Days 86-88: On Pacific Sands, Triumphant

10/18 Day 86: Mosier, OR to Portland, OR 77 miles (4414 miles)

                When we started stirring again in the morning, the sun hadn't yet risen, but Anna was already off to work and Chad could be found under the sink trying to fix the plumbing while Bjorn sat a few feet off and watched. Chad suspended his seemingly ill-fated endeavor long enough for us to make some toast and scramble about a dozen of their hand gathered eggs from the coop behind the house. We were all very happy to be preparing a meal in a kitchen, rather than on a picnic table in some park, and we ate our simple, but quite satisfying meal with gusto. Chad sat in the corner of the living room absently holding Bjorn and responding to us when we would engage him directly, but he seemed very content just relaxing with the baby and staying out of our bustling about as we readied our gear. Before we left, Chad offered us the use of his workbench if we so desired, and sent us off very warmly (he even drove after …

Days 81-85: Eastern Parts of West Coast States, Washington and Oregon Riding

10/13 Day 81: Winchester, ID to Pomeroy, WA 74 miles (4086 miles)

            The sun once again refused to rise today, and it promised to be another gray day of riding, but one that would at least offer us a nice long descent to start our day. We packed things up quickly and got out of the park in short order so that we could make our way to the gas station just a half mile or so away. We had some coffee and ate granola at the only table in the store, which was right in the middle of the place, so we had our hobo picnic right in everyone's way. Once we'd eaten our fill and were ready to go back out into the chilly morning, we cleaned everything up, threw on some warm clothes, and made our way out of town. The road out of Winchester was in pretty poor repair, covered in potholes and cracks, and made for some rough riding at first. Things improved as we made our way further out, and after a short while we found ourselves on the brink of a 2,000 ft descent on a wild, winding roa…

Days 76-80: Dodging Rain, Searching for Sea-Level, Finding Idaho

10/8 Day 76: Sula, MT to Florence, MT 69 miles (3815 miles)

               The weather was predicted to warm up today, and stay sunny and pleasant for the day after, as well, so we aimed to get the hell out of Montana. It's not that we didn't think Montana was nice, and not that we didn't like the people, but the cold, rain, and elevation were good motivators for flight. When we woke up in Sula, we found ourselves in another of the frigid mists that seem to envelope every mountain in this state. It was cold enough that in the simple act of packing up the wet, condensation coated tent I had to run to the bathroom and warm my hands over the space heater a couple times just to chase the painful chill of the morning air. We made a simple breakfast of bagels and peanut butter to get us started and we were told by the owners of the campground that the freezing cloud of moisture in the valley would dissipate as we lost elevation and as the day wore on. Sarah told us that she inte…

Days 72-75: Things Get Gritty When the Big Sky Opens Up

10/4 Day 72: West Yellowstone, MT to Ennis, MT 73 miles (3563 miles)

          Powered up from our days indoors, we rose and ravaged the free breakfast- then walked away with as much as our pockets could carry. We said our goodbyes to Ray (Good Luck on the rest of your trip, Ray!) and he sped off to Red Lodge, MT where his next day of brewery work is lined up. The day outside looked very unencouraging: gray clouds and rain ringed the town, threatening from all sides. We knew this day would come, when the weather would finally turn against us, and we set out with grim determination and our raingear to protect us. The sun's rays didn't reach us for the first 20 miles at all as the cloud shrouded mountains glowered down at us, and we soggily spun our way through the light, but very cold rainfall that started just as we left West Yellowstone. We meandered north, then west around Earthquake Lake, which was formed in 1959 when a 7.5 magnitude quake caused a massive landslide, dammin…