Today was another ridiculously long day, with plenty of stops to make it bearable. We climbed out of the lovely Springy Pines campground to cross a bridge over Lake Pend Oreille – the bridge has a dedicated bike lane that is about two highway lanes wide! Of course, it was raining again, but much more lightly than it has been. We rode without Ardi and Vince as we wanted to stop in town for a new helmet (Rachel’s doesn’t fit over the hats we use for sun protection) and to have a mechanic take a look at the loose headset on Nick’s bike. We felt drained after the day before, so we stopped at an indoor market for espressos and breakfast number two. We were also eager for some Idaho experiences during our short trip through the state, so we picked up some postcards and an Idaho Spud candy bar, which the merchant said are famous here. It’s basically (vegetarian!) marshmallow covered with chocolate and sprinkled with coconut, in the shape of a potato. Next we headed on to one of three bike shops in town, The Outdoor Experience, where the mechanic fixed the problem for free, and they helped Rachel find a helmet that fit much better. We really liked the folks running that place and would highly recommend it to anyone passing through Sandpoint.
This appears to be the “blue” part of Idaho. Sandpoint has several natural food stores, the houses look rather hippie-ish, and even the rural areas we passed along the route here are filled with artists’ studios, a fancy sandwich shop or two, and not too many Republican political signs. We stopped in Hope, Idaho for what would become a super healthy lunch of an ice cream-cookie sundae. It was perfect. We seriously can’t eat enough on this trip.
There were also some friendly customers who told us about road conditions ahead, and told us that the reason why bears used to attack people was because they were being sedated with PCP. We hear so many different stories about bears out here…
We also stopped *again* for espresso. Rural Washington and Idaho have so many of these little espresso stands – many of them have hot dogs as well. This one was run by a woman from Wisconsin. The espresso was actually really good, and she let us sample some local huckleberries, which neither of us had had before.
We also stopped to pick up dinner supplies from a sandwich shop in Clark Fork, which we would highly recommend, even for vegetarians. While we were there, we ran into Ardi and VInce again, plus Scott, from Minneapolis, who is doing this same route with the lightest set of bags we’ve ever seen.
The mountains became bigger as we continued onward to Montana. As we rode, we could not stopping gaping at the scenery. We followed the Bull River between the Kootenai and Cabinet mountains, and we wanted to stop about every two minutes for photos. The sky opened up on and off, with a torential downpour as we climbed a hill.
We pulled off into a convenience store, where we ran into Vince, Ardi, and Scott, who had missed the rain by ducking in before us. We were quite jealous. We sat and chatted for a bit, and while they had about 10 miles left, we were heading on for an 86-mile day so that we could escape the rain at a BnB. A bit luxurious, but it makes the trip much better with multiple days of rain.
Today’s ride: 86.1 miles
Today’s time in the saddle: 7 hours and 49 minutes
Total distance: 624 miles