Off the beaten path, crossing into Idaho

Trip Start Jul 01, 2013
Trip End Sep 07, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Idaho
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Yesterday was a rest day, more or less. Ten miles to Colville WA, then five to the bike hostel, a guest house built by a family in the area that they let cyclists use for free. To think, a family opening up their home specifically for the use of traveling vagabonds like myself who can't afford a hotel, motel, or hostel, and not to ask anything in return. In this day and age? One in a million, and I am ever so lucky to have found them. My traveling twin, Rob, who is also doing the Northern Tier, showed up a bit later. We chatted and enjoyed our comfortable surroundings over dinner. Kettle Falls > Colville WA, 15 miles, Day 6.

Today Rob and I decided to explore our inner Louis and Clark and divert from the Adventure Cucling maps in order to a) climb one last Cascadian pass and b) cut out 25 miles from the day's trip. We had both heard from separate sources of a nice mountain road that would take us immediately south from our hostel to 395S and over to Priest River, our stop for the evening. The road was brutal at the start, nearly a 10% grade for five miles, then around 7% for another five. After the climb we descended into the river valley and made our way to the campground.

On the road I encountered my first technical problem, a flat tire. The tires and tubes on my bike have not been changed in at least four years, as it has been sitting in a garage for three of them. My worry throughout the trip thus far has been that, once I removed my tire, the tube inside would be so rotted it would not be patch able. Luckily, the patch held over the pass. I breathed easily again. Until the next flat, about 30 miles later, this time because of the age of the tube and having removed it earlier to patch it. Thus I was forced to use my backup tube (the wrong size) and am currently crossing my fingers (not right now, difficult to type on a phone and cross your fingers at the same time, try it) that the tube is still inflated in the morning. If not, it is only 25 miles to Sandpoint, ID, probably the biggest city I will encounter until Fargo ND, bar maybe Whitefish MT. There, there will be a bike shop at which I will replace everything necessary.

It has been refreshing to ride with a partner, and while we have similar goals per day, we go about them differently, so I will be interested to see how far we travel together.

I will have been in Idaho for less than 24 hours, as I enter Montana tomorrow, but I have enjoyed my time here. Things are a bit scrappier: people, roads, mosquitos. Although from what I hear, we have only just begun to know the plague that is the mosquito of summer months. The first thing two separate people have responded with upon hearing I was traveling to Minnesota was, 'bring bugspray'.

Colville WA > Priest River ID, 70.57 miles (thank you Rob), Day 7.
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Norm on

There are bike shops, several, in both Sandpoint and Whitefish. This time of year horse flys are the biggest problem, sprays containing DEET work best.

Mom on

Your scary face. Love you.

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