Bicycling 4,174 Miles Across the United States

June 24th – Ione, WA to Sandpoint, ID (Wet, Wet, Wet)

Dufort Road 15 miles from Sandpoint, ID when sun finally came out today.

June 24th Statistics: Ione, WA to Sandpoint, ID:  Distance – 92.4 miles; Average speed – 13.0 mph; Beginning elevation – 2,110 feet; Ending elevation – 2,161 feet; Total ascent – 2,432 feet; Total descent – 2,454 feet.

Felt like the premise from “Groundhog Day” – the third day that we had breakfast at 7 am so we could leave early hoping to beat the weather forecast which was worse than yesterday, i.e. greater chance of rain, thunderstorms, and hail.  We also had the challenge of facing the longest mileage so far, 90+ miles.

Well, the odds didn’t play out in our favor today – 10 miles into the ride, the sprinkles turned into a cold torrential downpour (51 degree) for the next 36 miles (about 3 hours of riding).  The deluge took my mind off the thunder.  However, my waterproof hood, waterproof jacket, waterproof gloves, waterproof pants, waterproof booties, and finally, waterproof socks almost delivered perfect protection (my left foot was soaked).  Surprisingly, other than a wet left foot and occasional rain rolling into my eyes, I wasn’t too uncomfortable (it must be the Marine in me).  After 46 miles and 4 hours, the rain stopped, it warmed up to 57 degrees but it remained overcast.  Finally, at mile 70 the sun came out, the temperature increased to the high 60s for the rest of the day – perfect way to enter Sandpoint.

Only when I arrived in Sandpoint did I find out that only three of us rode the entire weather challenged 90 miles.  The rest of the my biking companions taxied in the van during the downpour and began riding again at Usk, WA, (mile 50).  At mile 56 I left the beautiful state of Washington and entered the beautiful state of Idaho by crossing the Pend Oreille river from Newport, WA to Oldtown, ID.  The ride into Sandpoint was stunning.

While I wasn’t able to look up much during the first 46 miles, the scenery was again beautiful.  We paralleled the Pend Oreille river for the entire 90 mile ride today on rolling country roads.  If not for the weather during the ride, it was an exceptionally beautiful route.  I did see a moose who stared at me with interest (some local residents looked at me the same way as I passed them dry on their porches).

Sandpoint is our first rest stop.  Time to do my laundry.

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