Thurs. June 26th Libby to Koocanusa Marina and Campground
394 total miles
3 hours 25 min
Av. speed 10.6
A day when we thought two rivers were the Kootenai. That's two other bodies of water, Libby Creek and the Fisher River. And a day that proves you are never too old to feel stupid.
We left Libby in rain so we suited up in our rain gear. Luckily it was cool so the rain gear didn't feel like a sauna suit. The warmth was appreciated. We started from Libby using the Adventure Cycling maps. It warned us at several points that the turns were onto roads that were unsigned. One of the turns was on Old Haul road, unsigned. Except the road had a sign "Jennings Haul Road". So that wouldn't be it, right? Besides it was on the wrong side of the river. So we followed a nice little bike path for a couple of miles until we got to Hwy. 2. Now that was wrong. We stopped at a nice little antique store and dripped on her furniture while she brought out some other maps to show us where we missed the turn. And that wasn't the Kootenai, it was Libby Creek (it looked bigger than a Midwest creek, everything must be bigger out west). And the Old Haul road now has a new sign and a new name. So now we had four extra miles.
Then we did some hills on that road. Not too bad, but Dave didn't feel like he had much energy. Don't know if that is some kind of side effect of the cortisone or not. But it flattened out and was really pleasant. No traffic at all on the road. Some potholes but they were easily avoided since they had circles painted around them. Cheaper than fixing them, I guess.
The second problem came when we misread the map again. AC warned us that the turn was unsigned. So we sailed right and headed down the unsigned road. Nice road surface, no traffic. However there were also no white stripes or any center markings. I kept thinking, wow this is a pretty rustic highway (Hwy. 37). But maybe out here in the west they have fewer people. ..But then I noticed the compass that I have mounted between my pedals, it showed we were going straight south, not northeast as planned. But we were next to a river that was flowing in the right direction. But again, it didn't look as big as the Kootenai...So we stopped and I showed Dave the compass which he did not want to believe. Maybe it's broken...Another compass, same problem.
Checked my InReach mapping app. We were a long way from any road that looked significant but the darn thing didn't label the roads!
So finally a logging truck came by and I flagged him down. Fisher River Road, which is basically a Forest Service Road. So back we went, up a hill and then luckily down a long grade. (Both of us marveled at how easily we had biked up that grade, must be getting in better shape). That added six more miles so we were at ten extra miles.
Finally up and over a bridge that we had seen and thought it went over the Kootenai. It didn't, it just went over some railroad tracks so we were still on the correct side of the river. Now we were on Hwy. 37 and it looked like a highway with white lines and center stripes and everything! There still wasn't much traffic but the road had signs labeling it as Hwy. 37. Imagine that.
We huffed up the first long hill but it got easier. We stopped at the overlook for Libby Dam. When they relocated Hwy. 37 during the building of the dam they miscalculated how deep to dig the rock face and that caused a land slide. It's called the "damn shame" slide. They've reinforced it with concrete beams and the have instruments to calculate any slippage of the rocks that are there. It's a bit freaky to bike next to it as the guard rails in places are bent and broken. Lots of instruments but I'm not sure if horns blow if the rocks are sliding...and what are you supposed to do at that point?
Well with our extra 10 miles we decided to stay at the Kookanusa Marina campground rather than a Forest Service campground about 14 more miles away. It's a nice facility with a restaurant on site. We'll have a longer ride to Eureka tomorrow but there aren't really other towns with camping along the way.
I called ahead to see if we can stay with a Warmshowers host in Eureka. She said there will be a big group but they have camping space in their back yard. Should be fun to see other bikers. Hope we don't overwhelm the family.
Dave was having problems with a cramp in his calf, like a hard knot. Don't know if that is anything to do with cortisone? Hope it goes away tonight.
I'm going to post this with no pictures as my photos were all done on the camera since it was raining and my phone was in a rain proof holder. I haven't transfered them to my Note yet. I'll post them separately later.