I was jubilant yesterday because as I left Fairfield I was being pushed by a hard and steady tailwind. The terrain was also mostly level, so I blasted through the first 40 miles at a 20.6 miles per hour. The ride from Carrey to Arco was more hilly so I slowed down a little, but still covered 90 miles at an 18.5 MPH clip. All because of a glorious tailwind.
Today was totally different. I cursed. The wind blew in my face and across from my left. It was brutal. I was expending enough energy just riding forward, now I had to put extra energy into keeping the bike upright and in a straight line. It was the hardest day so far. I could not keep a steady cadence. The hills were not super steep and I struggled up. On the downside of the hill, I had to pedal because the wind pushed me to a stop. I rode 17 further miles yesterday in 7 fewer minutes than it took me today.
The same wind that was such a blessing yesterday was quite the curse today. Ironically, I just read about Jonah and his predicament (Jonah 4). While he was pouting because the Lord did not destroy Ninevah, God brought him a vine to protect him from the desert sun and he was glad. The next day, God caused the vine to whither and die and Jonah was scorched by the sun and grew faint. He was angry to which the Lord said, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?... You have been concerned about the vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow."
And what right do I have to be concerned about the wind? In Jonah, God chose to save a city of over a hundred thousand because they repented. Jonah was upset that God did not destroy Ninevah and was angry with his dead vine. I am all pouty over something I have no control and focused on my narrow needs and wants.
Other ride notes:
- I liked Fairfield. It's the gateway to Soldier Mountain ski area. I slept in the city park. There are only two paved roads in the town: US 20 and Soldier Road (the road to Soldier Mountain).
- I went to bed early because there was nothing else to do and actually fell asleep. About 9:00, I hear people walking by the tent. Lots of people. Then I hear explosions. Fairfield, population 390, was putting on a fireworks show. It wasn't the best and brightest I ever saw. Definitely not the most professional. But it lasted a good 30-40 minutes and the small crowd gathered seemed to be having fun.
- Rode through part of Craters of the Moon National Monument. Pretty neat stuff. The geology of this area fascinates me.
- Route 20 follows Goodale's Cutoff, a side route of the Oregon Trail that was taken because trekkers west feared running into hostile natives. The landmark for Goodale's Cutoff was Big South Butte (below) which rises high above the plains and can be seen for miles.
- Arco is a cool little town. First town to be powered by nuclear energy. I got a free meal there because I gave up my table for a family. They were grateful and wanted to buy my dinner. Mountain View RV park had great rates, nice facilities and friendly owner. On the bluffs above town, there are numbers. Lots of them. The tradition, beginning in 1920, is that each graduating class climbs up there and paints their year.
- I stopped and toured the EBR-1 (Experimental Breeder Reactor-1, the first successful atomic reactor in history. It is advertised as the first peaceful use of nuclear energy. Here, atomic power was proved successful when 4 lightbulbs were lit on December 20, 1951.
- Culture shock in Idaho Falls. After being in desert, prairie and small towns for the last week, this town of 50,000 people has me itching to get back into the open. I'm excited about mountains, though not about climbing them on my bike.