This is our third day in Spokane, Washington. It’s a bigger city than I thought!
We’ve been staying with John and Leah, who have also cycle toured (in Australia and New Zealand!) and have been really welcoming. They even picked us up when we arrived in the outskirts of town, which seem to consist of the worst kind of suburbs. (They did, however, have a Taco Time, which is a favorite of both me and Shawn.)
Biking around Spokane has helped me realize how spoiled we are in Portland. There are plenty of roads marked as bike routes on the city map, but most of them don’t have bike lanes, and the traffic is often pretty fast–as if Grand or MLK in Portland were listed as a bike route. In addition, the road itself is pretty rough in most places, with many bumps and cracks and potholes, and a couple of roads that are still brick–or brick covered in asphalt that is missing in places. So cycling around town has been pretty stressful for me, and I end up constantly looking ahead of me for road conditions, and worrying about the car traffic, instead of trying to see any scenery! Which is too bad, as Spokane does have some scenery. Including a waterfall in the river going through downtown. Portland sure doesn’t have that.
Oh, and it’s kinda hilly, but whatever. Shawn and I keep joking that we’ll miss hills when we’re biking through the flat parts of the continent.
But we made our way to the local community bike shop yesterday: Pedals 2 People, (one of our hosts, John, works there part-time), where I did much of the work of overhauling my rear hub. Alas, it turns out I need a new rear axle, mine is slightly bent. They didn’t have any at the shop, but it’s not an emergency. I’ll try to get it replaced when we get to Missoula, I think. I got my hands nice and dirty, especially when I cleaned off my rims and sanded down my brake pads and cleaned my chain and cassette (the gears in the back). My chain was really disgusting, and it was new when we left Portland! Roads can be so gross.
Right now we’re at a store called Huckleberry’s, which not only has wi-fi in their cafe/deli, but also sells beer and wine that you’re allowed to drink right there. In Oregon that would be illegal! It feels very weird to openly drink beer in a grocery store’s deli seating.