Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 59 - Colville to Kettle Falls, WA

Miles biked today: 14
Total miles to date: 2976
Other cyclists: 0 (it is funny when you sit in a coffee shop all day how few cyclists you see)

I woke up to a bustling house of kids getting ready for school, Angie making homemade pancakes and Dennis preparing to work the hay. After breakfast the black clouds began delivering water to the much needed dry land. I, on the other hand, did not need a load of rain, thunder and lightning on one of my biggest climbing days of the trip. I opted for a lay over day so Angie and I went downtown to the Talk n Coffee local shop. After a bit of time Angie went back home and I stayed. In fact, I stayed ALL DAY at the same coffee shop. The only time I left was to go to the library and to grab lunch. Not only did I befriend Scott the owner, I also got to know pretty much the entire town of Colville and all of the small town drama that goes along with it. Scott, the 29 year old owner of the coffee shop, knew the name of every single person who walked in the door. People would come into his shop and instantly feel welcome and would dump their stories onto Scott. I think he should have been paid as the town's therapist.

I arrived at the coffee shop at 9:00am and I finally left at 4:30pm. I met a local character by the name of Doug and after a long conversation and mentioning I did not have a place to stay in Kettle Falls, he offered up his couch for the evening. Before I left I gave some business advice to Scott as you can see in the photo. I also learned from a billboard as I pedaled from one small town to the next that "Marriage is good for your finances." Soon after seeing this billboard a truck pulls off the road in front of me. A young woman stepped out of the truck and held up a familiar looking blue rain jacket. She had just left the coffee shop and was on her way to Kettle Falls so Scott (the owner of Coffee n' Talk) asked her to deliver the jacket the forgotten jacket to the girl cycling to Kettle Falls. Karma must have been on my side!

After 14 miles of biking Doug (my host for the evening) appeared and asked if I was ready for a lift to his house. I did have a long, tough day of sitting in the coffee shop, so somehow I figured I deserved a 4 mile ride up the gravel road to his place.

Doug is one of the most fascinating characters I have met on this trip, not to mention somewhat of my hero, and deserves a quick blurb here. Doug is a semi-retired bee keeper and his work has taken him all over the world. He has converted his bee keeping barn into his home and lives on the property free of rent as a caretaker of the land (owned by Steve). Doug told me stories all night about his work and travels. He was a peace corps volunteer in Jamaica and also worked in foreign countries hired by the US government to train bee keepers. When he travels he picks a country, has no agenda or plan and when he arrives he looks up in the yellow pages the local bee keepers and makes his way around the country teaching others and helping out with the bee farms. That night I cooked him dinner (coconut curry - my favorite dish of the whole trip) and the owner of the property stopped by randomly. He ended up joining us for dinner. Interestingly Steve has traveled very little and worked as a college professor his entire life. Steve gave much appreciation for the dinner and company - I can imagine this was one of his most exciting nights of his week. After Steve left Doug and I had to fight going to sleep because we wanted to share stories all night and ask each other a million questions. Yet another kindred spirit.

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