Location: New Meadows, ID (City park)
So much for the mechanical problem free day. As soon as I packed my bike this morning, I realized that my back tire had gone flat in the night. A slow leak had let out all the air. I’m pretty sure that the cause of the leak was a goat head. The small cactus spurs are similar to our sands purs back east, except goat heads can pop the tire on a four wheeler. I found a barbed thorn from a goat head lodged in my tire. I pulled it out and replaced the tube. After a half hour delay, Brian and I were ready to hit the road and get back on track.
We had a hard ride today. The twenty-two miles before lunch in Council were uphill and into a strong headwind. Our route takes us about a hundred miles to the north into Idaho, and we faced a northerly wind all day. We reached Council around noon and we stopped in a park for lunch. It was a small park right on Highway 95 which ran through town, so it was hardly a relaxing lunch. I did find some shade though, which is always welcome.
As we wrapped up lunch and pedaled away, I was shocked to find that my front tire had deflated. I must have punctured it on the road somewhere that morning because the pressure in the tire was good when I left the park this morning. The tire had lost almost all of its air while we ate lunch, an hour or so of time. I was aggravated, and I hurriedly changed the tube. I couldn’t find the hole in the tube, but it was certainly there somewhere.
Brian and I left for New Meadows at around one thirty. The tube change took about half an hour. We had three and a half hours to overcome a strong headwind, a steep climb, and twenty five miles to reach the bike shop before it closed. With a lot of sweat and frustration, we made the shop just in time. I bought two new thorn resistant tubes for my bike. I think that they should help alleviate some of my problems. We will see. I certainly hope they do, because the tube issues are causing a lot of headaches and taking a lot of fun out of a morning or afternoon.
I ran a few errands before town shut down. I mailed my postcards and bought some milk for the Honey Nut Cheerios I’ve been lugging around. When I returned to the city park to set up camp, I found that four westbound cyclists had showed up and were making camp. I talked with them for a while, and it turned out that all four of them thru-hiked the AT. Two guys and a girl southbounded in 2003, and the other guy hiked northbound in 1999. They gave me the names of a lot of good places to visit as we make our way east. They said to check out the hostel in Guffey, Colorado and also to stop in at Sebree, Kentucky. I already have forgotten some of the places that they said to stay, but I’m sure it will come back to me.
Anyway, I’m spent. It’s ten o’clock and way past my bedtime. I will try to rise early tomorrow so we can knock out some miles early in the day. We have a lot of downhill according to the map. Perhaps the winds will be favorable also. We’ll see and bike no matter what.