Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wander Around Washington - 7-18-07

Ok, this one is going to be a stream of consciousness, "that's not writing, that's just typing" post.

I slept by the river in Winthrop the night of the 16th. I was up at 5:30 AM, waiting for things to open up, jotting notes and doing things like that. Fred Wert, the author of "Bakeries By Bicycle", lives in Winthrop and even though our schedules didn't sync up for this trip, he advised me to eat at the Rocking Horse Bakery, so I did. I also met Scott Waichler there and we chatted about cycling and cycling issues in the area. I also checked out the two shops in town. Gina Ornelaz filled me in on Winthrop Mountain Sports and Joe Brown gave me the story of his shop Methow Cycle and Sport.

I rolled out of town at 11:30 AM, taking the road that all the locals advised me to take instead of Hwy 20. This quiet road lead me to Twisp where I acted on another bit of Fred's sage advice and I stopped at the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery for an iced latte and a couple of choco-peanut granola bars. At 1:00 PM I had a quick interview with Lillian Tucker of the Methow Valley News before heading southeast.

It's clear and hot and I'm following SR153 down the river valley. At 2:10 I stop for milk. I pour some lemonade in one water bottle and some mucho mango drink in my thermos. In warm weather I'm careful to keep well stocked with fluids and I make sure I eat enough salty stuff like Fritos and cashews. At Pateros I stop for more milk and some Gatorade and popcorn chicken. I call home to let Christine know I'm doing OK.

It's right around 10:00 PM when I roll by the huge, shining Grand Coulee Dam. With all the power this thing cranks out, they don't have any problem using a little bit of it to light the whole thing up so it can be seen from space. I roll into the town of Grand Coulee, following the much dimmer beams of my LED lights. I was settling into the city park when an apologetic cop says "you can't camp here, I don't know why." He then adds "there probably won't be anyone back around, though..." and he drives off. To be on the safe side, I roll out of town, just across the county line and find a dark patch of ground in a ditch on the backside of a guardrail. There had been mosquitoes in the park back in town, but here there is only a single persistent cricket and the occasional passing car. It's still very warm, but thanks to my thermos, I have a bit of cool Mucho Mango drink. The thermos has become on of my favorite bits of touring gear.

Stats for the day: Distance 102.4 miles, Average speed 11.8 mph.

This morning I'm up and rolling at 4:55 AM. At first I'm thinking that I'm really feeling sluggish but it gradually dawns on me that I'm climbing a pretty decent ridge up from Grand Coulee. A drop lands on my pant leg and I think, "huh, I'm working up quite a sweat here," and then there is a thunder crack and more drops. It's raining. It's pretty pleasant and then the rain stops and eventually the terrain turns down again.

The sky gets darker and again the booming comes and I'm about a mile shy of the little town of Wilber when big drops begin falling again. My cotton shirt, which has actually been damn near the ideal garment for the past few days, is pretty damp by the time I roll into Sandy's Grocery in Wilbur. It's just a bit before 7:00 AM and this is what hobbits would call second breakfast. It consists of coffee, a cheeseburger, 2 donuts, an apple juice and some green ice tea. One again, remember readers, I am not a nutrional role model.

I layer on my O2 rain jacket and my rain legs as well as my wool gloves and my Buff headband. The fellow at the store looks at the sky and says "I think I'd hang around for a bit." I stay long enough to eat and when the sky settles into just wet and not sparky, I head out.

Eventually, I get ahead of the weather or maybe the sun just pulls the water away. Soon I'm stowing the foul weather gear and the sun and wind are drying the shirt on my back. Now it's stops for cool milk and iced lattes and at 1:37 PM I'm in downtown Spokane. Now I'm settled at John Speare's and it's more chatting about bikes and the bike world here. I gotta stop typing this now.

Today's stats: Dist 88.77 miles, Ave 11.1 mph

More later.
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