58.5 Miles / 222.79 Total Miles
3232 Ft. of Elevation Gain / 12,724 Ft. Total Elevation Gain
I was up late last night wrestling with WordPress and the pathetic wifi at the RV park, and finally, at 3 AM, I decided to throw in the towel on the whole blog. We’re going to be cycling through some pretty remote places until we get to Wisconsin, which is WAY out in the future, so wifi is going to be a problem for a LONG time! But this morning, it was a new day, and I kept mulling my frustration over, as I cycled, and I talked myself back into keeping the blog going. No clue how that will work. I really need sleep, and the blog is a killer of sleep and dreams..
We got up early and hit the road 10 minutes early, which is rare for me. There’s almost always something holding me up at the last second, but not today. As we left Riverside, we cycled through more ranch land with scorched earth hills as backdrops, then caught up to and rode along the Okanogan River, till we got to Tonasket.
Along the way, we had a sketchy dog encounter, that initially was a little scary. The dog was huge–part Great Dane and part something fluffy, and when he came bounding out toward us, with his deep husky bark, we were worried he would take us down. But he was like gigantic puppy: fluffy, and bouncy and cute. He ran along side us for quite a ways, then stopped and went home.
When we arrived in Tonasket, I was craving some chocolate milk, so wanted to make a quick stop at a grocery store that was right on our route. But when I went to park my bike, I noticed a fella wearing an American Legion hat,, and then I noticed that there was an American Legion post next to the grocery store. On a typical Saturday morning, most American Legion posts are putting on a hearty breakfast, so I inquired. And the next thing I knew, we were sitting down waiting for a massive second breakfast of eggs, hash browns and ham steak. We were feeling pretty full when we pulled away from our stop, and within a few blocks, our climb up Wauconda. Pass started. We must be living right, because at first it sprinkled, but didn’t rain (hallelujah), then after that, we had cloud cover for a few miles, but in the end, it was hot and muggy as we made our way up the 26 mile climb to the summit. We were completely drenched in sweat and had to stop every few miles to mop off our foreheads and faces.
The town of Wauconda is a couple of miles from the summit, and I was expecting the little grocery to be open so I could get that chocolate milk, but alas, the market and cafe were closed and up for sale, and the place was a complete ghost town. We were impressed at the condition of the phone booth, though–definitely a collector’s item, don’t you think?
The descent to Republic was 17 miles of pure nirvana. We hated to slam on our brakes, when we arrived in Republic, our stop for the evening. It’s a small town with a population of 1000, and some “interesting” historic displays. We took a tour of the main drag, before finding our way to our lodging for the evening.
That lodging I just mentioned was at the home of Rob and Patty Slagle, who are Warm Showers hosts. Warm Showers is kind of like couch surfing for cyclists, and this was my first experience with the whole concept. And let me just say up front that Rob and Patty set the bar pretty high for the other hosts we will stay with during this tour. They have hospitality down to a science. Bur first, you have to pass the cycling test. They live up a super steep dirt road that, for us and any other cyclists who would be staying with them, required dismounting and pushing the 100 pound rig up a steep 1/4 mile dirt road. We briefly relived the extreme sweat of the climb up Wauconda Pass, but a shower was imminent . Our hosts were out at an anniversary party, when we arrived, so they left their door unlocked, and we were able to put our bikes in their garage, get settled and take a shower, before they returned home. We each had our own bedroom, with fresh towels and truffles in a basket. Nice.
For dinner, they invited a young doctor and a couple of their grown kids to join us for a delicious feast of lasagne, salad, homemade cookies and ice cream . After spending a couple of hours being entertained with their stories, I buckled down and started working on my blog, which kept me up till 3 AM, which is never a good thing for someone my age.