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Idaho


Welcome to Idaho. The Payette river. In the distance is a man in an inflatable boat. Tractors. This whole landscape just feels like a giant food factory. A canal. New Plymouth. New Plymouth. There's a sheep in that back of that truck. The landscape is a network of water channels and pumps. This looks like a noria, a water-powered wat... A scarecrow. Tracks. Pretty. Scenery. I always thought that these irrigators on wheels were meant to trundle across the field but this one... Another bubbling water pump. It's infuriating to see so much water gushing around when I'm always ha... I don't know what these crops are. The Black Canyon Dam. I didn't expect there to be a cafe here but since it's here, I'll stop for another five drinks. Horseshoe Bend, where I stopped for yet more drinks. Near Horseshoe Bend. This road is much busier than it looks in the picture so it's not much fun to ride on. The scenery i... The Payette again. Rafters. White water. Another view. I know some people don't like me posting pictures of roadkill but this bird is comically flat. The river at Banks. Banks. Banks is where two forks of the river combine. Now I'll be riding up this one. More rafters. Rafters. The billion onions don't get so much attention. The village of Crouch, which seems to be also called Garden Valley, has a theatre. Rather than givin... Sometimes I whish I wasn't such a snob. I could have stayed at a cheap hotel on the main road near h... Maintenance vehicles. These cows wanted their picture taken. The entrance to the country club. It has golf carts. After dark, I would hear somebody driving past in one and shouting "Beep bee... The accommodation buildings don't look as posh as I had expected. A mini television. Compared to last night, I've also lost a fridge but gained coffee. It's one of the smallest baths I've ever seen. The restaurant and reception building would have been easier to identify if the biggest sign on it w... The terrace. There would be children playing in the geothermal pool until well after it went dark. The WiFi doesn't work in my room so I'll sit here to edit my photographs. Morning Sun. While having breakfast, I overheard one of the staff saying that there was a whole fami... Golfers getting ready. A park in Crouch. There are three tiny ponies behind the fence on the left. Oh, I'm on gravel again. Sleigh rides? A little airfield. Today, I carry on up the river. A viewpoint at Gallagher Flat. An information board explains that in the 1930s, this was the site of... The horizontal line is the road ahead. The river in its gorge. The other side of the gorge. Climbing. The river is green. A fence to catch falling rocks. The rafters are back. A raft. A raft. A rest place. The valley. Off go the rafts. A drink stop. Interesting. This place spells aluminium properly. The river. It says "VACANCY". I wanted to stay here but it was full when I tried to book. The mid-point of this particular numbered road. I'm back down by the river again. It's more of a stream now. Oh, there weren't meant to be two pictures of this. I only took this picture because I stopped for a rest then saw that there was a sign in the distance... In winter, you need to use snow chains on the next section and you aren't allowed to stop in case th... The view from a viewpoint. What looks like a lay-by is actually an emergency helipad. I think the tall sign must be for if the short one is covered by snow. The stream. A washed-up log. I have liked riding alongside this pretty river. The top part of today's big climb. The summit. For such a high pass, it doesn't get much of a sign. 2195 metres. Two big motorbikes. This sign must have been here since the winter. A snow gauge. There's a toilet hidden in there. This is the road that I'm on. Named after the guy from Star Wars? I'm still above 2000 metres but now the land has become pretty flat again. The weather is much coole... The landscape. Near Stanley Lake. The town of Stanley is strangely spread-out. Stanley. The flag of Idaho. Stanley. There are a lot of small hotels in Stanley. I think a lot of them are either owned by the same compa... My hotel is the building in the background. When I saw the ice cream shop, I planned to go there lat... Stanley. This will be for me. Oh, I like it already. According to the information pack here, this was originally the country home ... Upstairs. Oh, I remember now. When I booked the room, I had to specify which one I wanted, based on nothing mo... Predictably, the Bears Room has pictures of bears all over the walls. It also has an incredibly soft... It also has an intriguing door marked "STAFF ONLY". At the moment, there's light shining u... They seem to like labelling things here. Does that happen often? My GPS logger thought I was walking on the way up the hill and driving on the flat ground after it. Outside. It's hazy enough here that I took this picture without needing the solar viewing glasses. Stanley, with its wide gravelly roads. I had never heard of a sirloin of lamb, or mint balsamic ketchup. I liked it. This is where I had dinner, except that for most of the time there was a big group of motorbikers on... If you put $2 in the honesty box downstairs, you can help yourslef to as much fizzy drink from the m... Stanley, Sunday morning. This is the first time I've needed to wear a fleece on this trip. I've been... There are two places which do breakfast in Stanley. There's the Bakery, which has a stationary queue... ... and there's the Sluice Restaurant here in the new Town Square, where there was no queue at all. ... I wonder why that building is propped up on stacks of wood. I think that's the second building of my hotel. If it is then, according to the information booklet,... Today should be a much easier day than the previous six. It's 92 km, almost all downstream along the... River and mountains. The Salmon River. River. Bathers at Sunbeam Hot Springs. Amazing views. With no real explanation, there's a section of unsurfaced road. It's actually quite nice smooth dirt... Scenery. Scenery. Scree. A little town. That bridge leads to the May Family Ranch Bed & Breakfast. I had thought of spending a night there. ... More of the same really. Rocks and trees. The mining company has a sturdy bridge. Look, even this tiny place has a shop, but it's not open on Sundays. One of the museums is though. An information board says that Clayton was the site of a large silver ... Another mountain. Scenery. A rest stop. Now that I've turned into the wind, the going has got a bit harder. Scenery. I can see some. Just water running over a rock. A mailbox with antlers. This is called the Bighorn Highway, although I'm not sure how official that is. There was a flashing... Another information board says that buffalo hunters on horses would sometimes kill whole herds at on... A little pagoda giving information about bighorn sheep. A farmer. That tree is absolutely full of birds. I can hear them all squawking from here. The cows seem to lik... My motel. It's a very dark-panelled room. Somehow, the left side of my panier rack has gont bent. I can't imagine how that could have happened... There's a choice of reading material in this room. Somebody has come to this motel in a fuel tanker from an airfield. The motel is next door to a propane depot. There's a live deer standing in that garden looking at me, just to the left of the caravan. I can't ... A church. I wonder what the loudspeakers are for. The information pack in my room contained adverts for a couple of eateries in the town centre. The p... This is Custer County. What with that and the bighorn sheep, you might think that this was where the... Main Street does not look busy. An elderly couple in a Colorado-registered car were driving slowly u... The courthouse. The building with the wooden front is the junior high school. The one with the circle on it says tha... An art gallery. A lot of the buildings have labels saying what they used to be. The building on the right was the te... This road leads straight to the side of a mountain. This whole road slopes downwards quite steeply. Challis. The Custer Mining Company from 1878 and a church from 1894. It now looks like a house. A plant. The motel next to mine. Back at my own motel. The slogan actually makes some sense because to eat anywhere else, you would h...  I would find out later that the haze which I've been experiencing for the last couple of days is th... The colour of the grass changes at the the end of an irrigator's spray reach. Scenery. A huddle of cows. More cows. It looks like something has been along here cutting the grass. Aha! Scenery. I would soon overtake the grass cutter but then it wouldn't cut the grass in the gorge so it would g... The gorge. The gorge. These aren't American Indian pictographs. These were the second and third cyclists who passed me going the other way today. Here are some more. Scenery. A patch of trees on a hill. More cyclists, all going the opposite way to me. It's obviously some kind of event. When I was having breakfast in Stanley, I overheard somebody sayi... There's a photographer on the right taking pictures of the cyclists. That's his car with a bike on t... Today starts with a 600 metre vertical climb but it feels much easier than similarly high climbs on ... The photographer at work. Looking back down from near the top. Oh, and again. There must have been over a hundred bikes in total, including a few recumbents and a few tandems. Another recumbent. The top. Cyclists posing at the top. Willow Creek Summit. A tandem on a support vehicle. The view down the other side. It's from an earthquake in 1983. An information sign says that it's spectacular but I didn't go to s... A scene with what look like some stacks of hay. Mount Borah, the tallest mountain in Idaho. There's a tiny patch of ice near the top. Some water for the cyclists. I have passed the last of them now. Scenery. Scenery. A group of crosses. Scenery. I think it's a hay baler. Lake Mackay, a reservoir. Motorcyclists now. How can an estate agent have a sale? A Ranger Station. Mackay. The building half-visible on the left is City Hall. Mackay. I stopped here. Despite numerous signs saying that it was open, I though it looked quite dark and cl... Inside. A motorbike with a trailer. The wind is against me this afternoon. A small irrigator. Scenery. The Lost River. It's called that because after a while it disappears underground. Farm machinery. Six of these passed me. This irrigator has low-hanging nozzles. I think this field may have been over-irrigated. Isn't hay supposed to be yellow? Horses, with some impressive rock strata in the background. Sunflowers. Ah, route 20, we meet again. I've come 1201 km, or 746 miles, since ... Every year when students graduate from the school here, they paint their year on the rocks. They mus... Outside my motel room. It's a good room. It has a fridge and coffee. That's a good password. It's easy to remember but hard to guess. They must be proud of it because th... Several hotels have had signs telling guests not to use the normal towels for mud or grease but I th... I'm using the motel's laundry. I used them a lot in Australia but have kept forgetting to ask about ... Highway 20 isn't very busy. Another look at the numbers. The hut on the left is the Mega-Peace Musuem, which is to do with nuclear power. On the right, you c... This cartoon was the emblem of the USS Hawkbill. It was drawn by Walt Disney in 1944 for an earlier ... That's very specific. This jug has three spouts. Arco's eclipse plans. The GPS logger has now introduced a mountain symbol, for when it goes wrong and thinks I climbed 184... Pickle's Place, where I had dinner. It was a salmon steak but disapointingly, it came from Alaska, n... Unusual. Today's weather forecast is for "Smoke". Following on from my experience where the bike shop in Ontario had only one touring tyre in stock, y... An atomic power symbol on a bin. Im now entering the huge area known as the Idaho National Laboratory. I referred to it by the wrong ... The visitor centre is gleaming away in the distance. On these open plains, the wind is very important. I would spend a couple of hours going against it l... This pronghorn watched me for a while. A nuclear test facility. Another one. I'm using the road from Arco to Idaho Falls. It looks dangerous. There is some work going on at the visitor centre. On the right, someboy is down a hole. On the left... It looks like the new boards give information from the weather monitoring equipment on the mast whic... EBR-I, my next destination. Information. EBR-I, which stands for Expreimental Breeder Reactor 1. Here it is. Hello! Inside. The reactor was in the white part. I couldn't see anything which explained what this room is, and didn't want to wait for the guided to... In the EBR-I building. Controls. Controls for the safety rods. More. The guided tour, looking at the generator. Heat transfer experimental reactors. A heavily-shielded railway locomotive to protect the driver inside from radioactive environments. I ... Two buttes. Do you like them? Big Butte. It's a popular place for antennas. I've been avoiding these on the road shoulder all day. I think they must be pronghorn droppings. Another nuclear reactor. An unusual structure. Scenery. A tumbleweed. This one is still growing in the ground but one blew across the road in front of me ea... A lava field. I don't know what the purpose of the fence is. You could easily go round the ends. Lava. They don't look like elephant hunters to me. An articulated caravan. An oversize load. What I didn't get a picture of was one of the shiny Idaho National Laboratory coac... Scenery. An irrigator in its track. Speedy! Power lines. The road into Idaho Falls. A big place. Just a school. I saw a lot of these vehicles today. The back wheels can be raised hydraulically so they are either ... Idaho Falls. On the left is the 24-hour Wal-Mart, where I want to go later to see if I can buy a SIM card which h... A big flag next to the motorway. An old car. A fountain. I remember cememt mixers like this from my 2007 trip. The cab is on the right, under the open end of... A fancy bank. Another water feature. I was going to go the the fancy bank but then saw this drive-through cash machine in a car park on i... This way? The Snake River, which I crossed a few days ago to get from Oregon to Idaho. The riverside area. A collection of fancy buildings. One of them is the Marriott Hotel. As I rode past, the sound of the... The riverside area is pretty. This bit isn't finished yet. One end of the waterfall which gives Idaho Falls its name. Idaho Falls. The waterfall runs for about 500 metres along the middle of the river. Here's my hotel. I have a penchant for unusually shaped hotels, and for round buildings in general. Strangely, it's two hotels in one building. Another strange thing is that the check-in form asked fo... I found this big baguette in my fridge. It's still in date. It turns out that my room isn't actually in the round building. It's here. That might be a good thin... Wal-Mart's bike parking area is next to its display of bikes for sale. A helpful assistant spent a very long time reading settings off my phone and either speaking them in... Another view of the falls. Another tourist reading an information sign. The temple and the falls. The falls. I wonder how long that log has been there. The water immediately above the falls is amazingly still. I don't know what that is. It's next to the railway line. A sign. The edge of Idaho Falls. A wind farm. Turbines. A farm. Hay. A combine harvester. This one is so full that the wheat is bulging out of the top. Not any more though. Slightly undulating land. A crop-dusting plane. In Eastern Europe, it's storks which nest on poles like that. Here, it's something more vicious. There seemed to be three adults in that nest: this one... ... and these two. By the sound of the tweeting, I think there might be some chicks too. The crop dusting plane from earlier disappeared for quite a while, then it really startled me by fly... The plane and the car park at a view point. The Snake River again. The toilet building. Another similar view, taken with the phone so that I could tweet it live at ... A toilet cubicle with a urinal in it. Silos. A house. Another picture for tweeting. Oh, and again. Sorry. Looking towards the town of Swan Valley. A drink stop in Swan Valley. Strangely, here I found that one of my spokes had come a bit loose so I... This is where I have to choose between a 103 km route carrying on along the Snake River valley, and ... Angular mowing. Another farm. I rode past that but couldn't tell what it was. The view from a climb. Oh. I saw one earlier and thought it looked pretty. Victor, a town with a lot of empty space. A shallow stream. Bears? Wyoming is about to get off to a hilly start.