeur d’ Alene (CDA from now on) was really pretty. You climb through some hills and forrest which then opens to a huge lake. The town is right on the water. When I was a few miles out the truck in front of me braked and switched lanes, and I saw what looked like a dog on the side of the road. I slowed to almost a stop so I wouldn’t hit it if it ran out in front of me. I got within a foot of it and honked my horn trying to scare it off the road. It just stared at me and as I started to roll again it chased after me! I hope it didn’t get hit, it was really a pretty animal.
Once in CDA, I went to the Best Western (for the HOG discount) and apparently they were closed for renovations! Luckily I saw a LaQuinta on the way there so I whipped around and headed there. The place was all newly remodeled and the gal at the front desk told me when I was ready I should go to Sherman St. So I showered and called a cab. I am currently walking down Sherman stopping at bars/restaurants along the way to get a drink and chat with the locals. A pretty cool spot. I am currently in a bar called Moose Lounge, with a slightly distracted bar tender named Steve.
For your info, there are no moose in Idaho, but they still have a bar named after them. They even have one from AK mounted in the bar. It is an AK moose, I can tell by the size. From here I will find some food and then back to the hotel. Tomorrow I only have to make it to Spokane which is like 45 minutes away. I am not really sure what I am going to do without 400+ miles to do!