After a warm night at the post office we woke up early. Don had checked the timing of the post office and discovered that they would open up at 7:30 am. By about 6 ish we started to pack up and suddenly people started to come in to operate their post boxes. We quickly left and went down to the gas station. After a quick cup of coffee and a little breakfast we headed towards New Meadows. The plan for the day was to ride till Grangeville which was after a really steep climb at White Bird. The ride to New Meadows was super long. Even though it was only 30 miles away it took forever. Stopped a couple of times on the way to have a couple of smokes. Finally rolled into town at about 12 just in time for lunch.
Slowly riding towards town
Even though the town was super small they had a subway. Sat outside and ate lunch. Made the choice to drink a coke rather than get coffee. Super sleepy after that. Our next stop would be Riggins and most likely we would get their in the evening. We quickly started to ride towards Riggins. I could barely stay awake. Was super hard to stay on the bike. Sat down a couple of times on the way trying to take a nap on the side of the road. Once i even fell asleep on the bike. Finally got to a picnic spot which had super green grass. Took a 20 min power nap. back on the bike and quickly biked to Riggins.
The town of Riggins is a small tourist town known for its Salmon. Years ago people came to town because of the mines but the mines now have all closed. You can see some of the mines as you pass by. Some of the entrances are blocked out but a couple of them are open for you to get a sneak peek. The town has a couple of stores and restaurants. We stopped for a quick evening snack and coffee. Don had carried a mug with him from home which he used to fill coffee into. Refills are cheaper than getting a cup. Unfortunately i did not have a way to store one of those cups on my bike else would have saved some money too.
Town of Riggins
After coffee we started to ride towards White bird. Thankfully the road wasn’t uphill. A steady downhill of sorts that went along a river. Unfortunately even though the road was great and we dint have any headwinds there were lots of logging trucks that would pass us at high speeds. Only once did a truck get close by, he missed me by a few inches. Stopped on the way to look at the abandoned mines. Spent a few mins explore the inside of these stinky, bat smelling mines. We had to ride a little faster in order to get to the town before it got dark. Finally we reached the town of White bird. Asked for directions to the center of town and discovered that center of town was basically 50 ft in length.
On the way to White Bird . The Caves where mining used to happen are on the right.
The town of White Bird with a population of 91 has a bar called the Silver Dollar , a grocery store and 4 churches. I wanted a cup of coffee and went to the bar to see if they had any. Don went to the church to see if they would let us stay there. I ran into Ben who was also racing at the bar. He had lost his bike at Eugene when he had stepped into a Safeway for a minute leaving the bike outside. He had managed to get his bike back but none of his gear. We were at Vida when he lost his bike and even though we were close by we couldn’t have helped. It was super nice to see him back riding again. The last few days had been stressful for him. We sat down for a drink and chill. Don found a place for us to stay at a church. The fellowship hall was open and nobody was around to give permission but the neighbor said it was ok for us to sleep there. I quickly dropped my bike off at the church and came back to chill with Ben. He had ridden about 130 miles and had stopped at Whitebird for the day. He dint want to make the climb in the evening and preferred to make it in the morning. The bar in town has been around for about 70 years old and has been in the family throughout. The owner of the bar passed away and her daughter inherited it. When Bill our bartender retired and moved back into town he was asked to run it till they could figure out what to do with it. Bill who is retired from the National Guard and was a firefighter. He had moved to Spokane and after retirement come back home. Considering its the only bar in town and tourists visit often they still kept their prices super low. A cup of coffee including unlimited refills was 50 cents and popcorn a dollar. Ben discovered that Black label was 4$ and had a couple of them. The Silver Dollar Bar with Ben on the right sitting on the bar stool
Lovely little bar in town and the conversation with the bar tender was amazing. The only drawback is AT&T had no cell reception. Verizon barely had network too. Stayed and chatted with Ben for a while before heading to the library to mooch off the free wifi. Made a couple of calls home and sent out a few messages before going back to the church.
Coffee in the morning would be at 7 am since the bar opened at 7. Turns out Don had found the coffee pot in the church and we could have coffee for free when we woke up. Setup our beds for the night and locked the door behind us just incase someone wanted to come in without permission. its just brilliant that we could stay warm another night and we dint have to camp in the cold. I started to wonder that if bringing a tent was unnecessary. A sleeping bag was a good thing but a tent seems excessive at least so far.
Lesson for the day : Bars serve coffee.
Up next : Day 12, White bird to Lowell