I love you after all, Idaho

After a bad first day, Idaho has redeemed herself. We stayed at the nicest campsite last night. True, there were no amenities, but it was great. A young guy right across the road warned us that we might want to move because there were about 18 of them who were going to have a big party, but when it started raining about the time the party was to start, they all scattered and left. So we kept our ideal site.

You could go right back to the Lochsa River from where we were. There was a fire pit, trails, room for a family’s worth of tents. Yet another place that would be worth coming back to.

We should be having cell service again soon, so I’m writing about noon as Michelle rides. It’s been a pretty steady climb today, but not at a bad grade and neither of us is feeling it much. Traffic is light, shoulders are fairly smooth. Life is good.

And by the end of the day, with any luck, we should be in Montana.

Poor navigation, rotten shoulders

Update on the mouse situation: We put out traps baited with peanut butter, then added a little bit of chocolate Lara bar. It actually looked pretty good. And within a minute of us turning out the lights to go to sleep we heard the trap under the sink. We got him! There haven’t been any more, so we think we picked up two of them at one of the campgrounds and now have gotten rid of them. But we won’t be removing traps anytime soon anyway.

Today we crossed into Idaho and onto a new adventure cycling map. That’s kind of a big deal, going to a new map, I mean. You go a lot of days on just one. Anyhow, I used my keen navigational skills to totally miss the route I meant to be on. That included riding up one really steep hill that I never would have needed to. In fact, when I got to the top is when I checked and saw I was a mile or two too far. Then I missed my turn to a bike path and stayed on a busy Hwy. 12 longer than necessary. And it goes on. Let’s just say that today I couldn’t have navigated my way out of a paper bag.

Eventually we met up again and traded off. Michelle didn’t get lost once, except at the same place that I took a wrong turn, so it didn’t matter. We just used our own alternate route.

And we didn’t ride as far as we had hoped, but we have a reason! The shoulders disappeared and the log trucks multiplied. Neither of us felt safe enough to ride in that, so we called it a day early and checked into a KOA. It’s important to be flexible, you know.

There is a mouse in our house

A few days ago we found a mouse on our step just inside the door. It was quite something to wake up to! So I opened the door and used my shoe to knock it outside. We had just had some work done on the RV and were blaming him on doors being left open at the shop. This is his picture after we evicted him.

Then Michelle thought she felt one run over her in the night. I didn’t even hear her scream so we thought maybe she was dreaming.

Last night I heard them scritching and scratching and the more we look around and vacuum the more we find evidence of superhighways. Under the driver’s seat and in the bathroom seem to be favored venues.

Tonight’s campground is within easy walking distance of a WalMart, so as soon as we were parked and showered we took off to stock up on traps. We are one use only type of people, so figured it could take a lot, but not more than we could carry.

Now we are waiting them out. There must be 8 set, plus we have those plug in things that are supposed to repel them. We think they don’t work, because we got them several days ago after the first sighting.

I’ll let you know our progress.

As for today’s ride, it was great! There were some tough uphills and glorious downhills. The wind was mostly at our backs and we both enjoyed the riding. Until the shoulder got uncomfortably narrow and traffic really heavy. Then we hit road construction anyway, so just drove the rest of the way to Clarkston, WA. Tomorrow we will cross over into Idaho. And I’ll even stay awake for it. This is the view from our campground. It’s beautiful here!

Walla Walla Washington

Has anyone noticed that the northwest is having a spring heatwave? Well, we have.

Yesterday we pulled in to Walla Walla with hopes of getting my bike looked at and spending a day off of our bikes. Both missions have been accomplished. My brakes were dragging, so maybe that’s part of the utter exhaustion. And today we got up whenever we wanted to, did some laundry, visited the humane society next door, then went downtown to one of the 39 (I think) tasting rooms. Wine is really big around here.

It’s been a good day. We are both going to have a little rest time now and hopefully fix a decent meal for tonight.

The picture is an adoptable dog named Bhoot. She’s a real sweetie and we enjoyed playing together for awhile.

Tomorrow it’s back in the saddle and hopefully you’ll hear more of our adventures.

We made it through another day – somehow

I see posts aren’t going through for the last couple of days. It shouldn’t be surprising, we haven’t had WiFi. But when we do again, I imagine they will all go out.

You’re probably tired of hearing this, but it was another beautiful ride! This picture is part of the Rowena loops. It’s a series of switchbacks that takes you down for two miles. Michelle had the adventure of riding it on her bike. It was adventure enough for me to drive it in the RV. She offered to take me back up so I could ride down, but it really wasn’t something I needed to do!

I couldn’t tell you exactly how many miles I rode today, but it was enough. Not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but enough. One stretch I sort of rode three times. Second guessing myself again. And one stretch of interstate I drove multiples too. We had a bike rack malfunction and the town we had just left was the last town of any size that we could get parts to fix it for a long, long way.

And tonight we are once again camped by the Columbia River. I haven’t yet gotten tired of seeing eagles, hearing the water or gawking at the beautiful trees. I have had my fill of trains, though. Why do campgrounds always seem to be right beside the tracks?

Cascade Locks, OR

What a great day! We didn’t ride too many miles, but that’s not important. We have seen some beautiful sights. Waterfalls, overlooks, rivers and trees. We’ve met interesting people, including a nice man from the DOT who was called in to direct traffic in the jam that I was part instigator of. Yep. Good times.

But seriously, I’d like to come back with John sometime and spend a couple of weeks. Maybe in a smaller vehicle.

One path that I was on had a three story staircase with a bike wheel groove. That’s something I’ve never dealt with before but it went without incident. There was also a tunnel, which I got through with no broken pelvis or anything.

All in all, this is going great. And we are still friends.

Big Fir

Last night we stayed in a campground north of Vancouver. We tried to get a spot a little closer to Portland, but campgrounds seem to be pretty full. We have both been surprised by the number of people who live there full time.

The amenities at this one were pretty rustic, but the scenery was magnificent. That’s a view looking up from our picnic table.

We had another rest day today. But now we will be hitting the road more and calling the RV places less. There was some weird problem with our converter that drained the batteries pretty much constantly. But now we are fixed and up and running.

And we are at a campground near where we will be picking up on the ride so we should be good to go in the morning. We will be biking on the scenic highway along the Columbia River and I for one am excited about it.

With any luck there will be a nice picture or two from that ride posted tomorrow.

It’s a beautiful campground

This is me by the little river next to our site. Last night went very well. We had a lovely meal of spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad. I’m thinking that by the time we were finished eating the low battery alert was ringing! Dang.

We turned stuff off, then decided it didn’t really matter. We would be dead by morning anyway. So, again, all night we listened to the tone from the alarm every 60 seconds. You really do stop hearing it, eventually. I did, anyway. Slept soundly and dreamed a whole lot more than usual. Weird stuff, sci-fi, even. Weird is common, sci-fi not so much. Don’t ask me what it means!

In the morning we had a leisurely breakfast, dressed in our bike clothes and unhooked. Guess what! The leveling jacks work with the RV battery! We were going nowhere without charging it somehow. But it hadn’t been charging much from running the vehicle, being plugged in or with the generator. So we called a few RV service places, discussed riding into town and carrying back a battery charger and even called some friends for advice. We also called the campground owner to see if they could give us a jump. She said she’d send her husband over, he knows how to do a lot of things.

So the batteries were pulled, checked and pronounced DOA. They weren’t old batteries at all, but he said once they’re that low they won’t hold a charge anymore. The guy two campers over volunteered to take us to town, the owner installed them when we got back. And we decided that by this time we should just take a rest day and stay another night.

Michelle threw a nice little shot glass. I did some reading and journaling. And we fed the rabbits carrots and tried to get good pictures of them. They are wild domesticated rabbits. Very cute.

Now you’ve read a book about a rest day. Tomorrow should be a better day, and we have a battery charger just in case.

Claskanie, Oregon

We started our ride!!! Still friends.

This is not going to be one of those bike tours where we start at the crack of dawn and keep pedaling until we reach our destination. Instead, if we continue to do things the way we did today, we will have a leisurely breakfast, wait for the mist to stop, then commence to riding.

Today’s ride really was beautiful. We both started on the river trail in Astoria. Michelle rode about halfway to the first rest point, then went back for the RV. We heard seals barking but couldn’t go down the pier because it was gated. So we only listened, no photos.

There were some fairly wicked hills, but we did just fine. After that river trail it was all on a busy highway. From my observations, RV drivers are much more rider friendly than logging trucks. I had no close calls, but I guess a couple of vehicles buzzed Michelle pretty bad.

But we are safe and sound and having a glass of Oregon wine, Rascal Pinot noir. We think it’s not bad. Our snack of the hour is gluten free chips and veggie dip.

Life is good.

Made it to Washington

We had a rough night last night, but we learned a lot. Isn’t that what challenges are for? Both of us can find the fuse box blindfolded now. And that’s enough about that. Other than, it was a very cold night.

Our early start turned into 11ish and we stopped before 6. It was time to kick back and relax. Dinah (RV is a DynaMax) isn’t enjoying mountain climbing and she needed a break just as bad as we did. But we made it to the other side of Spokane and if all goes well should get to the beginning of the ride sometime tomorrow. We hope to at least dip our wheels and start.

Pictured is our first camper cooked meal, Michelle made stir fry. Delicious and much needed.