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Po-teh-to po-tah-to, we reached Idaho!
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Weeks 3 and 4

Checkin in from Idaho! It's been a​ whirlwind. With emphasis on the wind. Writing while watching a thunderstorm in Boise. A few things first and foremost:

First - if you chose a perk that requires any input (t-shirt size, postcard state, etc) and you haven't already filled out this survey, please do so! We're going to order the shirts soon, and postcards are already being mailed out. 

​Also, we were featured on NBC Nightly News last week! Click here for the video clip

Hallie, a reporter with the most quintessential TV voice we have ever heard, and Steven, the producer, followed us around in a red Chevy convertible on Day 3 of our trip and filmed our lesson on Day 4. It was a bit overwhelming at the time -- we had just barely started peddling, and we weren't sure what to expect from our very first lesson. But both of them were actually really fun to hang out with and we had a pretty hilarious day with them driving 15 miles an hour beside us along Central Valley farmland (cameras made me -- Rachel -- incredibly nervous and it was difficult to teach with five of them as well as a mountain of kids staring us smack in the face.)

Also, we just gave our website a makeover! Check it out. Please let us know if you have any feedback. (New blog posts are up from Elizabeth the blogger extraordinaire, and the map is currently being made!)

-----> www.cycleforscience.org

Ok, now back to Week 3 and 4:

The (Oregon) Outback Way

Never thought we'd spend so long in Lakeview but we ended up staying in this tiny town for four days. We tried to hitchhike out on Saturday so we could save a few days and try to meet up with the Trans America adventure cycling route, but couldn't find a truck willing to take us and our bulky bikes.

This turned out to be an incredible fortune: the "barren" ride we had been warned about was one of the most spectacular of the trip. 

We first passed Lake Abert, 18 miles of cerulean water bordered by a shoreline of salt flats. The reflection of the clouds on the dry mountains looked like the snow-capped Sierras (flashback to week 2!). 

At the end of the lake, we were faced with a big climb to the rim, but even with 35 miles under our wheels by then, it wasn't even noon and we were still feeling good. It was a beast of a climb, but we were rewarded with a little shade and incredible views of the lake as we munched on a lunch of jam, almond butter, jerky and dried mango.

The ride down the hill was even better. I (Elizabeth writing now) was expecting a Mojave-like landscape, but instead on either side, cliffs erupted from the earth and dark green shrubs flooded the landscape. 

That night, we set up camp to a gorgeous sunset and accidentally shared rice and sausage with all kinds of tiny bugs. 

The next day, we just had 30 miles of rolling hills before our first refill, Riley, literally a one building town. A sign after the one building read "Woahhh, you missed Riley!" And there, of all places, lunch was interrupted by Marc Delval, this French guy with a well-worn grin and a loaded bike who was a month or two away from finishing a five year long world tour. He showed us this book with pictures of him in front of pretty much every landmark in the world.

The next few days, we climbed Stinking Water and Drinking Water, which are not in fact the little hills a lady who sold mediocre peach pie told us they we wouldn't have to worry about. But just before Stinking, Liz found this young guy at a rest stop who had biked the Northern Tier adventure cycling route a few years ago. He gave her his pressure gauge, the first of the many incredible people we would meet over the next two days. And at the peak, we brainstormed a demo to add to our lessons to teach about how photovoltaics work.

We hiked it to some hot springs hidden off the side of the road just passed Juntura, where we planned to camp. There, a guy named Tom treated us to a bounty of fresh food local to the places he had just driven his camper van through. The hot springs lived up to their delightful reputation in the morning, though we had to ford a rushing river to get to them. 

Idahooligans

Finally, the same night the NBC special aired, we made it to Idaho! Three states down, many to go. Becca picked us up the next day from the orchard we camped in. We spent the night in Boise and then went up to Cambridge to teach at our third school (and hunt for mushrooms). In case you haven't read her profile, here's a link to the interview Rachel did with her

Becca teaches at a tiny 7th-12th grade school that caters mostly to farming communities, and a lot of the kids come from broken homes with limited support capabilities. The school has limited resources too. We taught six classes and were totally burnt out by the end of the day. But it was interesting to see how each lesson in each class changed to adapt to the needs of the students and our experiences with the previous classes. 

Then we biked down to Boise this week and stayed with a family that took their two teenage daughters across the country last year. What a trip!

We just got back from teaching at our fourth school, Hidden Springs Elementary. It was incredible experience, but -- CLIFFHANGER -- this update is way long enough, so we'll save that for our next update!

Best,

Rachel and Elizabeth 

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