No squirt about it.
End: Coulee City WA.
The few street lights that do stand in this town are no match for the true night lights. The stars begin to shine as the sun escapes beyond the horizon. Not a cloud in sight, a clear sky, a dust free atmosphere. My favorite thing about small towns, or even the vast open country, is the ability to witness how the land after dusk is supposed to be. Quiet, nocturn.
As we made it over the border yesterday, multiple thoughts were running through my mind. Finding REI was key, errand number one. Laundry was a close second, followed by a shower, food and phone calls. A busy day, not even counting the ride.
After a filling breakfast at a corner cafe, we moved north. As flat #1 slowed us down, the first string of phone calls started as I patched my tube. Paul, a cyclist whome stopped to say hi while this process was taking place, turned out to be ending his journey in Spokane, the same city we planned to camp for the night. We would spend the rest of the day’s ride with him, sometimes catching up as we would stop for food and to repair more flats. I ended up being the king of flats that day, must be the instant karma for laughing at Dirk the day prior. As we entered the city, confusion set in as we tried to navigate the series of one-way streets. Laughing at Dirk as he booked-it down the wrong way of a street. I yelled, YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY YOU DUMB COUNTRY FOLK. Following my phone gps and word of mouth from the locals, we found our store. I am still in search of a jacket, one light enough to carry and warm enough to get me all the way through the trip. A jacket that matches this criteria happens to be no less than 130$, figures. Empty handed and hungry, a quick visit to Taco Bell solved the problem. Each hand gripping food, I ate until I was on the verge of exploding.
With the list shrinking, laundry was next. Cleaning out my bags while we waited, I was able to talk to Sunny. A complete 12 hour difference, her day is my night, dusk is dawn and good mornings are goodnights. I will find a way to see her after this trip is done. One way or another, I miss her.
As we have been clearing the list, we had yet to find a place to sleep. Large cities are not too tent friendly, we opted for a motel. Cheapest was the name of the game. Plugging in the address on my phone’s gps, we set out. Now I don’t know if it is just my experiences with this function, but it is always an adventure following the routes. First thing it does is throw us into the back neighbourhoods and gravel streets. Sharp turns down alley ways and over a pedestrian bridge high above the river. Some parts were sketchy as others turned out to humor me. Traveling down a dirt road that sat high above the canyon with the river raging below, I caught sight of a car oddly parked. Rear end hanging over the cliff and a dude nervously smoking a cigarette, I could only suspect a joy ride gone bad.
Making it into a room, the gas station provided us with our dinner once more.
The morning ride was like that of any other, full of aches and thoughts of sleeping in. The “what if I was still home” thoughts filled the head and made the hills a bit harder to climb. We began the day with a couple long hills right out of the motel parking lot. Chilly wind, along with thoughts of the terrain to come, made my view of the day to be crap. A real “optimistic” mood I was in.
We faced a long day in the high deserts of Washington. A fact that many people do not know, yet it is true. Washington has a large expanse of desert like terrain. Dirk was excited for he might find his rattle snake, a goal that he has been trying to accomplish since Texas.
The sun baked us. With a slury of sunscreen on, I made it out alright, Dirk, not so fortunate. A cruel turn of events I thought. As we made it into some of the most beautiful parts of the country, we ended up back in a waste land.”Open range” is what they called it. To me, nothing more than the space between here and there, the space to see from a car window… not for hours on a bike.
Watching the tumble weeds soar through the air and the dust devils dance on the fields, the ride was grueling. We made it into town just before the final hours of daylight shined. Grabbing some grub, the day passed without too much excitement. Just the sight of the road and the memories of sore legs.