Any Road Tour: Day 50 – Getting Loupy

I took the hotel shuttle to the only place in town. The Club was your basic bar/eatery. The special was French Dip so I dipped. Manny’s Pale Ale was a fine lubricant.

I didn’t get rolling until almost 9, a decision that would come back to get me 6 hours later.

The business at hand was the climb over Loup Loup Pass, a 3,000+ foot assault over 19 miles.

It took about 5 miles for my legs and lungs to settle down, a process not entirely impeded by a steady rain. Yes, this is desert country but rain happens even here.

As I climbed, I passed through cherry and apple orchards. Some were covered in extensive netting, leading me to wonder if a more lucrative cash crop might be beneath the veils. Helicopters hovered over the fields, I suppose to dry out the crops to prevent mold.

The climb was tedious but never dispiriting. I had a beneficial tailwind. About half way to the top, there was a huge descent for a half mile. A group of supported bike tourists, carrying nothing but a rack bag for tools and snacks were flying down the mountain. When they came to my steep descent they were crawling up as I rumbled down.

I enjoyed my folly knowing that I had to recline the half mile. It was a bit hairy; the drop off on my side of the road was hundreds of feet and there was no guard rail. Don’t look down!

I stopped every so often to rest and eat and drink. There was no rush. The pass wasn’t going anywhere.

I ticked off each mile as it passed. For some reason I thought the pass was at the 22-mile mark. My tailwind became a headwind at about mile 28. I stunned to see the Loup Loup Pass sign a mile later, three miles “early.”

Then began the long speedy descent. A sign said Rough Road Ahead but I found it to be just fine for gliding at 28 mph into a headwind.

The west side of the mountain was a haunted landscape, the site of a fire two years ago (according to #bikedc meteorologists Froggy). At the bottom of the descent I came upon an interesting sign.

I had Mexican food for lunch in Twisp, a cute town with so many restaurants I found it hard to decide. I picked well though. My burrito was muy bueno.

The ride from Twisp to Winthrop was a challenging 10-miles. Headwinds and rolling hills wore me out. Winthrop itself is a tourist town with several city blocks designed in the style of an old western town (distressed wood siding, wooden sidewalks, etc.). The crowds worried me.

I had decided to camp at a bicycle tourist only farm 6 miles west of Winthrop but the telephone line was disconnected. I tried calling some hotels and Warmshowers hosts in Mazama, 12 miles further west. I couldn’t hear a thing. The bratty tourist kids, the motorcycles and pick up trucks, and the howling wind made conversation impossible.

I was getting pissed off so I went online and found out that the bicycle tourist farm was still operating and on Warmshowers with a new phone number (the host dropped his land line a couple of weeks ago). I had to find a quiet place to call from. While buying dinner I asked to use the store’s restroom. Can you say phone booth?

Jim Gregg invited me to come on over. So into the now soul sucking headwind I rode for another 6 miles.

When you arrive at the bike tourist camping, you ring a bell and Jim’s dog Stout comes out to greet you. Then with a little nudging from Jim, he showed me where to set up my tent.

I set up camp, took a shower with his outdoor solar powered shower, and used the composting toilet. Jim’s really got this thing figured out.

Amid strong breezes I readied myself for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow will be Washington Pass followed by Rainy Pass. Winds will be light and variable (knock wood).

Miles: 50

Tour Miles: 3,580

5 thoughts on “Any Road Tour: Day 50 – Getting Loupy

    1. It isn’t so much the height as how low you start. Wauconda was a snap. Rogers was steeper at the top. Washington (tomorrow) looks like a repeat of today. Rogers (tomorrow) will be easier than Wauconda because it is below Washington Pass.

  1. It will eventually get flatter, but as you know you are in the heart of the North Cascades, tail winds and cool breezes. Oh and craft beer.

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