May 21st- Day 4
Grand Coulee, WA -> Spokane, WA
Waking up after my first century rid) in my 8 years of cycling, the last thing I wanted to do was get back on the bike for another long day of riding. The night before our gracious hosts, Ron and Corin Hunter, told us that we had a large hill in front of us for the beginning of our ride, and they definitely were not lying. Though the first 9 miles contained nearly 1,100 feet of elevation, as riders we bonded over fun conversations and collective pain. After topping out on the first section of our ride, we all pushed through until lunch and stopped in Davenport, Montana. At a small town diner called Edna’s we all grabbed lunch, sharing a little bit about the Cause and were blown away by the willingness of one of the workers, without hesitation, to pull out her wallet and gave us all of the money in her wallet. We left not long after, and kept pushing with the hope of a long rest day in Spokane with the wonderful Heidinger family in mind. Though at first the idea of riding straight to the Heidinger’s front door sounded like a great idea, as we turned onto Maple street a large hill loomed before us, and we instantly regretted that decision. It seems that Shale forgot to mention that she lived at the top of the largest hill in Spokane. Thanks Shale. Anyway, we crawled our way to the house and found the beautiful home complete with Mrs. Heidinger joyfully greeting us at the front door. Shale’s family welcomed us with open arms and lots of delicious fresh food, definitely some of the best food we had all trip. After we all got settled there was some time to clean our bikes and slack line with Aaron. Being at the Heidingers was a breath of fresh air and gave us all some time to decompress and realize that we had begun our 50 day life changing journey.
May 22nd- Day 5
Spokane, WA: Rest Day
We took a much needed rest day in Spokane, and it started off perfectly with Mrs. Heidinger’s fantastic stuffed blueberry french toast and steel-cut oatmeal. Our plan for the day was simple – we were going to hang out at Wheel Sport (a bike shop not too far from the Heidinger’s residence) to sell t shirts and talk to local cyclists about our trip, and then rest for the remainder of the day. We set up our table with t shirts, stickers, and business cards, and wound up having some great conversations with locals coming and going from the bike shop. When we left Wheel Sport, the team decided as a team that what we needed the most was good coffee – we stopped in at Revel 77 Coffee and had the chance to speak with the owner, who was excited about our cause and hooked us up with some incredible cold brew. Aaron browsed the coffee bean selection and found a roaster based out of Sandpoint, ID (Evans Brothers) which was our next destination. We called Evans Brothers, told them about our cause, and they insisted that we stopped by on our way out of Sandpoint on Wednesday. After hanging out at Revel 77 for a while, we headed back to the Heidinger household and they had more incredible food waiting for us – I don’t think I’ve ever had tacos as excellent as those. After dinner, Elijah, Andrew, and I drove around Spokane to drop Ride For Water business cards off at other local bike shops – I’m used to businesses being open until 9-10pm every night, but in Spokane it seems like every business closes at 5! When the three of us got back home, we found the rest of the team watching Jeopardy on TV, which reminded me of watching Jeopardy after dinner with my family. The six of us got HEAVILY invested into the show, and even got to the point where we were screaming at the TV, it was absolutely hilarious. After that, the riders decided to take ice baths to sooth their aching legs while Aaron and I cleaned the van outside. While cleaning out crushed Goldfish crackers from the floor runners in the van, I heard Dimitri scream from inside the house, and the scream was immediately followed by Scotty’s roaring laughter – Aaron and I looked at each other and knew what Dimitri was screaming about: the immediate cold shock of entering an ice bath. The team slept together in the attic of the Heidinger’s house, and laughed at each other until we fell asleep. It was a productive day, featuring french toast, t shirt sales, Jeopardy, and meaningful conversations – a day we all needed before heading to Idaho.
– John Christiansen
May 23rd- Day 6
Spokane, WA -> Sandpoint, ID
After a long and much needed rest day with the wonderful Heidinger family, to be completely honest it was hard to get back on the road on our way to Idaho. Our time in Spokane can be summed up with meaningful conversations, ridiculous amounts of homemade food, and really good coffee. The ride to Sandpoint was around 85 miles of rolling hills, crosswinds and slim highway shoulders. By the time we got to Sandpoint, we were exhausted, but the view was well worth it. Our amazing drivers John and Aaron were able to get us rooms at a Days Inn which just happened to be conveniently located near a McDonald’s with $1.29 cones. I wish I could tell you my ride for the elusive $1 cone was a success, but unfortunately riding a bike while eating ice cream is just as difficult and just as messy as it sounds. In proper men’s team fashion, we ended another long day of riding with a night of YouTube streaming circa 2004 Jeopardy episodes and celebratory shouts with any correct answer we could come up with.
– Elijah Jerjerian
May 24th- Day 7
Sandpoint, ID -> Libby, MT
This morning we left Sandpoint, Idaho to head East towards Libby, Montana. We started off the day at Evans Brothers Coffee by checking out their coffee and talking to the people there about the Cause. Before even walking in to the shop, we met a fellow cyclist who had ridden across the country several times. Having done the ride for both sport and recreation, he was able to give us much need insight into the ride, shared a few stories, and was very excited to hear about our ride! After solidifying a few details for the day, we set off for Montana which would be our 3rd state in as many days. The ride towards the state-line was gorgeous. Large lakes and untouched land made the views extraordinary. We were blessed with warm weather, but had to fight through some nasty headwinds throughout the day. The weather changed from a warm and windy day to scattered showers, clouds, and more wind. Just as the weather started to turn, we powered through to Libby, ending the the day just shy of 100 miles. It was a longer and tougher day than we had expected, but it’s the little things like the free cookies at the deli in Noxon that made the day just as memorable as the rest. A journey as long as this one deserves those sweet little memories. Tonight, we’re staying at Libby Christian Church and we’re thankful for their hospitality, showers, and their spare Mountain Dew.
– Dimitri Morris