August 1, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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August 1, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Idaho

Riggins to Council, Idaho. (61 mi.) Mile 3696

More mountainous Idaho

This morning at 5 am, we learned that it was garbage collection day at our campground, and not only that, the campground designers had decided a good place for the garbage dumpsters was in between tent camping sites, just where we were trying to sleep. It is quite an experience to have a large hydraulic garbage truck emptying dumpsters a few feet from your head, just a thin wall of nylon away.

From Riggins we rode 2300 ft up the Little Salmon River drainage, through more forested Idaho mountain scenery, then back down 1000 ft on the other side, along the Weiser River. I began to wonder if it might be a good idea if someone tested the theory that Idaho would be the largest state if pounded flat. We had more miles of road construction, but the pilot car gave us a personal escort through it.

More miles of road construction and climbing along the Little Salmon River

Mike is feeling better today, but a headwind made the climbing more difficult. I realized that I was getting a touch of Short-timer's Syndrome. I feel the trip is closer to being completed than it really is, since the scenery is so familiar, and back home, family is working on plans to meet us in Oregon. Things are beginning to wear out, and I hope we and our gear make it. My bike shorts are thin, my chain and rear cluster feel worn when shifting, our oldest pair of panniers is deteriorating, and many other minor items have been lost or broken without replacement.

Near New Meadow
Colorful but invasive purple loosestrife near Council

When we reached Council, it was hot and we were tired, though we entertained the idea of riding another 22 miles to Cambridge. We took a look at the free camping at the exposed city park (no showers or privacy) and instead, opted for a motel so we could get some rest for a change, wash out some clothes, and catch up on email. Receiving email from those who write us always adds a positive note to our day. We bought an assortment of groceries for dinner, ate in our room, and enjoyed time out of the weather for a bit.

"All American Food" at A&W in New Meadows

The bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created, consuming less energy per passenger mile than any other form of transport. Converting calories into gasoline, a bicycle gets the equivalent of 3,000 miles per gallon of gas (but how many miles per gallon of milkshake?).


  • According to McDonald's, there are 650 calories in a 16oz. vanilla milkshake, or 5200 calories in a gallon.

  • It takes about 800 calories to bicycle 15 hilly miles with a headwind carrying a heavy load.

  • Therefore, a bicycle tourist can go about 98 miles per gallon (98 mpg) of milkshake.

  • This means 5 milkshakes/day for an average 60 mile day of touring.

  • Though we are not sure how many calories we consumed each day, our appetites astounded us and we had fun eating this much without concern for weight gain.

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