Montana to California – Part 3, Idaho

{ Tuesday June 6th, 2000 }

Nik Blaskovich working on a bike
I am writing to y’all from Ketchum ID and the world’s smallest hotel room. I am waiting for Nik to show up for a few days of mountain biking. It has been a while since I updated the site so I will start from the beginning from the last time I updated . . . Jackson WY.

Being in Jackson turned out to be a lot of fun. It started out badly. That pain in my knee turned out to be tendonitis. The doctor I went to see did not sound very optimistic of my finishing the ride, but he gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine, that turned out to work great. By the next day I could hardly feel the pain in my knee at all. It still flares up from time to time but for the most part I feel great. Jackson has a great mountain biking scene. There are miles of trail that leave right from town and they are mostly classic, buffed single track. I didn’t get to ride for about two days after I got there but when I did the riding was great.

Nik works at Hoback Sports, which is a great bike shop (one of the best I have seen) in Jackson. For those of you that don’t know Nik A.K.A Butrous Butrous Blaskie is a friend of mine from high school. He is also one of the strongest riders I know, and a big influence in my riding. He took me on some of the trails behind his house and showed me the trail that he and Scott, the head mechanic at Hoback, are building. It flows down a gully with many steep drop ins, a bridge, and a stump jump (the bridge and the stump jump I was unable to ride, but give me some time). Near the end of the trail is a big rock that you ride over the top and then drop in on the other side. I failed to clear and went over the handlebars, and jammed my knee on a submerged log.
Sign at the top of Teton Pass - Howdey Stranger. Welcome to Jackson Hole. The last of the old west.I left Jackson feeling out of sorts. I think that I felt I had stayed there to long and I was discouraged about how far I had left to go. The first day out of Jackson took me over Teton Pass. I can’t remember the elevation of the past, lets just say that it is big, a classic mountain pass.

I am guessing that it is about 6 miles to the top half of which is a ten percent grade. I made a bit of a mistake on this climb. Some one in Jackson told me that there was an old road that went over the pass that I could ride and avoid all the traffic. I didn’t see the road until I was about half way up and by that time it was too far away for me to get to. It was on this climb that I had my first causality. Somewhere along the way I lost my new Timberwolves cap. I took a nice nap at the top and then headed down the pass. It was a little scary. The trailer tends to shake when it gets going too fast and there wasn’t much room for cars to pass me. I had to pull off the road several times. Also the rims of my bike got very hot and I had two flats tires. Luckily I wasn’t going very fast when it happened or I would have been a little scraped up.I’m not sure where I stopped that night. It was somewhere between Victor and Swan Valley ID. The next day was the worst day I have had so far. I rode from the middle of no where to Idaho Falls ID, between fifty and sixty miles. First of all I am not a big fan of Idaho Falls. I have been there a couple of times and nothing good has ever happened to me there. The road was mostly up hill, the traffic was heavy, and the shoulder was narrow. All this I could have handled but the wind blew from my left to directly in front of me all day, and it was a stiff wind. My knee started hurting. It almost drove me crazy, by the time I got to Idaho Falls I was almost screaming in hysteria. I wondered around the town for about an hour looking for the KOA.

Joel KimalWhen I finally found it Joel K. pulled in. He is living in SLC and we had made plans to meet. It was great to see him and if he ever sends me the link , you can all see his website, While Joel and I were hanging out I realized what had been bothering me. I was too concerned with covering miles and not enjoying where I was. I was too concerned with being ‘hardcore’. The next days ride was going to be eighty miles through a very desolate part of ID. I was not looking forward to it, so I had Joel drive me sixty miles. I guess you could call it cheating, but riding that road would have really sucked so I don’t feel to bad. Joel dropped me off in Arco and I rode twenty miles to The Craters of the Moon National Mounument. An interesting fact is that Arco was the first town powered by a nuclear reactor. Welcome to Arco. First city in the world lighted by atomic powerArco is very small and looks like a typical desert town. There was no one on the streets and the buildings look very weathered, in fact it looks a little like the fake towns that are shown in the old movies of the nuclear explosions. I was trying to figure out why they would choose Arco to be the first town to receive this energy and I decided that they did it so that if any thing happened no one would know. On to craters of the moon . . .

My camp at Craters of the Moon National MonumentThis national mounument is really cool. Way better than a couple of heads on the side of a hill. There are over 60 lava flows in this area, that range in age from 15,000 years ago to as little as 2100 years ago. I rode the seven mile road that goes through some of the lava flows. All the rock is black and it is very hot. I hiked around and took some pictures but the highlight are the lava tubes. As the lava flowed it formed tunnels in the rock. Most of the tunnels have collapsed but a couple still exist. So I hiked about a mile from the trailhead to Beauty Cave. The entrance to the cave is a hole in the ground. I climbed into and realized that it was really dark and that my head lamp was not very bright. Craters of the Moon National MonumentI was a little scared because I couldn’t see anything and there wasn’t anyone else around. It must have been about ninety degrees F outside but inside there was ice on the floor. I tired taking some pictures but they didn’t turn out that well. The campsite I had that night was one of the coolest I have ever had. A very small site nestled in the lava rocks. I left the next day intending only to ride to Carrey, about twenty miles away. I was looking for a hotel room. The road to carrey was twenty miles from craters of the moon. There was no hotel there. I stopped at a little cafĂ© for lunch and I met two guys there who were riding from phoenix to missoula. A cave at Craters of the Moon National MonumentThey were riding road bikes with about twenty pounds of gear on them. They were staying in hotels every night. They were in their late forties to early fifties and they were hauling. They had been riding for 3 days and covered three hundred miles. They said they were using powdered drinks. They kind of inspired me to go furthur. I rode another twenty miles to Bellevue ID. Stayed at a hotel there and then rode to Ketchum today. There is a bike path from Bellevue to Sun Valley. It was great, I loved the riding on that path . I think we should have bike paths along every road.

I have some more pictures to put up and maybe even a little more to write, but I have to check out of this hotel room now. I’ll be in Sun Valley until friday. Keep sending me emails. I love to hear from everyone.

Bike path into Ketchum ID


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