DAY 59 (8/8/05): Wilson, WY to Rexburg, ID 84.6 mi. After leaving the relative comfort of Wilson behind, Joel and I immediately began climbing Teton Pass. The climb was especially fun because we did it on the Old Pass Road. As suggested by its name, this road has been replaced by a newer (and busier) road that has the nickname of the "Victor 500" due to all the commuter traffic that comes across it every day from Victor, ID. The Old Pass Road, by contrast, is closed to motor traffic and is no longer maintained at all. So, it is a charming little road with eroding pavement and wildflowers growing all around it as well as up through cracks in the road surface. There are plenty of switchbacks that provide views of the valley below, and the pass above. After the obligatory photo-op at the top, we descended on the new pass road (10% grade for 3 miles!) into Idaho. We stopped in Victor to go to the post office, tour a piece of property that Joel is thinking about buying, and to drink some "world famous" huckleberry milkshakes. Then, we headed first north and then west through Idaho. It was remarkable how fast the scenery changed once we crossed the border. On the Wyoming side (aside from the touristy town of Jackson), the landscape is pretty wild and hilly. On the Idaho side, we rode through lots of flat farmland, including some potato fields. After many miles of fields, we arrived in Rexburg, where we called Dominoes and had them deliver pizza to our campground. Sadly (for me), they got our order wrong and put pepperoni on both pizzas, and because there was a big storm blowing in I decided not to bother with calling to get them to correct the order. Joel, meanwhile, ate slices of pizza two at a time until the sky got really threatening, and then we retreated to our tent and listened to the thunder overhead. DAY 60 (8/9/05): Rexburg to Arco, ID 95.3 mi. Another dramatic scenery change took place today, as the farms disappeared and we entered the Idaho desert. In the middle of this desert lies a rather creepy government scientific installation, the INEL. Despite the friendly depictions of the atom on the signs at the edges of its territory, the INEL gives off a distinctly hostile feeling. There are "No Trespassing" signs everywhere, and in one case a particularly ominous, "Caution: Unexploded Ordinance" sign. The research facilities that can be seen rising out of the dust and sagebrush in the distance look like they might be inhabited by guys with wild hair and lab coats with pocket protectors. And this is the impression that an MIT alum came away with! I can't imagine what it looks like to a non-scientist...After escaping from the INEL territory (which is huge, more than 30 mi across), we stopped for some refreshing cold sodas and then rode through more desert to the town of Arco. We hid in the shade at the campground there until the sun went down. Or I should say I hid and ate M&M's and read the New Yorker. Joel, on the other hand, went to bed well before sundown. He claimed to be "thinking and resting his eyes," but let's just say I've heard that one before. DAY 61 (8/10/05): Arco to Ketchum, ID 100.6 mi. This morning Joel and I rode a little bit more desert to get to Craters of the Moon National Monument. I should interject here that one of the great joys about touring with Joel is the way he twists the english language around, making funny phrases out of just about everything. This morning, for instance, we passed a yellow warning sign by the road that said "Watch for Stock" (ie cattle). A few minutes later, Joel pointed to the horizon and yelled "Heads up! Two shares of Google!" Anyhow. Craters of the Moon is a wild place formed entirely out of ancient lava. Most people don't associate Idaho with excess vulcanic activity, but it is amazing how much lava there is here. Joel and I rode the 7 mile loop road in the monument and took in all the strange black formations. We also hiked up the 200ft tall Inferno cone, which provided good views of the rest of the park. After leaving the park, we quickly reached the edge of a plateau on which the lava formations sit, and dropped over the edge on a steep descent to the next tier of the desert below. Even on this lower level there was still an abundance of lava formations of all shapes and sizes. As we left the desert behind us, we entered the Sun Valley area--talk about contrasts. This area is thick with the scent of new money, a sort of island of prosperity and greenery in the desert. There are all kinds of trendy little shops in the towns that run along the little north-south corridor there, and all kinds of trendy people to shop in them. Suffice it to say that after riding hard in the desert all day, Joel and I were not looking especially trendy and just wanted to find a campground and sleep. Easier said than done, though, as in this particular trendy area, even though its big selling point is the splendor of the outdoors, the zoning people don't really want you sleeping outside. So, we had to procee d 4 or 5 miles beyond Ketchum to get to a little campground, where we could relax in the company of mule deer, magpies, and our friendly campground host, who stopped by to make sure that we read the rules of the campground before we fell asleep. DAY 62 (8/11/05): Ketchum to Stanley, ID 77.8 mi. After the hard ride yesterday, Joel and I treated ourselves to a trendily-priced but very tasty breakfast in Ketchum. Next, we did our all-time favorite cycling activity: climbing a pass. This was in my mind the most outstanding pass that we did together, Galena pass through the Sawtooth mountains. Because of the way that the road is laid, you can see both up and down the valley for almost the whole climb, so you get lots of good views of the road that you just came up, plus all of the evergreen trees lining the valley. Joel's friend Jan met us with her station wagon at the top of the pass, took a few pictures, and then met us again at the bottom of the pass, where Joel loaded his bike into the back of her car, and the two of them drove back towards Wilson. It was very sad to see him, go, since we'd had so much fun touring together. It was perfect to end it with Galena pass, though, which was really a highlight of our time together. Solo once more, Dagny and I pushed on to Obsidian, where I met a guy who used to build bikes for Moots (for the bike geeks out there). He now works as a baker, and gave me a sampling of his wares to fuel my afternoon. I rode into the little mountain town of Stanley, which is absolutely spectacular, gorgeous views of the Sawtooth mountains, a crystal-clear brook running by, a few old log buildings, etc. Bascially everything I imagine Ketchum was before it trendified and started attracting money from CA and TX. So, I'm glad I got a chance to see it in this state. I camped in a tiny USFS campground just beyond town, next to a creek. There wasn't anyone besides me there, so I ate dinner a t my little table, listening to the lowing of distant cows echoing off the mountains.