Day 52: Idaho Falls, ID ➡️ Arco, ID

Miles: 69.5

Total: 2,996.2

Wildflowers.

I’ve seen a lot of them the past several days as we have come through the Rockies.

It always amazes me how hardy wildflowers are. They are often found high up in the alpines, sometimes even growing between rocks, out of rocks; living and thriving in places where it doesn’t seem possible.

They endure all types of weather…torrential downpours, hail storms, sometimes even snow in the middle of the summer.

Yet they survive.

Any time I am in a hard situation, I think of how hardy wildflowers are, and no matter the situation, they are always able to grow and continue, well, being a wildflower!

The day started rough with a headwind that, we eventually learned, would chisel away at us all day long. 20 miles into our ride, we stopped to take a break. I sat down in the gravel, already tired and wondering how in the world I was going to ride 70 miles.

When you’re riding directly into a headwind on a loaded touring bike, it makes you feel like your bike weighs 200 pounds. The wind catches on your panniers and it just feels like you’re riding your bike through water. The effort you’re putting in to ride 10-15 mph only gets you 6 mph, and it’s the most discouraging and tiring thing ever.

While I was sitting in the gravel on our break, I noticed some wild sunflowers swaying in the wind, just doing what sunflowers do.

And I was reminded of my thoughts and feelings about wildflowers and how tough and hardy they are, and I carried that reminder with me all day long today.

Our headwind was relentless. It wasn’t the worst headwind we have had, but it was there and it was persistent. It blew in our faces all. day. long.

It was one of those rides where we didn’t have any services for 70 miles. There were no gas stations or country stores; no place for us to get a good lunch. We ate what we had with us, which is never enough fuel for riding a 70 lb bike. But it’s better than nothing. We sprawled out on the pavement in a parking area for a few minutes after we ate and then pressed onward.

As we continued on, I already felt like I had ridden 70 miles, yet we had 35 to go. I’m not exaggerating when I say every part of my body ached: my head, neck, stomach, arms, legs…everything.

I’m only sharing this to be as candid as possible, but I even had to pull over on the side of the road to cry a few tears. I was so frustrated because I wasn’t getting anywhere, my body felt completely awful, and I was out in the middle of nowhere.

I told myself to toughen up and I dried it up quickly and saddled back up; I wasn’t going to get anywhere standing on the side of the road. I thought of the sunflowers, thriving out in the middle of the Idaho desert.

Slowly, I made progress. One pedal at a time, I was getting closer to Arco, our destination. I texted my mom, because moms always make you feel better. I texted Craig, because boyfriends make you feel better too. I read supportive comments from my Facebook friends:

“You’ve got this!”

“You can do this!”

“Persevere! We are rooting you on!”

“Mind over matter!”

“You are stronger than you think!”

“I know your feeling. I went through this. Stay strong.”

“Even your armpit is tan.” (😂😂😂)

I had an army of people behind me telling me to keep going, so I did.

During the last 7 miles, I talked on the phone to Craig, and then I somehow was suddenly in Arco! 😉🤷🏼‍♀️ He is currently on his own epic trip to Utah and Colorado.

Mash and I headed straight for the diner in town and got some food.

We set up camp and are ready for bed!

Tomorrow shall be an interesting day, as we will cross our 3,000th mile (!!!!!!!), and will be riding by Craters of the Moon National Monument!

Hoping our bodies get some good rest tonight and hoping the winds will be in our favor tomorrow.

🌻Aspen🌻

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