First of all, let me post this video from our own Gregory Hunter (aka Crocodile Hunter gone cyclist):
So, how can I catch you all up on the goings-on of this crazy group? Last time I blogged, we were in Missoula, Montana. I don't think I mentioned the Big Dipper Ice Cream shop, home of the Supernova (see pictures on Sam's blog). Sam and I polished off 6 scoops of ice cream with 6 toppings AND a brownie on the bottom. It's insane the amount of ice cream that we consume. (Side note: both Nate's and Brianne's parents are in town tonight and what did they BOTH treat us to? Ice cream. So, sitting in the church freezer are TWELVE half gallons of ice cream. 30 people, 12 half gallons. That's almost a quart of ice cream for everyone. Then there's peanut butter and microwavable fudge topping, sprinkles, and choc. chip cookies. Does this sound like an athlete's diet to you?)
On our way out of Missoula, we all had our pictures taken at the Adventure Cycling HQ. From there, we rode on to Superior, MT, after a morning stop at Liquid Planet for some of the rider's caffeine fix. This days ride was especially beautiful as we were able to avoid I-90 most of the way on frontage roads. Unfortunately, Courtney's tire was going flat about once every mile, so the last 10 miles into lunch were quite slow. Lunch was well worth the wait that day, though. This is where we ate (and swam and hung out for no less than 2 and a half hours):
Directly after lunch, there were about 10 of us riding down a back road directly adjacent to a railroad track. I can't give you the details here, but I will say that we had a very memorable mile down this road - I think it was also quite memorable for the girl that drove by and the conductor who, yes, STOPPED his train to watch us pass AND gave us a "toot toot!" and a smile. Ask me about it later.
In Superior, we stayed at the local elementary school directly next to the fairgrounds where, lucky for us, the rodeo was taking place that evening. Most of us bought our $9 tickets, found a seat, and prepared for what turned out to be one of the most "enlightening cultural experiences" (in Derrick's words) of this trip.
The men's events were all violent; the women's were not. Win found a guy wearing a t-shirt that read "Liberalism is a mental disorder." At one point, parents threw all their children 8 and younger into the rodeo pit (for lack of a better term) to chase a calf with a ribbon on its tail. The parent of the child who successfully removed the ribbon from the calf's tail got a handle of whiskey; the child received nothing. Sexual and political jokes were being cracked left and right. It was a trip.
The next day we crossed into Idaho (again) and into the Pacific Time Zone. Our route took us mostly over I-90 the whole way, including multiple sections of road work. Sadly, as I was trying to take a picture of Bronwyn and Marie crossing the "road closed" section of the road, I dropped my camera. This being the second blow in one week to the poor device, I pretty much pronounced it dead then and there. Broke down and got a new one - credit cards can be (temporary) saviors.
From Wallace we rode a beautiful bike path part of the way into Coeur d'Alene. There was also a section on I-90 taking us over 4th of July pass, approximately 1,000 feet of climbing in about 2 or 3 miles. Not too bad. The end of the ride took us up the cliffsides above Coeur d'Alene lake, conjuring up images of the Pacific Coast Highway. Once we were back down at lake-level, Sam, Evan, Eric and I jumped off the bikes and right in. It was perfectly refreshing. Wish I had pictures, but at this point I was still sans-camera. Maybe Sam will post some from there.
Out of Coeur d'Alene, we were blessed with a 42 mile ride entirely via the Centennial Bike Path into Spokane (WASHINGTON!). In order to get pictures at the state sign, we all left the bike path on foot, walked across a grassy separation and climbed up underneath the I-90 overpass. It was worth it, as Washington is our last state line sign together.
So, here we are in Spokane on our second night. We had a build day today at a big site. Habitat seems to have built an entire block. It was neat to work with two other large groups, mostly younger than us. Local media was there throughout the day, so if you feel like googling local Spokane TV channels, you might find some footage.
Tomorrow we're off to Wilbur. It's hard to believe we get to Seattle on Monday. Everyone's got it a bit in sight at this point, and you can tell it's on everyone's mind. No one really knows what to expect.