Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Hot In Washington

The idea this morning was to get up early and bike while it was still cool, so we woke around 7 and packed up.  While eating breakfast, a lady approached us and gave us some pamphlets about the Bible.  I was glad to hear that all suffering is soon going to come to an end; we'll see how it pans out.
We got on the road around 8:15.  Unfortunately traffic was worse than before, and the shoulder was pretty small.  Traffic got worse and worse until we finally got to Lewiston and found a bike path along the river.  
Along this path were exercise machines of various form and function, and we tried a few of them.
 Then we crossed the Snake River and passed into Washington.  We were all excited to be in this new state.  Were Cameron to follow his original plan, this would be his last one.  
We stopped quickly at a grocery to pick up a few items, then continued down the road.  We were still following the river, and now, since joining the Snake, had gotten even bigger.  Placid and content, its flow was barely noticeable.  
After leaving Lewiston and its neighbor city Clarkston, the traffic died down and the shoulder expanded.  We enjoyed the flat road as always, and the cliffs rising up alongside the road provided beautiful scenery.  
I got a flat tire at one point and found out that the tire was actually delaminating.  That's how you know you ride your bike a lot.
For the first time in days, the road left the river and climbed into a little valley between golden hills of dry grasses.  Without the cold water to temper the heat, the temperature soared.  We had left behind trees as well, so there were no good places to stop for lunch until we saw a bridge over a dry creek bed.  Under the bridge, in the shade and out of the heat for awhile, we ate, relaxed, and listened to a This American Life podcast.
After lunch, around 3:30 or so, the air seemed even hotter, perhaps because we began to climb.  And climb, and climb some more... It seemed like the neverending hill, partly because it was so unexpected.  We wound through more golden hills and dark cliffs, climbing up for about five miles, until reaching a summit roughly 2,000 feet higher than the river.  We were drenched in sweat and just about out of water.  The next town was about 10 miles ahead.  The good thing about going up, however, is that there's always a down, and the next ten miles were much easier.  Going into the town of Pomeroy, we stopped at a little farm stand advertising fresh produce.  We each ate delicious, juicy peaches and filled up our water.  Now it was getting dark, and all the land was private farms and ranches.  Like every night, we had no idea where we were going to camp.  Still, sparse traffic and the setting sun over the rolling hills made for a nice ride, especially because the road was following a creek gently downhill.
As twilight turned darker, we stopped at a farmhouse.  A woman saw us coming and came outside, and Cameron asked if it would be okay if we camped in her yard.  She said yes, then showed us a spot under some stately walnut and maple trees.  She also fixed up the bathroom and brought us towels so we could shower, then brought out biscuits with huckleberry jam as we were eating dinner!  She, Julie, and her husband Curt have lived in this area for over thirty years, and now grow mostly barley and wheat.  We joined them later to talk and watch the finale of America's Got Talent, and Julie invited us in for breakfast the next morning.  We are astounded  by and grateful for all of her and Curt's kindness and generosity.
Julie, Curt, and Pudge

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