June 22nd – Republic to Colville, WA
June 22nd Statistics – Republic to Colville: Distance – 58.2 miles; Average speed – 11.4 mph; Beginning elevation – 2,573 feet; Ending elevation – 1,915 feet; Total ascent – 4,016 feet; Total descent – 4,964 feet.
We left early hoping to beat the weather forecast of increasing chance of rain, thunderstorms, and hail as the day expired. While the day started cold, overcast, and wet (see today’s photos), by the time I reached Sherman Pass, 5,575 feet at mile 18, the sun came out for the remaining 40 mile ride to Colville, WA. The 23 mile downhill from Sherman Pass to Kettle Falls, WA and the Columbia River was wonderful (I am running out of new words to describe the views in the Cascades) as it followed the roaring Sherman Creek down a canyon lined with trees and wild flowers.
The sole complaint is the regular duel between some logging trucks (see today’s photos) and bikers – some logging trucks refuse to budge from the travel lane when passing us and clearly are forcing us to ride well into the shoulder regardless of the lack of oncoming traffic, wide roads, or the condition/width of the shoulder.
The final 17 miles from Kettle Falls to Colville was on valley roads in Stevens County – cattle grazing, lush green fields, horses farms, surrounded by mountain meadows and forests (see today’s photos). The evening in Colville was exciting. Shortly after arriving at our restaurant, Maverick Steak House, the bad weather hit – the restaurant loss power, the outside dining area was abandoned, lightening was frequent, and streets flooded. Nevertheless, dinner was great and the Comfort Inn, well, very comfortable.
June 21st – Omak to Republic, WA
June 21st Statistics – Omak to Republic: Distance – 69.5 miles; Average speed – 10.7 mph; Beginning elevation – 968 feet; Ending elevation – 2,573 feet; Total ascent – 4,412 feet; Total descent – 2,807 feet.
Today’s ride was basically one long flat ride (26 miles), one long climb (29 miles) and one long downhill (15 miles). Best weather day so far even if 49 degrees when we began in the morning – lot of sunshine and warmth. One of the most interesting moments was meeting two women my age from Georgia who are biking from Portland, OR to Freeport, ME to their home in Georgia. They are carrying all their own gear, including camping gear if needed, on their recumbent bicycles (windshield included) – See today’s photos. Their husbands and children had no interest in the trip and are following it on two blogs the women are posting. Nancy, I offered them food and lodging if their ride from Maine to Georgia routes them near us. You would enjoy them.
While the flat ride was nothing special, the views and scenery on the climb and ride down were magnificent (see today’s photos).
Over dinner at Ester’s Mexican in Republic, WA, population 958, we had conversations with local residents. Republic is a one industry town – underground gold mining of old mines using new technology. The future is uncertain as some mines are expected to close in 5 years. Joining us at dinner were two more cross country riders, Earl from Southern CA & Lewis, a high school math/computer science teacher from Wellesley MA. They were introduced by a mutual friend, but met for the first time face-to-face when they started the trip in Anacortes. I have to admire them as they, like the Georgian women, are carrying all their own gear, including camping gear.