Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day Two Hundred-fifteen, 091001 - Regina, ID

Day Two Hundred-fifteen, Date Thursday, October 1, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:10
Distance for the Day: 63.5 miles From Hill City To Regina, ID
Accumulated Trip Distance: 10,863 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 4924’/3264’, Highest: 5535’ Accumulated: 2126’
Speeds: Avg: 8.8 mph, Max: 36.6 mph
Weather: 5°
Expenditures: $27

I woke up several times, during the night, but at got up early, at 6:15am, as I wanted to make some good mileage, today. It was still dark out, with just the barest hint of sunrise on the eastern horizon; the stars and Milky Way were still very much ablaze. I knew it was going to be cold this morning, so I should have prepped better by bringing out the extra layers I would need into the tent with me the prior evening, but I forgot. So, I put on my jacket and shoes, got out of the tent, got an extra shirt and pants, went back into the tent, took off my shoes off, took off my jacket, put on the extra shirt and pants, put back on my jacket and then put on my rain jacket and pants over everything, and then put my shoes back on. Now I was layered-up enough to face the morning, which by now was about 6:30am. I checked my thermometer, and I couldn’t quite believe it: 5° F? If true, that was a personal record for me – I’ve never been in temperatures lower than 25° F, before. The condensation on my tent fly was frozen, and my water bottles had begun to freeze – that was a first for this trip, too. Strangely, my Gatorade wasn’t frozen at all – maybe because it’s got some salt in the solution. By the time I broke down my tent, and secured my gear, it had started getting lighter out, but I could still see the brighter constellations. I had a little trouble pushing my trike up out of the steep walls of the ditch, but I managed it in fairly short order. There was no wind this morning, but it was so cold that I finally broke out and used my instant chemical heat packs, because my fingers were numb. They take a few minutes to star working, but once they do, they work pretty good. I also used for the first time, a variation of Dan the Walking Man’s trick (see Day Forty Two), who used two pairs of socks as mittens. I used one pair of socks inside my fingered gloves and that, in combination with the use of the heat packs, worked quickly to thaw my hands, to a comfortable state. A little later, I transferred the heat packs into my shoes, to help keep my toes from hurting with the cold. It was a little uncomfortable, as my shoes were already fairly tight, but still better than the cold ache of cold toes. I would have to get more of those chemical heat packs ASAP, if this degree of cold was going to become a trend.

By 11:30am, I realized this was a ‘lose-it’ day: I’d left behind my very handy neck hanging thermometer, whistle, compass, and earplug holder, I’d lost another of these rubber emergency brake rubber bands, and then I found I’d lost yet another of the Velcro strips I use to keep my drinking bottle in its cage. Must be the cold that’s making me make mistakes – have to be more careful. Through the morning, I shed some layers while climbing some of the hills, though temps were still down below 50° (hill work really warms you up). I hadn’t seen any services, yet, today, so gnoshed on meat-n-cheese sticks, trailmix, breakfast bars, and Gatorade, instead. I hit a really long downhill stretch – about 10 miles – and dropped almost 2000’ before reaching the small city of Mountain Home at 1:15pm. That was fun! I stopped at a Pilot (a truckers’ stop with extra facilities such as showers, Laundromat, lounge, etc.) for food and drink supplies ($8), and also stopped at a Walmart to get 4 sets of toe warmer thingies ($8). I looked for a Burger King for lunch, but couldn’t find one, even though there was a Jack In The Box, a Wendy’s, a Subway, McDonalds, etc. Very disappointing! So, I just got a pre-packaged deli sandwich, some chips and a soda at the grocery store, and that was lunch ($11). I then left Mtn Home north along some frontage roads that paralleled the Interstate 84, and a few miles out, lo and behold: a Burger King! Too late, though, and I rode past, eyes rolling.
The frontage roads took me on this big elbow out from, and back to, the freeway, which was sort of inefficient. I was definitely not going to make it to Boise that day, so at around 7pm, as the Sun began to get low in the West, I found a dirt road into a very large, unfenced area of sage with telephone poles running through it, and no nearby residences or buildings. I went in a few hundred yards to get away from the noise of the highway, and found a seldom used dirt track off to the side of the larger road (N43 21.131’ W115 56.412’). It had a nice, flat, and relatively clean surface, and there was no insect activity at all; there might be snakes, but it was too cold for them to be active. I activated my cell phone and called my Warmshowers hosts in Boise to let them know I would be in sometime tomorrow morning. I then set up my tent just before sunset, and this time, I brought in all the layers of clothes I’d need to stay warm. I didn’t munch or drink, but I did read my book until 9pm, using my new, smaller, headlamp; then I went to sleep.