T – We decided to have a breakfast in town this morning. And by we I mean Chantelle! We had used up the last of our powdered milk the other day and Chantelle couldn’t face another milk free coffee or oatmeal cooked in water. So into Halfway we went.
We pulled up at the cafe/pub where we had spied the excellent breakfast menu when passing through last time. I ordered the Wild West Breakfast (or something like that) which came with hashbrowns, sausage pattie, 2 eggs and 3 buttermilk pancakes for $8.00 and Chantelle opted for the breakfast burrito for $6 plus a coffee each for just 50 cents, for the two coffees.
When the food came some 45 mins later we were blown away by the portion size of mine. It came on 2 plates! There was a mountain of hashbrowns, the eggs must have been laid by an emu because they were huge, a nice fat tasty sausage patty took up a decent wedge of the plate and the three fluffy fat pancakes where enormous! My type of breakfast! And it was tasty too! I couldn’t believe it was just 8 bucks!
C – Todd was very chuffed with the size of his breakfast and managed to down the whole lot!! My breakfast burrito was absolutely divine and I definitely should of stopped at half and taken the rest away for a snack. But, I didn’t. I scoffed the lot! Nom nom nom!
T – Feeling full and fat we went and did a little shopping at the mercantile. I bought a birthday card to send back home to my father. I haven’t spoken to my family in quite some time as he and I had a big falling out a few years ago. It’s a long story that goes back nearly 20 years and I won’t bore you with the details. However I feel that the time has come for me personally to move on so I shall send a birthday card his way. Let bygones be just that.
After that it was back to the post office to see if our letter had arrived. The lady behind the counter was extremely rude to us and it seemed like the biggest effort in the world for her to check for our letter. It wasn’t there still which is unfortunate as we have to leave today. To the lady in the post office , if you hate your job or hate customer service so much, as you seemingly do, then please find another job. I’ll post the card at the next town.
We were out of there! Racing back down the road towards Hells Canyon. Idaho beckoned us. We fuelled up at a little gas stop along the way called Scottys and then we were back into the bottom of Hells Canyon.
This time we were on the opposite side of the lake from where we were when we hung out with the CT boys.
The GPS soon had us climbing up a steep winding dirt track called the Klein Schmidt Grade. Cut into the steep slopes of the canyon walls it offered up some incredible views for those of us who were brave enough to ride along the outside edge. Chantelle spent most of her time cowering up hard against the hillside not wanting to look down the sheer drop off the road and into the lake. It was just beautiful. Plus we had another perfect riding day weather wise. Brilliant blue skies stretching away and just a hint of a cool breeze.
C – The Kline Schmidt Grade was a pretty special ride! The views were outstanding and the drop offs completely terrifying! I do like to hug the inside just to make sure I don’t accidently go for a fly. Climbing up the grade today just confirmed that my tyre combinations are not ideal. My rear tyre is definitely too aggressive for my riding style. Its great whilst I can continue accelerating and keep momentum to the back wheel, but when needing to go slower for more technical terrain, or when I can not keep accelerating (such as around a hair pin bend with a sheer drop of a million miles to the bottom) the rear tyre sends me in all directions, scooting me into which ever direction it gets some grip. When we got to the top I suggested Totti have a ride on the dirt and see if its me, the tyre or something wrong with Rosie. Todd jumped on and I took Mabels reins for a spell. After a few hundred metres Todd stopped to check everything was tight on Rosies rear end – he definitely noticed the swing from side to side. Phew!!! It wasn’t just me!! Thankfully everything was tight and Todd stayed on Rosie for a while to give me a break. How nice to corner on Mabel and not have the rear end continuously slide out!!!! I do still love you Rosie, but not your stinking motocross tyre!
T – Soon enough we were out of the canyon and cruising through farmland as we headed for the town of McCall. For a while we ended up stuck on a highway as there was no other option.
Once into McCall we topped off our fuel tanks and were soon on our way. I didn’t really like Mccall. It seemed to me a very pretentious town. It was full of pretty people and expensive mansions and condos on a lake. Hard to get the feel of town as you just briefly pass through though.
Out of town and it wasn’t long before we shook of the terrible drivers that inhabit these highways and turned down a back road and into Boise National Forest. This was more like it. The trees closed in and the twisty stuff started up. Loved it!
C – We had decided to head towards Warm Lake in the Boise National Forest, to avoid sitting on highways all the way to Stanley, Idaho. We love the National Forests, with lots of paid and free campgrounds, and wild camping, with beautiful views, natural wilderness and of course, many many less people and many many more animals!
T – We soon started to climb. Higher and higher. 1800 meters passed. 1900 meters passed. 2000 meters passed. We had been as high as 2070 odd meters before and we were keen to see if we might top it. 2050 passed below us. Then we hit 2080. Woohoo Mabel! Go you little red thing! Climb that mountain!
Eventually we topped out at a whopping 2189 meters above sea level! Both bikes were still chugging along but there was a noticeable difference in power up there and they both smelt quite fuelly.
Then we were coasting downhill, clutch engaged, body laying over the handle bars, zipping along at a silent 70 km/hr until we flattened out at just over 2000 meters. We wound through thick forest and along mountain ridges and eventually the bitumen just ended. From here we were onto dirt road for the next 80 km’s.
What a dirt road it was too. Awful.
We smashed headfirst through massive sandy corrugations interspersed with massive rocks shoved up out of the ground. Mile after mile of the things. Everything on the bikes rattled and shook. Our speed dropped to a slow 30 km/hr crawl. Suspension working overtime even at this speed. There was no part of the road that was smooth. Corrugated from the drain on the right hand side of the road all the way across to the left hand drain. The state of this road reminding us both of the time we had crossed the Great Central Road in Australia before it had been graded.
We bounced and flung ourselves along this road. Mountains either side of us and a gorgeous meadow in between through which the Road of Ruts ran. Stunning!
We didn’t want to camp this high up if we could because we knew it would get cold overnight. So we pushed on.
C – I was blown away by the prairies at the top of each summit (three summits in total today!!!). But unlike the summit prairies in Oregon, these were lush and green and you just knew that out there, probably watching us, were bears and other wonderful creatures that inhabit these higher elevations. Just beautiful. The road however, was not. The sandy, rough corrugations shaking every inch of Rosie and Mabel and us… we stopped a few times for a break and a stretch. The road is really a one laner, with some tight corners on the ascents and descents. I was just about to round a tight bend when I noticed a massive bumper heading straight for me. I managed to pull off the road, with Todd quickly ducking in behind me. I was just about to take off when a second massive vehicle, towing a boat, zoomed around the bend, heading straight for us, as far to the right as he could get. I beeped and gave my best stink eye look whilst Todd gave him the ‘slow down’ hand signal. Luckily I didn’t take off a second earlier. Seriously, when driving on a narrow, poorly maintained road with lots of bends, stay over your side when rounding the corner!!! Pretty simple!!!
T – The road eventually wound down. And down. And down. We started to look for a camp spot and finally at 730pm we pulled into Deer Flats campground. Covered in dust and with our brains still ricocheting around in our skulls we set up camp and stuffed our faces with pulled pork buns before gratefully climbing into bed.
What a great day! An awesome ride! We managed 318kms today at an average of 46km/hr. Tomorrow we have 38 kms left of this bone cracking road and the we hit what appears to be some bitumen for a while. I love climbing these big passes and already have been eyeing off the route through Colorado which takes us over a 12000 foot pass (about 3200 meters I think.)