Any Road Tour: Day 59 – Wheel dip at last

So I hovered the complementary breakfast. Frosted Flakes, banana, OJ, coffee, toast. Burp.

And so I left Kelso (he wouldn’t tell me who Superman is either) and headed for Oregon using a route suggested by the bike shop dude yesterday. The Longview Bridge flies over the port which seems to ship nothing but enormous logs.

On US 30 in Oregon I climbed for about 500 feet. To put this in normal people terms, DANG!

The road was a high speed two lane truck fest. Riding on it stressed me out but I was on a mission from God: get to the bloody Pacific Ocean!

I rode and rode, up and down, timing my sprints across narrow bridges so as not to become a dead bicycle tourist.

I stopped at a gas station for Diet Coke and a candy bar. The bathrooms were PortaPotties that should have been emptied in May. I chose discomfort over disgust and rode on.

After another ten miles I stopped in Svensen. The town was having its free Senior’s lunch. I chose the market instead. It was owned and run by a Muslim family. I guess we’re not in Montana anymore.

The owner without hesitation let me use the bathroom. I wish I had been hungrier to repay his kindness. I bought some Gatorade and a big cookie.

Friend of the blog Ryan recommended Mo’s. Seafood and Chowder restaurant earlier in the day. All I could think about in the cool headwinds was hot clam chowder.

And so the first thing I did when I got to Astoria was to get chowder at Mo’s. In a bread bowl. A perfect meal after 54 miles of hills and cool headwinds.

All the way to Astoria I was passed within a few feet by huge trucks, campers, and mobile homes. My nerves were a little frayed. I left Mo’s and headed under the Astoria Bridge to Cape Disappointment in Washington. It’s waaay high and waaay wife with not a whole lot of room for bikes.

Rather than go to the hostel, I decided that I’d ride to the ocean and dip my wheel in, the tradition ending if a transcontinental bike ride. I followed my maps. One bridge had a metal grate bridge deck. My nerves were shot so I walked it.

It took me a good 45 minutes to find the biggest body of water on the planet. My frustration was off the charts. Where is the fucking thing!!!

I finally found Fort Stevens State Park. After two more miles I came to a parking lot. The ocean was right over the dunes. So I pushed The Mule over a 15 foot sand dune. It kept sinking in. I kept lifting it out. PUSH!!!

Getting to the top took everything I had. Now I had to go down the beach side of the dude. The Mule kept sinking in which, I suppose, is preferable to having an 80 pound loaded touring bike go screaming down a hill without me.

I pushed the bike across the flat beach and asked a dad to take my picture.

I talked with him and his wife. They were there with their two naked towheaded toddlers. Pale white, tow headed, naked toddlers on a beach for some reason just crack me up.

Mom suggested that I walk my bike two miles down the beach to the site of a shipwreck. The dunes are much lower there.

Off I went. I tried riding but The Mule objected do I walked. Even a ten-foot dune is a bitch to push a touring bike over.

On the other side a mountain biker named Steve led me out of the park. I decide to take the main highway, US 101, back to Astoria.

It went fine until I got to the bridge. It was narrow with strong crosswinds that yanked the front of The Mile all over the place. I made it without incident until a tractor trailer went by me with a foot to spare.


I didn’t and managed not to get sicker under its rear wheels.

That pretty much sealed the deal on Cape Disappointment.

My hostel is more of a pensione. I have a private room with a shared bath and a shared shower. It’s expensive but I just crossed the damned country on a bike. I’m staying here two nights. I had to carry The Mule up a flight and a half of stairs. Tomorrow The Mule gets a rest too.

I’m really not usually this messy. Honest.

I sit in the Fort George brewery drinking beer, eating pizza, and watching the white caps on the Columbia River. (Thanks again to Ryan for the suggestion.)

I know my days on the road are coming to an end. As my son used to say when he was a toddler, I want to sleep in my own bed.

Miles: 82

Trip miles: 4,170

A final note: Happy birthday, Klarence. Thanks for screwing the lid back on my jar.

Any Road Tour: Day 58 – Getting there

Last night at the Motel 6 I watched the All Star game. The best part was when the crowd cheered for Wilson Ramos during the player introductions.

I slept in and had another diner breakfast. I am burning out on diner food. I am really looking forward to cereal with bananas when I get home.

The road now leads south and I followed my maps faithfully. There were a couple of small hills but, even with a headwind, hills are no longer annoying me. Lower gears. Stand up and pedal. Over the top. NBD.

The scenery was a mix of small farms, exurban homes with some livestock in the yard, and a few wooded stretches.

I rode about 35 miles west of Mt. St. Helens. I declined the opportunity to climb 35 miles to see some exhibits. It was once big. Not so much anymore. The end.

Maybe I’m getting numb to the scenery but man made stuff is getting more of my attention. This dude graced the water tower in Toledo.

This was in someone’s front lawn. Looked more like King Kong than Sasquatch.

Here’s the turn off to volcanic doom.

I followed the Cowlitz River as it slowly descends to the Columbia. I saw a few freight trains go by. The noise from I-5 killed the country vibe a bit.

I saw two separate northbound bicycle tourists today. Neither encounter occurred where we could chat. I also learned that last weekend was the annual STP ride, a 200+ mile trek from Seattle to Portland.

I rode into Longview in search of a bike shop to pump up my tires. A local bike rider saw me and escorted me to a Proper Cycle Works. He also offered me a camping spot in his yard because people did the same for him on his bike tour to and from San Francisco. His name is Alex and he’s a nice guy but I had motel-on-the-brain today.

The bike shop guy told me my tires were running at 60 psi. Low but not too bad. He pumped them up to 80. Then he gave me directions to the motels in Kelso across the Cowlitz from town. He also told me that the Adventure Cycling route to Oregon is not on a safe road. He advised me to cross the Columbia River on the bridge just outside Longview and ride US 30 to the coast. There’s only one big hill, he said. We’ll see.

At the end of the day, I found out that #bikedc friends Megan and Nate are on the coast driving a hippy van and doing drugs. Okay, I made the drugs up. Anyway there is an outside chance that our paths will intersect in the next day or two.

Miles: 60.5

Tour Miles: 4,088

Any Road Tour: Day 57 – Good form after 4,000 miles

A little breakfast. A little chain maintenance. Good bye Shelton.

The first 28 miles featured rolling hills, cool temperatures, a headwind, and chip seal roads. This is logging country. Large swaths of the woods have been cut down. Others are recovering from being cut. I saw one tract that was cut in 1984 and the trees are still nowhere near the size of the forest around them.

I stopped for a mid morning snack which I shared with the store’s dog. I’m not sure she was crazy about the nacho cheese Duritos I gave here.

The store owner and a customer were chatting about wild life in the area. Cougars, bears, wolves, and coyotes. Suddenly I am less than enthusiastic about camping.

I stopped in Elma for lunch. When I walked outside, I found that the wind was now at my back and the roads were level.

Looming over the town were two cooling towers from a nuclear power plant. The plant was never completed. It’s now an office park for several businesses including cannibis production.

The next 34 miles were easy. Along the way, I passed the 4,000 mile point of the tour.

As I waited at a traffic light entering Centralia, a woman lean out her car window and said that I had good form. Sadly I didn’t have a witty comeback.

I suppose it’s easy to look good with a tailwind pushing you on level ground.

I am told that I am getting close to Mt. Saint Helens.


Miles: 62

Tour miles: 4,027.5

Any Road Tour: Day 56 – Bypassing Seattle

Today was supposed to be a short day to Bremerton to catch the ferry to Seattle. I decided that in order to do all the things I wanted and needed to go in Portland I’d have to take a day out of the schedule. So Seattle got the heave ho.

The day began with a gentle ride off route to a cafe for breakfast. I ordered pancakes and eggs, expecting a modest meal. I got frisbee-sized pancakes. For the record, I could not eat it all.

I am learning that the Olympic Peninsula has some Olympic-sized hills for bike tourists. Fortunately the hills provided nice views of blue waters. Crossing over the Hood Canal Bridge was a good example.

Still no orcas to report, just a seal now and then.

This area has heavy traffic which is a bit of a shock after having the road nearly to myself for close to two thousand miles. I was grateful for the tailwind that made the riding easy if somewhat unpleasant.

Occasionally I was on a road that allowed my mind to drift and to imagine what it was like at the top of a peak covered in snow in July.

It was getting hot out so I took an hour break at a McDonalds in Silverdale. I chugged cold drinks and enjoyed the AC.

Next came Bremerton. There may be lovely neighborhoods in this town but I didn’t see them. I took a pass on getting a motel after 40+ miles and rode on. Riding by an aircraft carrier that was being demolished was pretty cool. These ships are LONG!

The road out of Bremerton was a four lane freak show. Cars were blowing by me and I was cowering in the far right of the debris strewn shoulder.

I took the quieter old route to Belfair, hoping to stay at the motel in town. Up and down for 13 miles to learn that there were no vacancies. My choices were (a) ride to a nearby campground and put up my tent in 90 degree heat, (b) turn around and ride back to Bremerton for a crappy chain motel, or (c) continue southward another 25 miles to Shelton which has three motels.

I chose (c) because moderation is not in my DNA.

After a few miles I decided to call a motel and make sure I could get a room. The Shelton Inn had a first  floor room so I told them I’d be there in two hours.

I rode another half mike and turned off the main road onto East Trails Road. It had the steepest hill I’ve seen on the tour, even including Pennsylvania and the last 100 feet to Tim Jones’s house.

I pedaled for a minute before pulling into the mouth of a driveway. Holy crap! I caught my breath and tried to start again. It took me three tries to get sufficient momentum to get both feet on the pedals.

Once I got going I didn’t stop. I was weaving all over the road and my legs were burning but I wasn’t going to walk.

I was more concerned with time. If this hill were typical of the rest of the route to Shelton, I’d be lucky to get there in three hours.

I looked at the map and saw that I was riding next to a lake. Oh great, some level ground, right? Nope. The lake was down there and I was up here, riding up and down.

And now I had a headwind.

Bitch. Moan.

I endured and made it to Shelton in a little over two hours. It took me 30 minutes to find the motel because of a road closure. The Google tried to send me onto a path in the woods. I rode down a steep hill on a bike path only to find it continued through a gate as single track.

Not gonna happen. The hill I had come down was about 100 yards long but it was so steep I had no hope of riding up it from a dead stop.


The Google started going bonkers so I shut it off and found some detour signs to follow.

Most of the town including the hotel are the bottom of a bluff. One road, the closed one on my route, goes down the bluff to the east and another to the west. I went west and found the road was all torn up for repaving.

I took the lane and rode down the bumpy, curvy mess of a hill. As I passed a driveway I heard someone screaming “Get of the road, you fucking asshole!!!”

Welcome to Shelton.

I think I delayed his highness from getting on the highway with his shit box of a used pickup truck.

I had gone out of my way to avoid this construction zone. Perhaps he didn’t appreciate my efforts. So for the first time in over 3,900 miles, I extended the numb middle finger on my right hand high in the sky.

I thought I did pretty well going down the hill. I kept up with the car in front of me. Slipping past the line of cars at the red light at the bottom of the hill, I glided into downtown Shelton.

Then I heard Prince Charles, Duke of Shelton, come roaring by. For the record, it appears f-bombs from pick up truck drivers do not exhibit a Doppler effect.

I engaged him with mighty verbal gusto and more unidigital sign language. He roared away yelling out his window, rushing home to do some meth with his wife and watch some Fox News.

I was slightly embarrassed that this lusty exchange of profanity had occurred within ear and eye shot of the desk clerk at my hotel.

I made my apologies explaining how I held back for 3,900 miles. She gave me a coupon for a discount at the diner next door.

After washing up I walked to a Mexican restaurant up the street. My veggie enchiladas were muy bueno.

I went for a postprandial stroll in downtown Shelton. After 8 pm this place could be a good rsetting for a Walking Dead episode.

One shop keeper apparently agreed with me.

Miles today: 88.5

Tour miles: 3,965.5

Any Road Tour: Day 55 – The deception and the sting

Tim and Michele fed me mass quantities of food and treated me to an Idris Elba movie (Molly’s Game) last night.

This morning I loaded up on carbs and rolled base my friends farewell. I really didn’t want to leave but they’d never get rid of me if I didn’t cut the cord today.

If you think I look like I lost weight, you are wrong. The compression sleeve on my leg is do tight that I grew four inches.

The ride out of Camano Island was much easier than the ride in. I ignored The Google and took the main road all the way. There were no impossibly steep hills.

I reversed course from yesterday riding north to Fidalgo Island and turning south, away from Anacortes.

It was a hilly and trafficy road. My body was not having fun. Then I came to Deception Pass and I remembered why I like this bike touring stuff so much.

The bridge connects Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. The views from the bridge deck were amazing. Fortunately, for me the winds were calm.

After the pass I followed my maps which took me away from the main road. This is not a very good deal for the weary. The back roads are hilly and offer nice views. The main highway has more gradual slopes without the pretty visuals.

Whidbey Island is home to a naval air station. The Mule challenged some jets to a race. They wouldn’t play with him.

After riding around the base and down to the beach and up from the beach, we finally came to Coupeville where I stopped for late lunch (2 pm).

A few miles after that we reached the ferry terminal. I had only a short wait before my trip.

The trip took about 30 minutes. Passengers looked for interesting sea life but only saw a couple of seals. (I really wanted to see an Or a.)

A few minutes after leaving the ferry terminal in Port Townsend, a black wasp tried to fly into my mouth. I spit it out with a raspberry. Before he left, he stung me on the lower lip.


After about 30 minutes it calmed down. I felt like I had had a shot of novacaine. An hour later my lower front teeth ached.

I rode to Fort Hadlock and checked into a motel. I plan to treat my sore, swollen lip with cold alcohol.

When I checked into the motel I told the clerk that my last name was like Pickett in Pickett’s charge. She said she didn’t know what that was because she had been in a polygamist cult.


I miscalculated my planned mileage for today. It was supposed to be 72 miles but ended up being 81.

Tour Miles: 3,877

Any Road Tour: Day 53 – Off the map to Camano Island

You really didn’t think I’d stop riding, did you.

A spaghetti dinner, another pale ale, and a restful sleep I awoke somewhat energized. A delicious breakfast at the Calico Cupboard Cafe put me in a good mood.

I loaded up the bike and headed west, to the park beyond the ferry terminal at the end of the Northern Tier Route. The clerk at the hotel suggested that the loop ride ad through the park would be a great capstone to the ride.

She was right. There were views of the islands and, I think the northwestern edge of the Olympic Peninsula. It was blue, the trees were green, and the air was fresh. The loop road was steep in parts so my granny gear got a bit of a work out.

Some nice people took my picture with The Mule.

After the loop road I doubled back to Anacortes and headed east off Fidalgo Island. I was headed south to Camano Island and the home of Tim Jones, a high school classmate, and his wife, Michele Rushworth.

I had to rely on The Google. Got a whole the ride was super easy; I was pushed along flat farm roads by a north wind. The crops were varied from potatoes to corn to cherries to rhubarb to squash to winter wheat and many more. I know because the farms put up signs for city slickers like me. There was a beautiful fine green grain that swayed in the breeze. No sign indicated what it was but my money’s on rice.

When the route neared a traffic circle, The Google went haywire. It told me to go through a small town and turn around. I stopped and checked the route. The traffic circle connects to a busy two lane highway going straight south. Looks okay to me. And so I played with the big metal things for an hour.

The road to Camano Island was blocked by a two-car crash do I followed a detour. It was a mix of farms and wooded areas. Not a bad little ride.

In Camano itself The Google decided to go into Mountains of Misery mode. It took me on side roads to avoid the main drag down the island. Theses were the kind of abrupt ups and downs I hated in east Ohio.

I hit 35 mph on a descent after grinding up a hill in my granny gear.

The last bit was incredibly steep. Right up to the house I was weaving across the road in my smallest gear and standing to make it to the top. The nastiest bit of climbing so far in the tour!

Tim and Michele had previous plans for dinner so I took over their deck for the evening. That’s Mount Baker in the distance. Not a bad place for a day off tomorrow.

Miles: 55.5

Tour Miles: 5,796

Any Road Tour: Day 52 – Going to the end of the line

I camped of the Skagit River in a surprising nice town park in Rockport Washington. I awoke at 4 sore in every joint and every vertebra in my body. Vitamin I to the rescue.

On the road by 6:20 and up a short steep hill to discover the town gas station was closed. No gas station breakfast for me. Sad face.

I rode 9 miles to Concrete. The Google directed me to a specialty bakery in town. I ordered hash and got a skillet. It was okay but not the gut bomb the day required.

Luckily the day required nothing but riding on a pool table into a sight headwind. I should have taken the highway and it’s smooth pavement but I followed my maps and endured chip seal for 30 miles.

As I approached my first salt waters, I saw big hills ahead. Anacortes has a little in common with San Francisco, I’m afraid.

Luckily the route maps took me around the hills and into downtown. I spent 45 minutes riding out to the ferry terminal just to say I rode to the end of the line. Vancouver Island and the San Juans will have to wait.

I am pooped!

Fortunately my high school classmate Tim Jones lives about 50 miles from here and has offered me some R&R.

A very large mountain (Rainer, I think) looms over this place and makes me feel like a poser. Damn, it’s big.

I rode back up town for food and a celebratory drink. Road Trip pale ale was on tap.

Now it’s time to find a room.

Miles: 66

Trip Miles: 3,740.5

Any Road Tour: Day 51 – Two passes, thousands of wows

My campsite was splendid. I was awoken by cold air so I stuck my head out of the tent. The skies were clear and full of more stars than I’d ever seen. Wow!

I awoke a little after dawn. I heard very loud buzzing outside my tent. I had seen some yellowjackets yesterday, so I feared I’d be stung by the biggest wasp on the planet. Well, sadly, it wasn’t Evangeline Lilly. It was hummingbirds. They buzzed around me as I broke camp.

I hit the road with a harrumph from Stout the wonder dog. The wind died just after dark last night. It was like a switch was thrown. This was good because, before I threw my stuff in the tent, a gust sent it airborne. No gusts today, just gentle breezes.

After breakfast at the country store in Mazama, the work of the day began. 28 miles up to Washington Pass, at over 5,476 feet of elevation.

The ride started slow and a bit steep then flattened then steepened for miles. I could now see up close immense mountains, a few with snow near their peaks.

As I climbed it got hotter. Sweat was pouring out of me. I kept drinking, aware that my water supply was limited. I stopped now and then just to take a break from the tedium and to say Wow.

Rivers, creeks, waterfalls, rocky peaks, wooded mountains that went straight up from the edge of the road.

A cyclist was flying down the mountain. As he passed he smiled, waved, and said “Hi, John!!” I don’t know who it was but it was a welcome diversion from the work at hand.

Then, a mile ahead of schedule and after a wicked switchback approach, I saw the sign. That was hard. It took all morning to ride up the beast.

After ten minutes of smug satisfaction I zoomed down the west side of the pass. About four miles later I started the climb up Rainy Pass. In a few minutes I was at the top.

Next came descent number two. I am really getting spoiled. These downhill rides are a pure adrenalin rush. Whenever I sensed the presence of death, I feathered my brakes. Not much need though, the roads are banked and I was always under the suggested speed on the turns. Not by much but I was under.

I approached a dam and I had to climb around the side of a mountain. This was a climb that would have hurt a month ago. Now I didn’t care.

The waters of the lake behind the dam were an eerie blue green. The color looked totally unnatural but the entire Northern Cascades seemed otherworldly.

Riding down toward the dam, I saw a mobile home in one of the turnouts (places for slow moving vehicles). It’s owner flagged me down. His engine had “caught fire” and his cell phone didn’t work up here. He asked me to get him help.

Down the hill I went with renewed purpose. Over the dam, through two tunnels and down along the canyon of the Skagit River.

I arrived at Newhalem, my planned destination. The general store was closed. I had exhausted my energy bars and all but one piece of fruit. And I was down to my last water bottle, having gone through three bottles already.

The store was part of a National Park Service installation. There was an information office. The clerk called various tow companies but no one would drive way up the mountain because they were many miles down the mountain. Sorry Mr. Mobilehomeman, I think you’re screwed.

I ate my last bit of food. As luck would have it, I had purchased a peach the size of a football a couple of days ago. It was exactly, perfectly ripe. I nearly inhaled it I was so hungry.

I filled all my water bottles again, including my reserve store-bought empty bottles. Without food there was no way I could stay in Newhalem. I took off for Marblemount 13 miles away.

The downhill was now a gradual sloping one but it still made me feel strong.

In Marblemount I took care of business. I sat down in a restaurant and ate a massive plate of fish and chips. It took me over 30 minutes to eat it. In the middle of my feast Martin walked in! He was staying at the inn across the street. I looked into getting a room but they were booked. The hotel manager called a few other places but they were booked too.

He recommended the town park in Rockport, eight miles further west. Off I rode. I found the park. It’s along the river. The showers were clean and it has WiFi of sorts.

Tomorrow I ride to the western end of the Northern Tier Route in Anacortes on Puget Sound.

Miles: 94.5

Tour Miles: 3,674.5

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

Any Road Tour: Day 49 – Wauconda Forever?

I stayed at a Warmshowers host in Republic. I could have camped but Martin reminded me that DiAnne Hewitt wrote an interesting thumbnail on the app.

They live high above Republic. With chickens and a blind and deaf dog. Dianne fixed us a fantastic dinner. She’s a postmaster do we talked postal stuff for a while. When Boyd came home he told stories about his life in the gold mining industry. Yep, it happens every day on a bike tour. You stay with bee keepers and gold miners.

After coffee we rode down the hill to town where we had more coffee. Martin took off as I lingered at Sparky’s coffee house.

Wauconda Pass is at 4,310 feet but Republic is at 2,569 feet. The climb was only a little over 1,700 feet in 13 miles. And I had a light tailwind. It was a piece of cake.

The ride down to 1,000 feet over about 30 miles was a blast. It wasn’t until I reached the bottom that I realized the wind direction had changed as well.

And the temperature was no longer the 60s and 70s of the last few days. I was now in the dry desert-like conditions of the Okanogan River valley.

In Tomasket I caught up to Martin who was finishing breakfast and talking to a couple who had arrived on a motorcycle. They bought his meal for him. Trail angels on a Harley.

Martin took off as I enjoyed some lunch. When he stepped into the sun he remarked that it was hot.

He was right. The temperature had climbed into the mid-90s. No worries. I took my time and everything was fine until I hit four miles of road construction. I had to slog along through gravel under direct sunlight. Ugh.

I finally reached East Omak. For the first time in memory, I saw homeless people. Crossing the river to Omak, life didn’t seem a whole lot better. The final four miles into Okanogan were mercifully flat. The town park had camping and there were plenty of people camping there. No bikes though. It was also 95 degrees. My gut and my broiling skin convinced me to get a hotel room. I’m at a low Quality Inn. Weak AC and a broken washing machine. Well at least it has free breakfast. (My money’s on stale cereal.)

Miles: 75.5

Tour Miles: 3,530

Tomorrow I ride the over Loup Loup Pass. Into a headwind. 3,000 feet up in less than 20 miles.

I have looked at my schedule again and realize that I can’t easily make a flight home on July 21 so I’m going to push my return back a few days once I get to Camano Island.