After a quick breakfast I left Kathy and Justin in camp and headed on down the river. This part of the AC route is on a back road across the river from 20. Very pleasant, fairly flat, and little traffic. I crossed over the river at Usk and had a very good breakfast at an Indian bar/restaurant. Then I crossed back and continued on the AC route to Oldtown and Newport. I stopped for a milkshake (this was to become my favorite snack food) and went on toward Idaho. The AC route instructions are not good here. I made the right turn, but I wasn't sure that I had. I later learned than Kathy and Justin missed that turn.
The riding was pretty good till after Priest River, when, as the route approaches Sandpoint, the road surface degenerates badly. It has patches on patches on patches. They are poorly done and result in an almost continuous series of small sharp bumps. I was miserable with my broken collarbone. At the time, I wished that I had ridden highway 2 instead, but I later found out that 2 going into Sandpoint was very dangerous. The AC route goes into Sandpoint on a bike path, no problem. It also goes by Round Lake State Park where I stopped for a break; a very good place to camp but I wasn't ready to stop. Shortly before the Park, there was an eagles nest on top of a phone pole. The mother and chicks were there as I rode by. Nice.
I stopped for a late lunch at a restaurant on the bike path just before it crossed the lake. On the other side of the lake I met two young (18?) girls who were riding across the country together. Like most of the riders I met on this ride, they had no touring experience. I later learned that they had been on TV that day. Not a bright thing for two young girls to do; the TV exposure, not the tour.
Although getting into Sandpoint was easy, getting out was not. Construction and bad traffic made it unpleasant and I was very happy to get out of town. The ride along the lake on the east side of Sandpoint was great. I stopped some 20 miles down the road for desert. From a phone outside the restaurant I called the Diamond T Ranch which is listed as a hostel in the AC route guide. The woman who answered the call asked if I was cyclist (I think the Diamond T is only a hostel for cyclists) and then told me I could have cabin for $10 if I provided my own bedding and towel. It was another 20 miles to the ranch, including a ride across a single lane, wood paved bridge that was several hundred feet long. It was a beautiful ride with great views, lots of birds, and the lake surrounded by mountains. The Diamond T Ranch is lovely: I stayed in a cabin that could sleep six, complete with full kitchen, located in beautiful and peaceful surroundings. By far the best housing value of the tour. 105 miles and too much traffic today.
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