Wednesday, June 8, 2016

47: What a difference a day makes

Roger and I decided to get an early start on the climb this morning, in hopes of beating the heat. So we were on the road at 6:15, with a sandwich and a snack to eat along the road. It was not very cool in town even at that time of day - we weren't hot but certainly not chilly - but we had some cloud cover and were glad of it.

The Wauconda Pass was about 25 miles away, and pretty much all uphill.  Some sections flattened out and there were one or two very slight descents, but by and large, we got to keep all the elevation we gained on this summit. As we road, we continued to enjoy the overcast sky, and the gain in altitude kept the temp steady in the mid-sixties. Perfect for climbing, really.
Great climbing weather

After a while, we noticed that the sky really was NOT clearing up, and in fact seemed to be getting darker. When we stopped to have a bite to eat, Roger said, "I just saw lightning." Sure enough, we could hear the rumble of thunder over the ridge to the south. Every now and then, I caught a glimpse of a flash over there, and after a while, we decided we ought to stop and fish out our jackets - just in case. NOT THAT WE WOULD MIND THE RAIN! After the heat of the last few days, we'd be fine with some rain. Really - it's no problem. It's just that the shift in the weather was a bit of a surprise. There were showers in the forecast, but they were not due until tomorrow. So our rain jackets had been shoved all the way down in our packs. Of course!

It turned out okay.  We made it to the top of the pass about 11 am, and though there were a few sprinkles on us now and then, we stayed dry. As we descended the pass, it was obvious that the storm had passed through ahead of us, for the road was wet and everything was green, glistening and just smelled great!  OMG, there was one little section where I thought, "I wish I could take a picture of this smell!"  It was that great. Sort of like eucalyptus or camphor, with some lemony or citrus notes and a sweet honey scent in there also. I have never smelled such a wonderful scent along a roadside.
Breaking Bad?

As we climbed the pass, we observed that there was a kind of desperation about some of the dwellings.  Roger thought maybe they were little colonies of meth labs. I confess it did cross my mind. Big fences and snarling guard dogs around dilapidated trailers.  What would you think?

Almost there!

There were some logging trucks on the road, and some gravel trucks, but they generally gave us plenty of room and otherwise, there was almost no traffic. The descent was a pleasure - we were back into the pine forests, and the road was good - and we were into Republic by noon. Roger was thinking that we could press on, but the next pass promises at least 3000 feet of climbing and I just could not face it today. We will start early again tomorrow and get over it.

The pastures and ranches near the top of the pass were beautiful. But where are the cows?

Near Wauconda Pass

When we got to Republic, we had a burger (note the sign over the bike), then enjoyed a local brew.  Note all the mugs on the wall - the locals can refill them for $2.50!  And since there was a guitar hanging on the wall, Roger got a chance to plunk a few tunes, which we sang quietly to ourselves.
Bevo, beware! They are eating your kind up here in Washington!

Roger picks a tune

The day's report: Tonasket to Republic, 43.3 miles/2144 to date


  1. Golly good ride! I dare say as you get farther east and dip into the south you will see many more 'red neck estates'. Your assumptions about the proprietors vocation may be occasionally correct but more often it is a grim picture of public assistance, disability payments and the good old democrats version of help. Make sure you take note, Roger.....these folks are proud, poor and live this way generation after generation....after all they have property....I wouldn't recommend you stop and ask for a water bottle fill either. Ride on friends!

  2. Interesting thoughts my friend . . . we can discuss at more length some day over a nice shot of whiskey, eh?!


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