Day 81 – Newport, WA to Ione, WA – 54 miles
They’re calling for record heat in this area this week, so we got up at 5 am hoping to beat most of the heat. We were each bundled up in our long-sleeved wool shirt against the morning’s cool air and at the nearby McDonalds when they opened at 6 am. Then, on the bike a half hour later. A guy at McDonalds warned us that there was road construction n SR20, so there was no discussion as to whether to take the quicker route (SR20) or the road on the other side of Pend Oreille River (the Adventure Cycling route).
Riding on the east side of the river also kept us in the shade of the adjacent mountains, so it was comfortably cool and we rode in our long sleeves for the first hour or two. The scenery today was absolutely beautiful! The calm, blue waters of the Pend Orielle River provided a perfect reflection of the evergreen-laden mountains on either side. It was a gorgeous morning!
About 18 miles into our ride, we crossed the river & went into the tiny town of Usk to have a snack & take a break. We had picked up a large sandwich at the grocery store last night for dinner and between the 2 of us, only ate half of it last night. The second half was a great snack at several of our stops today. We bought some Gatorade, food bars and coffee in Usk and had a nice long break off the bike.
Heading out of Usk, we decided to check out SR20, instead of the Adventure Cycling route. The back road that we took for the first 18 miles wasn’t as quiet as we would have expected – lots of logging trucks, as well as other traffic. In hindsight, this probably was due to them avoiding the construction. Anyhow, we found SR20 to be only a little busier, but still a beautiful route! We rode along the river, past many cute cottages and a few youth camps on flat roads with some gently rolling hills. We stopped at one RV park along the River and sat on a swinging bench & enjoyed the rest of our sandwich while we spoke to a local resident.
When we got to historic Tiger, we stopped at the general store and picked up a state map, as well as information on local attractions for reading later – they’ll be read and thrown away before tomorrow morning tho! We have a significant climb first thing tomorrow morning! Someone called it, “Tiger Pass” but it is nowhere near the climbs we have coming up in the Cascades. It will give us a small taste of what is to come and give us an idea how we’ll do n the Cascades.
When we got to Ione, we stopped at the grocery store for dinner & breakfast items. Our new friends, Lydia & Ray, had recommended going to the Cedar RV Park in Ione. They had mentioned how nice the owner was, providing lawn chairs to the camping bicyclists. It sounded like a great place to camp, but with the incredible heat, we thought we should look for a place with air conditioning. We saw on the internet that Cedar RV park has a cabin they rent out, so we reserved it for the night. It doesn’t have running water but the bathroom is in the building next door, It isn’t air conditioned, but it is nestled in among the cedars and is so cool and comfortable inside! In addition, Gabe, the owner was so helpful & welcoming! What a nice place to be!
As I post this to the blog, it is 3 pm and the temperature is 98 degrees.
– Dolly Hunt is running for county prosecutor in this area. We imagined her campaign slogan: “Dolly – tough on crime” seems like a stretch. It did get us singing…”Hello Dolly! Well hello Dolly, it’s so nice to have you back where you belong. You’re looking swell Dolly…”