Grangerville, ID to Pollock, ID
Total Miles: 5097
I woke up this morning and was immediately greeted by a crimson ball of molten fury blasting me right in the face, it was only 7:00 and already it was looking to be a scorcher. I was denied the joy of throwing rocks at Sebastian’s tent once again as he rolled out of his tent a little after I did. Boo. Once we were properly awake and packed up we headed about a mile down the road to have a delicious and healthy convenience store breakfast. I decided to go back to my old standby of breakfast sandwich and energy drink while Sebastian opted for a Monster and a whole package of donuts. Well, not a whole package. I may have helped a bit.
Our first challenge today was a big ol’ bitch of a hill to climb. Climbing hills is pretty nasty business but climbing hills first thing in the morning before your legs have a chance to warm up is really nasty business and I was not looking forward to it in the least bit. To make matters worse we made a bit of a navigation error and overshot our turn by about a mile. There were two ways over the mountain, the main highway and the old highway. We had missed the turn for the old highway and I was all for skipping that bullshit and just staying the course but Sebastian was having none of that bullshit. Grrrr, little bastard. But I would soon get my revenge. Once we started climbing the hill in earnest I got in front of him, saluted with my middle finger and powered my ass up that hill as hard as I could. Se besides the Omelette Vomit Comet hill I am consistently the fastest mother fucker around but all those Monsters Seb’s been drinking must have bestowed him with some unearthly, almost demon-like climbing ability since he stayed pretty close to me the whole time. But, per usual, I kicked his ass. Author’s Note: Vic. Collin. If he tells you otherwise then just know that he is a filthy liar who shouldn’t be trusted.
So, as much as I hate to admit it, Seb was right to force me to follow the maps as the view after crossing the summit was fucking incredible. I’ve seen some stunning vistas in my travels but there was something about this one that made me feel incredibly small and ephemeral. It was like you could see the slow march of time in the shape of these hills; the slanted, jumbled mess that looked like it was being both extruded from and pushed into the earth at the same time. It was awesome in the truest meaning of the word. The most amazing part, though, was the downhill that followed. It. Was. Incredible. Mile after mile after mile of steep, winding descent. If I could have paid someone to drive me back to the top I would have, it was like a rollercoaster ride but, like, you’re in control and you can die at any second. Life is fucking good.
Once we reached the bottom we stopped in at a store to grab some more energy drinks because, you know, we gotta keep this fucking party rocking. Also we had really worn ourselves out by powering up a mountain at 12MPH trying to one up each other and a little hit of that good stuff was practically a necessity. That may not seem very fast but I invite anyone to try and then let me know how it works out for you. Amped up on sugar and caffeine we got back on the road and were powering along the Salmon River through Hells Canyon. I can totally understand now why this place is named the way that it is. It’s hot. But not just regular hot, no, that would be too easy. This place is like the unwanted love child of a crematorium and the last white hot embers of a tragically fatal house fire. But it was still beautiful. I think? Stockholm’s Syndrome might have biased me.
We stopped in for some food, beer and to cool off at a little spot about 10 miles from our camp for the night. Probably not the best idea as we were only just getting into the hottest part of the day but, meh, cold beer trumps all. When we got going again it was even hotter and I was fucking beat but it seemed like Sebastian had found a bottle of rocket sauce somewhere because he was pushing us at a dangerously fast pace. I wanted to kill him. Then we came to a section of road that had collapsed and we had to perilously walk our bikes through and I wanted to kill him even more. It was way too fucking hot to be riding like that. When we finally got to camp and I told him how I felt about his reckless ride through the heat he said, “I was just trying to keep up with you!” So there you have it. Both of us, tired to the bone, neither of us wanting to ride fast but neither of us willing to swallow our pride and tell the other to slow down. It was like an endless feedback loop of speed, innate manly competitiveness and stupidity. Good times. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!
Too Drunk; Didn’t Read (TD;DR)
-Molten fire and donuts
-The best downhill of my life
-Hells Canyon is the place where dreams go to die
-James and Sebastian are too competitive for their own health and safety