Long story (which I did write about in some detail but decided not to post it as I found it majorly dull reading it back and I was actually there!) but mission aborted on the Idaho Hot Springs loop. A combination of roads closed in both directions, injuring my leg and my heart not really being in going up MORE hills (as last year’s trip suddenly felt quite recent plus I’m not fit at all) meant that when I was at the decision point to continue or not and I was staring failure in the face, I gave him a quick kiss and we eloped back to Boise for a wonderful night in a Motel 6.
For the record, I did do the full 32 miles of the Boise spur and each one felt very hard-earned and then had to do 32 back the next day which was pretty depressing. I did see a Pronghorn antelope though, and a snake and some turkey vultures feasting on the dead remains of the Chinook salmon run.
I think it was Shackleton who once said ‘in the face of adversity, hot foot it to the Hertz rent-a-car desk’ so I did just that. The loose plan had been to cycle North west from Boise after finishing the Hot Springs loop to join the Trans Am route. I would have been fit post-loop and done it in about 3 days. But having skipped the loop and not yet being fit, it would have taken me forever and wasn’t on a great road for cycling on so I rented a car and went up highway 26 then along the Oregon Scenic Byway to Redmond.
The drive was via a Walgreens as, seriously, my leg is pretty bad and I needed some more bandages etc. as I’d used up the ones in my first aid kit and I discovered the use by date on the antiseptic cream was 2007. I have some photos of the gash (first action in an emergency was to take a leg selfie) but they are disgusting so I won’t post them. Let’s just say it’s down to a layer of tissue I’ve not seen A-level biology rat dissection class. Moreover, it’s a really unflattering angle of my calf that makes it look like serves 12 joint of ham.
I also went to REI to pick up some camping gas and, after hearing what had happened, the assistant said “if you’re ever in trouble, come into an REI and we’ll look after you”. I could have cried.
After ditching the hire car and a massive bottle of TCP equivalent (which I had to buy as they don’t seem to sell antiseptic wipes – come on America, get with the programme!), I cycled west to Sisters. It’s Labour Day weekend so I was a bit worried about everywhere being full but the town campsite has a hiker-biker (i.e. you just show up) section which I currently have all to myself whilst the RVs are nestled bonnet by grill.
I might be joined tonight by a Pacific Crest Trail hiker – trail name the White Knight – I met in the launderette making his brown T-shirt white again. We clocked each other as non-locals by the fact I was wearing a down jacket with nothing underneath and he was in his rain jacket, whilst all other clothes were in the wash. The choice of down jacket was naive as nothing makes you hotter than wearing one in a room of 12 washing machines and dryers pumping out heat!
The current plan is to spend a day or two in Sisters sleeping and recharging all kinds of batteries before heading over Mckenzie Pass (i.e. over the Cascades to the strip of Oregon in between sea and mountain). In theory, that shouldn’t be that hard but, right now, it feels more like a spirit-sapper than a lung-buster so I think I might split it into two and spend the night halfway up.
The good news is that Reggie made it, albeit in a very battered bike box, and the weather forecast is good so (hopefully) that’s a sign of things looking good from here on in!