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As we journeyed further north along the Salmon River on Route 95, we passed a monument here to a Wilson A. Fosskett, MD and then paused at the Slate Creek Ranger Station of the Nez Perce National Forest. Then, as leaving, S and I got separated by distance of the road. By the time I got to the next turn off, I thought maybe she had had a flat tire and so pedaled back. The hilly Route 95 crossed the Salmon River a few times and curved following the river elsewhere. One of the people we had met at the campsite at Riggins gave a friendly wave to us in passing as I found S. We got to the turn off of White Bird, Idaho but due to tire thinness deviated from the AdventureCycling route and went quickly into town following the highway. We proceeded up the hill to a café and a garage. At the garage, S was able to find a store that would deliver a bicycle tire to us here in White Bird. I liked the Hoots Café and Garage, finding them helpful. Meanwhile I asked a ranger (who was standing there offering assistance as exiting the cafe) a question I had been pondering while cycling; why does a cow not cross a painted cattle guard ? I believe I also asked a question about the differences and advantages between the round bales of straw and the rectangular blocks of straw as I had seen by now a lot of bales and was curious what the advantages were. Seemed like a good time to ask, what with a ranger here. We then preceded down into the town. The AdventureCycling map said that we could camp in the city park of White Bird but when we got to the park, it was full of yellow jackets coming out of their underground nests. We decided to stay in a motel room.

One of the last things I did as a registered nurse for Lost Valley Educational Center, because people were getting stung by yellowjackets, at least one sting per day, spread across many of the interns, was go out with a shovel, the ducttaped beekeeping suit, a spray bottle with a soapy solution, and plastic bags, and go and dig out the underground nests of yellowjackets. A yellowjacket nest is about the size of a basketball and filled with the larva of the yellow jackets. They defend their nest pretty well. I now know, after having dug up many nests, that if you place a glass bowl over the opening of the nest, covering the edges of the glass with dirt but leaving sunlight able to get in, that the yellow jackets will not attempt to make a secondary exit but will die within the ground. This is much preferred to some of the many other methods I heard about including using boiling water, flaming fuel, and explosives.

While in White Bird we had a meal at the Silver Dollar Bar that had many postcards from many bicycle riders that had passed through. We also heard about the history of White Bird, about Chief White Bird and what we would be bicycling to next. After the tire was delivered in the morning and S changed her tire, we proceeded up White Bird grade. This route, the "Old White Bird Grade" had many switchbacks and apparently in going this route we made 37 complete 360° circles, an average of 950° per mile, while climbing 2,900feet in 14miles. This route was preferable to us to the newer rerouted highway Route 95 that just went straight up. We passed by the gravesite here of some soldier that had died on the White Bird battlefield at the beginning of the Nez Perce War. Click here for a historical image of the monument grave marker and click here for a view that was behind us. The Summit was at 4,429 feet. Then we rode down into the Camas Prairie and Grangerville camping at an RV Park called Bearsden, cause I was tired. We almost stayed with a random person who was offering his home to us after hearing we had bicycled, but then he paused as he considered then reconsidered and said he had like nine kids and it would be too crowded.

At the RV Park, I learned more about the different types of RVs like "Fifth Wheels", had a growing compassion toward the drivers of RVs were not 'careless' of bicyclists but maybe were over insulated from the surroundings because of their loud diesel engines, saw beautiful g-d rays as dusk approached, and enjoyed the life that Idaho County had.

When we were bicycling south of Pollock we were on the edges of the Wallowas/Seven Devils Mountains of the Blue Mountains ecoregion to our west and the Southern Forested Mountains of the Idaho Batholith ecoregion to our left. As we approached Riggins we transitioned and were on the edge of the Canyons and Dissected Uplands (11g) of the Blue Mountain ecoregion and the Southern Forested Mountains of the Idaho Batholith ecoregion till we got to Riggins when we entered the Hot Dry Canyons of the Idaho Batholith ecoregion (on our east) interfacing with the uplands.

Leaving toward White Bird we were now between the ecoregion of the Canyons and Dissected Uplands and transitioning into the South Clearwater Forested Mountains (16i) of the Idaho Batholith ecoregion to our east.

Generally we were bicycling through forested chipsealed interstate routes between towns.

As we left White Bird we were now on the edge of the Nez Perce Prairie (10j) of the Columbia Plateau ecoregion to the our north, and the continuing South Clearwater Forested Mountains (16i) of the Idaho Batholith ecoregion to the southeast.

We left Grangerville on Idaho State Highway 13 known as Harpster Grade now heading more eastward toward the Lower Clearwater Canyons (15j) of the Northern Rockies ecoregion with the South Clearwater Forested Mountains (16i) of the Idaho Batholith ecoregion to our southeast.

However described, it was beautiful.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 20th, 2012 03:49 am (UTC)
zen and the art of...
Hello Ming, your journey sounds amazing! I am reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance right now. I've been imagining myself on a cycling trip through Wyoming and your blog post helped add more detail...thank you!
Jessica Penrod
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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