2004 Bike Trip: Washington

Leif Johnson — 22 Jul 2004, 19:07

apparently i get pretty lazy when i'm on rest days, so the three days that i got to spend in whitefish resulted in no update at all. instead, i'm writing today from the library in grand coulee, washington, where i've only got seven minutes of time left on the internet ... speed update !

rest days and speed

the continental divide rose in front and then fell behind me as i biked with fellow tourists james and peter from logan pass in glacier (altitude 6600 feet) down to whitefish (altitude 2500 ft ?). we sped along the road to the bulldog in town, where we gorged on mushroom and swiss burgers ... and of course lots of sour cream and chive fries !

whitefish is a beautiful place, and with my cousin jason's hospitality i found it extremely difficult to get up the motivation to head back on the road. eventually, however, i left town and found an amazing tailwind that blew me up to eureka (80 km distant) in just 2.5 hours ! that day i ended up riding over 170 km (108 miles or so), camping just outside libby, montana. the road was impressively flat, considering how it wove and dodged among some of the largest mountain ranges on the continent. a few afternoon thundershowers provided booms and flashes now and then, but i ended up staying relatively dry through the ride.

the race to central washington

the next day i was determined to make it to another cousin's place in sandpoint, idaho—another 170 km from libby ! it took me until just after sundown, but as i rolled into a gas station to use the phone in kootenai, idaho, i spotted heather as she pulled up, completely at random, to fuel up her vehicle. let's hear it for small towns.

i've had lots of luck since sandpoint, for the most part managing to avoid the potential high winds and extreme temperatures that can strike the flat wheat fields of eastern washington. a day after sandpoint i rolled into spokane, washington, with only one state left to cross ! mama and bink met me in a motel there to share pie and watch lance totally clean up in the alpe d'huez time trial—go lance ! and then yesterday i headed out west from spokane, rolling into a campground just on the south side of the grand coulee dam in central washington.

the ride ahead

the next few days are looking to be good ones, as i head north from here up to winthrop, washington, along the north cascades highway (washington route 20). in another four days i plan on seeing the pacific ocean, with the tip of cape flattery awaiting me two days after that. it's been really difficult to get up the motivation to ride these past few days, so i've solved the problem by riding so far each day that i don't have time to think about anything else. but soon enough i'll roll up to the end of the continent, and then i will be able to get yummy breakfasts and sleep as long as i want and not ride my bike if i don't want to. it's not that i haven't enjoyed the trip, but eleven weeks on a bike seat is a bit long ... :)