June 30, Newport, WA (on this side of the border)

Scott: We’re tired. We’ve been getting great sleep in our Big Agness tent and are eating really well but 3 passes in 3 days has worn us down. Wauconda, Sherman and Tiger passes in 3 days, 10,314 ft of climbing over 143 miles, whew. Our legs are tired, we’re tired and our tandem wheels are tired. 
We rode the first pass, Wauconda, after a rest day in Tonasket and it was hard 28 mile climb at a consistent 5-6% but we completed the climb in good shape. On the way up, at the “town” (a gas station and cafe – same building) of Wauconda, we visited with two young girls who were getting paid to pull weeds. They were charming and little chatterboxes. We included their picture in an earlier posting. The town after the descent was Republic and it was a beaut. Genuine old buildings of dark, aged wood and a thriving, active community of friendly folks. We drank a couple of pints at a brewpub, talked with the locals, bought groceries and spent the night at the fairgrounds (with hot showers) for $5.00. There were 4 other groups of bike tourers there and we got along so well I thought we might end the evening by singing Kumbaya. 44 miles and 3704 ft of climbing.
Sherman pass was a bear. Much higher and more climbing than Wauconda but a really well built road in a fantastic alpine setting. It was very consistent at 5% and we just hauled (in relative terms) up that climb. We were last out of camp by about 30 minutes and we reached the summit, after passing 3 of the other bikers, with the rest of the crew from the Republic campground. They were shocked to see us but we were all happy and giddy after finishing that monster 18 mile climb. The ride down was probably the longest downhill I have ever ridden. It went on and on and on. We followed a rushing, whitewater stream all the way down and Karla was beside herself over the beauty and freedom of bombing downhill beside this gurgling stream. We crossed the Columbia River (known as the dam-produced  Roosevelt Lake in these parts) then skipped Kettle Falls, the first town after the descent, and drove for Coleville where we planned to camp. We over extended our resources a bit and had to conserve water near the end. Again, we stayed at the fairgrounds for $10.00 that included hot showers. How great is that? All the folks (sans the high school boys who opted for a hostel) were at the same campground. 55 miles and 4071 ft of climbing. 
We were blindsided by the last pass. It didn’t have a name on the map but we discovered later that it’s called Tiger Pass. Per the Cycling Adventure map profile, it looked like the easiest pass of all. Karla and I let our guard down. We decided this was an easy day, DOH. It was not an easy day. The previous 2 passes had taken a toll and this one rolled up and down all-day-long. Some of the climbs were short, sharp 9 per centers and  they just cooked us. We were exhausted by the time we reached Ione after the descent and landed at Cedar RV park with the wonderful hosts Gabe and Linda. I’ll let Karla tell the rest of that story. 44 miles and 2539 ft of climbing.
Today we  rode 53 miles, Ione to Newport, WA, on a magnificent, flat ride along the Pend Oreille river but we have not recovered from the 3 pass stint and just could not get comfortable on the bike. Tomorrow, we ride about 30 miles to Sandpoint, ID and will take a rest day in a hotel. Yippee!.
No pictures today, going to bed now.

4 thoughts on “June 30, Newport, WA (on this side of the border)”

  1. So, twelve days to knock off the first state? Bet you've worked yourselves into shape to take the next one in a fraction of the time! You guys are our heroes. We follow the adventure with envy and trepidation.

  2. I'm tempted to say you guys are awesome, but what superlative would be left to use a week from now, 2 weeks from now, etc.? I'm envious of the views, though my thigh muscles are laughing and laughing at all your pedalling. Had a muscle spasm last night, high in my left thigh – in honor of the 2 of you, I'm sure. I think your trip is a trip, and the 2 of you (and the 4 h.s. boys) are perfect people to do it, so appreciative of everything, the views, the people, the towns. Anyway, hooray for you 2.

    mark c

  3. This is so much better than the Oregonian !! Keep up the blogging, I awake each day to find out what is really NEWS of the day. Love, Sharon

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