Isobel and Derek surprised us at the camp. Derek was member #3 when the club started back in the dark ages and Isobel has voluntarily performed such duties as Club Treasurer for many years. Their presence made camping that much more festive. Still we had miles to go…
Between Hailey and Ketchum, road works closed one direction of traffic at a time. At one of the full stops, Jeff picked up a lug nut from next to Fred’s rear tire. We pulled over into the first available parking lot to check Fred’s tire and sure enough found he was missing one.
Disaster was avoided, but the road had further challenges for us. The following events were compounded by the fact, that the beautiful ribbon of asphalt avoided lunch in any disguise.
We retraced our route on 75 back to Stanley and then took 21 to Lowman. Somewhere along the Lowman – Banks road, we ran into more road construction. Instead of stopping in the line of traffic, a few riders went to the head of the line. I didn’t join them for two reasons, one I don’t know how Idaho state law deals with this, and two, I couldn’t see the head of the line and so wouldn’t know if oncoming traffic was headed towards me or not. (In other words I take the concept of ride your own ride to heart; the boys have lead me astray before). Anyway the actions of the riders infuriated an off-duty cop who got out of his car and yelled at Larry, another rider who had held back. There were humorous moments such as when Larry reminded him that he didn’t ride to the front and when the cop said, “No one drives the speed limit.”
Later in the day, when we finally found a place for lunch, a car driver felt impelled to come out of the café and yell at me for cutting him off. I didn’t know what he was talking about and did what I could to de-escalate the emotions; I just agreed with him. Then he pointed to someone else’s bike. Aha! It was a case of mistaken identity.
In between these two incidents was the near miss at the Wall of Death. At Banks we turned north on 55, the Payette Scenic River Highway. At the end of a straight stretch of road, just before the road turned to run alongside the river, traffic stopped. Just as we pulled up, a woman ran over to me and said, “It’s one of yours.” Terrifying words.
We rode around the cars to find Steve bleeding from head wounds and receiving first aid from a competent guy. Steve’s modern Royal Enfield was upside down and leaking on the wrong side of the road. He’d missed the turn, left tire marks on the cement retaining wall, flipped back, and bounced across the road into oncoming traffic. Fortunately he was wearing all the protective gear and was in great physical shape. He walked away from the accident with scrapes and bruises. His bike was totaled.
After all this we hit a patch of rain. This cooled things off, but lowered visibility.
By the time we reached McCall we were all a bit frazzled, but we found ourselves in a great camp, near the hotel where other members were staying, and another airport.