Monday, July 23, 2007

My Bicycle Goes on Vacation

Actually it was the wife's family reunion... does that count as "vacation"? (Just funnin' - they're great folks and a fine time was had by all... or most all, anyway.)

The location - Alturas Lake, at the edge of the mighty Sawtooths. We stayed in rustic cabins. (Some called it "camping." My definition of camping would not include permanent solid walls.)

As is usually the case whenever possible, my bicycle tagged along. I envisioned riding from there in to Stanley and back, or perhaps if I was feeling plucky, even an assault on Galena Summit.

Alas, I had about 3/4 mile of nasty dirt road before I got to pavement, with big sharp-edged chunks of gravel mixed in liberally. Not friendly to inch-wide, high-pressure tires. (Click on either photo for a larger view.) Roads like this are why somebody invented mountain bikes.


I ended up riding up and down this road twice, to get to destinations beyond. The second time, I got a "snake-bite" puncture (where the tube gets pinched between the rim and a hard place, resulting in two little holes - thus "snake bite") and walked back to headquarters. (I was already running late for the big family meeting.)

Despite the less-than-stellar bicycling, I did get in a little bit of riding in a NICE change-of-pace locale. But alas, now I'm back in good ol' 98-degree, yellow-alert Boise. Sigh.



db said...

Welcome back, Bikeboy. Glad you got out of the heat, although I was up north, too, and it wasn't that much cooler. I do know that road that you ventured out on, and yes, it is really better on a mountain bike.

Bikeboy said...

On Friday, we drove up the Banks / Lowman / Stanley route. It was quite smoky until somewhere between Lowman and Banner Summit; then the air got quite clear (particularly for this time of year). But alas, on Sunday morning, we could see smoke billowing up from the mountains directly behind Stanley and Redfish, and we had a red sunset, and downright smoky by Monday morning when we departed.

When I was riding that gravel road, I reflected on the irony of being in one of God's beautiful places, but needing to concentrate on the 2 or 3 feet of road in front of me (both for big pointy chunks of gravel and sandy loose dirt that would send my tires a-squirtin'). Every now and then I'd get to a smooth place and could glance up for an instant or two.

There were a LOT of cyclists approaching the Galena mountain from both sides; relatively few actually riding up the mountain. The difference in oxygen content between 2700 feet and 6000 feet is sure noticeable.

Anonymous said...

That area is one of the best in Idaho. Went up to Alturas for church camp a few times in my youth.

You should of put your winter tires on for the rode. Still would of been enjoying the scenery, just a little safer.

Bikeboy said...

Clancy - you're right! If I'd had the 38's on there, instead of the 25/28's, it would have been MUCH better on that fire road, and I'd 've likely avoided the snakebite.

(Hindsight is 20/20... I also busted my rear fender. I carried my bicycle up there bungee-corded to the canoe trailer, and it was bumpin' and rubbin' in bad ways. I duct-taped it together for the duration of the trip, and have ordered a replacement set of "Freddy Fenders.")