Day 80 – Sandpoint, ID to Newport, WA – 30 miles
We knew it was going to be a hot one today and combined with the new time zone (and bodily clocks), we were up early & had breakfast at the restaurant attached to our hotel. Jim had walked over to the nearby hardware store for some metal tape to serve as a shim because we couldn’t seem to get the replacement seatpost tightened enough. We loaded up the bike and started our ride. Shawn could still feel the handlebars moving (and the stoker handlebars should be fixed – only the captains handlebars steer the bike), so we decided to wait until the bike shop opened at 10 am to see if we could get a better fitting seatpost. So we went to a local coffee shop a block over from the bike shop – great place to kill time!
We were right there at their door when the bike shop opened. Jim walked in and immediately found the exact size seatpost needed! Awesome! He quickly replaced it and then we were on our way again!
We opted out of the more meandering Adventure Cycling route on the advice of a local who told us that US-2 was great traveling – and it was! It was a beautiful ride along the Pend Oreille River! Beautiful wide river, gorgeous blue skies, mountains on either side and a second straight day of tailwinds! (For anyone who might be curious, we’re 2 days ahead with tailwinds.). Relatively flat roads and a tailwind made for a very fast (20+ mph) ride much of the way.
This area is so beautiful and the heat of the day seemed to accentuate the scent of the wild flowers and the pines. Mmmmm! Smells so nice! It is also very dry – the air is dry and the soil is quite sandy & dry, the tall grasses are very dry – this area seems to be a tinderbox. The national forest signs in the area are all saying that the danger of fire is high. I can see why!
About 15 miles into our ride, we stopped at a Conoco station and had some Gatorade and fresh, locally-grown blueberries! Those blueberries reminded us of how much we miss the farm stands and markets in Michigan. About 10 miles later, we had a great lunch at a restaurant recommended to us by Lydia & Ray. Shortly after that, we entered our last new state! We’re in Washington! And on our very last Adventure Cycling map of the Northern Tier!
It was quite warm (mid 90’s) when we rolled into town. We got a room at a small motel so we can get out of the sun and into the air conditioning. It’s a nice, clean, inexpensive place with a laundry mat right across the street and a grocery store one block over. Tomorrow is forecasted to be even hotter, so we’re going to hit the hay early and hopefully get most of our ride tomorrow done in the cooler, morning hours.