**** See the previous post for info on the finish line! Come join me as I finish on Sunday, August 12 in Anacortes!
Sandpoint, ID would be a respite for me. I was staying for a rest day with my friend Rachel. I was anxious to be home and wanted to power through, but the finish line event had already been set and publicized, so I was forced to stick to my plan and rest. I am so glad I did.
The pedal from Libby, MT to Sandpoint, ID was gentle and enjoyable. The only exception was my own fault. I had stopped after a dog had been chasing me. I pulled into the gravel pull out area with a large sign saying welcome to Idaho, a good place to regroup after the dog and snap a quick photo. I unclipped my right foot as always. I have learned on a loaded bike it is best to unclip both feet when stopping even if I’m not dismounting. Well this time I didn’t, because I planned to move along quickly. A distraction over my right shoulder caused me to turn to look putting me just off balance enough that down I went with the bike on top of me. I laid on the ground for a moment deciding I was fine, just bruised pride and a scraped, bloody knee. I worked my left foot out of the pedal, pushed the bike off and dusted myself off. After snapping a quick photo, I climbed back on and rode, dripping blood down my leg for the next 10 miles to the next town.
A little convience store gave me the perfect opportunity to stop. I dismounted, bought a cold drink, cleaned up my knee with my first aid kit and gathered up my last bits of energy to ride around Lake Pend Orielle into Sandpoint. It was beautiful!
Rachel was there to meet me, but just as I was getting settled she was called away to deliver a baby. She is a midwife and is always on call. So I rested and snacked. When she returned, we went to a great little restaurant, Beet and Basil in Sandpoint. The delicious locally sourced food hit the spot!
With a full belly and a rest day ahead, I climbed into the sleeping loft in her apartment and slept the night away. With a renewed spirit she and I went to church the next morning, to Starbucks and then she sent me with some of her friends to go sailing on the lake while she worked on some tasks at home. It was a grand adventure! We swam and sailed and just genuinely enjoyed a Sunday on the boat. This was turning out to be a fabulous rest day.
Rachel’s new husband Kyle was just returning from a golf excursion when I returned, so they grilled a yummy dinner and chatted as the day turned to evening. Another fabulous rest day and such a wonderful time catching up with a dear friend.
Monday morning I was ready to be on my bike and head into my home state. I had arrangements to stay with my friend Treva’s mom in Colville, WA. With another bed in my future, I eagerly pedalled at sunrise crossing into Washington in time to get a cup of decaf for my first morning break in Newport, WA. The barista told me about two crazy teachers that were in yesterday that were riding their bikes across country. I just smiled….
There was a climb looming in the future today, so I was gearing myself up mentally to get on to climbing. The next several days would be climbs as I headed for the Cascades.
My next rest stop in Tiger was at the base of my climb. Twenty five miles and I’d be done for the day. The climb from Tiger to Colville was not steep, but very long. It was just brutal enough to really zap my energy. By the time I reached the house just outside Colville, I was ready for a shower and a nap.
Nancy was an amazing hostess. She snapped some photos for the local paper and then set to getting me settled.
Showered and a quick nap, I was refreshed and headed down stairs. We happily chatted away as she put together a lovely meal. The fresh fruit and orzo salad coupled with grilled pork chops and chicken, was just what I needed. Then she brought out homemade lemon bars and delightful chocolate macadamia nuts. She was taking such good care of me.
After a solid night’s rest, Nancy made a great breakfast and sent me off. She followed me in her car into town to snap a few more photos, pointed me to the nearby Starbucks and bid me farewell. I was once again filled, not just physically fed, but emotionally cared for as well. Good thing too, because the day ahead was full of challenges.
I knew the terrain was going to be rough. I was hoping to climb two passes that day leaving one more pass for the next day before some rest and two more passes. Washington is so full of beautiful mountians… darn it!
The first pass was Sherman Pass it is the tallest pass on Highway 20 and it is no joke! Sherman Pass was a huge mental challenge. I crested the top after 3 1/2 hours of climbing. As I was approaching from the east side, another cyclist approached from the west. He was on a short week long tour making a circle around Washington. We snapped photos for each other, offered encouragments and advice about the route and then pedalled on each in our own opposite directions.
The descent was just as challenging as the ascent. One of my front racks snapped and was loose. I stopped, removed the bag, strapping it to the rear rack. I then hastily propped the rack on the front fork and cautiously proceeded the 5 miles left to Republic. If the rack came loose on the descent and caught my spokes it would be very bad news for me and my front wheel. I checked my map for a notation of a bike shop and there was one…. by appointment only. So I called the number. No answer, no voicemail.
I pedalled a little further hoping to find a local person to get some idea of who might be able to help me. I pulled into a parking lot with a carwash, service station and bar. A man in a firefighter t-shirt was walking toward me. I asked if he was local and with a positive reply I told him my dilemma. He looked across the parking lot and summoned a gentleman in a truck.
I then told this man my dilemma. He gave me directions to his house agreeing to try to fix the rack. It was beginning to get hot, I was tired from the climb and hungry. I listened to his directions and followed them as best I could making one wrong turn. He saw me and signalled my mistake. I arrived to find a chair set out for me to sit while he worked to fix my rack. I pulled some food from my pack and satiated my hunger and we chatted as he worked. Jeremy is a border patrol officer with a specialty in K9 handling. He actually trains other handlers as well. With some on the fly problem solving this kind man rigged up a workable solution.
Now the only problem, climb another pass and try to get to my intended destination for the day. Jeremy offered to shuttle me up the pass with his flatbed truck, putting me back on track to make my stop for the night. So I took him up on his offer. We loaded my bike and off we went.
I offered to pay him for his work and gas, but he refused. He only said, just come back and visit Republic.
Off I pedalled to Omak, 25 miles further than expected. That would make the next day even better. Loup Loup Pass and the Methow Valley were so close.
Things I learned
- Republic has a large fossil field and a museum to showcase them.
- I am not thrilled with the salsa racks that are on my front forks. They will get a strongly worded email from me.
- I have missed fresh fruit! We really are spoiled in Washington with the bounty of summer fruit!
Roadkill Count ( Libby, MT to Omak, WA)
- 6 deer
- 3 turtles
- 6 birds
- 9 skunks
- 4 snakes
- 1 frog
- 2 bats
- 1 mouse