This is the beautiful view to which I awoke this morning. Last night at dusk there were no fewer than nine deer marching around in the field, having their pre-bedtime snack. This morning was absolutely frigid, but I packed up and biked the remaining three miles into Republic, where I found the public library and typed up the last post. When I tried to get back on the road though, I was still freezing. I hadn’t planned on a formal breakfast stop, but decided to go in search of coffee.
This is my new definition of “coffee.” 🙂 I ended up having an absolutely amazing morning at Eich’s Merchantile! I read for a while, chatted with the barista (a former forest firefighter!), and even with Ryan, who called from the top of a mountain pass! Pretty awesome. Finally I decided to get rolling. It was difficult; I was finally cozy, full, and content! Ah well… 🙂
First stop of the day, another “little hill.” 🙂 In all seriousness, it was much easier than Sherman Pass yesterday, but I got the same satisfaction out of climbing Wauconda. There were steep sections, to be sure, but it was all over in about 14 miles. A chipmunk backwards could have sneezed and made it up the pass… Hehe, just kidding.
I was expecting a more dramatic descent, I think, and at least initially I was a bit disappointed. Just a few miles after the pass came the little town of Wauconda. Did I stop? What kind of question is that!? I wanted to call Mama and Papa, but the cell phone gods conspired against me. Coffee time instead!
I loved the Wauconda Cafe! Maddie, the owner, is quite the character. When I pulled up there was a sign on the door saying they were closed for painting. Just as I was starting to turn away, out bounds Maddie with funky hairdo and big tattoos cheerfully proclaiming they are in business! Ok then! I was the only customer for the first 30 minutes, and Maddie was talking a lot, bit not exactly to me. I did gather though that she was exhausted from the painting (did I like the colors?!) and had forgotten to properly document the last gas purchase (they also have a gas station/store). It was great fun to feel like a local in Wauconda! The only other guy there was an older man who raced tiny cylinder cars (the specifics were totally lost on me, not being a driver), was the resident locksmith, and used to be a fireman. What awesome people! A younger fireman came in as I was getting ready to hop, and the three of us talked for a bit about fighting forest fires. I think I would be too scared of falling out of contact with my group and getting separated. Oofta.
Two of the many great signs Maddie has up on the walls… 🙂
Although it may not seem likely, I did actually bicycle today! 🙂 the ride from Wauconda to Tonasket was slow, despite being downhill, because of the winds and because of some scary turns. The shoulder was virtually nonexistent and there were several hundred feet of blind corners. By the time I rolled into Tonasket, my knuckles were white. There was quite the view to behold, rolling into the Okanogan Valley!
From Tonasket to Omak, I flew. I found my little campground (that isn’t little at all, has oodles of Canadians, and someone who yodels!), washed up, ate dinner, and here I am. Tomorrow, another climby day, this time over Loup Loup Pass. I can almost smell the coffee in Seattle… 🙂