Pulling into the lodge, I spotted a cyclist loading up his bike. I approached him and Brendan introduced himself. It turns out that he's from Marshfield, MA and was riding with another neighbor. Jenna came out of the lodge and we all got to talking. Jenna and Brendan were riding in memory of their friend, and Jenna's fiancé, who was killed in a kayaking accident. They have a facebook page called "TOUR DE HUNTER" and a website as well. They're riding into Missoula and spending some time there, and will eventually end up in Massachusetts by late November. We chatted some more and eventually parted ways and I made my way towards eating a scrumptious breakfast. Idaho knows how to do breakfast and this french toast plate was, by far, the best morning meal I've had all trip.
Fully satisfied, I rode on with the Lochsa, enjoying the smells of fresh pine and the sounds of waterfalls. The temperature was increasing dramatically and I was prepared to face "near record high temperatures" later in the afternoon. I was feeling good and made it an effort to keep a good momentum until a lunch stop in Lowell, and this meant no stops for photos or pee.. the latter fact has been easier to do now that I've perfected my cycling-while-urinating technique (don't worry, I don't pee all over myself). This momentum was going well until a large 18-wheeler drove me off the road. Luckily, I fell onto some soft sand/gravel and was not seriously harmed. The trucker was not fully at fault... route 12 is much akin to a super model... very curvaceous, narrow, and features tiny shoulders. The trucker probably did not see me until it was too late and his exuberant horn usage was probably not malicious.
My momentum began to slow down when I hit road works in process for the next 26 miles. To make things easier, I met a new friend. Jon's from Bristol, UK and is riding from New York City to Seattle. Here's his travel blog. We spent the next 20 miles riding behind pilot cars and sharing stories. Jon and I then stopped in Lowell for food and milkshakes. I've found that these sugary treats are quite delicious and great for energy. I didn't realize it, but I had already ridden close to 80 miles by lunch time and we decided to call it a day in Kooskia, a town located in the Nez Perce reservation.
Surprisingly, I could have ridden for longer... but my new hungover friend was keen on sharing the expense of a cheap motel room. Feeling like 100+ miles was a long enough day, I gladly complied. We checked into a dive, showered, and quickly gravitated to the nearest cafe for more milkshakes. Jon commented on how it's a shame we had to ride in separate directions the next day (he's riding West into Washington and I'm riding South towards Oregon) and I agreed. Riding alone has very few benefits, and I'm very fortunate for the times I've shared the road amongst new friends. When riding with fellow cyclists, you develop a sense of camaraderie... a universal appreciation for a fellow adventurer and a comforting acknowledgement that you're not all alone out there on the road... they're a Godsend.