Thursday, June 23, 2016

We're Coming Boo Boo!

This morning from Erin and Bob's place. See the bald eagle in the tree? There was also a juvenile flying around.
The Pend Oreille River in the morning with no wind.

It's amazing how early we can get on the road when all we have to do is load our stuff into John's truck (no taking down tents either), and hit the road. We did want to get going early because we were going all the way to Annette's house, which was about 76 miles. We left at 7:25.

We had about 30 miles of the Selkirk Loop to finish (to get back to Usk). Along the way it rained some, but we had brought our rain jackets. 
Le Clerc Rd to Usk. Traveling light.

As we were nearing Usk, Annette had a great idea to call John and have him meet us in Usk, then drive us to the top of Flowery Trail so we could ride down to Chewelah. She called, and John agreed! 
We finished the Selkirk Loop! This is where we got on the main loop at Usk.

We returned to Boo Boo's Bakery and Cafe in Usk. This is the first time I have gone to the same bakery twice in one tour! We talked to the same gal, and this time also had some lunch (BLTs), even though it was only 10:45.
Boo Boo, we're back!!!

John arrived about an hour after us. We loaded the bikes onto the truck and headed up to the top of Flowery Trail. We unloaded, and headed down the hill. I hit my maximum speed so far on Tilmann of 40.44 mph. I would have gone faster, but there was a nasty headwind. It took 20 minutes to go 9 miles. We met John at the other bakery we had stopped at on our first day in Chewelah.

Once again we loaded the bikes, and this time, headed home. It was a great tour! The funniest thing is that for the entire 8 days, we only stayed in one of the places I had planned when I figured out the itinerary! We also only paid for camping for 4 of the 8 nights. That averaged out to less than $4/person for camping. Pretty good, I think!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Back in the US of A!

But, first a little update from last night. After our dinner, we hopped on our bikes and went to the library for wifi. We noticed a couple of murals made from rock--like a mosaic. Then we found out there were a bunch of them. They were done by the high school students. We rode around the town until we found all of them. Here were a few of my favorites.
Miner panning for gold.
Big horn sheep. The murals were on all sorts of buildings--even the laundromat. Salmo was a nice little town.

This morning we planned to get going the same time as yesterday. Stella was waiting patiently for Annette to emerge from her tent.
Come on, Annette! I'm waiting for you!

We rolled out at 8:05, so pretty good. We had about 14 miles to the border.
Quiet road in the morning.
Cool barn.

We got to the border at Nelway, and made it through with no problems (even though we were carrying produce). They made us take our helmets and sunglasses off (apparently, Canada doesn't really care so much about that).
Canada customs.
United States of America Customs and Border Control! We were back in Washington!
Woo Hoo!

We had 20 miles to Metaline Falls. We passed Crescent Lake. Saw some turtles, and pretty blue-green water.

Crescent Lake

Also saw Hooknose Mtn.
Kind of does look like a hook nose!

When we got to Metaline Falls (can't just say "Metaline" because there is a town called Metaline just down the road), there was a guy who stopped to talk to us. He had seen us in Balfour after we got off the ferry yesterday. After chatting with him, we went up to the Visitors Center and fixed our usual lunch. At the VC, there was info about the mining that has been done in MF. They mined for zinc. I think they still do.
Nice spot here in Metaline Falls.
The town of Metaline Falls.

Annette did some shopping in a quilt shop, bought yet something more to carry on her bike--a table runner. So now she has a blanket, a broom, and a table runner. After about an hour and a half, we left town. We crossed the Pend Oreille River again (crossed it on our first day a couple of times).
It is quite beautiful!

We had a few medium climbs. The sun was shining, and there wasn't much shade. Still, it was nice to have the warmer weather. Our next stop was Sweet Creek Falls. We rode our bikes up the paved path onto a little bit of gravel, then walked the rest of the way to the falls.
Interesting little cave on the path to the falls.
Sweet Creek Falls
Annette soaking her mosquito bitten ankles in the cold cold water.

Continuing our tour along SH 31, we next came to Box Canyon Dam. At Box Canyon, the river narrows, becomes quite rough, and was generally a problem for people driving to navigate the river. The sign said people, upon reaching the canyon, had to either, turn around, portage around, or run the river. The chances were not good for those who chose to run the river. Then the railroad built a trestle over the river at the canyon, and that solved many of the problems. Now there is the dam. 
Box Canyon Dam.

From Box Canyon, we only had a few more miles to Ione. Annette and John have some friends who have a vacation house on the river just outside of the town, and right on our route. They are not here, but told Annette we could stay here anyway. John drove up and is cooking us steaks for dinner! 
Erin and Bob's place on the Pend Oreille River.

Tomorrow will be our last day. John is going to take our luggage, and we will just ride back to their house. It will be a bigger day, miles wise, but no extra weight. We will have completed the loop when we get to Usk tomorrow--about 36 miles. Then we'll head for Colbert. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pedaling Up and Pedaling Down

Not much in the way of an exciting day today. We did get our earliest start this morning at 7:50. A few miles in we came to this interesting restaurant.
Have no idea how they got that up there!

We made it to Nelson at about 9:30. Stopped at a Safeway to restock some groceries. Funny thing, it's a Canadian Safeway, but the recorded voice in the store is exactly the same voice as at home!

The road out of Nelson was very steep. It had been raining, but stopped while we were at Safeway. I still had my leg warmers on though. Had to stop midway up the hill to take them off. I looked back and saw Annette walking. When she caught up to me, she said Stella's gears were grinding. I looked to see that the front derailleur was not shifted all the way for the small ring. That solved the problem.
Goodbye Nelson.

After several miles of more climbing, we finally reached the top of Apex Summit. 
It had been on and off again raining. Rain jacket on, rain jacket off...

The remainder of the ride to Salmo was mostly downhill. However, there was a headwind, so we had to pedal going downhill too!
This was a spot of decent scenery. 

We pulled off the road for a lunch break. It was another case of not knowing what is in front, only what is behind, because just a couple miles down the road there was a rest area. Oh well...

We pulled into Salmo after 38 miles. We could have gone farther, but there appears to be nothing between here and the border, so Salmo it is. We are at a campground/city park/ball fields place. They have showers (8 minutes for $1), but they were cold. They charge $15 per tent! We were hoping no one would spot us, but the lady came over and collected the fee. At least she refunded the cost of the showers.

The weather is looking okay, but if it turns bad, we have a couple of shelter options for cooking.
This, or...

Tomorrow we return to "The States". Back to being able to use my cell phone...back to good ol' American currency.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Little Harry Potter, a Ferry, and Finally a Shower!

Last night I told Annette we should aim to get on the road by 8:30. I told her I'd wake her up at 6:45. I could flash my newly painted fluorescent fingernails. The glow would wake her up for sure!
Hi-vis yellow and orange!

We woke up to blue skies! Still, a little chilly, but the prospect of a warmer day looked positive. We were on the road at exactly 8:30! We were headed for the ferry at Crawford Bay. The roller coaster hills from yesterday continued today. Soon my leg warmers and jacket sleeves came off.

We passed another one of those "towns" on the map that wasn't really a town. This one was Gray Creek. As we entered Crawford Bay, we saw a most curious shop.
Never seen a broom company before! There were a number of Harry Potter brooms. Apparently, this company sent the publisher or the production company several brooms.
There's even a Griffendore scarf hanging.
The broom maker in action.

I bought a little tiny baby broom as a souvenir. I also bought a nice corn broom and had it shipped home. Annette got a shorter handle broom that she strapped on the back of Stella. For a moment, Tilmann was worried that I was changing my mode of transportation!
Now we just need to find a game of quidditch!

We still had to go over the hump to get down to the ferry terminal. It was quite a slog, but the downhill to the ferry was a great reward! 
We arrived as the ferry was coming in. Only had to wait about 15 minutes before we rolled on. This was a free ferry.
The bikes are parked! This is Tilmann's first ferry ride!

We went up to the passenger cabin. The crossing was 35 minutes. We were crossing Kootenay Lake.
Girls on a boat.
The view looking north.
The dock at Balfour.

We disembarked and started to ride up the hill when I spied a bakery. I had a Nanaimo bar that was heaven! I also noticed on the door that I have a new profession!
You'd think I would have known about it...I'm supposed to be psychic!

After a good break, we got back on the road. We were headed to Nelson. However, about 7 miles down the road we came to Kokanee Provincial Park. We'd heard about this park. When Annette caught up to me, I suggested maybe we stay here. We have the time. So we turned in. At the entrance station Annette asked if they had showers. YES! The sites were $32, but...they have a Hiker/Biker site that is...wait for it...FREE!!! How's that for some provincial park awesomeness!!! We have a trail access to the main park where the shower is, and there is wifi at the Visitor's Center.
Bridge over Kokanee Creek to the Visitor's Center.

So, only 24 miles today, but a worthwhile short day!

People in Glass Houses...

O' CA...NA...DA...(that's all the words I know to the national anthem of Canada)!!! Yes, we crossed the border into Canada today! 
Border control

Wow, is it ever different! Okay, not really...well, not until we got further up the road and began riding along Kootenay Lake. Then it was beautiful! 

First we stopped in Creston at a Tim Hortons to use their free wifi. Unfortunately, it would not upload my blog post from yesterday. As a consolation, I had a raspberry truffle donut thing. It was delicious! Annette was able to send a text to John. Therefore, she had nothing to eat

Out of Creston we had our longest climb of the day. It wasn't too bad. There was this nice viewpoint looking down to the valley, and across to the Selkirk mountains.

As we continued riding, we started to see signs for Island Farm ice cream--2 km, 1 km, 1/2 km, there!
Of course, by the time we passed all those signs, we had to stop!
Cute little roadside stand.

Hwy 3A was a roller coaster after the long climb. The views were pretty good once we were along the lake.
Kind of a cloudy day, but the sun peeked out off and on. 

We stopped for some lunch at Kuskanook Harbour. Sat in this gazebo. We had tortillas with peanutbutter and Nutella. I had closed mine up, but decided to put some thin apple slices in it. I opened it up and said it looked like a butterfly. Annette said it looked like Jesus. I should have taken a picture. Probably could have sold it for millions.

Down the road a ways, we came to the Glass House. What is this, we wondered? We went to take a look and found out you had to buy a ticket to go in the house. Instead of doing the "German Drive By" (Christian, my German friend, was not fond of paying to go into things--we called it the German Drive By), Annette wanted to go in. It cost $10 (Canadian) for each of us. It was totally worth it! The house is made of 600,000 glass bottles that held embalming fluid. The guy that built it was an embalmer. He used 2 to 4 bottles per person (you can do the math to figure out how many people died to make that house). He disliked throwing the glass bottle away, so instead, he started saving them. He also got the other embalmers to send him their used bottles. The bottles are shaped somewhat like a brick with a neck. He left the lids on, and because of that, the insulating properties are better than most houses built today--R36 compared to R6. He started building the house in 1952, and finished it in '53. Him and his wife lived in it for 18 years. It is now lived in, during the winter, by his son and daughter-in-law. Here's some photos.
From the front
The living room.
One of two bedrooms.
View out the kitchen window.

Around the house there were numerous paths that led to little gazebos, bridges, and other little nooks.

Notice even the walls are bottles.

Taken from up in the turret

The house was built on bedrock so it wouldn't settle. After the house was finished, and they moved in, people kept stopping to ask if they could see inside. So, the guy built a guard house to keep people out. It didn't work. Then he built a ticket booth and started charging people, thinking no one would want to pay. People were happy to pay! It was a worthwhile stop. I'd recommend it to anyone traveling the Selkirk Loop.

From the Glass House we had just 8 more miles to get to Lockhart Provincial Park. Once again we have no shower. We just did bucket baths. We also still don't have any Canadian currency. Even though it doesn't have showers, and it has vault toilets, I t costs $23 (Canadian, of course). They accepted US currency, but without the exchange. So, it cost us a little more. 

After dinner we walked down to the lake. It reminded me a little of New Zealand.

Where the creek runs into the lake.
Gazing upon the beauty-ness!

We did 43 miles of rollers today. It was a good day! Tilmann is performing quite well. I've yet to meet a hill I can't get up! Also, this was the halfway day for our tour. Four more to go!