Day 12: Colville to Usk - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

June 12, 2021

Day 12: Colville to Usk

Not done with passes yet

“We’re not that far East to be having Grits, are we?” Patrick asks the waitress as we are about to order for second breakfast at Monica’s Buttermilk Kitchen in Chewelah. “We brought them up from the south,” she replies with a bit of a southern accent. We order hashbrowns with the Denver Omelet and Biscuits and Gravy.

The rain continued on and off through the night. We are up early at 5:30am, and pack a wet tent, then head to MacDonald’s for a bit of a breakfast and to us the restrooms. The road for the first 6 miles to Chewelah is flat continuing to follow the railroad, and the next 15miles is rolling particularly around the town of Addy.

Our first stop when reaching Chewelah is to shop at Safeway for tonight’s evening meal. Although there is camping in the city park, if we had wanted to stage the distances differently, but our destination for tonight is Skookum Creek Campground in Usk. First though we need to get over the hill on Flowering Trail Road. The top is 31.9 miles from Colville so the climb is 10.9 miles with an elevation gain of 2387 feet. Patrick ticks off every 100 feet gain. About 4 mile in, the grade increases to 8% for a couple of miles. Rachel is struggling with this grade, and Patrick becomes a porter and takes her back panniers and we walk until the road grade eases.

At 3000 feet, there is a big hairpin curve; we take advantage of the sun peeking through the rain clouds to quickly dry our tent. There’s the possibility of more rain in forecast, and it’s so much nicer to pitch a dry tent at the end of the day, even if it is in the rain. The road continues with S curves and we finally reach Flowering Road Pass….yes it’s called a pass! The surface has been good for the most part, nice shoulders, and little traffic. We layer up for the downhill.

We get a nice 5 mile downhill, with a cattle guard at the bottom before a 2 mile climb 16.5 miles from Chewalah. There is one more nasty 10% drop to the Pend Oreille valley floor. The road then flattens out as we near Usk. We pass a lumber mill, with plenty of wood stacked and a huge sawdust pile. We receive a text from the Obrien’s at 2:19 that they were eating lunch at the Grill in Usk. We get there about an hour later…missed them again. We shop at the gas station for cold beer and water and pick up a lemon bar from the bakery.

As we cross the bridge, Patrick says, “I better take this picture again.” In 2010 we cycled the Selkirk Loop and crossed the bridge to check out the bakery and it was closed. We turn right on LeClerc road for 3 miles to Bear Park Drive and into a very nice campground at Skookum Creek. The sites are laid out around a loop drive, we take a site with a nice view down the marsh the creek flows through. The water is even temperate enough for a sponge bath. There are pit toilets, but no drinking water. We seem to be the only campers, which is a surprise on a Saturday night. Later in the evening though a large group of local kids looking to party take up a site on the end of the loop.

Not a surprise on a Saturday night …..

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Monica's Buttermilk Kitchen on Flowering Trail Road
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Second breakfast with hash browns not grits
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Patrick becomes Rachel's porter on the 8% grade....we walk, not strong enough yet.
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Jen GrumbyI can feel your (both of you!) strength building through this photo.
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3 months ago
Taking advantage of the sun briefly coming out to dry the tent
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The downhill begins, on this down side there is an 8% and 10% section.
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A turtle crossing, later we saw one as roadkill...watch out for turtles
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like a painted turtle. Native and common in the area.

https://www.burkemuseum.org/collections-and-research/biology/herpetology/amphibians-reptiles-washington/painted-turtle
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3 months ago
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Skookum Creek Campground
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Beer picked up in Usk, carried in the sleeping bags to keep cold....it's Miller time (the best we could do)
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What a guy, a porter and a cook!
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Lori LewisRachel, you scored big time when you found him!
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2 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTotally agree, I feel so lucky and fortunate
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2 months ago
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Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 443 miles (713 km)

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