Powell Camp to Apgar- Road Construction, Spectacular Scenery and Rude Behavior - Undaunted Porridge - CycleBlaze

July 16, 2018

Powell Camp to Apgar- Road Construction, Spectacular Scenery and Rude Behavior

I can't stand ride behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it.                                                      -Woodrow Call, Lonesome Dove, probably talking about the a-hole from New York, described below

Our view for the next 50 miles
Heart 5 Comment 3
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnYa just can't complain about 50 miles with a view like that
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnEspecially since it's down hill!
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1 year ago

7/16/2018

First of all, the Lochsa River is one of the prettiest I've ever seen. It was a privilege to ride beside it for 70 miles at 10-20mph on Highway 12. 

Ron's cousin, Charlie, had mentioned that Highway 12 was narrow, had almost no shoulders, and that he thought it was crazy to ride a bicycle on it. But the only challenge we faced was a large re-paving project below Powell Campground. We left early hoping to avoid truck traffic, but such was not our luck. The trucks passed us at a safe distance, but my perception was that the drivers were trying to kill us. Gay, who has ridden many a narrow-shouldered road said he felt perfectly safe the whole time. Interesting how the difference between perceived and real danger shapes our fears.

Nothing shabby about this.
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When we reached the first flagger, she said that there were about 30 gravel trucks traveling back and forth to the two 2-mile projects. Fortunately from that point, our journey down the road got much easier. We just had to wait with 2 flaggers and then put our loaded bikes into the back of the pilot trucks. The drivers shuttled us through the project areas and we rode the 4 miles in between, sans traffic.

The best part of this process was being able to talk with the flaggers and one of the pilot truck drivers. They all said they were short-handed and were working ridiculously long hours. The first flagger had a 15-hour shift the previous day and the pilot truck driver said she had recently worked a 36-hour shift. The second flagger had no water at her station and said that they weren't getting enough breaks. She said that at one point she was ready to ask a a truck driver if he would stop so she could squat in front of his truck because she couldn't get relief for a pee break.

The best story that the second flagger told us was that she was standing there doing her job and heard/saw a big splat just a couple feet away. A dead squirrel had fallen from the sky! After she recovered from the shock of nearly being struck by a dead rodent, she figured out that an eagle must have dropped it. I'm still giggling as I write this because it's such a funny visual. 

Despite the sleep deprivation and stress of the flaggers and pilot car drivers, they were all very friendly and helpful. After the second pilot truck dropped us off there was no more big truck traffic and just an occasional short line of vehicles passing us. Most often we had space to jump off the road if we felt unsafe.

Bryant is in the pilot truck. It's hard to tell but he (and we) had to load the bike and sit on the toolbox in the bed and hold the bikes by the wheel so they wouldn't fall out
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Waiting for the second pilot truck
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The remainder of the 55-mile ride down to Apgar Campground was absolutely beautiful, and we arrived just in time to jump in the Lochsa River to beat the afternoon heat. The cool clear water and colorful array of rocks were set against a backdrop of the Lolo National Forest. Pretty awesome place to spend the afternoon!

The beautiful Lochsa
Heart 6 Comment 1
Dee ForteWow. incredible!
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1 year ago
A pack bridge across the river. There are a number of these that lead to hiking trails and hot springs
Heart 5 Comment 2
Dee Forteeven more beautiful! I'm jealous of this view.
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Dee ForteIt's an amazing place
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1 year ago
Behind the campsite
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Heart 7 Comment 3
Andrea BrownNow this is more like it.
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1 year ago
Jen GrumbyTo Andrea BrownThat's what I'm saying
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1 year ago
Dee ForteGREAT pic!!
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1 year ago
Heart 3 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like fleabane to me. Can't help with exact species though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erigeron

----->Bill
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1 year ago
Jen GrumbyTo Bill ShaneyfeltThanks Bill. It seems unfortunate that such a pretty flower is called fleabane!
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1 year ago

Bryant, John and Beth (from yesterday) were aiming for Lowell but we were stopping at Apgar. We saw them along the way at the old historical Ranger station, which was very impressive and manned by some volunteers. 

After playing in the river, we were lounging in our shady campsite when 3 more cyclists arrived - a guy in his early 50s and two 30-somethings. The older Alpha Guy announced that he is from New York and proudly boasted that he blew right through the construction checkpoints, dismissing the flaggers' instructions to stop and wait for the pilot truck. He even said they sent a car after home but he  just kept going. We were all so shocked and horrified by this arrogant and reckless behavior that we didn't have much of a reaction. Gay said that if we run into them again, he'll tell the guy that what he did makes all cyclists look bad. I might add that decisions like that inpire hostility amongst motorists. 

Ron here: The other assholish thing this guy, and his group did was to start an enormous campfire. We don't do fires because A: it's not cold, and B: they take time an effort, and when you plan to leave early it makes no sense. But anyway, it's fine to do a campfire if you want. But he gathered a ton of wet sappy pine branches and started a bonfire which shot sparks 50 feet up into the trees directly surrounding all of us. Perhaps he is very stupid and missed all if the evidence of the devestating fires form 2017, but this was idiotic.

Fortunately we were able to shake off this bad juju with another walk down to the river to skip rocks and enjoy one more evening on the Lochsa.

Another great spot. Apgar Campground
Heart 5 Comment 1
J. BurgraffTypical Asshole. He won't keep burning those fires after he loses his home to one.
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1 year ago

Today's ride: 58 miles (93 km)
Total: 1,513 miles (2,435 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Scott AndersonGreat to see you have such a great ride! You’ll be home in no time. We should start looking at the calendar for a gathering of the Hostile Actors.
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott AndersonLooking forward to it!
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1 year ago
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnSound like such an amazing day. Seems the working conditions for the flaggers at that construction site are not consistent with OSHA standards - shame on that company.
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1 year ago