August 7, 2001

8/7/01 Curlew, WA

58.6 / 5822 miles

Not really a bad night sleeping considering I'm only fifty feet from the highway, at least until the early morning traffic started.

Had breakfast at Whistler's Restaurant next door but I wanted to get on the road quick. I had a feeling today was going to be a hot one. My climbing started almost immediately and kept steady. Lots of truck traffic. Log trucks heading east and rock trucks heading west. While yesterday I passed acres of orchards, today seems more ranching and hay fields. On a plus side, some of my route was shaded, but on the downside, sometimes had no shoulder.

Reached Wauconda by 11AM. The town is really only a store/cafe but a very nice place inside. Had lunch while talking to the owner. She said after seven years, she needed a break and was selling the place. "If it sells, I'll be a hermit at home for at least a year." she says. The restaurant prides itself on making almost everything from scratch, including her huge cinnamon rolls.

Been thinking all day about an alternate route. At the Wauconda Cafe, there were more flyers about a "cycle camp & breakfast" in Curlew. Compared to a forest service campground, this place would at least be sympathetic to a fellow biker. Even though it adds about thirty-miles to my route, the one pass I go over is a lot lower than Sherman Pass.

For almost thirty-miles, I seem to be flying downhill among farms in this narrow valley. Even though it's hot (I believe I'm getting sun-burned), my speed keeps me cooler. Still a bit of a headwind but I'm not complaining. Saw a sign for the Ranald MacDonald grave site (I thought it said Ronald McDonald). He is know as the first person to teach English in Japan.

Stopped at a store on the highway and I asked where Main Street was in Curlew. "You've got to be kidding!" she laughs. "Don't blink or you'll miss it." I asked about the cycle camp and another customer tells me to follow him because he's headed that way.

No one was home at the "N.E.W. Recreation Cycle Camp & Breakfast, but all the biker signs said to make myself at home. Decided to walk around a bit in town. Talked to one woman in the bakery/espresso bar where her husband worked on cars next door.

When I got back to the house, I met Jordon, Keith and Suzie's son. He showed me around but we ended up on the front steps talking about cycling. He mainly does mountain biking and was showing me his brand new cycling shoes. Jordon said he and his dad had biked from Anacortes to home with mom driving support. Later Keith would tell me that he hopes to bike the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route with his son someday.

That's a train moving past the backyard

Suzie got home from work to welcome me. She works with Job Corp and the forest department trying to give at risk teens jobs in a non-threatening environment. When she heard about my benefit ride in Nancy's memory, she waived the cost of staying here as her donation to my efforts. Besides breakfast in the morning, they also have a hot tub and a sauna. Suzie's husband Keith is a Forest Service Ranger. Jordon says his dad works extra on the fire-lines in summer and does a lot of cross-country ski-grooming in winter.

As it got dark, Keith and I sat just talking about this part of Washington and such. Hard to believe Canada is only a few miles away. I definitely felt relaxed here with this family. They also mentioned that the cyclists they've seen this year is at least down 50% from last. Definitely something to comment about to the ACA when I get to Missoula.