Monday, June 25, 2012

Bike America Day 9: No You Da Ho

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day's distance: 72.6
Average speed: 11.6
Maximum speed: 32.1
Overall distance: 485

On Friday morning we cooked a full-out breakfast for the first time. It was bacon and biscuits over our charcoal camping grill. We had set our alarms for 6:30 with the hopes of being on the road by 8. But the cooking for Josh and bike maintenance (chain cleaning and lubing) for my mom and I, set us back a while. We were in camp for two and a half hours and didn't hit the road until 9.

Bison in the distance.

Still, Josh and I made good time. With several stops for photo shoots, we covered the days first 33 miles in under three hours and were in Newport, WA by noon. On our way there, we saw a bison range but the bison were, unfortunately, far off in the distance, feeding we think. We rode alongside the Pen D'Oreille River for most of the morning and crossed the state line into Idaho without even knowing it. We crossed back over the river into Washington for one final meal in the state. Lunch was pizza at a local place, a mini pesto and garlic for me, which I ate all of.

With full bellies, my mom and I set out for the afternoon. We crossed back over the river and came upon this lovely landmark. I held up two fingers because it's my second state!

I was a little sad to leave Washington, to be honest. It had been beautiful and its people had treated us kindly. But I also felt accomplished and excited to see what Idaho would have to offer.

We began the trek to Sandpoint, ID, our overnight destination on US2, the most direct route. Our host for the night had recommended this to us saying, "adventure cycling takes you on the back roads to avoid traffic but this is Idaho, we don't have any traffic."

Idaho did have traffic, however. More than we'd seen yet. With the wind in our faces and cars whizing by constantly, riding was absolutely no fun. We got to a small town called Priest River and checked our map for an alternate route. There was a bridge in the town that let us cross the river and meet back up with the adventure cycling route. We still had a few hours and thirty some miles of headwinds but it was well worth it. The route was beautiful and hilly, hugging the river for the majority. It was slow going and we agreed that uphill riding beats riding into the wind any day.

The final six miles into Sandpoint were on a bike path and I rode it alone. It was nice aside for the one little snake I saw slithering along the side at one point. The end of the path crossed the River alongside the highway. It was a beautiful day but I was ready to be done. When I got to downtown Sandpoint, however, I learned that our host's house was four miles east of town. Everyone (mainly my mom) urged me not to ride there. We could drive out of our way in the morning to drop me back in town. That seemed far too silly and I had plenty of juice left to go four miles so I finished the ride and clocked in just under 70 miles for the day.

We were staying with a woman named Paula who my mom found on and they invited us to not only use their shower and toilet but to sleep inside their home. Our friend Dave, the Magruder High School grad riding from Seattle to Glacier happened to be staying there too so we got to know him much better throughout the evening. The four of us (Josh, Betsy, Dave and I) drove to dinner in Sandpoint, a very cute little town, at Eichardt's that Paula recommended to us. It was a fun local bar with good food. I had a burger made with local elk meat and a Kootenai Porter, brewed in the nearby Bonner's Ferry, Idaho. Josh had (and shared) the Laughing Dog Cream Ale, also made in Idaho. They were very different but both good..

It was nice to again have a roof over our heads but an unusual change of pace to not cuddle up in tents and wonder about the sounds outside. It is really awesome to meet strangers and learn about their adventures and lives but the night at Paula's also helped me to appreciate the simplicity and closeness of camping in solitude with just my parents and/or Josh.

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