Widlife Canyon before Green Valley
A much lower, and much lusher, Idaho
I was wrong about more Salmon River today. Instead of going on up that river, I rode away from it to the high point of my riding in Idaho, Banner Summit at 7200 feet. Then I descended through the headwaters of another river and folowed that river all the way to Crouch. I didn't record my mileage today,but I think it was in the high 80s - 55 to Loman and another 34 to Crouch. There was, at a guess, about a mile of climbing. Usually I just look that up using ridewithgps.com, but according them, my climbing was over two miles. That is wrong. They use google's data to figure road altitudes and that doesn't work well when he roads are in narrow, steep walled canyons.
I planned to ride to Lowman today since ridewithgps said there was mile of climbing in the 60 miles it took to get there. That didn't make sense to me since, after 1100 feet of climbing to get to the high point at Banner Summit, there is about a 3500 foot drop to Lowman. While there is a good bit of climbing in that section, it does come near 4000 feet. Things get even weirder after Loman on the Banks-Loman Rd. ridewithgps shows over 8000feet of climbing in 20 miles. That is impossible.
Last night in Stanley, I asked a fellow, who works at the motel where my Brit friends were staying,where I should go to eat supper. He sugested the Bridge Street Grill in Lower Stanley and the Elk Mountain Resort on ID 21 four mile north of Stanley. I went to Bridge Street - it was only a mile away - last night and had the best meal of this tour. I stopped at Elk Mountain on my way north today and had the best breakfast of this trip. Their pancakes are to die for and they are so big I could only eat two them. Stanley was about twice as expensive to stay in as Challis, but, for a town with an offical population of 100 (!), it has some amazing places to stay, shop, and eat.
Elk Mountain Resort is also a very friendly place. I quickly got a lot good info on my route today from folks who knew what they were talking about. what they had to say convinced me I could ride to Garden Valley where Croch is located. Then, as I was getting ready to leave, a young woman asked me where I was from and where I was going and some older folks with an 8 (?) year old grandson (?) who was grinning at me, said he lived near Asheville.
Leaving Stanley on OR 21
The Elk Mountain Resort, with some Sawtooth Mountains in the background
Looking back at the road, mountains, and ridges from a few miles north of the resort
Getting to Lowman took four hours. Well, getting to the higher Lowman, where services, including food and motels, are, took four hours, the 11 more miles to where Loman officially is - where 21 heads south and Banks-Loman starts - took at least another hour. It probably took three hours to cover the remaing 25 miles to Crouch.
The nice downhill
Climbing towards the summit
The summit is at the edge of Boise County
The summit sign
One of the things I learned at Elk Mountain was that there were services at Lowman. As I neared Lowman, I was looking for the Sourdough Lodge. I ate a late, and large, lunch there. I could have stopped for the night since they have rooms, but I had time to get to Garden Valley, so I rode on. Lowman is strange in that the lodge, and a bunch of other stuff, is about ten miles before the town. In between there is only forest, and at the official Lowman there is nothing but the intersection with the Banks-Lowman Rd.
Half a mile into the long downhill
Cruising along the river
Cranking uphill away from the river
The 11 miles to Banks-Lowman road seemed to take a long time. It was hot - something I haven't experienced for long time - and windy and there were lots of NFS camps along the way. The most popular one had a neat waterfall where people were cooling off. I bet that water was cold! I stopped several times in the shade of trees on the other side of the road to cool off.
Cooling off in the shade between Lowman and Lowman
It was good to turn off of 21 at Lowman. I could have kept on 21 and ridden to Idaho City instaed of Garden Vally, but that meant climbing three thousand feet in the hot sun. Banks-Lowman road continued following the river and, although it had a good bit of climbing, was a more interesting ride. The folks at Elk Mountain said it was relatively flat, and, relative to staying on 21, it was.
Looking down on the river after a lot of climbing
And after even more climbing
The mile long, 7%, downhill
Looking back at black - vocanic? - rocks after the 7% downhill
Cruising along the river on my way to Garden Valley
It took a long time to ride the 21 miles from Lowman to Garden Valley, with some long , hot, climbs as the road climbed well above the river in two steps and then came back down in one long fast down hill. The headwind continued, but not as continuously as on 21 since Banks-Lowman was a lot twistier and the canyon walls were a lot steeper.
When I finally (!) reached the Garden Valley Motel, it had no vacancy. I went inside anyway and the very nice young lady there told me that there was a motel in Crouch, a few miles farher down the road. She told me were to rurn to get to Crouch - "just after Danny's bridge" - but she didn't tell me the motel was at the other end of a winding road through Crouch ;-}. Crouch is neat, my cabin is comfortable, and I had a, much needed, 10 hours of good sleep last night. It is better to stay in Crouch than at the Garden Valley motel because there are services - restaurant, coffee shop with wifi, and grocery store - here.