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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Northern Transcon Day 5 - Spokane WA to Sandpoint ID

The host hotel in Spokane (Red Lion at the Park) had a full breakfast spread in the dining room, and we didn't have to get started until 7:30, so things were a little more relaxed this morning.  I'm starting to get a little careless in my routine - like waiting until morning to set out a clean kit.  I get up early enough to avoid scrambling around, but it's still better to be disciplined on a multi week  event like this.

Being an "almost" native of Spokane (family moved here when I was two) made the trek out of town a return to 45 years ago when I would bike commute using the same route.  What has changed is US 2 (Newport Highway).  It now is four lanes, divided, with a good shoulder.  It was necessary to take back roads from Spokane to Mead in the 70s before getting to the part of US 2 with a wide shoulder.

The wheat fields and treeless plains of yesterday gave way to pine forests as we went north and then a little east into the Idaho panhandle.  Sandpoint ID is now a busy little place with many interesting shops as well as a thriving cycling and mountain climbing culture.  Snow skiing is big in the winter.  After a Chinese dinner, I went down two doors to the ice cream place recommended by Susan, and indulged on a double huckleberry cup - wow!  On this tour, the general diet plan is eat as much as you want, whatever you want.  The challenge will be to cut back once the tour is over.

Tomorrow we continue east to Thompson Falls MT, and get into the Mountain time zone.

Plenty of pine trees to provide shade at first rest stop north of Spokane
Jack likes his old school helmet, as well as his vintage lugged steel bike
This sign gets a lot of use from PAC Tour riders
Second rest stop was at the park overlooking the dam
My shoe gives a perspective to the size of the Ponderosa pine
View from Albeni Falls picnic area of bridge over Pend Oreille River
Another view from Albeni Falls picnic area
Pend Oreille River
Pend Oreille River
We were stopped for about 10 minutes due to tar and gravel work
A fully loaded touring cyclist who was also waiting for eastbound traffic to go
We had about 5 miles of new gravel to ride on.  No flats in our group!
Peaceful scene a few miles west of Sandpoint ID
The bridge crossing Pend Oreille River into Sandpoint has a dedicated bike lane (actually, the old side of the bridge, complete with large expansion joints)
A long freight train can be seen spanning the entire length of the railroad bridge



  1. Loving your blog… have done three Pactour rides since 2013. Ride safe!