After a lovely night chilling at the Silver dollar bar and sleeping at the church woke up to a cup of coffee that Don had made. He had woken up a few minutes ago and put on the pot and was making himself breakfast. As i stepped out for a smoke it was still chilly outside, it was time i bought a pair of thermal pant or something that would keep me warm. White Bird was at the foothills of the mountains. Form here on out i would have to climb some serious passes like the one i had to get over at Mckenzie. We decided to ride to a campsite close to Lolo pass but that seemed to be a stretch. We hoped to at least get to the town of Lowell where they had a campsite.
View while climbing
The first big step in the plan was the climb over the Old White Bird highway onto White Bird pass. I had been told that the climb was super beautiful but would take a while. As we started to climb the sun came up. Nice to climb in the warmth. Around midway i met a cyclist who was also riding up the pass. This was his regular ride towards Grangeville. He apparently rides up the mountain almost everyday. He passed me relatively quickly and went ahead. A few minutes later another rider passed by. This is the same guy who i had met at Austin Cafe a few days ago. His wife had gone back home and he w riding with a couple of friends, one of whom had a camper van that was carrying all their gear. A quick chat and carried on. The view from the top was beautiful. Rolling hills with lot of grass growing. No wonder lots of ranches were around here. The road took us to the new highway for a a mile or so before diverting us back to the old road. The highway was noisy and busy. Thankfully the one mile on that highway went by quickly. Don had gone ahead and was waiting for me at the diversion. A quick stop for a smoke and back again on the bike. Finally after about 10 miles we were on top. Now a steady downhill towards Grangeville.
At Grangeville we quickly went to the grocery store to figure out what to eat. Bumped into LE who was stocking up for his ride towards Lola. He was nice enough to give me a pair of hand warmers and gave me detailed instructions on how to use them to stay warm. Gave Don a pair of them just incase he would like it. Super nice of him to think about us and help out. he planned to either ride up Lola the same night or stay at the hotel close to the pass. Being from Canada the cold doesn’t seem to affect him. Thankfully opposite the store was a sports shop that sold some running / hiking gear. I quickly went i a found a pair of Under Armor thermal pants and a nice warm gloves. 100 dollars and i was set. Hopefully this would do. Don had been talking about an all you can eat Chinese place that is everywhere in America. We went looking for one. Found the Chinese place but it wasn’t all you can eat. Had lunch and filled up our bottles. I wanted to go back to the grocery store and get coffee but Don wanted to head out. So we decided to go ahead and get a cup of coffee at Stites which was about 20 miles away. As we started riding to Stites, Ben passed by. The ride towards the town was filled with rolling hills and lots of Wheat fields. Met a couple of touring cyclists from Netherlands who warned us about the downhill ahead. A few minutes later as we hit the downhill it got harder. Just to slow down was effort. by the time i got down the hill my hand hurt. Lamb grade should be named Lamb fall. i wonder how people do down that road in cars and even worse in tractors.
On the way to Stites
At Stites i got a couple of pings from Micheal and LE about Lamb Grade. Micheal could smell his brake pads burn as he came down and LE had a flat coming down that road. The old lady running the grocery store had some wonderful coffee. The only store in town and it was almost going to close down. She was trying to sell it so that she could retire. Apart from coffee and home made soup the store was pretty much empty. I just had coffee and Don had the soup. He kept talking about the soup for a while, i wish i had eaten some. Our only stop between here and the town of Lola (Monatana) was Kooskia. We had to get whatever supplies we had from there. The map that Don had said no supplies for the next 80 miles. We rode to the town and found a huge grocery store. Bought a bunch of things mostly chocolates and a little bread for the next day. A cup of coffee and headed towards Lowell. We had about 3 hours of daylight and had to ride to the campsite on a really busy road. People at the store warned us of the trucks and asked us to be as safe as possible. Slowly we managed to ride towards Lowell. On the way we found a campground. Seemed we got there really soon, I was expecting us to be riding for a while longer. Apparently that was the campsite we had decided to stop at.
On the road towards Lowell
Just as i entered the campsite I met a cyclist who offered to share his tent space with us. This would mean we could just camp for free. Don had been talking about how nice it would be to camp next to the river. The campsite was on the bank of the river. With that sorted and a hole in the ground for a loo we put up our tents. The touring cyclists, Forest and Lucas had finished up college and this was their one last blowout before they went to work. They had started close to where we had and taken a month to get here. They had about 6 months to ride across the country and weren’t in too much of a hurry. This was their 2nd night at the campsite. I tried to offer them some of my food as a thank you for letting us camp with them but these guys were super prepared. They had a stove and just had cooked and eaten dinner. I miss my stove on occasions like these. Made a sandwich and put up my tent. No cell phone reception so couldn’t call home, no charging port to charge the music player but the location of the campground was well worth it. Pitched my tent next to the water and went to bed. Another day well spent. Tomorrow we hopefully should be in Montana.
Its been almost 3 weeks since i left home, wonder if the new puppy would recognize me when i go back. She is growing up super quick.
Don and Forest during Dinner or it could be breakfast the next day
Lesson for the day : Chocolate is a treat and not a meal
Up next : Day 13, Lowell to Summit of Lola Pass