Day 79 – Bonners Ferry, ID to Sandpoint, ID – 33 miles
Today is a very good day to count our blessings! Not that every day isn’t a good day, but today we’re feeling particularly blessed! Someone is watching over us – a guardian angel, or 2 or 3! Thank you angels! Thank you Lord!
With a relatively short day planned, we didn’t feel in a hurry to get going, however having just crossed over to Pacific Time our bodies were up quite early! We packed everything up and walked across the street to the Safeway store for breakfast. We had left our food bag in the motel office overnight (this is a motel and campground, all in one) but it didn’t open until 7 am. Once we finished our breakfast, it was after 7 so we were able to retrieve our bag & get going.
Our route was straight down hwy 95 to Sandpoint. Someone had mentioned a different route but we opted to just get er done on the highway. Traffic was light (Sunday morning) so no big deal – well, until we had to climb a 5% grade for a couple miles. Well, this must be the reason someone suggested the other route! We just set about doing the climb, figuring it’s good training for the mountain passes in the Cascades. Once over the top, we were rewarded with a couple miles of a 5% grade downhill. Nice! Very fast!
We stopped in the tiny town of Naples & went in the General Store for a snack. They had a few tables & chairs where we sat & enjoyed coffee & a leisurely snack before getting back on the bike. After another 10 miles, there was a Conoco station on the side of the road, so we stopped for another off-bike break. It sure is nice to have places to stop, sit, snack and use the restroom, after so many miles of wilderness without service stops! This Conoco station was absolutely beautiful & had a cafe with the most gorgeous back patio with beautiful gardens & a stunning view! Who’d have thought!?!
Back on the bike & we were enjoying tailwinds & a slight downhill – perfect conditions for the tandem! We were very easily pedaling along at 20 mph. Then, about 5 miles from Sandpoint, Jim’s seat post broke and fell right off the bike! So we’re cruising along at 20 mph with no seat for Jim and no handlebars for me! I grabbed Jim around the waist to steady myself (and him!) and he carefully, skillfully brought us to a stop. (Good captaining baby!). It all happened so quickly and neither of us panicked but we both said a prayer of thanksgiving!
I walked back to where the seat / handlebar landed on the shoulder and retrieved them. I suppose the term for this is “metal fatigue”. This seatpost takes quite a bit more abuse than most because it supports some component of our combined body weight – and we’re not a lightweight team! So, in addition to some component of Jim’s weight on the saddle, I use several different positions on the back of the bike that put stress on the seatpost, as well. I am either sitting upright holding the handlebars in my hand or I scooch back on my saddle and rest my elbows on the handlebars (my “power position” – better engages the quads).
After trying just about every tool in his bag, Jim was able to pull the section of the post from the downtube. Then he put the remaining (much shorter) section that was still attached to the seat into the downtube and we were able to ride the remaining miles into town, although Jim was riding much lower than usual. 🙂
We checked the internet via our phone and saw that the bike shop in Sandpoint wasn’t open today (Sunday). But we saw that there were several outdoors shops that carried bike parts. The first place we stopped was just outside of Sandpoint that wasn’t yet open for the day. We hung out in the nearby Starbucks until they opened at noon but they didn’t have a seatpost for us. They directed us to another shop downtown.
We rode into downtown Sandpoint and found the place pretty quickly in the bustling downtown shopping district. There seemed to be only 1 place to lean the bike in front of the shop, which was on the back of a bench where a couple was sitting. They had seen us coming and greeted us eagerly. Turns out this couple, Lydia and Ray, are also on a bike trip & riding a tandem! They’re from Calgary and are doing the Selkirk Loop. We talked for quite a bit before Jim went in the shop and found that they had a seatpost that would fit! He put it on the bike, took it for a test ride and it seems to be great!
We invited Lydia & Ray to join us for lunch at the brewery next door and we had a great lunch together! It’s so much fun to meet other cyclists and we hit it off so well! Great conversation! After lunch, we all went over to the beach and enjoyed a swim in Lake Pend Orielle! It’s a beautiful lake and a very nice lake, but not a Great Lake. 😉 We met later again for dinner & enjoyed getting to know this couple even more!
What a day! New friends, safe travel! Counting our blessings!