Days: 6 | Active time: 24h18m | Distance 454 km | Elevation: 5752m
Twin Falls | Kalama Horse Camp | Portland
Still a city girl
We woke up by Twin Falls to the sound of the waterfall, I had a rough night because I was afraid the water would rise up to the tent (irrational thoughts again.. I’m hopeless). Simon was equally tired because his mattress was too hard and the waterfall was really really noisy.
The day started with a short but extremely steep climb followed by a very nice downhill. Part of it gravel, part pavement. You could tell that the road wasn’t maintained that often due to its big potholes and cracks on the side so we had to be very careful going downhill, especially riding with bikes with the heavy load made it a bit sketchy.
When the road finally ended we found some kind of heaven.
We could littery eat anything, anytime
It wasn’t long until we craved for food...again, we hadn’t really figured out that the portion of porridge and a cup of joe (coffee) wasn’t enough in the morning, especially since we started off with breakfast, followed by tacking down the tent and packing the bikes. Making us more or less starving the minute we began our days in the saddle.
This was later adjusted to a reversed order were we packed the bikes as much as possible and then had breakfast so we wouldn't have to stop after an hour to eat. But at this point, this was not the case, we had been out on the road for only a few days and it was still a steep learning curve
We arrived at a town-ish called Northwood, it was more or less like a camp community with barns, golf carts and big trucks. We were looking for breakfast with the typical American breakfast but to our surprise, there was only the offer of a pizza place, in a barn...
Ordering a pizza scene in the middle of nowhere:
Me: A menu, please...
Pizza lady: No…just choose the topic
Me: Add anything..?
Pizza lady: Yes…anything
Me: How big are they…?
Pizza lady: Family size only...
I think we ended up with a pizza with the most random topping but it tasted like heaven, and who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast?
After probably the biggest food-coma in the history we went back on the bikes, it was very hot, and almost noon, and no, not very well planned. We were both exhausted after the night at the white noise and hard mattress.
We stopped at a ranger station to ask the way to the "Ape Cave" and the possibility of a campground, remember, this was a few days before 4th of July and the campgrounds were already fully booked.
And no, we were not ready to do wilderness camping just yet, we needed to crawl before we could walk and weren't ready for this big step.
The kind lady at the ranger station mentioned that the road up ahead was about 50-60 kilometres until Ape Cave, all downhill.
Wow there, the tingling feeling of not climbing made us very happy, as we hopped on the bikes, thrilled and moist with excitement.
Now...note to self. When somebody says downhill and isn’t a cyclist. Don’t believe them, on that specific topic. This turned out to be rolling hills, going up, never not down.
This part is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to long distance stuff: How you set your mind to things.
We were dead sure that it would become an "easy day", but it turned out the complete the opposite, not that the hills were super steep and gnarly, but it just wasn’t what we had imagines ourselves doing.
I remember those kilometres very vividly, the road ran right next to a reservoir, which I tried to use as a distraction of the now gruelling road "down" to the Ape Caves.
Things got real
3 hours later we finally arrived at Ape Cave and we were tired and both pretty grumpy, we were in need of food (again), rest and ready to hit camp for the night. But little did we know that Ape Cave didn’t allow camping, nor the other places around the area.
fuck....The tension started to build, and our conversation turned into an argument about what to do and where to go.
There were two options, both equally uncertain about the outcome.
Our first option was to head north and possibly hit a campground, but the map showed unpaved roads, and at this point, we were not really ready for the uncertainty of surface and the gain of elevation.
The time was about 4 pm and at this point, we wanted to be a destination so we could get a proper rest and the possibility to recover.
Option number two would be to go Cougar Campground, but that was about 70k away and we knew it was filled with campers since the 4th of July party was just around the corner. But we could possibly find another campground along the way but would we risk it?
A car came driving towards us, from the north, the direction we were riding towards, we asked him to stop for some questions along the conditions of the road (yes, we’ve learned about to take every bit of info with a grain of salt). But he mentioned that the gravel section would only last a few kilometres followed by a downhill, they were both hikers, so I think they knew one of two things about this stuff.
We went north, yet again to the unknown; some might ask why, since we had experienced this exact moment just days before. But our deal was to ride for 1.5 hours and if we hadn't found anything or the roads were unrideable we would face the music and camp in the bushes and head back down south the following morning.
Mind vs. body
We kept riding and tried to stay as positive as possible, the gravel was alright and I was actually starting to enjoy the ride again, I think Simon felt the same way (we both took in some sugar, problem solved). We reached the top of the climb after only 3 km of riding(!), the road turned to pavement. I was so happy when we reached the top, I felt that we were flying again.
It always surprises me how far we can go when we think we can't go any further. It's always like that when I do long distance rides; after a certain point my body kind of just gives up sending fatigue signals to my brain, and I can just keep going.
We started riding downhill, we had about 16 km left until Kalama Horse camp, it was most likely downhill all the way - on the pavement. We finally arrived, to this unique campground with stable for horses. I was super excited about that, once a horse girl, always a horse girl.
We were only one week into our adventure and we hadn’t sorted out how to know which cities were big enough for a lunch break. We had pointed out a town for lunch, but the only thing that came to our attention was a church and a school. We ate an emergency bar and continued up a very very steep road! On top of that road, we found a general store, it kind of looked just like any other store, including a gas station.
We thought we needed something more than an energy bar and could not risk another situation where we didn't get a proper lunch.
You know the saying "never judge a book by its cover", this was so true about this place, since they had properly the greatest pancakes I ever had! They were big, fluffy, topped with whipped cream and fresh blueberries (OMG just writing this makes we hungry)! In fact, I think this was the best pancakes I had on the whole trip, maybe in my whole life (sorry dad)!
The final stretch
We rode further down south with a nice cloud over us, making the heat barrable compared to the day before. The roads got more crowded and we saw the first bike lane in a very long time, we could finally tell that we were about to roll into a big city.
We had talked about taking a train from Battlefield, a suburb outside of Portland, but that was impossible, due to something...(can't remember) so we ended up riding into Portland - which turned into a great idea! Portland was like a museum to me, with all the old bridges and industrial buildings, I kept thinking that I would love to show this city to my Granddad.
The options of a campground in the city weren't too good so we ended up checking in to a wonderful hotel, yes I craved a nice bed, a shower, and enjoyed a fun rest day the day after #citygirl!