We rode along the Kettle River most of the day, with more hills than we expected. It rained on and off most of the day, and we biked on a road with relatively heavy traffic. The weather (mostly) cleared up by the afternoon, a welcomed change.
We finally reached Colville, where we bought the best friend for cyclists: an air horn! This is for use against the many dogs that chase us. We got to try it out on our way out of town toward our stop for the night, when three large dogs started to run out of a house, barking at us. Nick blew one short blast, and the dogs were stopped in their tracks. It’s amazing. They are apparently useful to scare away bears as well!
We continued onward until we reached the Bacon Bike Hostel, a house for cyclists set up by the Bacon’s (just to clarify that it is not a hostel filled with bacon). The Bacon’s are an incredibly generous couple – they spend most of their time teaching and practicing medicine in impoverished nations, and they offer up this hostel for cyclists for free! It also has some amazing views right out of the house:
We found two cyclists we had met before there, Vince (Wales) and Arty (Canada), who were taking the day off there. We had our own room and access to a kitchen, which we used to whip up a delicious meal of chipotle seitan, pasta, avocado, and kale.
Today’s ride: 65 miles
Time in the saddle: 6 hours
(tech issues — these are approximate)
When we woke up in Beth Lake, it was still raining. Heavily. We set the alarm for 6AM, and lay in the tent, hoping the rain would stop before we got up. We gave it nearly 2 hours before the need for the restroom surpassed the desire to stay in the tent, and finally got up. We ran around the campsite, packing up quickly and downing an energy bar for breakfast. The ride was beautiful despite the 50 degree, rainy weather – we rode mainly through dense pine forests, up and down rolling hills. Wanting to wait for shelter from the rain for lunch, we pushed ourselves to keep going with empty bellies — and as we rode into Curlew, we saw a restaurant in the middle of nowhere: Tugboats. There, we found a crowd of gregarious ranchers and loggers, a cook/manager?/owner? from the UK, and a menu that included, along with the “super cougar burger,” a veggie burger! Almost anything we eat on this trip tastes delicious, but that veggie burger, curly fries, and coffee were some of the best we’d had in a while.
We continued onward toward Canada along the muddy Kettle River, a river that flows northward, and eventually reached the border crossing. The Canadian guard appeared to be grilling us about our intentions in Canada, but it turned out he just wanted to recommend a place to stay. We followed his suggestion, eager for a night in a hotel after two nights of rainy camping, and followed the road to the end of the town of Grand Forks to Johnny’s. This was a great choice for bike touring — the friendly owners pointed out that we could park our bikes under the carports, and they offered to dry our wet clothes in their own dryer. We cooked up a veggie soup in the back yard, and then headed to Clyde’s Pub. Grand Forks appears to be a Russian immigrant enclave from some time, as there are several Russian restaurants in the small city. Clyde’s menu included borscht. We were starving despite our own veggie soup, so while Nick watched the NBA finals, we dined on nachos and borscht.
3 hours and 47 minutes in the saddle