A very cool part of bike touring is warmshowers.org. People who are often bike tourers themselves sign up to host bike travelers at their home. Amenities offered can be anything from tenting on the property to a room, shower, meals, etc. I contacted Jim and Christy Vollbrecht in Lewiston and they agreed to host us. They wanted to get a ride in and meet us on the way so they asked for our route. That was a good thing because Jim saved us from several miles of dirt road. Or so I thought. Stay tuned.
The Quality Inn offers shuttle service and I took advantage of that to get a ride to the Post Office and mail home the box of stuff we no longer feel like hauling. The free breakfast was great. I leaned towards the bacon, roasted potatoes, and a banana because you still want to eat healthy, right? And I snagged a couple packets of honey for my tea for the next time we camp out.
It was raining lightly when we left Pullman. Our bikes felt and were lighter so we were both feeling good about the day’s ride. The weather eased and it was warm so we shed our rain jackets. We headed out Johnson Road instead of taking Hwy 195. It would be just as scenic but with much less traffic. Four miles into it we hit a Pavement Ends sign. “Crap,” I thought. I just earned an entry in my permanent record and just might lose my Chief of Clueless Navigation title. But Kathy was cool with it. We checked the map and found a three-mile gravel route to take us to Hwy 195, which would be better on our butts than the eight miles of gravel that would take us to Colton, WA. That route turned out to be very pleasant both physically and visibly. Hwy 195 had very wide shoulders for us to ride on. We used the public bathroom in Colton but pressed on to Uniontown to eat lunch. We stopped at the Artisans at Dahmem Barn, which was closed, and had lunch. I texted Christy when we got back on the road She was going to ride up the Spiral Highway and meet us. It didn’t take us long to get to the top of the Spiral Highway. It wasn’t until then that I realized about 10 of our miles would be coasting down that road. Sweet!
While we were stopped at the scenic overlook at the top of the Spiral Highway, a couple of elderly people pulled up and got out and we became acquainted with Charles and Camilla (their claim to royalty is in name only) Wolff of Everett, WA. Charles is one of those characters, much like Rudy in Rosalia, whom you never forget once you meet them. Always sharing a joke and making everyone smile and wish they could be like him. He and Camilla both lost their spouses years ago and they’d been married 29 years. Camilla said he was chasing her, living up to the “wolf” in his last name. Charles countered that Camilla ran just fast enough to get caught. How wonderful it was to see them look at each other with so much love.
I got a text from Christy that she was halfway up the highway so we started coasting down. Kathy and I both loved the long freewheeling ride. We stopped when we ran into Christy and she guided us to her house. Jim, who’d been busy most of the day replacing the sink and vanity because the ancient plumbing had given up the ghost, was there to welcome us. I cleaned up the chains on both our bikes and got rid of all the grit from the wet gravel roads while Jim and Christy left us to go take care of matters with a family member. They showed back up not long after Kathy and I both had our showers. For our first Warmshowers hosts, Jim and Christy set the bar super high. They were very welcoming, made an amazing dinner, provided some primo wine. Yes, more than one bottle–and they’ll probably laugh if I mention the one wine that tasted way better than it smelled. We did at the time. Regardless, no wine went to waste and we all had a great time telling stories and sharing our lives. What a shame we had to call it a night. Both of them get up at 4-something in the morning to go swimming. They told us we could sleep in. I think so!
In the morning, Kathy and I will look at tomorrow’s travel plans. Looks like a lot of climbing is ahead of us.
Kathy – It was a good day. Cloudy with temps in the mid 70’s. 41-mile ride with 1200 feet of elevation from Pullman, Washington to Lewiston, Idaho. Yippee, we entered our 2nd state! We had some climbing but nothing too bad. The best part of the ride was the 10-mile ride down The Old Spiral Highway into Lewiston. Magnificent views and a great ending to our ride. It was wonderful to meet Christy and Jim who made our 1st Warm Showers experience an excellent experience. They not only fed and watered us (including wine) but they also gave us great advice on our travel plans. Outstanding people, we are thankful for their hospitality.