Dust billows upwards as another logging truck careens past us. I pull my handkerchief up over my nose and mouth as I hit the wall of dust it leaves behind. Ahead, I see a glimmer, and I realize that the sun is reflecting off of glass- the windshield of a second logging truck. I wonder if he can see us through the cloud of dust left by the first truck. At the last moment, he must spot us, because he swerves right to give us some room.
Day two is significantly harder than day one. The sun beats down on our backs, and a slurry of sweat and sunscreen drips down our faces and into our eyes. These are wide logging roads with no shade for respite from the midday sun, and the grandiose mountains of the prior day have dropped out of sight, replaced by rolling hills covered in tall, straight pine trees.
The day started out wonderfully. Still riding a high from the previous day, we opened our tent door in the morning to see sunlight glinting through pines (cool picture if I ever get my phone to work again). White seeds drifted through the air and covered the ground like a summer snow (cool picture if I ever get my phone to work again). On our way through Hinton, we stopped at a convenience store for our first ice cream of the trip – thanks, MBW! 😉
We also rode by a neat bicycle park, where we met a local rider. There were lots of trails and jumps and practice obstacles (cool picture if I ever get my phone to work again). The rider explained that the bike park was designed by Norco rider Jay Hoots.
After that, though, the day worsened. We learned to wear our bandannas over our noses and mouths to filter some of the dust out of the air we breathed, like cowboys on our mechanical steeds.
Chris had calculated that we should do around 45 miles a day to reach Eureka, Montana in a few weeks, where my parents would meet us. Accordingly, after riding 45 miles, we started to look for a spot to put up our tent for the night. We had a tiny bit of cell service, and Google Maps showed a town a few kilometers ahead – Coalspur. When we got there, though, there was nothing – just a bend in the road. Below the road, though, the Embarras River wound and gurgled along. I had told Chris, “As long as there is water nearby for me to rinse away the sweat and grime, I’m happy camping anywhere.” With this criteria satisfied, we made our way down the steep embankment to pitch our tent.
It didn’t take long for the bugs to find us, and we scurried to rinse off and to get inside the tent before every inch of exposed skin was covered in bites.
We were very grateful for our Grayl water filter (thanks, Casey!), because we were nearly out of water. While we had the GPS track for this section, we did not have the paper map, and so we had no idea where we would find services. It turned out that they were few and far between!