Idaho, of all the states, stands to gain the most if given a new name. It really is a well kept secret. But with a name like that it's not hard to keep the tourists away. The 60 miles I spent riding along the Lochsa River were some of the most scenic miles in the country. The whole valley was flush with pines. Creeks would empty into the river all along US 12. I'd love to go back and kayak that stretch someday. Most of my time was spent in the Clearwater National Forest. I had an early afternoon snack by a river rapid, went swimming/showering in the slack water, and really soaked in the beauty. I have always imagined Idaho to be much less everything. I've been pleasantly surprised.
About 25 miles outside of Lowell, I was given a present by the Citizen of the Day. Some friendly, anonymous, stranger left a cold Gatorade and a note on a paper towel just laying on the shoulder of the road (Rock on cyclist, www.PracticalPedaling.com).
Some people can't even draw a smile with a stolen joke. Whoever this was had me grinning ear to ear without saying a word. I'd like to think it was Barack Obama making himself useful, but in all likely hood it was someone who has been there before, paying it forward.
I made it into Stites tonight, feeling pretty fresh. The whole ride was a gentle river grade downhill slope. My mind has gone through a full day but my legs are ready for more. I'm spending the night under the city pavilion. I'll be up early, another big climb is leading off tomorrow.