I'd stayed a restful couple of nights at the Canyon Pines RV Resort near Pollock. I now had a relatively easy ride to White Bird at the base of the White Bird pass. So having had breakfast in Riggins, I carried on to White Bird. Storm clouds were closing in on me as the day went on. This worried me so I put my foot down and pedalled as quickly as I could for the last 20 miles. I hoped to make cover before the storm broke.
Just before White Bird, I passed a motel/restaurant/gas station called Hoots because of the owner's collection of owls (not real ones). I went past, then realised, after climbing another half mile, that I couldn't see where White Bird itself was. So I had a cola in Hoots and entertained the waitress by spilling my glass of water all over my table. She was more concerned I hadn't got any on my bike helmet.
Then I judged their motel was a bit grotty, so went to find White Bird and to a motel which shall remain nameless.
I checked in without asking to see the room first, a fatal mistake. The room stank, and clearly the towels had been used a few times for things other than drying yourself. One of mine looked like it had not only been used to clean up a murder scene, but had actually committed the act by itself. Then, immediately realising what it had done, threw up on it's off-white threadbare body.
I hadn't planned on sleeping well anyway (imagining the pest controllers delight that this room would become when the lights went out). However, just to make certain, I spoke to the guy in the next room who was sat outside his room reading a book.
He asked me what I was doing in White Bird, I told him and I asked him the same question. To which he replied vaguely - he was here from Nevada visiting some family in the area. Two minutes later I was in my room re-running the conversation in my head, to see if I'd given the right answer when he asked which area I'd liked the best. You see it was only after I made my excuses that I noticed that he preferred having the word "Idaho" tattooed above each eye, to having eyebrows.
As I lay awake I could hear snippets of conversations between him and another guy that I wish I hadn't. Also the TV was on all night so they couldn't have slept either.
Before I turned in, to make matters worse the shop and cafe were both closed so I had to cycle back to Hoots for a dreary BLT, served by a waitress who only remembered to smile when she handed me the check.
Oh, and just in case my levels of apprehension weren't high enough, just as I was watching a documentary on the worst tornado ever. And just as they were showing a video shot by a guy as it tore the house from around him, a bolt of lightning struck from the thunder storm happening outside my room. The electricity went off immediately and I was sat in the dark. Gladly, a generator outside kicked in very quickly. Indeed so suddenly that the roaches didn't have chance to emerge from under the zedbed in the corner.
The good news was that the motel owner offered to give me a lift over the 8-mile WB pass next morning which, not having really slept, I accepted.
She looked like Bernard Manning in a dress, only with long black hair. I asked her if she was Native American because she looked it, and this was in the Nez Perce reservation. No, she was a Mormon from Utah. Although, like every American, and particularly being Mormon, she knew her ancestry in breathtaking detail. When she said that she is mainly European, but is, in fact, 1/32nd Blackfoot, given the hygiene challenges in the motel I was not at all surprised.
The trip up the pass via the old highway was beautiful, though when she stopped to look at a dead snake in the road halfway up, I did wonder if she was trying to entice me out of the car to then screech off with all my possessions in the middle of bear, wolf and of course snake country. She didn't and she dropped me off at the top of the pass. I was tired and cold longing to reach Grangeville for a good night's sleep in a clean and safe environment.