Thursday July 24, 2014, 34 miles (55 km) – Total so far: 3,186 miles (5,127 km)
I let the sun do its work this morning: drying the tent fly; banishing the mozzies back to the bushes; and, baking me in the tent sauna. I get rolling around 10 am. Much of the route covers the same ground we rode into Salmon the other day. Luckily, there is less traffic today, so it’s a bit less tense to ride. The cars still aren’t giving me any room, though. Like Montana, it is rare for a car to move out of the lane at all to pass. It seems you just have to hope for a road with decent lane width in these states.
Salmon is a town of 3100 people. It began as a mining town in the 1860s. Timber and ranching industries followed. Today, the mining and logging is pretty much all gone, though ranching is still a main-stay. Salmon is also a perfect launching point for all sorts of outdoor recreation. Camping, fishing, hiking, backpacking, rafting, kayaking… the list goes on.
However, Salmon does not seem to embrace the tourism that comes with the outdoor recreation. The feel of the town is that it is clinging to its resource dependent past and doesn’t really want much to do with the ‘outsiders’ who come through town. Several other towns I’ve travelled through, like Lander, Wyoming and Livingston, Montana seem to blend cowboy and outdoorsy North Face people very well. But you just don’t get that feeling here. It’s as if the tourism happens in spite of the desires of the locals. The town also has a very nice setting right along the Salmon River, but it has not embraced that either. There are a couple of parks, but they just feel like they are ‘beside’ the river rather than ‘facing’ or ’embracing’ it. The supermarket is even closed on Sunday – when many of the tourists would be in town looking for supplies. It is curious to me – maybe other people don’t get that feeling.
I go to Alco and a local department store looking for a patch kit. I don’t like riding along not feeling confident in my gear. And right now, I’m not confident I can repair a flat with the supplies I have on-board. I cannot find a patch kit – just glue-less, stick-on patches. I buy them, even though I’ve not had much luck with them before.
I head up to the Century II campground. The owner is a cycle tourist and gives pedal-powered customers a 25% discount. He gives me an additional discount since I’m single. I end up paying $11.56 – I round to $12 – for a shower, laundry facilities, wifi, a shady, grassy spot and access to decking along the river. It’s a great deal. Yes, the place is noisy because it sits on the highway, but I didn’t really have a problem with that.
My tube problems continue, however. The stick-on patch seems to work initially. But I do notice it starts to slowly leak after several hours. I then attempt to use the patch like a normal one – applying rubber cement then attaching. That doesn’t work either. I think I’ve tried to patch this darn hole about five times now. I just don’t know what’s going on. It’s not a good feeling to be riding without a good, spare tube. It appears that’s just going to have to be the way it goes, though. It doesn’t get me down. I’ve got climbing to do tomorrow, and that makes me very happy.