Aug 13

Big Elk Creek Y Camp to Soda Springs

by in 2008 Idaho

Wednesday, 85 miles, 3025’ gain

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This was going to be our longest day. We would do 89 miles. It started with the 2 mile gravel road back to the paved highway. Some people got sagged down, but we didn’t want to wait for the truck and we had big tires, so we just rode. This time we were bundled up, though. It was a good thing, too. It was cold again. Even the climbs around Palisades Reservoir didn’t warm us up enough to want to peel off layers.

We crossed into Wyoming at Alpine. We saw lots of osprey nests, some occupied. We saw sand cranes walking though the grass in a wildlife refuge. Actually, Sheila saw them and yelled, “Stop!” I, being the good captain, immediately stopped. It was worth it.

We rode down the Wyoming/Idaho state line for a couple miles. Whose department of transportation takes care of that road? Then we pulled into a rest stop and shucked off our extra clothes. I have to say here that the rest stops were plentiful on this trip. They were every 15-20 miles. Volunteers actually filled your bottles for you. There were plenty of snacks. It was quite pleasant.

We left there and started toward Tin Cup Pass (6854’). It was about 12 miles of climbing. Again, most of it wasn’t too bad. Just the last mile or so was 5%+. Then we had some swift downhills coupled with uphills short enough to fly up. Then we had our excitement for the day.

We had just finished a big down and were working our way up a rise. We saw a group of 4 pass a rider behind us and they caught us just shy of the top. We followed them over and found a 6% downgrade. Sheila started cranking. I caught on and started pushing too. We were going to catch them. Then I threw it into our biggest gears and we charged by.

They regrouped and took up the chase. The road went up and down. They were bound to catch us, but then, huzzah, the lunch stop came into view as we rounded a corner. We’d held them off! Cheers and applause all around as we all stopped to eat. That was fun!

The rest of the day was level and mostly downhill. We went through more grain fields. These were infested with grasshoppers. The bugs were bouncing of our helmets, glasses, chests, everywhere. There was no avoiding them. It was very strange.

That crew passed us again about 10 miles after the lunch stop. They had us in their sights for quite a while and said we’d pushed them to greater efforts. We were tired now. The temperature was in the high 80s and so was our mileage. We were ready to finish. Eventually we made it into Soda Springs, stopping at Hooper Springs on the way in. We showered at our hotel. Sheila did the wash. I did the shopping. Then we went in to eat with the gang at the pizza place.

I’d gotten some veggie burgers at the store and the diner made us burgers and fries while the rest of the crew had their ribs and taters. We also used some of our spinach and peppers to spice up the salad from the salad bar. It felt like real food.

Then we hung out in the campground with the Reel Theatre people. Turns out they are a family movie place that sponsors a team. Mom, Dad, and two of the sons and one spouse were on the trip. We had a great time swapping stories with them. Then we retired.

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