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Monday, June 2, 2008

Our adventures continue

Let's see, we left off in Kettle Falls ("a town of 155o friendly people and one grouch" -- they actually have a yearly competition to be the Kettle Fall's grouch, small towns are so quirky and interesting). We spent two nights in Happy Dell Park (they let people camp in their town park) and got a lot of reading (and some laundry) done.

We left there on Saturday morning and rode on a nice flat stretch of farms and fields to Colville where we came across our first Wal-Mart and the accompanying sprawl. We stopped at their tiny farmers market and then began a bit more climbing out of town. It was a lovely day and the uphill wasn't too bad and we went through more valleys of fields and cows and little farm houses. I've been chased by a couple of dogs so far. Fortunately none have caught me, but when Ray goes by they get all excited and then when I pass they start running after me. Yesterday we actually walked by a house to avoid a mean-looking one.

A while out of Colville we were in National Forest land with occasional houses but mostly woods. Around lunch time we found a lake with a number of cabins and camping areas around it and ate our sandwiches by the water. Eventually we had another long downhill toward the Pend Oreille river. Ray was searching for a copy of The Amber Spyglass so we went into the town of Ione. There was definitely no bookstore in this town of a few hundred people. On the other hand, they permitted off road vehicles to drive on the roads so the streets were oddly lined with four-wheelers. It seemed like maybe they were having a parade, but we'll never know because we didn't stay long. It made me think, though, that if I were Bill Bryson I might have researched this history of the place, or stopped in at a local bar to find out more about the town. But we just passed through. On the other hand, I don't think Bill Bryson would have ridden the 350 or so miles to get there, he would have slept in the car like a giant fly or something.

Anyway, after Ione we crossed the Pend Oreille and followed that for 15 miles or so to the Panhandle Campground where we stayed for the night. It was right on the bank of the river which was cold and had a very strong current. The site was really pretty but a threatening rain cloud and an abundance of mosquitoes drove us into our tent. The rain held off until early the next morning when it welcomed us into our first rainy day.

It rained steadily all day and we stopped in Usk for a late and warm breakfast. Another tiny town, the Usk Grill was a friendly but sort of ramshackle place. While it was nice to stop, it made it that much harder and colder to keep going when we did. For the rest of the day we didn't take many breaks, but by the time we got close to Sandpoint it seemed to be clearing.

We crossed our first state line yesterday (into Idaho) and we'll cross into Montana later today or tomorrow morning (we will also be in a new time zone, then). Sandpoint is one of the biggest towns we've been in since Seattle, its right on Lake Pend Oreille (apparently one of the deepest lakes in the country or something...). To get into the town we rode on a bike path across a long bride over the lake. The town caters to skiers and other out door tourists as well as people who own some of the fancier real estate in the area and normal people, too.

We have started to meet some more long distance cyclists. Yesterday we crossed paths with someone headed west, then south, then east to do about 10,000 miles in 8 months ending in Key West. We also met a couple of ladies doing roughly the same route we are and today I met another woman going east. We've spent most of the day in Sandpoint (picked up a copy of the Amber Spyglass, too) and we'll head to somewhere near Clark Forks tonight.

We will be reaching Glacier National Park this week, but according to what Ray just found out, the "going to the sun road" which cuts through the park and goes over the continental divide is still covered in a lot of snow so we will probably be taking the alternate route, but hopefully we will still get to explore the park a bit. I guess the snow isn't usually gone until late June or early July and its been a really late winter here. Its kind of chilly right now, and just a few days ago we were in the hot and desert-y area around Tonasket.

Ray says he's too lazy to write anything, we haven't been able to put any more pictures up yet, but I'll keep writing as we go. Hope everyone's doing well and keep posting cause its great to hear from you!


ray said...

While I am too lazy to write anything of significance, I will say that the lack of pictures is not entirely my fault. Library computers aren't the best option for uploading pictures do to their pesky security restrictions. When and if we do find a friendly computer I will upload more pictures immediately. Till then... good day.

Anna Be said...

Anyway, it seems that so far Ray is our official map-obsessed navigator and I am the chronicler of our adventures. For now.

Jess said...

Wow, already into your 3rd state (or just about)! That is so exciting - it's not going by too fast is it?! Small towns are so interesting - are you also keeping a written journal? It will be so much fun to read it all in a few years, and then in 50! xoxo

Steve said...

I well remember Glacier National Park, probably my favorite place on our 1965 "Western Trip". What a beautiful place! I also remember the 'going to the sun' highway. Enjoy!

Tony said...

Try to hug a grizzly for me.

Angela S. said...

What great adventures it sounds like you're having. It sounds like a beautiful area. It's amazing to look at the map and see how far you've come in such a short time! Does it feel empowering? I hope your legs don't hurt too much!

Anonymous said...

Ray, aren't you too old for Harry Potter?

'you sure got a purty mouth'

there's a new bar here.. all about beer and scotch! we will go and I'll let you buy me that beer you owe me.

Anna Be said...

Jess- I am keeping a written journal. Sadly it got really wet on our first rainy day and the ink is still bleeding on all the pages, we need some sunny weather so it can finally dry out. I usually write different things there and here, so hopefully I'll have a decent record of our adventures!