Day 11: Goodbye, Washington. Hello, Idaho.

I spend the morning riding along the Pend Oreille River. The sunny forecast has been downgraded to mostly cloudy but the terrain is flat so I’m making good progress compared to recent days.

The name of the river and the county means “hangs from ear“ in French. Even without checking Wikipedia, it seems obvious that this is a reference to indigenous peoples coined by Canadian fur trappers. Sort of like Nez Percé (pierced nose). I’m betting their modern descendants are not thrilled with the name.

Some sun, some clouds, and a lot of the green tunnel of shade. All the tall trees along the sides of the road are a real pain in the neck.

Bear sighting! A juvenile black bear runs out into the road just ahead of me. We notice each other at the same time and he scampers back off into the woods. I don’t stick around to meet the rest of his family. The front camera just barely catches him him but I just started one of those hyperlapse/time lapse recordings so I only got a few frames. Frankly, I’ve seen pictures of the Loch Ness monster that were clearer.

Campgrounds along my path are starting to close for the season which is inconvenient because it’s often impossible to find out in advance. The phone numbers all go to canned recordings at some central office and the website links are often unhelpful in answering simple questions such as “Is the campground open right now?”

I get chased by dogs at four different locations along a country road. It’s been happening all through the trip but there has always been a fence. These guys all ran out into the road. No close calls, really, but I wonder how they’ve survived this long running out into traffic like that. Perhaps they don’t chase cars?

For years, I’ve been telling people who ask “How long does it take to charge?“ that I don’t need to stop to charge. Well, that was true until today. Due to the low sun angle, there are long stretches of road which are completely shaded and sunny islands along the way. I find myself taking extra long breaks in the sun to get some more juice into the battery to extend my range for the day.

Tomorrow will be mostly riding through Idaho and into Montana. I’m really hoping they’ve planted those famous potatoes on both sides of the road so I can finally get out of this green tunnel. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I’m pretty sure potato plants don’t grow this tall.

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