Day 10 Sandpoint, ID to Libby, MT 95 Miles (551 total miles)

Either the day off yesterday was huge or the terrain today was pretty easy. Truth is somewhere in between. I felt great and it was a long stretch of rolling hills.

Dennis and I left Sandpoint at about 8:15AM.

We followed Lake Pend Oreille to the Clark Fork River.

We had made plans to meet friends of Dennis and Cindy for lunch about 1:00. They were 40 miles away so I had some doubt as to whether we could make it that far. That doubt was erased when we finished the first 27 miles in an hour and 45 minutes.

State #3. Pretty sure it will be quite a while in Montana!

When Cindy met up with us at 1PM, we were nearly 15 miles past the original meeting spot for lunch. 53 miles in less than 4 hours…that’s progress!

I decided it would be too much of a hassle to shuttle back 15 miles for lunch and then get shuttled back.

So…it was time to bid adieu to my riding partner of 510 miles. I can’t tell you how important and helpful it was for me to have Dennis along. I’d probably still be puttsing along through those passes right now if not for him. Thanks Dennis and Cindy for your hospitality, support, and companionship the past 10 days

Just Gerty and me now. There were a couple camping spots around the 60-65 mile point but I still felt good so I pushed past there.

Figured I could make the next town, Troy, and have nearly 80 miles done. Troy turned out to be a couple miles (uphill) off the route. Heck, I could probably make it to Libby. Go for it!

I can’t say the last 15 miles were easy but I can say this is the best I’ve felt at the end of a day. Hoping I feel that way in the AM!

Ride on.

Just Pete

P.S. from Dennis…

“Pete” thanks for allowing me to tag along with you for the first 500 miles of your awesome adventure! Very inspirational that you would attempt 4800 miles and was impressive how hard you worked to get over those passes! As your very unofficial nutritional coach I will allow you to continue drinking your Coke, Mountain Dew and Buds as long as you drink a lot of water and eat good meals, protein and complex carbs so you don’t “Bonk” part way through the day! We saw some beautiful scenery, you missed some of it with your head down grinding and we kept each other safe! It was a great 10 days.
Thanks Again, Dennis 😎

Day 9 Sandpoint, ID 0 Miles (456 total miles)

I’m hoping a day of rest is what I need to get through this last 300 miles of mountains.

I sent a couple of items home. Rain pants…didn’t even wear them in the cold rain on day 1. Long sleeve shirt for cold. Had 2. Thinking I’ll have more issues with heat than cold.

Got rid of 2-3 lbs of “stuff”. Might not sound like much but it all makes a difference.

Got Gerty a check-up at bike shop. They thought she was looking good.

Dennis is planning to ride about 45 miles with me tomorrow AM then he will be done. He’s been a huge help mentally and physically. He’s helped everywhere from posture on the bike to nutrition. I will certainly miss his support.

We’ll find out tomorrow how this zero day helped.

Ride on.

Just Pete

Day 8 Somewhere, WA to Sandpoint, ID. 66.8 Miles (455.5 miles total)

“There is no such thing as an easy day”. Dennis Peterson, circa June 20, 2021.

True dat!! The next time you hear me say “tomorrow should be an easy day”, please slap me upside the head.

It started off great. 25 lbs less gear on the bikes. Gerty was loving it and we were rolling!

It was longish, kinda gentle ups and downs but we were slack packing. I was spending as much time in high gear as I had in low gear through the passes. This was fun!

Cruising along the Pend Oreille River. Just a slight breeze into us.

Then 50% of us saw this. It’s a long story. I’ve heard it was pretty awesome.

We even got cold, crystal clear water straight from the side of the mountain. Trust me…the best. Especially when you just cranked out 22 fun miles in an hour and a half. Maybe biking could possibly be fun?

This couple loves the water so much that they come after church and fill up gallon jugs. I’m talking 100 gallons…minimum. Pretty sure next time you buy a water at a convenience store, I know where it came from.

We rolled across the river into Newtown, WA and had some fries at McD’s. 32 miles in 2:15. It was there things changed. Obviously, not for the better.

I had expected us to ride 60 miles. At Newton I realized it was 66 miles and we had 34 left…not 28. Bad to celebrate before halftime.

We did cross into Idaho. That was good. Only about 14 (not sure) more states to go. And WA was HARD.

That 34 miles took 4 hours. Wind, long (not gentle) hills, hot. Terrible. Why am I doing this moment(s). This is the last mile plus.

Why did we cross the River just to cross it again…when I’m dead tired?

456 miles and 5 passes in 8 days. That’s quite a bit for a novice biker. And I have 300 miles of mountains to go.

Cindy and Dennis offered/politely recommended I take a day off at their cabin before those climbs. I hadn’t even considered it but I accepted fairly quickly.

I feel good. My legs are much stronger. It’s hard to ride in the saddle for 8 hrs but I know I can do it. I’m hoping day off makes next 300 miles a tad bit easier.

Ride on.

Just Pete

P.S. Thanks for the Buds!!

Day 7 Colville to Somewhere, WA 60.1 Miles (388.7 total miles)

We are somewhere. Somewhere nice. Cindy drove 60 miles to pick us up alongside the road and bring us to their cabin in Sandpoint, ID. Shower, laundry, great dinner, and several Budweisers! Talk about trail magic!

Today was one of our easier days thus far. Pretty good climb for half the day but it wasn’t ridiculously steep like the passes.

Took a little more time to check out the scenery like this waterfall.

If you have followed along with me before, you know one of my favorite things is a chair with a back. Check. Also notice the helmet hair. 3 basically corn rows that are starting to become a regular thing…even post-shower. Maybe if I carried a comb that would help.

Probably should have had a Budweiser in hand but when you have 30 more miles of riding to do, it’s really not prudent. Look at me, I may be becoming an adult!

We have been taking pics of American flags along the way. I plan on a bonus edition for July 4th of flags on display like this. I think it will be kind of cool.

We stopped today with 60 miles left to Sandpoint. Those 60 miles should be relatively easy because we’ll be slack packing. Cindy will drive us out to where she picked us up this afternoon. Our saddle bags will stay at cabin because we’ll be back there tomorrow afternoon.

This will give me a good indication of how my bike legs are. Before leaving FL, I didn’t ride with the 25 lbs of weight on the back that I’ve had for past week. Curious to see the difference as I won’t have them tomorrow. Pretty sure it will be significant.

If I failed to mention, the cabin is pretty nice!!

Fingers are still a bit odd. Not much strength in them at end of day. Had trouble plugging my charger into phone this evening. Mostly my right hand. Fortunately I’m right handed. It’s also the predominant brake hand when flying down hills.

Hoping to crush the remaining 60 miles in time to watch most of US Open final round.

Ride on.

Just Pete

Day 6 Republic to Colville, WA 56.4 Miles (328.6 miles total)

The morning got off to a great start. Breakfast and it was only 2 miles away!

As we were preparing to hit the mountain, we met Bob, “The Candy Man”. He bicycled here from Sioux City, IA about 50 years ago and never rode back.

Another tough climb. 3,000’ in 15 miles. That’s 200’/mile. When hiking I think 500’ of elevation gain/mile is tough. Hiking up hill is definitely easier than biking up but I’ll take the flats and downhills on bike. Much faster!

We reached the summit of our 5th pass in 4 days. Sherman Pass at 5575’ is the highest so far. Have I mentioned that I’ve had enough of these?

From there it was downhill…mostly. We descended down and crossed the Columbia River.

We made it to Colville late afternoon and got luxury accommodations at the Stevens County Fairgrounds.

I noticed this evening that my fingers weren’t functioning properly. Struggled to cut a burrito with a knife. Had to hold in palm of hand and saw. Also had difficulty holding a toothbrush in fingers. Weird. Guessing it’s something to do with having to hold on to brakes continuously on long downhills. It definitely tires your hands out.

We’re about 120 miles from Dennis and Cindy’s cabin in Sandpoint, ID. Expecting to be there Sunday early enough to watch end of US Open. Wish us luck!

Ride on.

Just Pete

Day 5 Omak to Republic, WA 72.3 Miles (272.2 total miles)

Team Gerty went big today. Got to where we hoped to get but it was way harder than I anticipated. Had to deal with another one of those things that starts with p and ends with ass. Have I mentioned that I’m really tired of those things.

Today started pretty poorly. The casino had a great breakfast menu that Dennis and I dreamt about. Problem…not open today. Devastating!

Then our navigator (me) missed not 1, but 2, turns getting out of town. 4 “bonus” miles.

Next town on the route was small and had nothing. We had no choice but to head to Tonasket. Then our luck started to change. Road construction. 1 lane with a pace car. The road crew loaded our bikes in the back of a truck and drove us 3 miles to end of 1 lane stretch. That took care of 3 of the “bonus” miles.

As soon as we arrived in Tonasket (32 miles in), we spotted Shannon’s. Breakfast we’d been searching for and the nicest people. They get lots of cyclists stopping there. It was great!

We left Tonasket about noon for Republic. 41 miles. 27 of those uphill to Wauconda Pass. Loupy Loupy was no joke joke yesterday and Wauconda was as difficult.

It was pretty hot and my water was so warm it was like drinking sand! We spotted a little restaurant a couple miles from summit. Unfortunately it has been closed for a while. We could see an ice cream machine through the window. That was a mean tease!

A couple more miles of brutal climb and we reached the summit. That’s 4 passes summitted in 3 days. Don’t try that at home.

We (primarily me) were exhausted and still had 14 miles to go. It’s usually downhill all the way from the summit. Of course, not this time. Definitely downhill but a couple of big ups thrown in to torture us.

We finally made it to Republic about 6:30PM. I am really tired and will sleep well.

Dennis thinks this first week will be the toughest part of trip. I REALLY hope he’s right. I can’t do much tougher.

One more big pass tomorrow and that will be the last for a few days.

Ride on.

Just Pete

Day 4 Mazama to Omak, WA 60.0 miles (199.8 total miles)

Sometimes all you really want is a good breakfast. Some eggs, bacon, and a chair with a back. Not asking for much, is it? Yeah, we’re 0 for 3 on the road. We were able to get a breakfast burrito this AM. Tasty but not quite what we were looking for.

We did see this deer ford the stream while eating. So, that was kinda’ cool.

We ripped through 21 miles pretty quickly. Rolling hills so we could move at a good pace.

From there it was time to pedal up Loup Loup Pass. After the last 2 days, the next pass I want to hear about is a TD pass from Trevor Lawrence to DJ Chark. Touchdown Jags!!

My legs feel like they’re getting stronger until I struggle getting up a pass. A tad bit frustrating for me. Then I realize 24 hrs ago we were on the other side of those snow-capped peaks. Progress!

It was, once again, continuous uphill. You get so used to looking at the hill that sometimes it looks like it might be slightly downhill. Then you try to coast. That lasts for a couple seconds and you realize it’s still uphill!

After many rest stops (for me), we finally made it to the top.

From there, it was pretty much downhill. Scariest moment of trip heading down. No shoulder and a guardrail so you’re riding on the road. Winding road and a truck gets right behind me. Nowhere for me to get out of the way and they couldn’t pass. Didn’t really know what to do, so I floored it. Didn’t have my app going so not sure how fast I was going but it had to be about 40 mph. Obviously I survived!

We are now out of the rainforest and into a much more arid area.

We got some great trail magic at the end of the day. My high school classmate, Loren Grode, set us up with rooms at a casino in Omak. Nice digs. We had dinner with Loren and his wife, Karla. Fun and relaxing.

Thinking tomorrow might be a little less grueling so we’re hoping to do a bigger mileage day tomorrow.

Ride on.

Just Pete

Day 3 Colonial Creek Campground to Mazama, WA 49.2 miles (139.8 total miles)

We had a great camp spot last night along the shore of Lake Diablo.

Got going at 5:30 this AM. Had to make 49 miles and the first 31 were straight uphill so we had to allow plenty of time.

This probably doesn’t look steep to you but it definitely was…especially when you consider it went on for 31 miles! Good shoulder and very little traffic so that helped.

The first 26 miles was a climb of about 2,500’ to Rainy Pass at 4,500’. It wasn’t raining but that is a snowbank I’m standing on!

After that I was pretty spent and we had to climb another 1,000’ in 5 miles to Washington Pass at 5,500’. This will be my highest crossing for a while, so got that out of the way.

Dennis could really just ride circles around me going up the hill. He has me set the pace and will stop with me on those climbs. There are a lot of stops.

The final 18 miles was downhill. I’m pretty good at that. We got up to 32 miles/hour. Feels pretty fast on a bike. Probably fast enough.

We reached Mazama at 2PM. Lots of saddle time. Makes me pretty confident that, if I ever get out of the mountains, I can do some pretty big miles.

That won’t happen tomorrow. Another pretty good climb up Loup Loup Pass. Won’t be nearly as long as today’s climbs so we’re hoping to make 50-55 miles.

Feeling good physically. Recovering quicker every day.

Thanks to all for your support.

Ride on.

Just Pete

Day 2 Concrete to Colonia Creek Campground 43.9 miles (90.6 miles total)

I felt pretty good this morning. My left knee is a little sore but other than that…all good.

We are definitely in the mountains now. Seeing lots of snow covered peaks.

We followed the Skagit River for quite a ways today. River is flowing fast and seeing lots of waterfalls. River is flowing downhill and we were riding uphill.

It was a lot of uphill for the first 33 miles. Not super steep but long with some downhills thrown in. I felt much better today over 33 miles than I did yesterday.

The last 12 miles was pretty much one long, steep, continuous uphill. Pretty brutal and I struggled but some nice scenery.

Even got pretty close to a nice doe!

We are camping just before the climbs up Rainy and Washington passes. We will be climbing about 3,000 feet in 30 miles. I am hoping that early in the day I can handle it but this is going to be difficult.

There are no services for 48 miles. I really have no choice but to make it.

Ride on.

Just Pete

Day 1 Anacortes to Concrete, WA 46.8 Miles

OK, that was a bit more difficult than I expected! Rain, wind, and hills all working against us.

It was raining when we left Anacortes. Rained for the first hour and last hour of the day. It was a gentle rain but you still get gently wet…especially your shoes and socks. Note to self…buy some dark colored socks.

The first 10 miles I felt really good and we were able to keep up a good pace. It was pretty hilly at the start but I was fresh and probably had some extra adrenaline.

Shortly after that the rain stopped, the wind started. It was “only” 10 mph but right in our face. That was way worse than the rain.

We also started having some longish climbs. Nothing that big but way bigger than anything I’d ridden previously. Plus this was my first time riding with 20-25 lbs on the back wheel. Gerty, we’re not in Florida anymore!

Gerty fully loaded.

That was probably 25 miles in…and my legs were tired. I was starting to struggle a bit. About mile 30, Dennis had a flat. Bummer but I got to watch a tire being changed and got a bit of rest.

The next 5 miles were excruciating. I was struggling and knew I needed to sit down for a bit and I’m not talking sitting on the saddle of my bike!

There was a town 1.8 miles ahead. We planned to stop, get something to eat, and give my legs a break. Nothing. Crap!! Next town 3.6 miles ahead.

We scored. Nice little small town bar. The bartender asked where we had come from. She was shocked when she heard Anacortes. She almost fainted when she heard where I was going!

Had a nice break of about an hour. I was so exhausted that I ate one bite of my cheeseburger and about a dozen tater tots.

We have a couple big mountain passes (Rainy and Washington) coming up. We had hoped to make it over in 2 days but I realized at our lunch stop that I couldn’t make it far enough today to do that tomorrow. No towns up there plus too cold and maybe snowy to camp.

We made the decision to go 12 more miles to Concrete and stay at a motel. Tomorrow we will get as close to the passes as we can.

Overall a bit disappointed in my performance. Gerty and Dennis did great and I was the weak link.

Tomorrow’s another day for me to get ready to climb those passes.

Thanks for all of your support. I’ll be needing it.

Ride on.

Just Pete