July 23: Ione to Kettle Falls, Washington - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

July 23: Ione to Kettle Falls, Washington

THERE WAS COFFEE waiting for us again this morning. And a big send-off. Cedar RV park is the friendliest and happiest place we have spent the night. Gabe, who runs it with his wife, worked for decades in a lab in California. When that got too much they started anew, looked around campgrounds and settled in Ione. It wasn't that much of a place when they took over but everything that has happened since, and a lot has, is the work of Gabe's hands.

"It'd be good to have more cyclists staying with us," he said. "I've found out all about Adventure Cycling and the Northern Tier and I want to get my hands on the maps."

Our route this morning took us in sunshine back through the town, on past the bridge we crossed with such relief yesterday afternoon, and along the other bank of the river. Then it turned right and began to climb. It climbed past an ominous yellow notice warning cyclists of narrow shoulders and plenty of logging trucks for the next 36 miles. Like Mark Twain's death, it was greatly exaggerated. The road was smooth and well engineered, the shoulders fine and the traffic light. I think there may have been three trucks of logs and the drivers were as courteous as we could hope.

The climb isn't hard. It's wearing, yes, but it's not demanding. And the summit brings the great news that almost all the rest is downhill. We'll pay for that, of course, because the more we drop the more we have to climb to Sherman pass tomorrow. But let tomorrow fret for itself. Today we breezed on quiet roads through tall conifers that give Washington its name of evergreen state. We had lunch in the park in Colville, wound our way through town and left on a lane with a wall of brown rock on one side and a view across the fields the other way to the busy highway we were skirting.

All in all, it was an enjoyable day. It grew busier as the hours passed, of course, and the temperature rose. But after 90km we arrived in Kettle Falls in early afternoon and here we are in the library, cooling down and biding our time.

Happiness can be very simple.

AMERICAN FLAGS SEEN: 56

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