16. Okanogan to Tonasket: Bonk! - From the Olympic Peninsula to St. Mary - The First Bite of the Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

May 27, 2018

16. Okanogan to Tonasket: Bonk!

We anticipated an easy ride into Tonasket, paved secondary road, not too many miles, nice breeze keeping us cool in the morning. Once on Route 155, we encountered a headwind as we pedaled by the modest homes situated along the south bank of the Okanogan River. This wasn’t as hard as climbing in elevation, but it was a different kind of resistance. The sun beat down unrelieved by any shade trees. By the time we got to the WA 20/97 intersection after 15 miles, Jackie had a cramp in her left calf muscle that she tried to stretch out, without success. She considers it a rookie mistake, underestimating how much water to drink in the desert dry air. She downed a 24-ounce bottle of diluted Gatorade, got back on the bike and gutted it out into Tonasket. Yup, this was a bonk.

Scott knew how to cheer her up. He stopped at Shannon’s Fabulous Food on the south side as we rolled into town. The outdoor tables were packed with locals, so we joined them. We got the standard cheeseburgers and ice cream for dessert.

The reviews for our lodging choice, the Red Apple Inn, were mixed. We booked it anyway because it was cheap - about $60 including tax, and all we really wanted was a shower, clean bed, and WiFi. In this case, two out of three ARE bad when the requirements are so modest. We never could get a good Internet signal, although the owner tried to reassure us he had done everything he could to make that possible.

Chris was a memorable guy, moved out to Washington from NYC for some reason he didn’t explain. Had tried making a living off orchards, “too much work,” so he got into the motel business. Said he had run a marathon some years back and had made a run for the state senate. His Republican opponent beat him two to one, but he was ok with the outcome. He offered us his back issues of the New Yorker and the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs. Sweet gesture, but we read the news online, so back isssues aren’t worth much. Does explain his analog mindset and lack of appreciation for robust WiFi.

We had gone 7 days without a break, so we decided to spend a down day in Tonasket to allow the Memorial Day travelers to get back home over Wauconda Pass. We chose the Junction Motel for the second night, same price. No comparison - the Junction is clean, more recently updated, OK WiFi.

We saw a few of these desert dwellers dead on Okanogan Valley roads. Think it’s a bull snake, similar in appearance to a rattler, but not deadly.
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Some homes outside Tonasket along the Okanogan River last week got flooded, but the river has since receded. Sandbags are still in place until the risk of mountain meltwater flowing into the river is gone.
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Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 462 miles (744 km)

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