Day 83 – Colville, WA to Kettle Falls, WA

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Day 83 – Colville, WA to Kettle Falls, WA – 15 miles

Last night we stayed at a bike hostel, which is about 6, or so miles east and quite an elevation above Colville. It was incredibly hot yesterday and more heat is in the forecast today. In fact, someone told us that it was 107F in Kettle Falls yesterday. Evidently the heat caused a poor cell connections because we had absolutely no signal until the sun went behind the mountains last night.

With our biggest climb coming up just west of Kettle Falls, we decided to keep today short so we could take care of some errands today and be riding when the sun comes up tomorrow morning. We needed to stock up on fuel (aka “food”) and we also took the time to mail our cold-weather gear forward.

We left the hostel by about 6:30 am and had one climb before racing downhill (with drag brake on) the rest of the way to Colville. It looks like a neat town to explore but it was still quite early in the day and not much was open. We did our grocery shopping & then rode on to Kettle Falls. The post office was not yet open so we stopped in at a nice little German bakery for a snack. The sun was heating things up, so we found a bench on the shady side of the street to enjoy our baked goods and then just hung out there until the post office opened.

We have some stretches of riding ahead that will be rather slow, so we want to make sure we have plenty of space in our panniers for extra food & water. Plus, with the heat wave forecasted to continue, we won’t be needing our cycling pants and more than one long-sleeved shirt. The package we mailed ahead weighed 8lbs 4 oz – about the size of a healthy-sized baby! 🙂

We enjoyed a great cup of coffee at one of those little drive-up coffee stands before checking into our air-conditioned (!) motel room. Jim noticed that our rear tire is showing wear, so he replaced it with one of the foldable spares. Jim assures me the spare has another 330 miles in it. Of more concern to him was a broken pedal that he just noticed today, which was causing his foot to unclip unexpectedly yesterday and today.

At lunchtime we walked a few blocks down the road to the local microbrewery, Northern Ales. We toasted another 500-mile milestone. 3500 miles down! And had a great lunch, followed by a root beer float made with Northern Ales’ homemade root beer!

Still thinking about the broken pedal after lunch, Jim said, “I’m going to see if I can find a welder.” He walked out the motel room door and the biggest building he could see was a welder! So, he walked the bike over to DW’s Welding and five minutes later he’s back! Dave Willey fixed the pedal! This engineer captain of mine is quite the problem-solver!

So, now we’re hunkered down in the air conditioning this afternoon, planning a very early bedtime and a very early morning attack on Sherman Pass! Thank you to all of you who have send us messages of encouragement! We’re gonna do this!!!


Big bug on the screen at the hostel this morning:







Broken pedal, before welding:




After welding:




4 thoughts on “Day 83 – Colville, WA to Kettle Falls, WA

    Bill Pierce said:
    August 1, 2014 at 8:53 am

    The good news is the fact you’re not climbing at really high altitude, so there’s quite a bit of sweet O2 in the air you’re breathing as you huff and puff up those grades. I’ve not cycled the North Cascades in Washington, but I did climb Mackenzie Pass farther south in Oregon on my single recumbent (very minimal baggage load), and Splugen Pass north to south in Switzerland/Italy on a loaded upright bike. Both of them were long (several hour) climbs, but not terribly high in terms of elevation. The Oregon grade was easier. It was almost entirely forested and mostly shaded, and I think I stopped only once, just spinning as I continued to climb. The Alpine pass was enough effort that I had to stop every 15 minutes or so to catch my breath, and it started snowing near the top (it was the last day of October, so it was melting as it fell). I amused myself with thoughts of Hannibal and his elephants (at a pass much farther west and south to north). At any rate, the sense of accomplishment at both ascents was considerable once I reached the top and was headed back down.

    Good luck to you both!

    Libby Siuthworth said:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Go Rathbuns go as I drive from GR to Philly I can’t imagine doing it on a bike My admiration for your journey just keeps growing

    Diane said:
    August 1, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Jim, CONGRATS on your amazing selfie technique! No discernable ‘lean’ or arm ‘stretch’ that typically serve as a tell tale sign that the viewer is looking at a selfie.

    As for the before and after pictures of your pedal…. sorry … but this couch potato could not see the difference. Probably less the fault of your photos and more the fault of viewing said photos on a smart phone screen. Not to mention the viewer is a neophite cyclist. :o)

    You two ROCK! OF COURSE you’re gonna make it! Was there ever a doubt? None here!!!!

    Miss you guys!

    Robin said:
    August 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for coming to our neck of the woods. Safe journey!

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