August 8, 2006
As a kid I had a dream. I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe in the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bikes in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors, and the first night even kept it by bed.
– John Lennon
Today I woke in the town park, had pancakes at a local cafe for breakfast, and started riding.
The day began with a long climb, and the heat didn’t waste any time settling in either. In a little while I came to Grangeville, where I saw a big banner above a pizza shop that read “all you can eat lunch buffet.” Sold. I think my hands were squeezing the brakes before I even got to the word “buffet.”
It was one of those deals with small slices, and too much pepperoni that gets all dry and crispy, but I definitely had my money’s worth… including a self-serve Coca-Cola tap and garlic breadsticks. I got a kick out of the store’s motto – “We toss ’em, they’re awesome!”
So with a little extra weight now, I had more climbing to do out of town – up the White Bird Mountain. It went well, especially considering the day’s heat and my greasy, spicy stomach, which didn’t give me any issues. The descent on old route 95 was great, with winding switchbacks and top notch scenery, including a roadway lined with sunflowers.
I went through the old town of White Bird, and stopped at a small store on the outskirts for a break and some soda, planning to go on to Riggins for the night. Inside the store, I overheard the owner talking with this droopy-eyed older guy. The owner was telling the old guy about how his son can’t help him move today because he’s afraid his son will strain some problem with his foot, risking his status to play football.
So then I’m outside drinking a Mountain Dew, watching this old guy slowly walk back to his van, and I bet you can guess what I said:
“Hey! You need help moving?!”
So that’s how I met Art. He’s moving only a mile or two from a cabin perched up on a hillside, to a newer, nicer place on the other side of the Salmon River. We go up to his cabin, and within an hour his two friends show up with a pickup truck – Russ and Alana.
Art has a titanium knee replacement, and recently had rotator cuff surgery as well, so Russ and I did all the moving. It seemed like it was a fortunate thing I came along, and it was a simple, easy job. It only took one trip, with a full trailer and the truck bed – no flights of stairs to negotiate, and no especially heavy or awkward items.
When the moving was done we went to a diner at the bottom of the hill from the cabin, where I had a cheeseburger and french fries… cut fresh from Idaho potatoes, of course!
Now Art is in his new place for the night, and he offered to let me stay up in the empty cabin that we moved him out of today. I just took a nice hot shower.
The wind is blowing all over the place, creating a mighty nasty dust storm. I can see lightning flashing on the other side of the mountain. This is such an awesome spot, like I’m at a fire lookout post or something. So let’s see, just by chance tonight I met some great, fun people, got a free meal, a shower, a sweet place to stay, and forty dollars cash… along with the good feeling of helping a guy out when I didn’t have to. Life is good.
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Google Map Route may not be 100% accurate.