I fortunately woke up before Christie had left for the day so I was able to see her off and thank her for their hospitality. She again insisted we eat everything in sight, and I did my best to keep up with my end of the deal. She warned us that the dogs had been sprayed by a skunk the night before, so they were not allowed in the house. Poor pooches. After Christie left, Paul and I hung around for a while, cherishing our time off the bike, and picking at food for most of the morning.
After we stuffed ourselves we headed out to our bikes to do some routine maintenance. We didn't hit the road until about 12:30 and we planned on going about 100 miles. The terrain would be flatter than what we had been riding recently, and with the day off we should be able to hack it.
We departed the empty Querna household and were on our way out of Spokane. We had a nice long climb to get out, but most of our 38 mile ride to Davenport for our first stop was flat and fast with a nice wide shoulder.
In Davenport, we picked up some bread to last us through any long stretches in the middle of the state, and also some fruit for a short term fix. We met some folks who were actually from Connecticut in the grocer which is always cool. One had even had some family in Southington. Hah, small world. After the grocer we went to subway to do the $5 sub ordeal that we have umpteen times to date. Good stuff. Very packable too.
We'd have to cover another long 35 mile stretch to Almira in order to make it to Coulee City, where we planned on camping for the night, before sunset. Back on the road. My knee began hurting a bit before we got into Almira, which was a little concerning as it was the first time that had happened on the trip. I biked through it (I'm a hockey player) into Almira, a small town.
We both looked around and saw some people, but not anywhere that seemed to be open for food. We eventually stumbled upon this broken down looking building, which was actually a decent diner, that had nearly the entire town's population in it. Paul ordered some food there so I felt okay making two peanut butter sandwiches and eating nutri grain bars we had purchased elsewhere.
The locals were really nice, and this one guy talked to me for about 20 minutes while we were trying to leave about god knows what; among the topics were his plans for a cross country motorcycle trip.
After that, we were back on the road for another 20 miles to campgrounds in Coulee City. My friend in Almira told me it would be a nice downhill ride for most of the way. I think he was the first person along the trip to actually know the terrain of which he spoke. It was a nice easy ride all the way to Coulee. The knee pain seemed to transfer to a lower thigh pain… muscular, a good thing. Hopefully rest would see it subside.
When we got into Coulee, we stopped at a gas station/deli/creamery. They had it all. I got a scoop of birthday cake, and a scoop of cookie dough in a waffle cone. Dynamite combo. We hung out there for a while as others were doing the same. We asked some workers where to camp, and sure enough it was a quarter mile down the same road we were on. As we were leaving, we got to talking to some guy who tried to convince us of riding a different path than what we had intended for the following day. He did seem to know what he was talking about, but the detour he would have us take would be more miles. I'd have to check the map on my computer when we arrived at the camp site.
We were both pretty tired, so by the time we got there and set up, I decided to do the decision making in the morning. We had a couple days of riding left before truly completing an impressive cross country trip which would land us in Seattle. We would not stop there of course, but we would be back on the ocean. How exciting. Soon enough.
Life was good.