105 degrees. I wouldn’t have believed it if you had told me. Not heat index… three different thermometers: two at 104 and one at 105. Crazy melting hot weather.
We got out of the farmyard early as the town of White Bird has little to recommend staying. In fact, it has much to recommend getting the heck out of town. The folks here were friendly enough…. but also crazy high. They were nice enough to offer us some pot, and even came over and handed a toad to Paul (who knows what that was all about). In addition, the dogs in the town were borderline feral and feinted attacking us a couple of times as we settled in for the night.
Today’s ride was our third attempt at splitting the saddle time into morning and evening. For most of the morning, the temperature was hot, but not too unpleasant, but as we passed 11:00, the canyon air mounted from low 90s to high 90s. We stopped for a piece of pie and to cool off just after noon at a lovely little shop on the side of the road. They sold all manner of local fruits and produce, so I was able to stock up for the day ahead.
The middle 20 miles of the day were a grueling test of willpower. The temperature broke 100 and showed no signs of peaking. Locals were giving us a distinct “ya’ll boys are crazy” look. We finally arrived at a spot on the map showing food and a lodge, but everything was locked up tight. No worries, we simply lounged about in the shade until somebody showed up.
That somebody was Juanita of Pinehurst Resort. She made us feel right at home and with nary a word brought out a big spread of food for us to munch on for lunch. She gave us some water and told us to take our time. It is Juanita’s thermometers that tell us it is 105 right now, but since it is now a quarter to 6:00 there is some speculation that the temperature has actually dropped to that insane number. No matter though, we’re enjoying a respite in the shade and a cool wind from the South. In about an hour and a half the sun should dip below the mountains and we’ll be off again for another 20 miles this evening.
The cool patch of grass we had claimed held on to us for way too long. We didn’t get rolling until almost 7:00. The air was wonderfully cool as we began a climb we hadn’t realized was ahead of us. In addition to the slow going from the grade, the natural beauty of the road slowed us way down. We stopped for flowers, wildlife, and landscapes every 10 minutes as we wound our way up a now quiet highway.