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).
Tour Miles: 3,580