Leaving Omak this morning in the pouring rain and facing a 67-mile ride over a 4,300ft pass into Republic, WA you’d be right to guess that our spirits were low. The first 27 miles of the ride, we headed North into Tonasket with a SSE wind and a great road surface. We stopped for a quick bite to eat in Subway, chatting to the girls preparing our a ‘$5 foot longs’ and being amused to hear that their favourite TV personality is Clarkson, Jeremy Clarkson! Even the guy next to us in line felt it necessary to express how much he loved watching Top Gear on BBC America …Pat D what ever happened to the Top Gear USA idea?
Cold and wet, we got back on the bikes and rode in an easterly direction on a 27-mile stretch of Chip Seal (the worst road surface for cyclists), which climbed 3,370ft to an altitude of 4,300ft. Needless to say, this section of the ride was very tough, and the headwinds & rain made it even harder. However, just before we reached the top and after seeing a rather large Bullsnake in the middle of the hard shoulder, we stopped at the Wauconda Café Store & Saloon for a quick break and got chatting to the new owner, Maddie, who with her husband left their lives near Seattle to invest everything in the Saloon …good luck Maddie and thank you for everything.
After shedding blood, sweat and tears we got to the top of Wauconda Pass with its views across Okanogan National Forest, realising that the great thing about these mammoth hill climbs is that there is always an equally mammoth descent, and we weren’t disappointed today. 14 miles of steep descents meant that we made it to our hotel in under 45 minutes. Surprisingly we managed to clean the bikes, receive a donation from Tod, do the laundry, have dinner with Pete & Jenny (Tourers we met on the road in Wauconda) and be tucked up in bed by 11pm.
Yet more climbing tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will be dry!