DAY 67 (8/16/05): Lewiston, ID to Lyon's Ferry, WA 72.3 mi. I got off to a slo w start this morning, reluctant to leave the air-conditioned comfort of the mot el behind. Eventually I wrenched myself free and rode across the Columbia rive r into Washington (the evergreen state) and into the city of Clarkton. History quiz: can you name the pair of explorers for whom the adjacent cities of Lewis ton and Clarkton were named? After leaving this pair of cities behind, I conti nued to ride through the scorchingly hot, dry Snake River canyon, admiring the strange vulcanic rock formations in the canyon walls. After leaving the canyon at last I emerged into yet more desert: hills covered with dry grass and sageb rush as far as I could see. So much for this being the evergreen state! I sto pped for water in the tiny town of Starbuck and the rode up hill against the wi nd through the desert to the even smaller town of Lyon's Ferry. The town consi sts entirely of a marina and the associated shop, gas station, and campground. The only other people at the campground were a group of a dozen or so men working for the Union-Pacific Railroad, repa iring a huge rail bridge over the Snake that could be seen from the campground. They were all very friendly and we had a nice chat about bikes and railroads. The guys come from all over the west to work on these rail jobs and stay at t he job site for 8 days and then return home for 7, so they basically live out o f their cars most of the time. U-P gives them a housing allowance which they c an spend as they see fit, so a lot of them camp in the summer to save the money . Also, there isn't a motel or anything anywhere within 50 mi of here and the have to be at the jobsite at 5am. It was fun to talk to them about my trip sin ce I had traveled through many of their home states, and in some cases knew the geography of those states better than the people who lived there! DAY 68 (8/17/05): Lyon's Ferry to Moses Lake, WA 97.5 mi. It's amazing much th e weather can change overnight in the desert. When I woke up this morning, it was quite overcast and in the mid 50's, as compared to the brutal sun and mid 9 0's of yesterday. Shortly after I started riding (a series of very steep twist ing climbs through the desert hills), it began to rain quite hard, and I stoppe d to put on my rain pants and jacket. The desert smells like a big wet sheep w hen it rains. I stopped to warm up and have a cappucino in Washtunca, and then rode a lot of flat desert miles towards Moses Lake. The big highlight of this ride was the appearance of the county sherrif, who was driving very slowly and somewhat erratically along the road, his lights flashing. I pulled over to ge t out of the way and then realized what he was doing: there was a stray cow wan dering along the roadside, and he was using his car to try and keep her off the road and get her back through a gap in the fence onto the range land where she belonged. This is law enforcement in e astern WA. Eventually the desert gave way to farmland and I rode through wheat and alfalfa fields to Moses Lake. I think this area is what is known as an ex urb--a suburban looking area that isn't attatched to a city. It had a represen tative of every major chain you would care to name along the main drag through town. I made my way out to a pretty nice campground on a lake, which was close enough to the county fair that I could hear the announcer's voice over the lou dspeakers until quite late at night. DAY 69 (8/18/05): Moses Lake to Bridgeport, WA 88.8 mi. This morning, I gor up and turned on my Blackberry to check for messages, and was instead greeted by an error icon and numeric error code. Unable to get past that screen, I road 3 0mi to the town of Soap Lake and went to the library to get online. I consulte d with Google and learned that the error meant that my Blackberry had spontaneo usly erased its own operating system. Joy. Unable to take any corrective acti on, I stowed the useless device and kept riding. Soap Lake (and Blue Lake and Alkali lake) are all part of what is known as the Coulee Corridor. A coulee is defined as a deep gulch or ravine, and seems to be paricular to the Western US . I rode along the bottom of the coulee system along a series of lakes that lo ok arificially blue and that are not fresh water, being a bit basic and salty. Because of this, there aren't really any plants or anything along their shores , just rocks and salt deposits. There are lots of little resorts for people who want to soak in the 'healing waters,' though. To leave the coulee system I of course had to climb out of it, and the n I did another series of steep desert rollers. Finally I traveled through som e wheat fields that were smooth except for the occassional lava formation raisi ng its jagged head from amoungst the waving grain. The town of Bridgeport is r ight on the Columbia river, and the population seems to be about 80% Mexican an d 90% male. I assume most of the people here work in all of the surrounding or chards, which at the moment are full of ripe peaches, plums, and apples. The c ampground right by the river was very nice, although the fact that everything t hat could theoretically be mover was bolted down. The campground hostess was v ery nice to me and unlocked the shower building on my behalf. As we walked ove r there, she said, "so, you're not from here are ya?". The fact that she said t his with a Scottish accent so thick that I could barely understand her didn't seem to strike her as the least b it ironic. Incidentally, today I crossed the 5,000 mi mark of my little journe y. DAY 70 (8/19/05): Bridgeport to Twisp, WA 72.8 mi. This morning I rode through the Columbia river valley to the town of Brewster, which has basically the sam e demographics as Bridgeport. There, I found a payphone and called T-mobile an d sat on hold for a long time, much to the amusement of all the guys driving by on their way to the orchards. After talking to two different entirely useless customer service reps, I continued to make my way north to the North Cascades highway (WA-20) via the small town of Malott. After a significant lunch in Mal ott, I began climbing the first of three passes in the Cascades: Loup Loup Pass . This pass was much tougher than I expected, being 3000 or so ft of pretty st eep ascent. At last, though, I was surrounded by the evergreen trees for which WA is known. The descent off the pass was just as steep as the climb, and jus t as long--I lost just about every foot that I climbed on the way into Twisp (o ne of my favorite town names so far). Once I got there I was pretty pooped from the heat and the climb, so I ate a lot and then went to bed early.