trail magic

Day seven: massive hill climbs and Trail angels

Dictating into a phone, you know the drill.

Today's today's route was kind of long. When from Omak to the town of republic. Honestly, I'm pushing myself too hard. But I really want to get through some of these Hills. And the only way to do it, is to do it. 

During during yesterday's down Dan Omak, I stopped at the Walmart Supercenter to pick up A 2 liter cooler to fill with water. This with the two Nalgene bottles brings me up to about 5.5 liters of water that I can carry with me.  Originally, originally, I thought this should be enough. I was wrong.

Draining of Omak draining of Omak was actually fairly Bland. The only thing I did differently was ignore the maps advice, and took the more direct route across what is essentially desert. Again, I was warned that it would be desert. I didn't think it would be this Stark. 

I I passed through the town of Riverside, not much there that I could see. The next town was Tonasket. (Incidentally, I'm impressed that this voice software knew that name) it was here that I had run out of water for the first time. I stopped at Subway for lunch, and ended up filling my water bottles in the subway. Yes, they said I could. 

I also stopped at the Tonasket Visitor Center. It was already noon, and the temperatures were over 100 degrees. The woman at The Visitor Center recommended that I just stay, because they had free bike camping behind the visitor center. Me being stubborn, I decided to go for it. There's another man there who was from Sweden, and I just explain my actions as being an irrational American. He got a good laugh out of that. 

From from there it was just one very long climb basically over Wauconda pass. Not many breaks over the 30 plus miles. I actually begin to run out of water between Tonasket and Wauconda, and I kind of hope that Wauconda might have something for me. 

Fortunately fortunately for me, another Trail angel came by. He pulled past me in his 4 x 4 truck, and pulled over about a quarter mile up from where I was. As I was slowly cycling up hill towards him I said to him good afternoon he extended two liters of cold water and asked "do you need any water?" 

Yes, please, thank you. 

He explained that he was also a cyclist, him and his wife ride tandem cross country. And he understood that on a day like today, he would love to have somebody pulled over and hand him a couple of cold drinks too. And all reality, I would not have made it to here without his help. 

With with his two liters of extra water, I rolled into Republic completely dry. My hopes for finding something in Wauconda were optimistic. Wauconda Washington has nothing. Seriously, there's nothing there. The post Office closes at 3 p.m., and that's the only thing on the road.  


I I got into Republic what I would consider late, and begin to look for my hosts for tonight. One of the reasons I don't mention hosts names is for privacy sake. If one of them wants to speak up, I'll be more than happy to let them. But this is their call, not mine. So I was reaching for my phone to call her, and somebody else in town saw me, and asked me specifically opposed looking for her. And then offered to give me directions to the house. This is one reason I love small-town stuff. 

I ended up I ended up having a drink, two handmade sodas, at the local Brewery. Absolutely wonderful, I would recommend them if you're in the area. Came up here and now it's now.

Tomorrow tomorrow I have another ambitious day, and an early rise to it. I have to climb Sherman pass, which is the highest point of my route. From there I'm hopefully going to be traveling 60 miles or so, and visiting a place that is a bike hostel specifically for cyclists only. I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm looking forward to the ride. 

 I think that a really good dissertation / psychological paper could be written about Trail angels and Trail Magic. There's something to this. I don't know what it is, but there's a draw. People just want to help. People just want to do good things. Especially when they see somebody attempting something, for lack of a better word, Epic. But I think I'm going to see how many things happen during this ride. Because honestly? I'm kind of Blown Away at the kindness of random strangers, and people who I've never met.

A lot a lot of times people say that they do by trips or thru hikes and it renews their faith in humanity. I think this is one of the reasons why. 


And and really quickly, if you're enjoying the blog, or enjoying the tracking feature, I would like to ask you to please donate the pancreatic cancer Action Network. If you can't, I understand. Please pass the link so long! Even doing that, putting more eyes on the story, helps me out a lot. I would really like to make my goal, I would like to even more double it. So if you can share, please do! 

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Day 6-7 :Trail Angels come in more than one form

Once again, dictating into the phone. So by now, I think you know the drill. If it doesn't make sense, read between the lines, something should at least be readable in there.

Yesterday yesterday begin at the Bike Barn and I had a very slow morning. Granted, they're all slow, but in this case there was purpose to that. One of the other Riders to the barn, a writer named Brian whose information I can't find, help me lighten my pack. The bear canister story will have to wait till I get home. But in the short-term let's just say that it, the winter clothing inside of it, the lock, and a few other things jettisoned about 8.2 lb off of my bike. 


So so of course you have to do something with it, you can toss it on the side of the road, leave it behind for another Rider, or send it back. I ended up sending it back by literally taping the bear canister shut and taking it to the post office. 


Two to side notes Here. The first one is Winthrop Washington is basically the old west town that you think we should remember? The downtown is so photographically kitschy it's amazing. But that said, I'm very grateful that there was an outdoor store there, because I had to buy a couple of emergency supplies. More on that a little later. 

The the other is that I'm noticing as I'm writing the Northern Tier route I'm seeing a lot of other cyclists doing the same going the other way. Not really a sense of community, as much as a sense of camaraderie. Whenever you see a cyclist and we're stopped at a town like this, there's always a quick conversation of what's up the road what's going on how's things looking? It's a very interesting dynamic. Because we all have one thing in common and we have one goal in mind, but none of the friendships really last it's just there. I don't really mind it though. 


The the road out of Winthrop was actually very calm and flat. I had a lot of fun writing on those back roads. There was somebody in a post office truck who is delivering mail that I was playing tag with for five miles. Then the road took a really hard left hand turn, and I was introduced to the Loup Loup pass. 

And and here's where we get to the title of this episode. Loup Loup pass, or at least the ascent up to it, is brutal. I say this as somebody from Wisconsin who does not have to deal with mountains on a day-to-day basis. But getting up to the top of Loup Loup was hell. According to Strava, it took me over 3 hours to do the seven and a half miles to the top of Loup Loup pass.

Not even not even halfway up, I ran out of water. And I did something smart in Seattle. I have a water filtration system with me. On one hand this is good because I can get drinkable water through it. On the downside, it usually involves scrambling down a mountain pass to get to the actual source of water. So imagine my surprise when I see this: 


I was I was tired gazing so hard I almost missed it. But there it is, I start work from cooler, and the words cold water, and a plea of please be safe. 

There's there's a phenomenon that happens on thru hiking trails like the PCT and the AT. People will just help. People will offer assistance to people who are doing these kinds of thru hikes, and apparently two people doing through rides. The act of kindness is usually referred to as Trail magic. The person doing the act is referred to as a trail angel. 

The the cooler was filled with Frozen water bottles, most of them about half melted. There was enough in there that it got me most of the way up of the mountain. There was also a guest book inside of the cooler. And most of the messages read very similar to what I had written. Thank you, so very much thank you.  I I wish I could find out the address of the people who live there, I would love to send them a Christmas card.

Unfortunately unfortunately for me, this was several miles from the top. And Trail Angels Came again, in the form of construction workers about 2 miles from the top. When I was slowly rolling past them, I asked them if there was any source of water anywhere nearby. They said no, but they had a gallon of water in their trunk, and asked if I would like some. 

Of of course I'm going to say yes and I'm going to thank them profusely and I'm going to be incredibly grateful if they were there. Because, to tell you the truth, I was down to about 4 oz of water with two miles of climbing to go. 

I I finally did get to the top of Loup Loup pass, and then The Descent. I have never in my life had a downhill that long, that fast, and that scary fun at the same time. I have GoPro footage, when I get home I will upload it raw. (Well maybe not raw, if I do that the music that might be heard might trigger YouTube) 

I I finally rolled off of that hill, and into this small organic Goods / homegrown stuff shop. What it was doing in the middle of nowhere, I have no idea. But I'm happy it was there. Because the moment I got past the mountains the terrain changed. No longer wasn't lush green forests, it was Desert. I was warned about this, I didn't believe it will be that Stark. 

Eventually eventually arrived in my final town of Omak Washington. I am very happy that I found a place here. There's something going on called Stampede. It's a big rodeo, and one of the things that they do is this downhill horse race. I will employ you to Google it for yourselves, I'm not going to go watch it because I really don't feel like fighting traffic. But suffice to say it's a big deal. And it's quite the spectacle.  


My host my host here allowed me to stay for one extra day, which help me out immensely. Rest days are important, not only to recharge your body, but also to replenish supplies at you need. And that's what I did today. 

I ran I ran into town to check out the Museum's, I took a quick glance at the rodeo, they have an entire Village set for Native Americans for camping there. (And before you ask, most of them are using teepees, but a bunch are using modern tents) 

And and one dumb thing happened we'll talk about this another time. But I now have three stitches in my right forearm, because I did something stupid. It's one of those situations where I'll deal with the repercussions when I get home. I don't know if my insurance will cover it from here. But, in 10 days, I get to go find an urgent care clinic wherever I am and ask them if they can cut them out. 


But the but the fact that I found a very nice doctor, a very competent Clinic, and it happened here. I count that is Trail Magic. Had this stuff happened out on the road, it would have sucked a lot more.

My my plan for the remainder of the night? Fine Food, repack on my gear, and get some sleep. Tomorrow is supposed to be over 100 degrees. And if history is any indicator, the roadways going to be even hotter. My only hope is that going over a mountain pass might make it cooler. But, I'm really looking forward to getting over the next Hill. Because and that's one more I don't have to do. 

And one and one more quick note before I go. If you're enjoying this blog, if you're enjoying the feed, if you're enjoying the live streams I'm doing over on Facebook, I implore you to please donate to the pancreatic cancer Action Network. Use the link that is on the track tiger page, and please give. This is a very personal fight for me, the whole reason I'm out here. So whatever you can do, whether it's donating, or even sharing the links. Everything is good and appreciated. 

All update all update when I have internet connection again!