Camped Between Geneva and ParisPosted: August 6, 2013
The last two days of pedaling along sections of the American Gold Rush Trail have been the most difficult of the ride. Inclines upwards of 10% and the relentless headwinds that frequent Wyoming and southeastern Idaho compounded the challenge. Nevertheless, we pushed, one pedal at a time, with our own wagonload of determination to reach Montpelier, Idaho where we’re now camped. We’ve slowed the pace down a little as the days are much hotter after we descended to a lower elevation than we’ve been riding in the past three weeks. Our next challenge will be the Bear Lake Summit, elevation 7,810 feet as we head to Logan Utah. We’re going to leave that for later in the week when the forecast is for cooler temperatures.
At this point, we’re a week away from riding into Salt Lake City. Even though we’re not rich with time as when we started, we know that each and every day on a bicycle tour is an adventure as we make our way to the Salt Lake.
We’ve found a great little campground east of town on Montpelier Creek as it rushes down from the mountains to the east. We don’t generally seek out deluxe campgrounds like KOA’s often opting for less organized digs. For a number of reasons, this one in south eastern Idaho came onto our radar at just the right time. We were planning to rest for a few days on a lake south of here but this oasis has EVERYTHING and we chose to stay. Impeccably clean washrooms and showers, good wifi, laundry, a spot right next to the creek and… a swimming pool with a spacious deck for Heather to soak up Vitamin D. It’s also small and not too busy during the week. So we agreed to made it Command Central for a few days.
One thing the camp sites didn’t have was a refrigerator. (Did we expect one?) The town of Montpelier also doesn’t have an open grocery store on Sundays. We arrived on a Saturday and made do with the supplies we had on board putting off a trip to Broulim’s Grocery store until the next morning. It was a dangerous assumption and ultimately a bad decision. On Sunday, we rolled into town to go shopping for food just for the day. Not. We found ourselves cast adrift in a sea of HO HO’s, white dough and soda pop EXACTLY as we described in an earlier blog entry. Bouncing back and forth in a search for some semblance of nutrition between two of the “Food Marts” we thought we’d struck it rich when we found a pre-made salad sitting alone with all the junk food glaring at it and its “healthy choice” insolence. “Never mind, we’ll take you home with us,” we said as we rescued it from the shelf. But what about protein? We didn’t like any of the the choices, but with a fire pit back at the camp site, maybe… wait for it… smokie hot dog things would work in a pinch. (we were feeling pinched) We succumbed. Home we went with a perky little salad, three mystery tubes and accompanying hoagie (white) buns.
We arrived back at camp determined to make the best of this dubious shopping spree. It was a while before dinner so we used the tried, true and only method we had to keep a chill on the food. Suspend it in the creek in a watertight bag. We scrounged for zip locks and came up with a suitable collection of candidates and our “fridge over troubled waters” became a reality. Boy, were we smug. Kind of cheeky savoring the forbidden hat dawgs that we never eat. Well, we weren’t so self assured when we came back a few hours later to discover the package had become the Good Ship Lollipop and was on its way to the Great Salt Lake. But… maybe, just maybe they got hung up somewhere. It must have looked like an episode of Mr. Bean as I scoured the banks of the creek, trying to look inconspicuous. Feeling somewhat relieved, I almost called off the search until back at my starting point, there it was. A sad looking bag of jetsam that could have been a casualty of Katrina. I pulled it from the water only to discover the salad didn’t make it but, the mystery tubes were right as rain and just waiting to jump onto a stick over an open fire. It was getting dark, which was probably a good thing. We roasted those puppies like Boy Scouts and upon the first bite, we were relieved. “Wow, these taste pretty good!” No wonder, for people that try to avoid excess salt it was like a bad drug. We noticed no immediate ill effects and had a really good laugh about the whole caper. That was until the middle of the night when we awoke with mouths that felt like the French Foreign Legion had been marching through them all night casting a fine dust of salt wherever they cared. Water! We scrambled out of the tent running for the water bottles on the bikes. All would be well.
Tomorrow, were back on the road. We’re getting an early start on our day to beat the heat. We have just a few more days left in the tour and were really looking forward to seeing all our friends in Salt Lake City. Oh, and we will make one more visit to Broulim’s for groceries before we leave as there is no other grocery store for 70 miles.