We awoke to an overcast morning, and the lack of sunlight coupled with the hard ride the previous day made for a slow start to the day. After firing up the Coleman 442, I unrolled my tarp and got to work on the bikes. Both bikes needed a chain adjustment and quick lube. The oil level was still mid-dipstick on both bikes, but Re’s exhaust header nuts were slightly loose. Re also needed a couple of psi in the front and rear tires. We eventually got everything packed up, and a shower and coffee gave us the necessary kick in the pants we needed to get back on the road. We rode back to Bliss, Idaho and fueled up at the gas station where we ate the previous evening. We also enjoyed another breakfast standing bikeside, but this time of some pretty damned good breakfast burritos from the same place. Re also took the opportunity to add a couple of Clif bars and some trail mix to her daypack so we would at least have something to snack on if we couldn’t find lunch again. Suitably provisioned, we pulled out once again onto Hwy 26 and headed east. The central and much of the eastern part of Idaho reverted back to the sagebrush, juniper and rocks that dominated much of our Oregon leg, but without so much elevation change. Some people would describe it as starkly beautiful, the less romantic might call it monotonous.
One interruption to the monotony was the Craters of the Moon National Monument area that we encountered. Lava fields stretched on in all directions for many miles before giving way to… more sage. Sigh. Our other constant companions for the day were huge rain clouds visible to the south of us nearly the entire ride, but we never saw a drop. We eventually stopped in Blackfoot, Idaho for a late lunch and fuel stop, and both of our bikes refused to idle. After Re’s bike stalled and refused to re-start quickly while sitting at a now green light in front of a cement truck that was impatiently honking at her, I had to turn the idle screw 1.5 turns to have any semblance of an idle. I also fattened up the A/F screw .25 of a turn to try to reclaim some of our lost power - when you only have 6.7 hp to begin with, you can’t afford to give much of it up!
After a few more hours of riding we found ourselves in the beauty of the Targhee National Forest and were very happy to have the change in scenery (even if it did come with a whole new set of long, slow climbs). As the sun started to get low in the sky, we wound our way into Wyoming and into the Bridger-Teton National Forest. This area is south of Jackson, Wyoming and the Grand Teton National Park and was absolutely stunning in its beauty. The bikes wheezed up and coasted down the roads on our way to Hoback Junction and the KOA that would be our home for the night. While Re checked us into the KOA (and scored a $5 discount with her storytelling skills) I again richened up the A/F mixture by another .25 of a turn; the bikes were not happy with the thin air at all. While I set up camp for the night, Re ran to the grocery store for the eggs, cheese and tortillas for dinner (and breakfast). As a special treat, she also came back with a couple of big bottles of Lagunitas’ Hop Stoopid Ale. Yum! We spent the chilliest night of the trip so far- I had to put my fleece on in the middle of the night, but Re was OK as she had opted for the insulated Big Agnes Aircore mat.
326 miles in about 12 hours of riding, bikes not at all happy with the altitude and hill climbs and were punishing their chains.