The Trans-America Challenge 2012
7th May - 8th June 2012
Coeur d'Alene to Osoyoos
MAY 25TH, 2012
A tale of two cities. Both of them on a lake.
Coeur d'Alene was as beautiful in the morning as she was the night before; and you can't say that about many things. So we polished off a great breakfast in the restaurant - overlooking the lake, packed our bags and set off for Canada, out of Idaho and through Washington State.
After a swift passage Westwards down the 90, through the town of Spokane and a cross country romp through the Huckleberry Mountains we took the Gifford Ferry across the Columbia River. Remarkably, in this day and age, this is a free service run by the community. Without it the drive around and over would add hours to the journey so it's a big thank you from all of us to the good folks who pay for it. From the landing stage on the aptly named Ferry County side, the West Bank, it was 67 beautifully twisting miles to the town of Republic and the lunch halt TC which was at the Mexican themed Esther's cafe.
While we waited for some of the crews to arrive we took the opportunity to walk down Main Street (Clarke Avenue actually) and paid a visit to Hardings Hardware. There's not a lot that you can't buy in a shop like this. We came away with a new clipboard, a paintbrush and ever the optimist, a can of bear repellent just in case we were to see one and it showed more than a healthy interest in us. Missy, the proprietor was delighted to see us and she, along with some customers, was very keen to hear of our adventures thus far and reckoned that the bear spray was a darned good idea.
With lunch done and dusted then it was on the the regularity sections and that tricky business of juggling speed and distance. Unlike yesterday though we were now out of the woods and into the low hills that form the Okanogan Forest. The track was a good one, wide, well made and well maintained. But it was still very tricky to hit the target time and when Hans Middleberg and Jurgen Grolman from Car 36 arrived they punched the air with joy when they were told that they'd 'cleaned' the section i.e. had arrived at the precisely the right time. We learned later that they'd actually cleaned both of the afternoons sections. A remarkable feat.
After the regularities we crossed quickly and efficiently into Canada through a quiet little border post only a couple of miles from the hotel in the town of Osoyoos which claims Canada's warmest welcome and, as soon as room keys had been collected many crews were found down in the garage busy fretting and fixing including David Roberts whose transmission parts for the Triumph had finally arrived. The interior was quickly stripped out with the transmission fully exposed. David worked up top while Andy Inskip worked below. Keith Ashworth was found sawing and cutting bits of radiator hose to see if he could improve the cooling situation his Mercedes seems to suffer with. Werner Esch and Patrick Fisbach from the other Mercedes (car 20) were under the bonnet of the white Jaguar XK120 of Bernard and Philippe Irthum but there were only minor problems to sort out here.
There was one mechanical incident out on he road however but not a serious one and the resourceful Hans Erik Rhodius and Sabine Letzer from the Escort stopped in Tonasket just after lunch to have a wheel bearing changed.
Before dinner we sat down for drinks, Osoyoos is a well known wine producing region and then we dined al fresco- overlooking the lake.
Tomorrow is a rest day and as we're on a lake the choices include a day of watersports or motorboating.