We left Sandpoint as a dark, blustery storm rolled into town. It was only about 10 or 15 miles in when the rain started falling. It was a fairly chilly morning, so once it was raining, Katie and I bikes pretty fast. The first time we really stopped was around mile at the less than impressive Washington State sign. My knee was really bothering me at that time but it was freezing and wet so we barreled on to lunch. This is when we saw our first glimpses of the Cascades in the distance; we could see the layers of mountains far off. After a quick lunch in the cold, we set off again to conquer our first pass in the Cascades. It started off steep but became more gradual and turned out to be a very manageable and fun climb. About a mile from the top, by the ski resort, Hans and Gordy caught us so we made it to the top of Flowery Trail Pass together. We picked wildflowers at the top because that seemed appropriate. With our bouquets tucked into our camelbacks, we descended down the mountain and it was an awesome descent. I never hit the brakes and it wasn’t narrow so we bones down and it took us right into downtown Chewelah. Gotta love it when you can just cruise into the host.
Betty, our host in Chewelah, loves B&B; she had all the B&B shirts for 10 years except the first one. It was a great host in a cute little Washington town.
The next day we moved toward Republic; Gordy and I rode together in the am and we had good talks while he made me laugh with his ridiculous jokes. We even had a successful DM trip to Walmart. After lunch, we went up Sherman pass, which included just about 4000 feet of climbing. For me, it was the hardest pass of the week, mostly because my knee was really angry but it was just a tough climb in general. Lexi saved me when I found her about 1 mile from the top and she offered me a piece of dark chocolate. Definitely helped me get to the top. The descent was fun but the town of Republic had some surprise hills in it toward the end and made me mad. I was down climbing for the day, no more! It’s ok because as soon as I got to town, I made everything better with ice cream, ice, and aleve. Republic was an iconic western town with wooden buildings and old style signage. A few of us grabbed pizza and relaxed before dinner, which was our own fixings of Mexican madness… More black beans , just what we needed!
After dinner, we got together as a group and discussed all of the grant applications we received. Bike & Build gives grants to affordable housing organizations that empower young adults, and some of the money each rider raised goes to these grants. As a group, NUS had $45,000 to distribute amongst the applications that we seemed fit. We had 17 applications and we all presented each one, giving our opinions on the project, organization, details, etc. Many of the applications came from groups we worked with on our trip so we had experience with many. It took about 2.5 hours but we finally divided all of the money to quite a few applicants. Everyone really enjoyed having a say in where the money went and took the decision quite seriously.
The next day, I made the hard decision to get in the van because my knee was in a lot of pain. Despite the ice and aleve, it was angry at me and I felt like rest was the only way it would improve. It was a chilly morning so I got coffee with a big group before sean and I took off. As we drove along, the landscape changed a bit, moving from trees to more desert-like surrounding. I had no idea Washington was like that, pretty cool. The day was standard until after lunch when two things happened: Nate left his helmet in the van so he was waiting at lunch for us to come back, and Kate left her wallet on the road at some miscellaneous point by her chalking. So Sean and I drove the route again: Nate got his helmet but we did not find Kate’s wallet :(
That night we were in Omak where we randomly received a piñata in our mail drop, we did some laundry, and grocery shopping, and went to bed!
Sean and I were sweep out of Libby and into Eureka. We met coffee club at McDonalds where they were having their morning coffee. Given that we had 95 miles in front of us, I fueled up with a mcmuffin. We set off with a pretty big group on the chilly morning. A few miles out Collin got a flat so we stopped to help him and it was the first of many stops in the first 15 miles of the ride. We were able to entertain ourselves with accents and swinging wooden bridges. First lunch was next to bull lake; it was a quick one because the trailer had to get to second lunch. About five minutes after the trailer left, Diane went to leave and she realized she left her helmet in the trailer. And we had no service to call the van… Ugh. Hitch hiking seemed like the best/only option so Diane flagged down a guy who gave them a ride 15 miles down the road, while the rest of us continued on.
The road from there was super slow in that the pavement was rough and made for slow miles. There was gorgeous scenery and we had plenty of time to enjoy it. About 7 miles before the turn we found Katie getting in an RV because she had cracked her helmet on a fall while peeing. Yea, that happened. After the turn, the road smoothed out and we moved pretty quickly. We came across Justice who was fixing a flat; aka Francis had a flat and justine was annoyed that he still had stock tires on his bike. It was a good rest spot and we kept going til the state line. Idaho!! Sean and I had second lunch (another avocado!!!) alone with Erin because everyone else had come through or hitch hiked to town. There was rumble pavement just out of town - awful - but we got on a side road that took us slightly above with views of the lake. The rest of the ride was decent, a bit hot, but not awful, and we got in just around 4:15. Not bad for a 95 mile sweep day. And then it was our day off!!
That night we went to MickDuff’s , a brew pub (they were out of the Irish Redhead!!) for a few drinks then got beers to bring to the dock. Typical NUS shenanigans.
On our day off, I got up around 8:30 and most people were already up. I went across the street with a crew to get breakfast - Mmmm bacon and eggs. Then Katie, Donnie and I did errands… But first we went on a hike up Gold Circle mountain, where we got awesome views of the city and lake. It was a perfect hike to keep our bodies but not moving too hard. After we did a few errands including a trip to the bike shop to get my derailleur hanger (big thanks to the bike shop guy who took the hanger off his own bike and gave it to me). Katie and I topped off our day off by doing laundry for the group and getting Thai food for dinner, all the while being weird and running around town like crazies. Classic.