We climbed the ridiculously steep hill from the Grand Coulee Dam up to breakfast. I passed the Dread Pirate Roberts on the way. At breakfast he said, “I want to be you when I’m 69.” That was one of the nicest things anyone has said to me. When I’m old, I want to be Martin Vanderhof.

After an early climb we settled onto a plateau at about 2500 feet. We escaped the Cascade Mountains rain shadow and entered grasslands, which eventually gave way to pine forest before we arrived in Spokane. The route was lengthened from the original plan to send us through the pine forest and a state park – definitely worth it! Pine forest is one of my favorite smells and I sang a Kate Wolf song with the line “Sweet smell the pines, Tall western cedars”.

103 miles flew by in a little over 6 hours – all credit goes to the tailwinds, not to me. The days of free wi-if seem to have come to an end. I’m going to upload photos anyway.

The song for the day
A community building with no sign of a community
Espresso break, mile 25 of 109 (yesterday). Riders from Bosnia, Australia, UK, US.
Columbia River – yesterday it was overflowing its banks and we rode in it.

At mile 100 we reached Deadman Hill. After 100 miles, this was utterly cruel. As I passed another rider, I said as much before I realized he was a local and not one of us. He had a beautiful jersey with the album cover art from the Grateful Dead album “Aoxomoxoa” (a meaningless palindrome).

After setting up camp I made my way to a local pub for a lager from Montana. It hit the spot. When the bartender offered another, I demurred, not sure if I’d be able to walk out after 2 beers and 212 miles in 2 days.

Tomorrow we cross the state line into Idaho!

Night falls on Camp Cycle America, Spokane, WA