Less Climbing, More Talking

Today we pedaled 73 miles to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: 362 miles since Sunday morning.

We’ll share a little of today’s scenery.

Photos don’t convey the size of these cultivated fields. We saw tumbleweeds rolling and bouncing, just like in old cowboy movies, except the movie weeds were bigger.
A Union Pacific locomotive at the Inland Northwest Rail Museum.
The interior of the last Spokane trolley car.
A gray military plane. Colorful jets descended to the commercial airport a few miles away.
We saw espresso shacks in every Washington town.
Spokane River, seen from a Centennial Trail bridge.
A bit of the Trail. It winds through woods and fields, and past back yards. It’s smooth, quiet, safe. No motor traffic. There is a strong pine scent.

The real treat today was meeting local people. Jeffrey had long, rich conversations with all of them. Too much was said to convey more than a teaser. We were surprised at how much most of them already had thought about refugee issues, and how sympathetic they are.

Erik (L) and Kris (R) at the hardware store in Davenport. Kris spent years as a bicycle messenger in Seattle. He repeatedly was battered by cars, but unlike Jeffrey, broke no bones cycling. Yet.
Dale is a retired publisher who volunteers at the Inland Northwest Rail Museum.
Dale published this book.
L to R: Matthew, Joey, Joey’s joey, Gary, Preston. Gary, a Navy veteran and recently retired car upholsterer, called out to Jeffrey and gave him excellent route advice for our trip to Coeur d’Alene, where Gary was born. Matthew and Preston maintain a section of park in Spokane. All three are enthusiastic supporters of human rights for everyone and are new fans of the Ride.
Bob is a retired supplier of petroleum fuels. Carol retired as a public librarian in a small Montana town; she had an earlier career as a medical technician. We talked trikes and Montana and human rights.
Another trike fan! Ron (L) and Sandra (R) pointed out a flying osprey. They shake their heads in wonder at people who make a living from unauthorized immigrant workers at the same time they call for billions to be spent on a (demonstrably destructive and ineffective) border wall. Sandra was a real estate analyst before she became a third grade teacher. For a quarter century, Ron sat at the controls of the Grand Coulee Dam.
L to R: Natalie (a baker, B&B host, ski patroller, substitute teacher, and more), Candy (a grandmother and retired nurse), Karen (a grandmother and a farmer). Karen called out to Jeffrey, thinking that our keep-your-distance pool noodle was falling off our trike. (We deliberately set it 3 feet [1 meter] to the left.) The three friends are fascinated by the Ride, and appalled at our government’s cruelty and lawlessness (done in our names) that make the Ride necessary. We exchanged ideas and cycling advice for a long time.
Mark is a mechanical engineer. He gave us warnings and suggestions about the route into Montana. He’s holding one of our Human Rights First Ambassador cards. Jeffrey told him how much he admires mechanical engineers: they make actual things.
Bureaucratic inflexibility prevented us from renting a room where college student Kayley works. While waiting for computers to sort things out, Kayley told Jeffrey that northern Idaho was painfully homogeneous when she was growing up. She said people of different backgrounds are moving here, and she is all for it. Kayley is studying to become a high school teacher of art and English. She may take her skills elsewhere, at least for a while, for adventure and perspective. We understand. Adventure and perspective are part of the Rides.
Joan is sympathetic to refugees, and can’t bear to talk about a government that fights with itself rather than hammer out solutions. She’s holding one of our cards.
Mike moves around the country, from Minnesota to California to New Hampshire to Idaho. He used to work with software. Now he serves restaurant food, which gives him time to restore a 1980 Jeep. Mike wants us to follow our laws and the religions in which we say we believe, and hear the voices of those who want refuge.

Today’s unscientific sample suggests there is significant sympathy and empathy for the oppressed, even in this region that elects politicians who demonize putative refugees.

We guess some locals find this a plus.

We’re in the narrow neck of Idaho. We won’t be here long. But if all goes well, we’ll soon be back.

3 thoughts on “Less Climbing, More Talking

  1. 73 miles – impressive, Jeffrey! I’ll bet the ride goes easy on days like this, when you meet kindred spirits & friends along the way. Right on, my friend!!


  2. You are a remarkable man, Jeffrey, on a remarkable journey and we thanks you for sharing with us!!


Comments are closed.