August 6, 2001

8/6/01 Tonasket, WA

74.1 / 5763 miles

My watch said 5:57AM. Sometimes I feel like Bill Murry in Groundhog Day because my internal alarm clock always gets me up a minute or two before 6AM. Kind of spooky.

I slipped out of the house without waking anyone, I hope. Got kind of a quick start because I never unpacked anything. Just followed a backroad as the valley began to wake up.

Winthrop just waking up to a bright morning

Went a little off-route in Twisp looking for the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery. I heard a lot about their ten-inch cinnamon twisp danish and it was right on. Just heavenly! I was almost tempted to buy a second for a mid-morning snack.

Good thing I didn't eat more because the climb started just outside of the Twisp city limits. The difference today was that the climb was shorter (only 13-miles) but that also meant it was a steeper grade. With the warmer temperatures, I was dripping in sweat. The only consolation was the trees put a lot of the road in the shade.

Made good time to Loup Loup Pass. This area sure has a way with names. And like yesterday, near the top of the climb, the headwinds started. On the descent, saw a lot of deer. Guess I was going too fast for them to get away.

Once I reached the main highway again, the temperature was like an oven. Was scoping out Okanogan for someplace to eat lunch when I spotted "The Bike Shop". Had Paul look at my left pedal but he said it was likely the bearings were shot. But luck would have it that they were having a sale, and all pedals were 10-30% off. Got a quick bite to eat across the street and came back to buy new pedals.

Again, some driving force inside my head was convinced we could go farther today. This despite the common sense to avoid strenuous physical activity in this heat. Tonasket was about thirty miles from Okanogan. Talked a bit with Kathy who owned the bike ship, and she told me it was a pretty flat ride and looked like the wind had shifted. A tailwind! How could I not go.

A hot ride on the shoulder of busy Hwy-20. And yes, I did have a tailwind most of the time. Good thing too because the same ride against the wind would have been murder. I was looking for Shannon's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor who lets cyclists camp behind the store. Actually pretty easy to find.

Camped out back

I was hungry but couldn't decide where to go. Ended up buying some real tacos (shredded beef, onions, cilantro on a soft corn tortilla) at a mobile cafe truck. After the fellowship of yesterday in Winthrop at Craig's, I feel out of place, alone here in Tonasket.

My last two passes and I'm going to try and do both tomorrow. There's a campground at the top of Sherman Pass. And Craig gave me the phone number of a friend in Colville I might try for the next night. Instead of speeding up, I should be looking for a spot to take a day off.