August 9, 2001

8/9/01 Panhandle Camp

61.5 / 5941 miles

You sleep better when you know your safe and protected. Bob and Kelli don't have a guestroom (too many kids still at home ), so I slept on the cushy living-room rug. Just like at Craig's, I was ready pretty fast since I didn't need to pack up much. Bob warned me that Tom frequently wakes up early, only to find himself sleeping on the couch. So, on cue, Tom was there as I got ready to leave. He's an OK kid!

Not much on today's route in the way of towns, so Bob recommended that if I needed anything at the store, I should get it here in Colville. So, back down the hill to the grocery on Main Street. The only bummer was I needed to go back up that hill to get on my route. Sometimes life is unfair.

Eventually made my way back up through town and ended up on Hwy-20. Much to my surprise, there was no traffic. The map contours showed an increase in elevation but nothing like I'd been doing these past few days. Eventually, I reached the top where there was a resort.

Propped up against the fence were two loaded touring bikes, so I went searching for the riders in the store. Chip Coldwell was westbound from Boston. With him was his dad who had just joined him. We compared notes on what was ahead for both of us. I recommended the alternate route through Curlew but I'm not sure if they'd do it. And, he had a few ideas for me at Glacier National Park. Chip thought I'd be the last eastbounder he'd meet before he gets to Seattle.

From there, it was a short, steep ride down a lot of switchbacks. You know it's bad when the speed limit warning signs say "10MPH". Not too bad but I did have to use the brakes some.

Ione was a little bit off-route but Chip had told me they have internet access at the library. After that, I was looking for a place to have lunch and maybe catch up on my journal. I usually avoid bar & grills because they're mostly dark, smokey bars. But a quick ride through town showed me I had few options. Ken's Bar & Grill couldn't have been farther from my stereotype. It was bright white inside and the chairs even had pink seat cushions. Got a burger with a side order of a few taco's, plus lots of iced tea.

Crossed over Pend Oreille River to follow up the other side, away from Hwy-20. At first I thought the river was a long, skinny lake because of all the waterfront homes with boat docks. A nice ride, especially because of all the shaded roadway.

By mid-afternoon, I'd reached the Panhandle Campground. It's one of the US Forest Service sites that is managed by an outside contractor. That means no special discounts for cyclists, so I pay full price for a drive-up site.

Another beautiful campsite along the river

Talked a bit with David and Louise, the campground hosts. He said he'd worked other parks but this was his first season here. When we got to comparing stories, Louise had once been a certified nurses assistant. She joked that P.T. really stood for "Potty Trainer". I laughed but said it was almost true.

Other than that, I talked to a few of the other campers. Waded out into the river and was surprised how cold it was. Took a nap in the late afternoon heat before cooking dinner. But the bulk of the evening has been to catch up on my journal.

Last, I've found an irregular growth on my scalp. Wish I'd found it yesterday. I would have had Kelli look at it. Not sure what to do about it. Trying to decide if I should call my doctor in Kansas City, which I don't want to speak to ever again after all the trouble I had before the trip, or wait till I get to Missoula, but that's probably two weeks away. Maybe I'm just paranoid.