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

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.