19. Colville to Ione: A Late Departure - Yay! Boo! - From the Olympic Peninsula to St. Mary - The First Bite of the Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

May 31, 2018

19. Colville to Ione: A Late Departure - Yay! Boo!

If you've ever hit your thumb with a hammer while doing something enjoyable, say building your new deck, and it colored the entire job, but you wrapped up the work anyway. As you opened a celebratory beverage just as the smell of burgers hot on the grill from your neighbors transitioned into an invitation to join them for dinner, then you'll understand our ride from Colville to Ione.

The day started ok in our ultra-cheap and ultra-cheaply outfitted motel room. Bad in-room coffee, but we had a line on a good coffee shop from a local we had bumped into the night before.

We bought great bagels and coffee there, and it was quickly obvious that this was one of those places where folks come to solve the world's problems, catch up on local doin's, and then be on their way. Or not. Some make a day of it. Hanging out with the next arrival. And the next. Most small towns have such a place, and if you're lucky, you'll stumble across one as we did. Some time later we edged out the door having told our bicycle trip story and received advice, caution, and encouragement. A great place to start the day and the jalapeno-cheddar bagels took away the memory of our motel.

Then to Safeway for provisions and a quick stop at Napa to buy an 8mm wrench Scott forgot to pack. This led to the discovery of the missing debit card which we quickly deduced Scott could only have left at the Pour House, where we had dinner the night before. A quick call resulted in 'leave a message'. And the Pour House didn't open until noon and it was 0930. Drat!

We should note, that every night we huddle over the map and decide how far to ride and how early to get up the next day. It’s safe to say, I’m an early riser who sometimes waits for Jackie to get motivated. She was enjoying the leisurely morning.

While waiting we decided to have a look at the local Arts and Crafts-style house which was part of the local museum. Then back down to get cash 💰. Then the callback from the manager who said she had stashed away the card last night. But she wouldn't be there until 1130. My thumb was throbbing at this point. Nevertheless, we settled down on a main street bench and processed email and caught up on the news. But surprise, the manager arrived a half hour early. Yay!

I had my card in hand but my mood 😡 was somewhat sour at the delayed departure as we headed out of town. And up a killer hill for three city blocks. But wait, I misread the map and overshot the turn by one block of unneccessary climbing. More thumb throbbing. And ACA took us on a tour of the countryside for 5 miles of sharp little hills which could have been accomplished in 3.5 miles on WA 20 without the hill drama.

And so, on to WA 20 where the post-Sherman Pass glow dimmed with realization we had 35 miles of climbing with three places which gave back considerable elevation. Settling into a pedalling groove, Scott's thumb throbbing subsided while Jackie's increased as she dealt with increasing seat discomfort. 😫

The ride was beautiful as we followed the Little Pend Oreille River upstream. Superb road surface the first half of the ride and very good surface after that, good shoulder or turnouts the whole way. Surprisingly little wildlife on this little-traveled road which for many miles skirts a National Wildlife Refuge in the river bottom.

The ever elusive summit finally appeared and we coasted 4 miles through rain showers down to the junction with WA 31 and the Pend Oreille River.

A stop in the bitty town of Ione, population 447 per Wikipedia though still larger than Ione, Oregon with 329 but considerably smaller than Ione California at 7928. The attraction of that town was much reduced when we learned its former name was Bedbug, but I digress. Ione, Washington revealed several drinking establishments and one recommended bar/cafe which had taco night. Tacos 🌮 and jalapeno poppers accompanied our burgers 🍔. With full stomachs we cruised the last half mile to Cedar RV campground where we quickly set up our tent in the continuing light sprinkles. In a surprising twist of fate, it turns out the host had seen us on Washington Pass the day before when we took his son to a T-ball game in Republic.

The campground was clean and tidy, the host welcoming and gracious. The shower and laundry room both had wall heaters, a real luxury. Showered, we settled into our warm sleeping bags and rewarded ourselves with an episode of Babylon in Berlin 💻 as the rain💧 🌧️showered outside. Thumb throbbing all gone. 💤

This is a great place to camp in an area with few options. A clean campground is definitely a better value than an over-priced and under-achieving motel.

Setting up camp at the Cedar RV Camground near Ione.
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We knew we had finally reached the top of the Cascade foothills east of Colville when we saw this sign.
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Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 606 miles (975 km)

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