We woke to clear skies! No bears, but we spent a COLD night in the tent. We have good sleeping bags, but they were not enough. I ended up wrapping my feet in my down jacket, sleeping in all of my warm clothes including my beautiful orange neck gaiter/ear cover! The tent was coated in ice; the door-flap operated like a solid door. It would have been funny if we hadn’t been so darn cold.
Today’s ride followed the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway across Dead Indian Pass. This was by far the prettiest day for scenery with beautiful forests, streams beside the roadway, and great views of the valleys. The power of nature was visible at every turn.
The great thing (on a clear day) with uphill climbs are the down-hills! Today’s ride had some nice descents with great views and lots of sunshine.
One hazard for cyclists in the West are the cattle guards and there were lots of them today. Cattle guards are made from metal tubing placed across an open culvert and are intended to keep livestock from crossing. Usually they extend the full width of the road and are about eight feet wide. Like railroad tracks, they are treacherous if not crossed at right angles. Seams between sections of the cattle guards can be a problem, too, because the cracks can catch a wheel.
Dead Indian Pass required an eight mile trek uphill with a series of switchbacks. At the base of the hill, Steve went ahead, but waited for me at the lunch-stop at the top. I tackled it by deciding that I could make it to the next switchback, then the next, then the next, until I was finally there!
There was construction work on the road, but they let cyclists go ahead then took vehicles through with the Follow-Me vehicle. It was nice to ride without also having to watch for cars while climbing. At the top, I heard a Stop/Slow sign-guy say that thanks to the weather the previous day, the construction crew was behind schedule. If we hadn’t had the bad weather the day before, we would have had to contend with fresh chip-seal. Chip-seal is what Southerner’s call tar and gravel (aka “shake and bake”) and Northerner’s call fresh oil and stone. I did not appreciate the previous day’s weather, but I am thankful not to have had to brave the Chief Joseph Highway with loose gravel!