shake and bake... - Seattle towards Minnesota - CycleBlaze

July 26, 2007

shake and bake...

It was 55 degrees when I woke up at 5:30 this morning. I laid in bed for a while watching a few scattered ants crawl across the outside of the tent.

Tom fixed us a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast before he headed off to work. He's an electrician and has his own company, Swift Current.

We slowly broke camp, then said our goodbyes to Tom and Carolyn.

Tom is an advocate of and was even thinking about having some business cards printed up. I hope that everyone reading this will consider signing up, ESPECIALLY the people in Wabasha, Lake City, and in parts of Iowa along the Mississippi. You're right on the Adventure Cycling Association's Northern Tier and Great Rivers routes, and you'd find some appreciative bicyclists. I know I sure am. It would be a benefit to you because you could meet some interesting people and hear some great stories.

Do you remember how I told you that when I first pack my bike for a trip I'm always surprised that it all fits?  Well, something happens during a trip. Somehow, the items you packed transmogrify into something larger. It's interesting because they don't change shape - they just gain volume. It's imperceptible to the naked eye, but you can always tell because the same items that fit into your bags yesterday no longer fit today.

I carry a plastic garbage bag for dirty clothes, in order to keep the clean clothes separate from the dirty ones - for obvious reasons. This morning the bag of dirty clothes just wouldn't fit.  It's not more clothes, just a shift in position of the clothes from outside a plastic bag to inside a plastic bag.  It didn't make a whole lot of sense. I pushed as hard as I could, to the point that I thought the seams on my pannier were going to rip - yet when I finally took a break, gasping for air and sweating, the bag just hung there like a black, shiny procidentia. (If you don't already know what a procidentia is, I recommend that you NOT look it up... you WILL regret it)

After being completely unable to change the laws of physics regarding mass and volume, I removed one of my flip flops from the pannier and strapped it to the outside of the bike. Although the flip-flop is about one tenth the volume of the plastic bag with clothes, this somehow freed up enough space so that not only was I able to fit the bag of clothes into my pannier, I was also able to fit Tom's large screen TV into it. (See what happens when you invite strangers into your house? People like me visit you) I don't understand this phenomenon but, like gravity, I can still work around it.

After the good upper body workout I just received, I thought I might exercise the lower half today (unlike yesterday), so we climbed on our bikes and rode the ten miles to Twisp. 

a deer sprinting across the road
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This looks like some kind of silo? Whatever it is, it looks pretty cool
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a tractor we saw on the side of the road
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Goofing off along the way. Yep, that's a piece of straw in his mouth
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In Twisp, we stopped at the Cinnamon Twisp for a (what else?) "cinnamon twisp."

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a local bicycle rack
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This is where Howard and I go in separate directions. He's following ACA's Northern Cascades Loop, and I'm following the Northern Tier.

Any time you meet another biker you have a connection. Perhaps it's that missing self-preservation gene, or a mutated sanity gene. Or a common need to wear goofy clothes. Whatever.

With Howard, I think we'd have become friends even if we didn't have bicycling in common.   I think you'd like him.   I'll miss him.

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I bought some replacement sunscreen on the way out of town, then headed east.

Today's route passes over Loup Loup Pass, and I climbed most of the day. Like many of the ACA routes, there were very few cars on the road. One thing that might surprise a lot of people is how QUIET everything is here.

Riding, you can hear your breathing. Occasionally the wind blows through the pines, creating a lonely sound, then goes away. A bird will chirp. Everything is still.

No knee pain today, and my legs felt strong, though I only averaged 4.3 mph going up the pass.

My right index finger became numb late in the morning. That was weird. I've never had that happen before. There are five different positions for your hands on my handlebars and I tried to use all of them, switching regularly, but it's difficult in a climb. You can't get into a rhythm as easily.

I reached Loup Loup Pass at 2:15, where my average for the day was 7.7 after about three hours of pedaling. (It was downhill from Winthrop to Twisp) I then coasted all but one of the twenty miles to Okanogan.

It took less than an hour to get to the valley floor, and I could feel the temperature rise by the mile.

By the time I got to Okanogan (pop 2,484) it was within a degree of being three digits.

I had replaced my rear brake pads before I left Minnesota, but not my front ones.... (the front brakes, by the way, do more of the stopping than the rear brakes).

There's a bike shop in Okanogan so I dropped my bike off and walked across the street to eat while he worked on it. Could I have done it myself? Obviously, but I'm too lazy.

During one of my earlier bike trips, in 1991, I was on a quest for the country's best chocolate milkshake. (Or, perhaps like the "carb loading," it's just an excuse to eat a lot of something I like.) On that trip I had a shake just about every day.

Across the street from the bike shop is On The Avenue. Although I'm no longer looking, I think this place would've beaten any of them from that trip.

They also make their own sodas... root beer, cola, etc.... They mix it up right there. I drank 40 ounces of root beer plus my cheeseburger. (It was good)

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I got sleepy almost instantly after my meal - only then did I add up the number of hours of sleep I got last night . I had difficult adding it up, because it was 4  1/2.

When I got back to the bike shop my brakes were good as new. They had just been old, and the pads had stopped working as well. I also bought a small bottle of chain lube and refilled my water bottles.

The owner, Sarin Molnar, appears to be in his early to mid twenties. His dad started the bike shop many years ago, and Sarin recently bought it from him.

One of his dad's trademarks is a "kickstand" which he placed on every bike that came through. Touring bikes are too heavy to have kickstands - they would just fall over. His dad's device is actually a front brake lock which makes it MUCH easier to lean it against something without it falling over. The brake lock, in this case, is a nut attached to a string. When you squeeze the brake handle, there is an opening on the top. This nut fits perfectly to keep the handle depressed. A bike tends to fall over because it rolls.

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Sarin also told me about a better route. He said there's about twenty miles of construction the way I was going, and recommended going through Chesaw instead of Wauconda and Republic. Even better, there's less traffic and the scenery is more beautiful. If I can make it as far as Curlew, there's a bicyclist's camp. He printed a map for me, and by the time I left it was 6:00, closing time.

It was 110 degrees when I left.

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Next stop:  Riverside. I rode slowly, trying not to get overheated, but it was difficult. I stopped regularly, and always found a patch of shade, however small, to stop in, but when it's that hot only an idiot would be outside riding a bike.  Fortunately, it was only 15 miles.

The old gospel song, "Down by the Riverside," kept going through my head as I pedaled toward my stop for the day.

In Riverside (pop 348) I stopped at the General Store for over an hour. Although it was only being cooled by an evaporative cooler, the store was much better than standing around the campground.

Every town is "famous" for something. I've seen signs welcoming me to the town with the world's largest hand-dug well, Ms. Oklahoma (of 1963), and, of course, state football champs (fill in the year). Every town has that last one displayed somewhere, and usually on the water tower.

I've decided that one of my future trips is going to be where I stop in every town and ask the residents what their town is famous for.

In the General Store there was a newspaper article laminated and taped to the wall. Just beneath the article you could see the object it was written about.

A pocket lint jar.

The owner, according to the cashier, got tired of picking up pocket lint from the floor so she put a baby food jar on the counter. The size has become bigger and bigger over the years. "There's even lint in there from Japan and Italy," the cashier proudly reported.

notice the small jar behind and to the right
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I rode to Margie's RV Camp and Pottery where I was met by Jeanie, her daughter-in-law, who was so drunk she didn't recognize the numbers on a $20.00 traveler's check. She was walking away when I called it to her attention.

Jeanie was dressed in a robe and slippers. Obviously, no judgement....  that's what I'd be wearing right now given the choice between that and stinky bicycling clothes.

Come to think of it, if I lived in an RV Park where the temperature was 110 degrees I'd probably be drunk by 9 AM.

The shower felt really fantastic tonight. I blogged till 11:00 or 12:00.

Miles 56.53
Max 39.2
Avg 10.8
Time 5:14:56
Cumulative 196.88

Today's ride: 57 miles (92 km)
Total: 198 miles (319 km)

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