Find Your Way
July 23, 2002
Lolo to Hidden Campground

Today's Miles = 52.3
Average Speed = 10.3 mph
Maximum Speed = 33.0 mph
Total Miles = 3736.4

I can't remember what town I was in two days ago, nor the number of the road, nor where I stayed. I'm not alone in having my memory go fuzzy, as the other cyclists I talk to out here often seem to have the same problems. We will be talking to each other about how the road behind us is, and it is hard to remember things more specifically than "a few days ago" or "several towns back". I've come to the point that it is hard to remember what State I'm in and I'm always confused about what timezone it is.

At first I thought this was due to the fatigue, but now I think this is just normal. Every day I am someplace new, every hour I am someplace new, and I think that the brain reaches a point where it says it just has to accept the constant change and give up on remembering everything. Places I particularly enjoyed I still remember, places where I found acts of kindness I still remember, but everything in between just seems to run together in my memory.

One thing I'm sure of is that this morning I crossed the border from Montana into Idaho. I've been stopping at every border so far to stop and take a picture of myself at the state line, but I wasn't really able to do that today. Road construction underway made the border an inhospitable place to stop, and the construction crews had taken down the signs that told me where the border actually was. All I'm sure of is that shortly after crossing over Lolo pass I was in a new state and began to descend into the Lochsa River Canyon.

At some point during the day the idea struck me that my bike didn't have a name yet. The first thing that came to mind was "Traveler", but I immediately struck that down as being unoriginal. Suddenly "Old Broken Spoke" came to mind and stuck. I'm don't completely love that name as the bike seems to deserve something more dignified, but it accurately reflects one of the major quirks I dealt with in the early going. Anyone who has a better idea, feel free to let me know.

Along Highway 12 from Powell to Lowell there is a 66-mile stretch of road where no services are available. Leaving Powell just after lunch I knew that I would be camping somewhere in that stretch, and I picked a USFS campsite somewhere in the middle. Just before the campsite is a hiking trail that leads to the Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. Unlike the other springs I've soaked in on this trip, these remain undeveloped. Hot water pours out of cracks in a canyon wall and tumbles into the Lochsa River below. Where the streams of hot spring water and cold river water meet, warm pools are formed that are perfect for soaking. I found a bathtub-sized pool where I soaked and stretched my muscles for over an hour, then hiked back out the trail and returned to my bike. I was looking forward to the short ride to the nearby campsite and then relaxing for the evening, but when I got to the site I found it had been closed by the forest service and was undergoing renovations.

With the campground tore up and construction equipment onsite, I ruled out sneaking in for the evening and had to find another place to stay. Unfortunately, the next campsite was four hours away and I had nowhere near that much sunlight remaining. As dusk began to fall I was riding down the road eyeing the forest and riverbank looking for a good spot to pitch my tent. I ended up spotting a small tree-sheltered clearing about forty yards away from the road. Just as twilight was fading I pitched my tent in my hidden spot, confident that no passing cars would spot me as they whizzed past.


How about "Old Soggy Seat" or "The Machine Between My Legs" or simply the "USS-Nick" ?

Ok, seriously, how about "Enigma", since your trip is so riddled with questions, questions about politics, religion (not sex!), and a clouded future?

Love your posts Nick, even (especially!) the long-winded treatises on politics, relition and not sex.

May your spokes stay straight and true,

Posted by: Joe V on July 26, 2002 11:37 AM

I haven't responded to your updates lately, but I have been keeping up with them. I can't recall if I told you that I was fully retiring and moving to Concord, VA, just east of Lynchburg. We are living in a lovely home, 6 tenths of a mile off the hardsurface. Therefore, we don't see much traffic unless they are coming to see us. Do you think that miles, plus aging on the trip is causing your loss of memory? LOL. Happy Trails. Manning <><

Posted by: Manning B. Harrell on July 26, 2002 11:50 AM

I can't remember what town I was in two days ago, nor the number of the road, nor where I stayed

I had the same problem two years ago while doing the same route. I am glad to learn that it is norm when you are on the road for 3 months. I have enjoyed following you trip.

Posted by: Jay on July 31, 2002 09:15 AM
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