Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 3 - Baker City, OR to Lewiston, ID

(Readers are advised to reread the Day 2 post since technical difficulties plagued last night’s post.)

Today we left Baker City and struck out for Missoula, Montana in a failed attempt to add both Idaho and Montana to the list of states we have ridden on our bikes. Stifling heat defeated us in northern Idaho so we turned west and finished the day in Lewiston Idaho. We road 340 miles and had a fine time.

Splendid Oregon vistas outside Baker City were visible at the Oregon Trail interpretive Center. We saw Conestoga wagons and the beautiful green valley that lured our ancestors west. It was inspiring. We traveled east on our way to the Oxbow Reservoir on the Idaho-Oregon border. Much of the morning was notable for the presence of a large amount of smoke in the air making visibility limited. We rode the Hell's Canyon trail for most of the morning.

Crossing into Idaho we had a wonderful 90-mile ride along the twisting Salmon River. Later we saw a helicopter hauling a huge bucket of water from the river to dump on a fire in the mountains.

We had a great lunch at Eddy’s steakhouse in Grangeville, ID where all the beef comes from their own ranch and is purely grass fed. The BBQ sandwich was excellent.

We turned west due to the heat after stopping at the Clearwater River and dunking our water vests (hydrophilic gel covered with fabric that cools via evaporation – a personal air conditioner) in the river. We then had a nice cruise along the Clearwater for about 60 miles through the Nez Pierce reservation on our way into Lewiston. This was part of the Lewis and Clark Trail and was very historic area with spectacular views of this broad river and the arid hills surrounding it. We stopped frequently to guzzle water and re-wet our vests. They were a great relief.

One last comment…we have not been in the Rainforest since Day 1. We have been in arid regions. We are headed back to the rainforest and you will see fields of green again. We promise.