Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 64. Pullman, WA to side-of-the-road-somewhere, WA. 95ish miles.

I was up early, before Paul, and headed out the door only leaving a thank you note behind. My head pounding a bit from potent micro-brews, I quickly ate some McD's and set out towards...who knows. For nearly three hours I rode through more of the hilly, lush green fields I had entered the day before and before I knew it I was perched atop a 2,000 ft. vertical drop into Lewiston, ID.

There were two routes down into Lewiston, a two-curve route on the highway or the old frontage road that snaked downwards. I chose the frontage road. Solid descent. I snacked a bit in the town, used the library and continued on. Naturally after a 2000 ft drop, there is always a 2000 ft climb to get back out of a valley. For the next three hours I climbed a mere 20 miles into the wind before reaching the top just to drop back down. Oh, and the green hills disappeared and became brown and dry.

The landscape out here is like nothing I've ever seen. It is a high-plains environment full of canyons and draws, which, are where the roads are constructed. Most of the time the roadways wind and follow streams and rivers until they are forced to climb over long, tall hills. After dropping back down I stopped at a cafe merely to refill water bottles, but after looking at a menu, my glandular problem forced me to eat a philly cheese steak, sweet potato fries and a mountain dew. With daylight dwindling I knew this to be a risky move and one that would most likely leave me in the dark, but 'who cares' i thought. After being full and happy, I pressed on into the fading sun.

Within 10 miles I found a touring cyclist on the opposite side of the road standing there next to his bike. I stopped just to make sure everything was ok with him and it was. He was waiting for two of his friends that he had left in the dust. Within minutes the two friends came riding up and we all rested and had a chat. The three guys were from England and had been on the road for only six days. I told them I had been out for 9 weeks and was bombarded with questions. To those who are just starting their trips on the west coast, I appear to be somewhat of a veteran to this game and must know all about this form of travel. I answered their questions, to which, they were thankful for my answers and we parted ways.

My goal was to hit a campground past Dayton, WA but due to a 3 mile climb up a 6% grade I was 10 miles short of that goal and decided to set-up camp at the top of the pass. There was a semi-truck parked at the top as well so this gave some comfort as to not be the only person sleeping on the side of the road. Fortunately there was a bit of a drainage on the side so I was mostly out of view to the passing traffic.

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