Boy oh boy, this bike , eat, bike, eat, bike, eat, bike, eat, bike, eat, camp, sleep, eat, uncamp thing is taking up a lot more time than we realized. So yesterday we had our first real rest day with no bike milage with loaded bikes. We still used them to get around town in Sandpoint, because, well, bikes... So above is the view from the previous rest day house we got. We are some lucky lucky ducks! This past rest day was brought to us by the Quakers, not the ones on the oatmeal box, but the silent kind type, like Stephanie and her family, and more and more, like me! This time we had the good fortune of ending up at Nancy and Tom Renk's home in Sandpoint, which you might hear about if I ever get to July 10th. Another big update, is that we realized that we had set an unrealistic grueling, and miscalculated schedule for getting to Madeline Island, so instead we are going to aim for Fargo and get a train back to the Dells. That way we can actually use our bodies when we get back and enjoy the sights a bit more. So, let's try to recap where we were... on...
July 2, Washington pass
That's not actually it, the picture is on Stephanie's phone which is too far away, but don't I look cute...
So digging back into the mental archive, we started the morning at Colonial Creek Campground, with our first bike friend having torn down his camp before we were even awake. I made coffee and oatmeal, and we were out at an impressively early hour all things considered. Probably before 8! This was a 60ish mile day with a pass to climb after all.
This day was hard. We still hadn't realized that Ibuprofen was a good thing to buy, and our knees were achy for much of the day. The climb was basically an all morning and much of early afternoon affair. As I mentioned earlier this day was our apple stem day to finger:
We basically climbed this beast at a rate of 3 miles per hour, and celebrated with a kiss at the top.
The climb up was kinda fun in a cruel way. Since we were still on the Seatle side of the world there was still signs of rain, and because it was called rainy pass maybe? I dunno... Point is, there were waterfalls coming off the mountain almost all the time. The best best thing about climbing, is that it give you a ton of time to watch the gorgeous scenery around you as you slog through the day. This is what Stephanie and I decided to call Awesomeness in Drudgery, possibly a future band name, or maybe the name of our first two kids... TBD...
The climb was nice and hot, because we worked worked worked for it. The top was such a relief and a joy. Stephanie waved down a car to take our picture in front of the sign (her phone so imagine it because I'm too kind to wake her up for it (read lazy to go 5' across the room). After a while of celebrating, we then bundled up for the glorious descent that was about to come... Short sleeve, long sleeve, fleece, rain jacket, and gloves (and yes, I did have an extra pair for Stephanie because I'm that awesome and full of foresight). It wasn't enough. The first 30 minutes of carefully bombing down the rainy mountain was so damn cold! We had to stop to warm up our upper bodies and keep from shivering.
Fortunately, the lower we got, the warmer it got, and eventually we were able to warm up again. I don't think I shed my layers until we got all the way to the bike barn at mile marker 286, which sadly for Stephanie's goal oriented mind, she thought was at 285, so the last mile for her was made grudgingly, while mine was only done a little sorely.
Slow down Alex, what the heck is the bike barn? Oh yeah, you're not in my head yet, because I don't write regularly enough... My bad... The bike barn is where we stayed the night of the 2nd. It's a place created by a biking family where they host bike-campers in their lawn next to a barn. They've installed an outdoor solar shower (augmented by propane if needed) a composting toilet, have wifi, and some very windy cooking conditions.
Best of all... They have a dog check you in! You ring the bell, yell "Camper" and Scout runs up to you to take you to where you can read more directions on where to camp!
We were taken aback by this, because as soon as we pulled in Scout and his friend ran up to us, then ran away. After we read the directions on the bell, and rang it, then he did it again. There we met Jim, who was telling us this was already a busy day, as a family with 2 kids on tandems with burly trailers had already arrived and settled in. Ana and Travis introduced themselves to us, but the other two will forever be a mystery...
Anyway, we set up camp, enjoyed a warm outdoor shower, saw our friend from the night before roll in, cooked peanut butter garlic pasta with brocoli holly cow that was good despite the super hard windy conditions but run on sentences are fun and Stephanie will hate this sentence without enough punctuation and finally settled in for a good night's sleep after a little admin email checking but not time for blogging :-p
60 ish miles of up then way way down. It was great!
July 3rd. First rest day in Twisp, and amazing kindness from strangers.
Today we biked only 20 or so miles to get to Twisp. It was a beautiful ride, and fairly uneventful. We were the last to leave the bike barn, but that was ok, because today was our rest day!
We kicked off the day by going to Winthrop's bike shop, since both of our rear deraileurs were feeling janky, and I wasn't fully confident in my rear tire given the larger than needed tube in it. Since it was a nice, down-hill ride, we enjoyed the hell out of it.
At the bike shop we were greeted by the bike shop dog, so Stephanie got to enjoy some bike shop dog love which counts towards her insatiable dog love quota for this trip. We unloaded all our gear from our bikes and my bike, since it was the least functional of the two, got to get worked on first. My problem was that any time I shifted down to lower gears the bugger either skipped or didn't want to do it. It was very stressful. The bike mechanic took a while to fix it most of the way but explained to me that the screw on one of the levers of the rear deraileur was stripped out, so he couldn't actually fix it without taking apart the whole darn thing and use plyers and a drill to get to it... Something else my bike sales team will have the pleasure of fixing when we get home with the free tune up. Unfortunately, my front rotors also got banged up at some point, so they are out of true, and they rub when I pedal if the brakes are tight. This wasn't an easy fix, so we didn't do it, but now I know that climbing I can unclick the brakes for easier climbs, and going down I re-click them to rub a bit more and give me more stopping power. Annoying, but workable... Stephanie's rear deraileur was such a quick easy fix that they just charged us for one rear deraileur job, and $26 and several hours later we were good to go. We also bought some biking gloves for Stephanie, that cool reflective triangle in the picture above for me, and a new rear light for me that would last 8-16 hours on a charge instead of the stupid one I have that I can't turn off manually without removing from my bike that lasts for about 6 hours tops which is shit when we are ending our days near dusk and no I'm not that upset about my bike not being 100% good to go given the money I spent on it but I was on the first few days. Ah, run on sentence used for effect to show past anger. The age old literary tool of champions. I bet Shakespeare used it, but I haven't read him in ages so I'll need someone else to confirm.
Super cool side notes of the bike shop in Winthrop.
1) We met Jonas Deichmann a guy who was going to break the world record going from Alaska to the tip of South America in 100 days (current record is 125). His training ride was biking up to Alaska from where we were. https://www.jonasdeichmann.com/
2) I inflated my tires and my tire change was done correctly
3) We were able to ship home a box of 15lbs of gear we didn't need or use
4) There were 2 dogs for Stephanie to play with... 2!
5) We found out about an aerialist in Twisp
After the bike shop break we decided we could just make it to Twisp for lunch (a 3 pm lunch) and to maybe get Stephanie's paneers fixed a a cool shop called EQPD who make super high quality virtually indestructible bags.
The bike ride to twisp was really nice, super gorgeous, a little more hilly than we'd have wanted, but mostly down-hill. We saw tons of bikers out. It was great!
We got to Twisp looking for Twisp Works, and the bag shop and a Sarah the Aerialist. At the bag shop, we first were greeted with dismay stating that they only help people fix things on Thursday nights and that these were business hours. Then when we went in with Stephanie's bags, our seamstress's response to the bags was, and I quote " Oh, that!" with a tone of this is something I could accidentally fix in my sleep. She got both bags fixed for us in under 3 minutes as we got to talk to on of the co-founders of the place, this dapper gentleman:
Long story short, he was a multi impact helmet designer who had 85% market share of lacross helmets, and when they started taking over the hockey industry, they got hostile bought up by a fortune 500 giant who then gutted the team, so he started this company and owns the whole thing. If you want or need a really high quality beautiful bag that will last you a lifetime go here eqpdgear.com
Oh but before we went in there, as I was looking at the Twisp works map, Stephanie got stopped in the parking lot by Jerry and Lila who out of nowhere offered us a place to stay that was just 2 miles out of town!!! It was our own private tiny house heaven for the next 12 hours. Holly beans (Stephanie turn of phrase adopted by Alex) was it great!
Since it was 3ish when we were done with bag things, most places were no longer open for lunch, but we got contact info for our Aerialist friend, met Jerry again on our way to the expensive grocery store, who told us to go to Hank's a local grocery store with a Chinese food line for food and groceries. Apparently Hank is an amazing guy who cut 100 cords of wood last year and gave away about 60 of them to the elderly over the winter. (Spoiler alert, we got to meet him the next day). Anyway, we ate literally a pound of chinese food each then did sensible grocery shopping, and biked up to meet Lila at her house and were blown away by it's beauty and her kindness:
Despite there being an aerial class we could have gone to that evening, we were too zonked out after our shower to do anything other than lounge by the river, and then share a delightful dinner with two new easy going friends. Jerry was an ornamental metal worker who's home was decorated with much of his work, and Lila was a retired Executive Director of a Food bank. Great people in a great place.
July 4th. Parade, puppies, lyra, and an RV park.
Insert information about puppies, more puppies, the other puppies, and some biking here.
Now that I'm caught up to the last time I wrote, I'm about ready to take another break from writing, so here's the cliff notes of what's to come next time I'm well rested