Monday, June 29, 2009

Idaho to Montana

        Four states down! We're getting there. Last we left off we were still in Washington. About a week ago Ryan and I left Spokane, taking the Centennial Trail to Idaho, all the way to Coeur D' Alene. We decided to stay an extra day in Coeur D' Alene to get some laundry done, use the Internet, and refresh ourselves best we could until we headed south to pick up the Trail of the Coeur D' Alenes which runs through the panhandle of Idaho. Our first night we found an empty house for sale along the Spokane river, standing alone next to an undeveloped lot. The house had a great yard facing the river, and blocked by the trail, so of course we couldn't help but take advantage of the opportunity. The two of us set up our camp chairs and made dinner as we enjoyed our view of the river. Just as I served up our gumbo the back door of the house slid open and a family appeared on the back porch. They acted so appalled that we were sitting on their grass eating.........the over-reaction to the situation was stunning. The children picked up empty wine bottles and began throwing them at us as hard as they could. They're mother grabbed a broom, bolting at us while all three of us were dodging flying bottles crashing around are feet. The best chance we had was to ditch dinner, grab the chairs and bike over to the vacant lot adjacent to the house far away enough for the family to give up on the possibility of beating us up. Ha ha! Not true, but would have been hilarious; it makes me think of Trailer Park Boys.
         The family did ask us to leave the yard, that much is true.We spent the night on top of our tarp in the grassless expanse of property between the river and the bike trail; a very un-private area to sleep in. We're both pretty flexible so all the bike riders and joggers along the path the next morning was no big deal to.
      The next day Coeur D' Alene's public swim area was perfect for a quick dip. After the laundry mat the heat of the day called for some way to cool off with the onslaught of the warm weather that we have been heading into. I took a quick swim in the lake. Evening though it must have been 85 or 90 degrees, Ryan soaked up sun in the grass and passed up the cold water, (he's e not a fan most of the time). Later on that day we made our way south on Hwy. 95 to Plummer, Idaho to pick up the Trail of the Coeur D' Alenes
       I must admit that we had no idea about the trail at all until multiple people told us about it as we made our way toward Idaho. From the city of Coeur D'Alene, getting to the trail is a bit of a jog south, but it was well worth the extra day of biking to get to. It's a spectacular trail that runs along the Coeur D' Alene river, lake, and many other bodies of water for 71.6 miles, surrounded by farms and forested areas. The trial use to be a railroad that is now paved over for biking and running. It is flat most of the way along the route, and as it begins to climb the grade stays at 3%, the standard for trains, making the ride easy. Along the way we witnessed a couple of moose sightings, a bald eagle's nest, baby coyote, multiple other birds, and many small critters. Every night we found a great spot next to a body of water where we could camp comfortably without being noticed by anyone else. 
          The trail ends in Mullan, Idaho, four miles away from Lookout Pass on Hwy.90, one of the easier ways to cross the first large set of mountain passes before getting to the Rockies. It took us an hour to bike four miles in order to get to the top of the pass to give you an idea of how steep it is. After our victory climb and a quick lunch we shot down I-90 with bated breath riding the breaks on our bikes hard as we glided over tons of loose gravel from the snowy season.
      Once we saw the signs for Lincoln's 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar we could not resist it's well advertised all in one restaurant, casino, bar, gift shop, motel, and FREE RV park in the back of the Establishment; plus seeing that many silver dollars is not something that we're likely to see again anywhere else. It ended up being a great place to end the day and have a couple of beers, well, at our campsite anyway, the bar is not cheep but worth seeing if you stop in. 

Ryan and Allegra.

                  Lincoln's 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar in Haugan, Montana.  
                               Sign at the top of Lookout Pass on Hwy. 90.
                                The town of Wallace, Idaho.
                                        Another view of Wallace.
Moose on the Trail of the Coeur D' Alenes through Idaho.
                              One of the camp sites we had along the trail.
                               Bridge over Lake Coeur D' Alene on the trail.
                                  Ryan's new bike tour hair cut courtesy of Legs.
                                 Another great camp site off the trail.
                                 Legs making chicken and black bean burritos.
                              Bald eagle's nest with a chick inside.
               Baby coyote walking on the trail.
                                   Ryan ''shooting'' the no shooting sign.
                                                     Hiding in the pillars......
     Map of the Trail of the Coeur D' Alenes; it runs 71.6 miles across the panhandle of Idaho. 
                                                   Taking a break on Hwy.90.
    Camp site in the middle of a large undeveloped field in Coeur D' Alene, Idaho.
 Oh when the saints, are only $20. Oh when the saints are only $20. How id love to have $20. When the saints are only $20.
                                                     Crossing into Idaho!

quick facts

Total miles= 730

#of days= 22

# or rest days= 5

# of states visited= 4

# of flat tires= 15

# of campsites by a body of water= 10

# of moose seen= 3 (one dead on the side of the road)

# hot dogs/corn dogs eaten by Ryan= 11

# of hot dogs/corn dogs eaten by Legs= 2 (Ryan had several bites of these)

# of silver dollars on the wall at Lincoln's bar in Montana= 50,000

# of bike trails taken= 4

# of showers taken= 4

# of times we bathed in a mountain stream= 1

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wheat fields and more bike tour junkies

****We found these photos on Tyler's website of his trip. There is a link below to his site.**** 

Our tent village next to the fairgrounds in Davenport.
                                     Ron, Kristle, Jason and us.
           A nice picture of us by our in the bike tour tent city.
                                                   Sharing a meal together.

       WHEAT! It has been everywhere for the last two days. We came out of the dessert to rolling fields of wheat that went on forever. There will be much more down the road. For the last couple of days we have stayed in small towns across Washington. Two days ago we stayed in Odessa for the night. A small German influenced town in the middle of the dessert complete with grain elevators, a main street, one bar, a restaurant, and very nice public campground that 
was free. 
      Our next stop was the small town of Davenport. We got permission from the local sheriff to camp in the county fairgrounds. It was a great spot across from a small airport. We were feeling good after setting up camp so we decided to play some hacky sack. I then, (Ryan speaking) sprained my ankle. The next morning my ankle was throbbing and it was raining so we decided to take a day off and hang out in Davenport. While walking back to camp I ran across two other tourers on bikes. Tyler and Rob. They were biking from Seattle. Tyler is an Iraqi war vet who is on a book tour and his destination is Boston. Rob was a touring monster who was accompanying Tyler to Spokane. Rob has crossed the country 4 times before. It was great swapping stories about our adventures. 
      Later that evening we were joined by another couple on tour. Kristle and Jason were from Texas and are touring from Spokane to the San Juan's then down to San Francisco. Our camera died on us after they arrived so we didn't get a photo of them. We all camped on the fairgrounds and talked all night. It was great to meet some people doing the same crazy things we are. We all parted ways the next morning after swapping information.
We now find ourselves in Spokane, in a bar using their wi-fi. Tomorrow brings Idaho to us at last. Washington is great but it is time to say good buy and move on. 
We miss everyone and love hearing from you all. 
Ryan and Legs

Tyler and Ron talking with us at the camping spot we shared.
                                        Wheat everywhere!
                              Camping in Odessa, Washington.

                                 Odessa's German Town Hall.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life at Soap Lake

       Neither one of us doesn't miss trees yet, so it means that when we get past the Rockies we both will. It has been close to perfect weather everyday out here and we haven't passed out from dehydration or sunstroke, so all is well. The high was 82 degrees but the winds kept us cool. 
      Before our last post Ryan discovered a problem with the tension on his back derailleur so we went back into Ellensburg to have a bike mechanic look at it. He had a worn casset and chain so we had them replaced and took off early in the morning. From Ellemsburg, downhill towards the Columbia was pretty nice. There were a few uphill battles until we reached a long stretch of 5 miles downhill all the way to to the river. We flew down the road at at stop speed of 42 miles an hour; it only took us about 20 minutes to cover the five mile stretch. It's a great way to come down the Gorge if your touring. However, the climb over the bridge is pretty steep and grueling along Hwy.90. to get across again, but much shorter than the ride down. Yesterday the wind speed was between 15 and 23 miles an hour at times as we cruised down and struggled up the Gorge. It blows West to East so a majority of the time it gives you bit of a push but on the way up it hits you hard sideways making the climb slow and frustrating.  
        Rest assured it's normally a lot less calm. Everyone we spoke to said that it was an unusually windy day. We wearily rode in to George, Washington to find a place to camp. Our search was a failure after biking down some of the country roads and realizing there was no low key spots anywhere near the route we needed to continue on. Ryan and I headed to the local bar to ask around about camping sites or places were we wouldn't be noticed. 
     We meant a couple from town who offered us a room for the night named Cherie and Joe. They are a great couple living in George who struck up a conversation with us about our adventures so far. We're both still in disbelief that they were so gracious and trusting of two very dirty, smelly, bike tour novices who they had just ran into at a bar and invited home to spend the night and take a shower. The four of us stayed up late and had a few more drinks back at their amazing geometric dome house. Its beautiful inside. Thank you again to Cherie and Joe for the kindness and hospitality that you showed us. We will miss you but promise to keep in touch.
    Our trip has ended for the day in Soap Lake, Washington, lakeside in a perfect camp ground right down the street from the B&B Diner. Before dark we took a dip and cooled off for a while. The lake has a high concentration of minerals and salts that make the water feel like it has a soapy texture when its against your skin, hence the name. It is also a lake traditionally known for it's healing waters. It is warm and clear with a dark black mud. A nice way to end a day of hot bike riding.
   Will write soon. 
    Ryan and Allegra

Ryan ordering food from the kitchen at the B&B.
                                            I love Pie!!!
Ryan with the best burger he has had so far on this trip.
                                      Soap Lake from our camp site. 
B&B Drive-In Diner in Soap Lake, Washington. It is americana goodness.


Here Comes The Desert

 Cherie and Joe's geodesic dessert house in George, Washington.
Columbia River in Vantage, Washington. This is the bridge we road across on Hwy.90.
Legs in the Desert by Gingko Petrified Forest.
Ryan by the same desert forest.
Wind turbines in the middle of nowhere.

Quick facts

Total miles so far= 409

# of flat tires= 3

# of hills= a zillion

# of beers consumed= 12 each

# of burgers Ryan has consumed= 10

# of burgers Legs has consumed= 2

# of times we illegally camped a block from the sheriffs house= 1

# of times we went swimming= 1

# of mosquito bites= a zillion 

More to come later...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

              So long Seattle, it was fun, but we have moved on; heading East toward Idaho. We left Seattle two days ago from Ryan's Uncle and Aunt's house ready to begin conquering the Cascades. We pulled out of the driveway, began to head up the hill, then, with the best of comedic timing my chain got severely jammed in my chain rings. We have the worst luck leaving places for whatever reason. Oh Well. Keith, Ryan's uncle, generously drove us to a bike store in order to get the problem fixed, then out to the base of the Cascades. Thank you so much for your help! Thanks a million to both Krys and Keith for letting us stay at your house in Seattle. It was so nice to have a bed and a shower to use for a couple of days. I really enjoyed meeting you and the whole family too.
         In about a day we climbed to the top of the range. Hwy. 90 has some beautiful views of the mountains and a good wide shoulder. The hills are constant all the way up but gradual enough that at times we both forgot that we were climbing for an entire day. We camped at a site called Denny Creek three miles from Snoqualmie Pass. A great place to have a relaxing night and some rock-free ground to pitch a tent. After our last leg-burning three miles to the summit we cruised down the range for the rest of the day. 
        Yesterday was the beginning of a complete change of landscape. The higher altitude dessert/ forested areas of the state. After half a days ride we stopped off at the Easton Saloon and had a couple of beers with the locals there. They were hilarious, and talked to us about how much they love the simple country lifestyle. An old dog named Lucky walked the bar as old men and motorcycle riders came and went.
        Last night we camped outside of Cle Elum under a bridge by the Yakima River. The river ran close by, shallow and swift. It was a hobo's paradise if I had ever seen one, and it was all ours for the night. We even made seasoned fish fillets, rice, and broccoli for dinner last night. A few fishermen saw our tent this morning and took off in a hurry. I didn't realize how hoboish we had become until then. Well, we still look pretty clean a least. 
    We'll write soon! So long from our current stop at Ellensburg.
         Ryan and Allegra

                                     Getting ready for some fireside cook'in.
                                           Old aqueduct running along the side of a valley.
                                     Up along Hwy. 10 outside of Ellensburg WA.
                                         Our camping spot under a bridge outside Cle Elum WA.

Through the Cascade Range

                          Ryan in front of Keechelus Lake, near the top of the Cascades.
                                              Beautiful peak near our camp site.
                                                  More mountain range......
                                         Very brave chipmunk eating our bread.

Friday, June 12, 2009

We made it... to Seattle

     Yesterday we made it to Kirkland, which is North of Seattle. This is where Ryan's family is based. There were great bike lanes in and around Seattle so it was a great ride into town. Once we made it about half way through town and then wove through some city streets we found a great,but hilly bike path around lake Washingtion to our destination. The night before, we camped in a small grove of trees in the industrial area of town. Our muscles are sore, our joints ache and we are having the time of our lives.  Last night we took our first shower since Sunday. It was much needed. 
      We spent the day in downtown Seattle at The Pike Street Market, the Space Needle, and went to the Experience Music Project Museum. It was great to see some tourist spots that I had never seen before. The Market was wonderful! We made a point of watching the fish throwers for a while and walking all the levels. The Experience Music Museum was full of surprises that we didn't expect to see at all.On top of music they had exhibits about Sci-Fi pop culture and a guest exhibit about Jim Hensen and his many puppets.

1. Famous pike place market sign.
2. Ryan on the Interurban bike trail through Seattle suburbs.
3. We are gangsters!
4. Nazi bear.
5. Inside the market.