Day 78 – Libby, MT to Bonners Ferry, ID

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Day 78 – Libby, MT to Bonners Ferry, ID – 54 miles

Hard to get going this morning after our ride yesterday. We dawdled a bit before heading out but once we were on the bike, we were fine!

We decided to go off-route today & take US-2 thru Bonners Ferry. This cuts off about 10 miles and we get back on route in Sandpoint tomorrow. A few miles out of Libby, we stopped at the viewpoint for the swinging footbridge over the Kootenai River. (Shawn has had enough thrills with swinging footbridges, so we didn’t go out on it – plus we’re getting enough thrills with the day-to-day ride!). The views of the river, the rapids, the mountains were magnificent! This area of Montana is beautiful!

Before too long, we had about 20 miles in and we rolled into the cute little town of Troy. We stopped at a coffee shop and got a more substantial breakfast. We headed out, knowing we had about 10 miles to go before the Idaho border. We also knew there were a limited number of opportunities for breaks and snacks along the way. Montana had one last “gift” for us, in the form of a 2+ mile climb in the granny gear. It was a winding, curvy road with each view around the corner being more uphill. We stopped once along the way to catch our breath & hydrate and then finally, thankfully, the road started gradually going downhill. We were counting down the Montana US-2 mile markers (remember when we saw them start at 577 -after riding about 70 miles in Montana?) and saw the no. 1 buzz by, we knew we were close, then we saw the glorious, blue “Welcome to Idaho”sign. Now nothing against Montana, we certainly saw some beautiful places, but after being in this state for 17 days, we were overjoyed to say good-bye!

Just as we got to the state line, we saw a bar and thought, much as we wanted to cross the state line, it was time to relax and get a bite to eat. As we pulled up to the place a woman came out and we asked if they were open because the open sign wasn’t lit. She said yes, but they had no power. A storm came thru Tuesday night & took out a lot of trees and knocked out the power for miles. They had a generator going and were making ice to serve cold drinks. So we had pop, peanuts & chips!

We got back on the bike for a 50-yard ride, got off and took our requisite selfie by the sign. As we pulled away, a car pulled into the turn off with a touring bike on a bike rack. We could tell it was someone interested in our trip. It turns out it was Harvey, a Warm Showers host we had emailed for a night in Bonners Ferry. He was unable to host but he apologized for not accommodating us. Even though Harvey didn’t host us, he gave us a great deal of information about our route through the next few towns – a great help to us! As he got into his car, he said “you guys are doing great, you’ll be done in 10 days!” That was huge to hear! We knew we were getting close, but 10 days?? Wow! We knew at that point we would need to study the map and detail out the rest of the trip. (After looking at the details, we may extend it out to 12-14 days, take a rest day, etc.)

We cruised into Bonners Ferry on a huge (6%) 2 mile downhill. The whole time thinking that we may have to come out of this low elevation town in the morning! For now, it was a very fun way to end the day. We struggled a bit finding accommodations for the night, but luckily a Hotel / RV site in town had room for a tent and the showers were great! A real bargain for for 10 bucks!!

We walked down the street to a cafe for a nice dinner, stopped at the grocery store for 2 cans of “pop” (wink wink) and toasted the crossing of another state line! Woo hoo, only one more border to cross!!

Brain Meanderings:
– maybe Jim should get some Grecian formula for his lamb chops
– how do they make round bacon?


12 thoughts on “Day 78 – Libby, MT to Bonners Ferry, ID

    Jen said:
    July 27, 2014 at 11:43 am

    You guys are so amazing and inspiring! Hard to believe only 10-12 days left!!!

      rathbike responded:
      July 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks Jen!!

    Marsha Forest said:
    July 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I am a good friend of Sally’s and have been following your blog from the beginning. We moved to Marathon from the Des Moines, IA area the same time Sally and Bill moved from Michigan. We go to church with Sally and I am in her exercise group and play MahJongg with her. I did ONE DAY of RAGBRAI many years ago with my spinning class from a gym in West Des Moines and couldn’t imagine even doing the whole week. Two years ago, our daughter and (now ex) husband from Portland, OR did the whole week–the one they set records for the hottest temps ever. Our daughter did take one day off after my husband got online and found her an air-conditioned bedroom in a house to sleep in after she got sick from the heat. Anyway, I am in awe of what you are doing. I noticed that your endpoint is Anacortes. We did a (car) trip there with Emily 7 years ago and took the ferry from there to San Juan Island where we spent 3 nights–absolutely awesome. Hope you might consider it at the tail end of your trip–or maybe you have been there before. We just got back from an 11 day stay in Portland with Emily and are really missing her–and the low humidity and 50-60 degree nights! Godspeed and safe travels! Marsha Forest

      rathbike responded:
      July 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks Marsha! The trip has been a blast! It’s all about finding your pace and enjoying the ride!

      We did Ragbrai last year and had one really hot day, but nothing like the temps they had 2 years ago. It’s a fun ride, I’m sure we’ll do it again some year.

      Yes, we are planning to explor either the San Juan’s or the equivalent islands in Canada. We have our first grand baby due in a month and that will dictate our touring time. Thanks for the nice note!

    rathbunfam said:
    July 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Beautiful pictures Wow…only 10-12 days left? So excited for you. good job through all those states!!!

    Al said:
    July 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I’m surprised we don’t have more state nicknames. loooongtana or I-dun-know

    Or is just me that has to play with names?

    Keep on truckin’


    Sheila said:
    July 28, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Wow! Your big bicycle adventure is coming to a close. I bet you’ll miss the ride. You’ve seen so many spectacular sites, met so many interesting folks and enjoyed so much more. Been thinkin’ about your next bicycle adventure? I’m thinkin’ this is the first of many more to come. 1st Question: did I miss the blog about the curious horse and your handlebar wraps? 2nd Question: how do you remember all the details of each day? Do you keep a list of things to put into each day’s blog throughout the day? Or do you remember everything? Just curious.

      rathbike responded:
      July 28, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Sheila to answer your questions:
      1) no, I didn’t mention the details about curious horse. It was at a Warmshowers home and I didn’t want to make them feel bad. The horse was loose in the yard and it must have been curious about our bike and knocked it over. When it went down, the handlebar tape rubbed against a tree and some of it tore. Jim just taped over it with electrical tape to keep it on. Now, after my handlebars went bouncing down the road yesterday, my new orange tape is ripped! No complaints tho – we’re safe!
      2) Sometimes we write things down but mostly we try to blog right away so we don’t forget.
      3) (really question 1). We have been thinking the Pacific Coast sounds pretty awesome but not sure when. Getting ideas from other bicyclists too – and writing these down!

        Aimee said:
        July 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        I like the story I made up in my head better– the curious horse was curious how the bar tape tasted!

        rathbike responded:
        July 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm

        He could have tasted it, we’re just not sure!!

    Harold Crawford said:
    July 28, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Are you taking US-2 to Everett, WA and do you need a host there? My son Nathan. & his fiancé Wendy live there.

      rathbike responded:
      July 28, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Hi Harold, we come in on WA-20 and end in Anacortes. Then we don’t know yet if we will turn north or south, or go over to the San Juan’s. For sure I will keep this in mind. Thanks for thinking of us!!

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