Day 10 – White Bird to Lowell

Fri 11th June 2010

When we left the motel at 6:30am it was a cold 7 degrees C, the clouds were low and dark and it was raining slightly. We knew that we had a long climb to start the day, on the old HW95, which began as soon as we left White Bird.

White Bird

Downtown White Bird

The climb from White Bird

Looking up at the switchbacks we must climb as we leave White Bird

It took us 3 hrs to reach the top and the rain was intermittent. Although it was cold and visibility was not good it was actually better than climbing it in the hot sun so we enjoyed it. About half way up I saw a coyote quite close to me and it ran off across the hillside. I did get a photo but it was too far away to be any good. At the top we saw about 5 or 6 wild turkeys which quickly legged it in fear of becoming turkey jerky (is that legal).

Cycling in mist

Where the hell are we?

White Bird Summit

Alan eyes up an alternative means of transport

At the top of the climb we soon cooled down and despite having waterproofs, warm gloves and overshoes on we both felt frozen to the core by the time we had descended down the other side. We stopped at a shop in Grangeville and a kind lady in the bakery section warmed up some huge cinnamon rolls for us while I ate all the free donut pieces left out for customers to try.

Clearwater Valley

We're heading down there

We eventually descended down to the clearwater river where it was a lot warmer and the sun had come out. We rode the last 25miles along its banks to Lowell and it was a very nice ride to finish off the day. Unfortunately just before we got here it began to rain heavily again. We popped into the campsite but the tent area was under water.

With no option but to stay in yet another motel we cycled a bit further to the Wilderness Inn (aptly named I can assure you) and checked in. Once in our room we went and sat in the cafe for a while and had a coffee and some apple and cherry pie with ice cream, yum.

Lowell Motel

Our room for tonight, the one on the left.


Sherman - as promised

Once again we nearly failed to get an Internet signal as we were told that there was no wi-fi signal here. However I did have a signal and the kind lady in the cafe made a phone call and got me the password. They are all very helpful around here.

Wi-fi hot spot

Writing this blog at Lowell's wi-fi hot spot

Tomorrow we have a lot of climbing to Lolo Pass at over 5,000ft and from here there are no services for the next 66 miles. The weather is going to get better over the next few days so we hope we’ve seen the last of the rain for a while at least.

We both feel good and Chris’s knee is not getting worse. Thanks Judy, the cream you gave him is helping a lot.

Thanks again for all the comments. We do read them but I can’t reply to them as I’m sure you understand.

Daily Mileage – 70.8 miles

Time in Saddle – 6hrs 52 mins

Total Climbing – 3,752 ft


  1. Alan and Chris,

    For the last ten days I have been following your blogs with a combination of awe and admiration. The awe is the result of the physical hardships you have faced and overcome. The admiration is for the seemingly good humor, evidence of obvious good fellowship and perpetual optimism and even joy expressed in your daily reports.

    Bud Lathrop
    Arizona USA

  2. You really are hitting the hot spots arent you? :) lovely pic of Alan with his note pad on his knee……seriously though, loving the blog, have to look every day to see your progress – keep it up, its fantastic following it from this end …. Lesley xx

  3. It was great to talk to you today even if i could only hear one word out of three. I hope you have a good day and see some more cool wildlife. I am certainly looking forward to your rest day at Kicking Ass Ranch eventhough I won’t be there. I have now done the hot tub maintenance, weeded the garden, cut the lawn and put out the washing. Now i am going to have a nice cup of tea! Enjoy your day too!!

  4. Guys I do understand you not having the time to reply to everyone. Now for Turkey Jerkey, hum very good in my opinion. I sure hope you start getting better weather soon. Also happy to hear that Dead Eye, knee is not getting any worse. I sure wish that I had had some horse liniment on hand while you where here, but the cream that Judy gave you should do the trick! bob

  5. Hey!!
    The picture of Dad climbing the hill in the mist looks really eary!!
    Bet it’s amazing to see different wildlife but be on your guard and be safe! Are you entering grizzly land now then??

    Good luck for your climb at Lolo pass tomorrow morning and stock up on provisions if you have no shops for 60 miles.

    Keep up the good work…not long till your next day off!!

    Love you lots

  6. Good to know your knee hasn,t got any worse, keep rubbing the cream in, what some lovely place names you,ve been to, and its nice to know everybodys friendly, have a safe climb tomorrow love you xxxx

  7. Hey you two, despite the weather you’re making good time and covering the ground. I love Lolo Pass and the road along the Clearwater. Be sure to take a break at the historic ranger station. By now you probably have heard of or read about Chief Joseph’s sad flight to Canada. You’ll be paralleling his route. Glad to hear the cream is helping your knee, Chris. And yes, turkey jerkey is for real. Hey, we finally had a beautiful day of sunshine here, just two days after new snow on our mountain. We’re off on a motorcycle ride tomorrow…woo hoo!