Newport WA to Mill Creek WA 65 miles

7/28/19  

The church made breakfast for us today which was much appreciated.  They provided pancakes, ham, cereal, fruit, energy bars, etc.  They were hard at work by 6:00 a.m. and started serving by 6:30 a.m.  Keep in mind this isn’t just for the BiketheUSforMS riders but also for the Cancer Riders also which doubled our size.

When we took off on today’s ride we stopped to get our pictures with the Washington State welcome sign.

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We crossed back over the river and rode for many miles in Idaho again.  The road was a paved country road with very little traffic which made to an interesting ride.  We had a light tail wind and a gradual down slope which also made it an easy ride along the Pend Oreille River.

After this 43 mile ride we crossed back over the River and entered into Washington to stay. But this also meant we left the river and the climb of the day began.  The climb was over a 1,000 foot hill but it wasn’t terrible difficult, just a warm up for what we will face tomorrow.

After the climb we rode for about 8 miles to reach our camp site at Beaver Lodge.  We had no phone service and very little WiFi service at the restaurant across the street from the camp.  At this restaurant they also managed the shower facilities.  The showers had warm water but they were not very well maintained. (dirty would be a kind description of them)

The restaurant had some good food but they kept running out of things.  I did go back to it to get some food for breakfast because they would not open until 8:00 a.m. and we need to be on the road before that.

Sandpoint to Newport WA 36 miles

7/27/19  

Short day.

Took a leisurely breakfast at Connie’s then hit the road around 8:30.  For the first 5.5 miles we were on a bike path.  These are always nice once you find them.  We had to search around Sandpoint for a while until be found the entry.  The sign tipped us off when it said “No Motor Vehicles”.

The path took us across Lake Pend Oreille on an old abandon highway bridge.  It was a little rough but it was safely separated from the new bridge that had a fair amount of traffic on it.  We hated to lose bike the path because, as you might guess, we were on the highway shoulder and close to the traffic on highway 95 for the next 4.5 miles.

Then we turned on Dufort Road  which was a paved county road.  Traffic was lighter but there wasn’t much of a shoulder.  The road had some rolling hills with little elevation gains.  All the time we just kept thinking “it is a short day”.  Most of the time we ran parallel to Lake Pend Oreille so it was a beautiful ride.

Just as we rode into Newport we entered the State of Washington.  There wasn’t any sign so the Newport WA sign will have to do.

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We immediately went to get something to eat and we found an authentic Mexican Restaurant.  We hadn’t had any kind of Mexican food this trip so we really enjoyed the change.

Then to the showers.  We were hurrying a bit because we are not the only bike ride staying at the Newport United Church of Christ.  We are sharing the church with Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults so there will be about 50 bikers staying here tonight.

Then off to get Ice Cream at Owen’s Grocery, Deli, and Soda Fountain.  Right out of the 1930s.  I had a banana split with 3 scoops of ice cream.  This place brought back many memories of my old home town.

As of this writing I have been informed that there is a welcome to Washington sign which I will add to my post tomorrow.

Sandpoint 0 Miles.  The last rest day of the trip.  Now 9 more riding days to Seattle 

7/26/19 

I tried to sleep in but with the one hour time change we still were up at 5 a.m. pacific time.  I laid back down but sleep would not return.

We went to the closest restaurant that opened at 7:00 a.m.  We were at the door at 6:50 waiting.  Of course we were the first thru the door but within 10 minutes there were around 8 to 10 table full of customers.  We were amazed how fast the restaurant filled up.

The food was very good and we decided we would stop there tomorrow morning since we only have a 30 mile ride.  I guess this is to make up for the hard ride yesterday.

Then of course we had the standard chores, laundry, shopping, bike store sporting goods store and exploring the new city.

After laundry I worked in an hour nap.

This evening an alumni is bring a pull pork dinner.  This is always well received.

It is amazing on rest days how everything slows down even our walking.  We know we have plenty of time so our gate is slower and our steps shorter.  I guess you would call that conserving energy.

There will not be any more conservation days until August 5 when third BiketheUSrorMS is finished.  It is coming fast.

Libby to Sandpoint 98+ Let’s call it 100 Miles 

7/25/19  

This is the last of the 90+ mile rides and I am not complaining.

The restaurant we wanted to stop at didn’t open until 7:00 a.m. and we wanted to get an early start so we went to a grocery store only to find they didn’t have anything but sweet rolls.  Ed got a cup of coffee and we waited for the restaurant to open.

Once 7:00 a.m. arrived we were the first customer in the door.  This breakfast would not make the top 10 list, but it gave us the energy for our long ride.

10 miles into the ride we came to the Kootenai Falls and the Swinging Bridge.  The people at the church highly recommended this attraction and we were not disappointed.

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The swing bridge was suspended over and fairly wide river and it swung freely as we walked on it.

I am glad there wasn’t any wind and only two other people on the bridge when I walked the bridge.  Swinging is definitely the correct name.

Then we went to the falls.

I would not try to go down these falls in a kayak even one designed for white water.

Then back on the road for miles on miles.

Today we had two crossing in one place.  We crossed into Idaho and we crossed into the pacific time zone.  We gained an hour and we would need that hour before we finished the ride.

When we crossed into Idaho there wasn’t a state sign because there wasn’t enough space for a sign but we didn’t know at the time if there would be a sign so we stopped here.

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Then about a mile or so down the road we came to the official state sign.

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One thing didn’t change between the states, the road continued to be narrow with an even more narrow shoulder.

We had to watch our the Garmin closely to be sure we stayed on route because the street signs were not clear in some places.

After the last rest stop we still had 16 miles to go but to me it seemed more like 30.

We are staying at the Sandpoint Methodist church for two days.  It is located close to restaurants and a laundry mat so all is well.

Eureka to Libby 75 Miles 

7/24/19  

Breakfast was of the convenience station variety, breakfast sandwiches.  I bought 2 for eating now and 2 for rest stop food.  I knew I didn’t have much in my cubby so the two to go would supplement my cubby food.

We took off on highway 93 for a short 2 miles then turned onto Highway 3 which was the road we rode for the majority of the day.  At the start the traffic was fairly heavy but after 9 miles we had very little traffic.  This is also the point where we started riding along Lake Koocanusa which was somewhere around 48 miles long.  After about 10 miles we crossed the lake on the Lake Koocanusa bridge.

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When we started across the bridge the head wind we had been fighting became a side wind.

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The wind was blowing so hard that the bridge hummed.   While we were trying to ride across we met a truck hauling trees.  As we passed the truck the wind was blocked which almost sucked us into the truck.  Once the track passed and wind returned and the gravel on the bridge gave us a sand blasting.  We hung on tight and survived.

Once across the bridge we turned directly into the wind again  which almost stopped us dead in our tracks.  We regrouped and continued our ride along the lake.  Now we were on highway 228.  Although we had the wind to contend with we missed one thing, no traffic.  When I say no traffic I mean for the next 38 miles we met less than a dozen cars.  We didn’t complain.

We had one rest stop along this road also, as you can see.

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Here I ate my first of two breakfast sandwiches and the  second one at our last rest stop.  Both tasted as good as the first ones in the convenience store.  Maybe it was that I was just that hungry.

We finally made it to the end of the lake and we stopped at the Libby Dam for a photo opt.

Then we crossed over Highway 3 and got on Old Haul Road.  It got this name because it was used to haul timber when timber was king in this area.

Here the lake turned back to the Koocanusa ridge, which we followed all the way into Libby.

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We arrived at the Faith Bible Church where we will be spending the night.  The members of the church were gracious enough to also provide us a great dinner and fellowhip.

It was a great day.

White Fish to Eureka 64 Miles 

7/23/19  

Back on the road again.  Went one mile off route to get to McDonalds for breakfast in White Fish.  The morning started off cool but the day ended hot (over 90) in Eureka with the humidity around 35%.

As we got ready to leave the church this morning we were greeted at the exit by this buck.

He didn’t seemed to be too worried about us until we started to take off then he and two other deer gently hooped over a fence and unto an adjoining pasture.

After breakfast we started the journey on highway 93 with a fair amount of traffic.  We rode for 3 to5 miles before getting on a country road with little to no traffic.  This was very enjoyable but it couldn’t last.

We were then back on highway 93 for the remainder of the day.  Highway 93 has very little shoulder so it made it hard to ride.  There was quite a bit of truck traffic and some of these trucks only move over a little if any at times.  This is always a challenge.

At our first rest stop, this was a major part of the discussion, but we rode on.

We came to a convenience store where we stopped for refreshments.  When sitting at a picnic table I spotted a man-made eagle’s nest.  I couldn’t see the chicks clear enough to count them but I could definitely hear them.

From then on we stayed on highway 93 into Eureka.  That wasn’t supposed to have been the route but we missed a turn and it was too late to go back so we just stayed on highway 93.  This cut off a few miles but it helped get us in before the worst of the heat hit.

After showers we went to lunch at the Valley Pizza where we had a Pickle Pizza.  It was a lot better than I expected.  As the sign says “don’t knock it till you try it”

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Now back to the school for some rest before our 74 mile day tomorrow.

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What is it about the town named Eureka.  It looks like a storm is blowing in just like it did in Kansas on the TransAm ride in 2017.

White Fish 0 Miles Rest Day

7/22/19  

This is a unique rest day.  Since we got in early yesterday and we finished a lot of our chores.  We also don’t have a service project at this location.

So we slept in and the people of the church fixed us a great breakfast.  They made us eggs, sausage, toast and an assortment of fruit.  I tried to help them with the preparation but I realized they had a system and I was just in the way.

So when cleanup came, I volunteered again and they let me wash the dishes.  I had a great time and it gave me a chance to really talk to the church members.  I was told the church was built 20 years ago and for 20 years old it is in really great shape.  We were told that they would be supporting another group of bike riders that are riding for cancer.  The church is trying to increase their outreach program which is a testament to their love of others.

After breakfast we ventured out to explore the bike shops of White Fish.  They have two of them but neither one of them had the bike tire I was looking for.  This wasn’t a necessity but it would have been nice since I am going to put the extra one on my bike today.   I am worried about the one that got a flat from the staple a couple days ago.

One of the stores is a cycle and ski shop and it also sells espressos.  I got some Cliffs’ Blocks Energy Chews which really give me an boast on a long hard ride.

The other one had the Endurolytes Caps that I use for cramp prevention.  There has been some talk that we could be riding into so hot weather so I may not have had enough to complete the ride.  I also splurged and bought a new bicycle cap which advertises for the bike shop but it will be unique when I get back to Houston.

We then went to the Amtrak Depot to look around.  We picked up the train time table which are not printed anymore because they want everyone to go online, but you know old dogs and new tricks.

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The lady at the depot recommended a restaurant in the area so we just had to stop.

Once back to the church I took a nap, replaced my back tire, lubricated my chain, washed my bike and dried my tent.

Oh yeah I took another nap.

Back on the road again, tomorrow