InReach

NWP/IDBDR Day #4

Miles Total: 514
Miles Today: 64

Up at 6a again today and had the same old breakfast before packing up to leave. I charged my InReach last night and noticed that the mount was loose when I put it back on the bike. So I opened up my fancy red tool tube, grabbed my tools and fixed it up. Unfortunately, this would not be the only time it was opened today…

There was a bit of mist on the lake this morning…grabbed a quick pic before we took off.

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We continued on dirt for a bit, passing through some active logging areas. There were a couple of spots where machinery had to pull over to let us by. Everyone was very nice about it.

Our first stop of the day was in the town of Northport. They had a very nice park along the Columbia river. They restrooms were well maintained and heated! There was nice grassy picnic area and a boat launch. We actually had cell phone service, so I gave my wife a quick call.

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After I hung up, a train came by…Later on, we caught up to this train again and I got some pretty cool 360 videos going along side.

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After the park, we grabbed some gas and started off toward Boundary Dam. Just after we passed the train, off in the distance, something big moved across the road in front of us. I’m 95% sure it was a bear – I tried to get some 360 video, but when I reviewed it on my phone I couldn’t make it out. Perhaps when I get home on a big monitor I’ll be able to tell. Not 5 minutes after that, there was a big grouse standing on the side of the road.

Eventually, we moved from pavement on to gravel again. The terrain was pretty straightforward and not very difficult at all. I was leading the way and came through a hairpin turn that was a little bit loose. I called back to my Dad on the intercom to see if he made it ok, just as he said he crashed. He wasn’t going very fast and was not hurt at all. I found a good spot to turn around and go help him lift the bike up. I had to take a picture before I helped lift…

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Well it turns out this was a blessing in disguise. After getting the bike up and resting for a bit, we tried to continue on our way. Immediately my dad started freaking out – his handlebars wouldn’t turn in one direction.  The issue – a couple of fasteners on his steering stabilizer had vibrated loose (it was a miracle he didn’t lose the fasteners). The crash had finally pushed it to the point of failure.

If you look at the picture below, the red piece moves with the handlebars, the black rods behind had shifted up to prevent things from rotating. If you look at the close one, you can actually see that the top is scuffed up. If this had happened at the wrong time, really bad things would result.

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Now the problem became tightening those fasteners. Normally they are tightened before the stabilizer is installed on the bike. There was no clearance to get a tool in on either side. After quite a bit of finagling, he got one side tightened up – the other side was just impossible, and was basically not threaded at all. There was so little clearance, the the fastener couldn’t even come out. So, we added a zip tie for insurance, and started toward the Boundary Dam campground. We figured at that point, I could run for tools to do a better fix, or call for extraction if needed.

Here is a pic of him on the side of the trail fighting with the fastener.

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We went very slow through the rest of the dirt section, which gave us an opportunity to chat about our options. We didn’t have the tools to do a proper fix (or did we…) for the stabilizer. The obvious solution – you can actually remove the red piece in the picture above, which essentially returns things to the stock configuration of the bike (my Dad added the stabilizer after his crash on the Dempster a few years ago).

We arrived at the campground and nailed down a spot in case we needed to spend the night. Then it was time to start taking apart the bike. Below, you can see the handlebars off and the stabilizer out.

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With the handlebars off, he tried to get access to the fastener that was still loose. After a long battle, he gave up and put everything back together. To fix the problem, you need to remove the large nut in the steering column – go back and look at the close-up picture of the dampener. The issue was that we didn’t have a tool big enough to take it off. Then it hit me – that nut looks like the same size as the axle nut on my bike, and I have a wrench to take the tires off with me. Sure enough, we gave it a try and it worked.

He really, really, really, really wants that stabilizer installed on the bike. He has had issues with head shake on the freeway when trucks pass by, and the dampener solves the problem. We decided to head into Sandpoint tomorrow and get a hotel room. We’ll take Sunday as a “rest” day, go to a store and get some loctite, and reinstall the stabilizer. It should also give us the opportunity to watch the Seahawks game.

It is about 100 miles to Sandpoint from our current location (at least following the path we are taking, we will complete the Northwest Passage). At this point it is getting to be later in the day, so we decide to camp here for the night.

I haven’t had a shower in 4 days, and my current clothes needed to be washed. So I decided it was a good time to jump in the lake and go swimming. On the way down, I noticed this sign.

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I’m not sure if I should be happy that there hasn’t been a cougar sighting in a couple of weeks, or worried because they have a semi-permanent sign to update the sightings.

Here I am in the lake.

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Here is our campsite.

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That’s about it for today!

NWP/IDBDR Day #2

Miles Total: 327
Miles Today: 122

Woke up a little before 6a this morning, just as it was getting light. Had my alarm set for 6, so I guess I didn’t need it. Since I had cell coverage, I surfed around on my phone for a bit before I actually climbed out of the hammock and made some breakfast.

Today’s breakfast consisted of high protein oatmeal, hot chocolate, and a Kind bar. This is going to be a theme throughout the trip because I brought the exact same thing for breakfast every single day! At some point, we may end up in a hotel and perhaps there will be a restaurant nearby for a change of pace.

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After I broke camp, I made my way down to the river to filter some water. It was a neat little river that was not that far away – made for some good white noise while falling asleep.

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Once the water was filtered, it was time to gear up and get ready to go. Then the first issue of the day struck…I continue to be zipper challenged – somehow I busted the zipper on my riding pants. Now, I’m not exactly sure why there is a zipper on the pants – the area behind the zipper is a piece of waterproof material. Anyhow, not a catastrophic failure, so we could continue on with the trip.

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I was ready to go a little earlier than my dad, and I spotted this squirrel that was going up and down a tree like crazy. It looked like he was collecting pine needles and moss to build a nest.

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As we cruised along, we would stop at some of the campgrounds for rest breaks. This works out nice because there is plenty of parking and a bathroom. It is always a good opportunity to take another picture of the bike! This is at the Tiffany Spring Campground.

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Today’s ride was about 40% dirt, 60% pavement. I had expected a bit more dirt today, but the paved sections were still really nice. Many cool views along the way – I took videos w/my 360fly, but I won’t process them until I get home. The dirt was pretty easy today – you would occasionally have to stand up for some ruts or short rocky sections. This picture is typical of the roads we were on.

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I would ride ahead of my dad a bit, I tend to ride a bit faster, plus it keeps the dust down for him. Periodically (usually at intersections), I would stop and let him catch up. This led to an opportunity to get an action shot.

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There were a few hunters out and about. Grouse is open and apparently it is archery season for deer and bear right now. At one of our campground stops (Long Swamp Campground), we chatted with an archery hunter who had just driven in.

When we stop for longer breaks, I take my 360fly off of it’s mount and put it in the charger. At this particular break, I dropped it as I was putting it back on the bike. Of course it landed lens down – there are a few chips along the edges, hopefully it doesn’t mess up the pictures too bad.

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On our way to Oroville, we cruised along the Similkameen River. It was a very cool road with great views of the river. There were a few boats that looked like they were dredging for gold – I wish I would have stopped and taken a picture. A small herd of deer crossed the road in front of us, hopefully I got them on the 360fly video – my Dad messed up his camera opportunity…We pulled into Oroville for some gas and to pick up some munchies and then cruised on down the street to this little park so we could sit down and eat lunch.

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My lunch plan is to pick up snacks at our gas stop every day. My Mom bought my Dad a bunch of cup-o-soup for his lunches, so he took our park stop as an opportunity to heat up some water and make lunch.

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While we were there, there were quail calling each other. I tracked down the source to the front of a house across the street from the park.

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We opted to skip the extra loop up to Molson so that we could get into camp early today. It turned out to be a good thing because it started to rain just after we got camp set up. Here is my Dad lounging around before things got wet.

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Here is the view from my hammock.

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It’s been raining for a solid hour so far. I did a weather request on my InReach and it sounds like it is going to clear up tonight. I have not had dinner yet, I’m writing up this blog entry to kill time waiting for the rain to stop. I suppose if the rain doesn’t stop soon, I’ll get hungry enough to go eat in the rain or make dinner under my tarp – don’t want to attract the bears though!