We enjoyed camping in Goodenough Canyon near McCammon, Idaho in the past so much that we decided to do it again this year! The distance is good (30 miles one way), there’s plenty of trees (a rarity in southern Idaho), and McCammon is only a few miles away from the campground. I was late, as usual, arriving at our meeting spot near the south end of Pocatello, so we set out at about 9:30 am. I was riding my Windsor Tourist touring bicycle and towing my Nashbar Kid Karriage trailer full of firewood, sleeping bag, etc. Dan Lloyd was riding his Motobecane 29er mountain bike and towing a Burley Nomad trailer full of supplies. And Travis Poppe was riding his Surley Long Haul Trucker with his massive Ortlieb panniers stuffed full. Yeah, we weren’t planning on averaging more than 12 miles per hour on this fine Labor Day weekend. :-)
After passing the usual 500-or-so Pocatello Marathon runners that are usually on this stretch over Labor Day weekend, we arrived at the Inkom town park feeling fine; after resting for a bit and refilling water bottles, we continued on to McCammon on Highway 91. In McCammon, about noon, we locked our bikes up at our restaurant of choice, Subway, and went in to get some lunch. Wow, a foot long cold cut combo sandwich loaded with veggies tastes great after towing a trailer by bicycle for 25 miles! After Subway, we cycled over to the nearby convenience store and loaded up on beer, hot dog material, chips, and extra water. Our rigs now weighed significantly more than when we arrived. Oh well, the campground was only a few miles more, weighing a ton is no problem! Yeah, those were famous last words. ;-)
The campground lay to the west, and is about a 600 foot elevation gain from McCammon, with the first part of the climb being very steep (over 10% grade). Trudging up the steep road in our lowest gear was slow, and we each concentrated on our own method of climbing. It was about 1:00 pm and the temperature had reached 95 degrees, according to Dan’s fancy digital watch. I was pedaling very slowly, concentrating on my breathing, and just focusing on getting through this last part of the journey. My attitude was pretty positive at this point, since slow, torturous hill climbing is something I have mastered over time. However, it was difficult staying positive in the next portions of this climb.
After what seemed like an eternity, the road leveled out and then turned to gravel. I was sweating buckets and drinking water frequently while continuing to low-gear along the road. As I continued along the canyon road, the temperature seemed to be getting hotter and I began splashing my face, head, and neck with my water bottle and maintaining a steady pace. And next I saw the trees in the distance and I was very glad. Some thick clouds covered the sun a few times and the temperature felt like it immediately dropped 10 degrees; and then the sun came back out and I was in the oven again. After I felt like I was doing to die, I reached the top of the last hill of the road, sped down the other side, got off my bike, laid my bike down, and dumped more water on my head and back. Oh my god it felt good getting off that bike. After a minute, Travis caught up and next came Dan. We all looked at each others sweaty, red faces and Dan said his watch said 101 degrees.
We got to the campground, put our stuff down, and began cracking open the beers, which were still cold. I swear, there is nothing in the world as good as a cool beer after putting yourself through a long, hard, and hot bike journey. The beer helped us relax and improved our mood 100%. Soon, we were jolly and thinking that this trip wasn’t so bad.
We talked for a long time, drank all our beer, played some Frisbee, made a fire, cook hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks, and went to bed. The rest of this trip is rather uneventful, except for the stupid large rodent that got into our trash that night and was clinking beer bottles all night long. I think we were all just too tired to get up and shoo it away.