Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour
Day 12 - Friday, June 29, 2001
After getting out of the US 2/95 logjam in Sandpoint, it was smooth sailing on Highway 200 eastbound, which would get me to Missoula, Montana in a few days, where I could rejoin my original planned route.
Highway 200 has some nice views of Lake Pend Oreille before it breaks off to follow the Clark Fork River. Just outside of Hope, with the lake to my right and the train tracks to my left, I saw two cyclists on a road high up on the hill to my left. They must have been on the old highway, since it eventually rejoined the road I was on. I rode with them to the town of Clark Fork. They are a husband and wife that live in the town of Hope during the summer. I got some routing advice from them about taking parts of the old highway as an even more scenic alternative to the already scenic highway 200.
After lunch in Clark Fork, I turned off the main highway to pick up the alternate route. There was a one lane bridge with wooden planks (speed limit 5 mph) that I had to cross to get to the other side of the river. And then I pretty much had the road all to myself, with nice scenery - with a couple of hills thrown in for good measure - certainly a great alternate route, highly recommended!
I could have taken the road all the way to Noxon and Trout Creek, but the road becomes dirt at that point, so I instead headed back to the main road just before Heron. Since I was on the alternate route, I didn't get any signs welcoming me to Montana, but I turned my watch ahead one hour anyway.
I could have pushed on to Thompson Falls, 21 miles away, but I instead decided to stop at a primitive forest service campground just two miles north of Trout Creek. Despite arriving there fairly early, I didn't have time to write my trip report - I spent the night first talking to the campground hosts, then talking to a guy named Jerry who happened to have some cold beers in his van.
Jerry is a photographer who is driving around taking pictures of western ghost towns. He used to do prints, but apparently the money is in postcards instead - nobody buys prints, everybody buys postcards. He was originally at a campsite on the opposite end of the campground, but when two guys, their wives, six children, and two dogs set up in the site next to him, he packed up and moved near me.
About an hour later we saw the two guys driving off in the pickup truck. They looked like pretty rough characters. They were honking their horn as they were driving off to the highway. We figured that they were going on a beer run, and that it was going to be a noisy night in camp. But they never returned - maybe they went to the casino instead?