Day 9: Tonasket to Republic - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

June 9, 2021

Day 9: Tonasket to Republic

Banana peels, bike tire tracks, and logging trucks

“Are you Rachel?” a woman asks through the window of the passing car. “Yes,” Rachel says and sees the car pull over to a side street, and then also stops. Shouting at Patrick who is halfway up a hill, he then comes back down. They are Patty and Rob Slagle, our WS hosts for tonight. It’s 2:30pm, when they said they would be returning home.  We left early this morning 5:30am and the day starts with a hill.

We knew it was there. We’d read about it in other cyclists journals, and the Warmshowers hosts in Omak warned us. We knew it was just around the corner back on US 20. And Boom! We are climbing out of Tonasket on the infamous hill…a 2 mile steep climb up to mile marker 263. That’s supposed to be the worst of the climb today and only 26 miles to the top of Wauconda pass.

The road does even out, in places looks almost flat, (we call these "flat hills") but we know it’s not flat. We see banana peels at the side of the road, a telltale sign cyclists ahead. And when we stop for a break, we see bike tire tracks also in the same spot. We know we are following Terry & Janet O’Brien who are a day ahead of us. We keep plodding along, slowly, slowly and climbing, climbing, some sections still not so bad other section steep. Around mile marker 286, we reach the closed Wauconda store and gas station. (Edit: on our rest day in town, we met a cyclist who camped in the small RV park just down the valley). Logging trucks passing us all day, most being cautious as they pass us, a few run us off the road. For the most part, the road has a descent shoulder, only on the curves and at some guard rails, does the shoulder go away.

The summit has to be near, the road begins “S” curves, and we see a road camera tower at mile marker 288, and just under a mile later the Wauconda Summit Pass, 4310 feet, we thought the elevation was 4154 feet. Then a descent to mile marker 293, there’s one more hill straight ahead. At the bottom of the descent is the Sweat Creek picnic area, we stop to eat lunch and dry the tent. This would be a great place to camp; a small stream and grassy area for a tent. After this hill, there’s one more short hump and up to Republic at mile marker 302. With instructions about how to reach their house, we get settled in and visit. Rachel says “two passes earns two beers and a rest day”; she is ready for another rest day before tackling the last of the 5 passes, Sherman Pass. And Patty has graciously offered us a rest day.

A warm shower washes the day away, and we walk back into town for dinner and two beers. When we mention going to the Republic Brewing Company, Patty tells us they don’t serve food, but allow customers to bring in food. We have heard the Knotty Pine is good for hamburgers, and again Patty gives us good advice. Esther’s Cantina, she says also serves hamburgers from their own home grown beef. We order take out from Esther’s and go to the Brew pub for two beers. We have heard from Terry & Janet that they are still in town also taking a rest day before leaving tomorrow for Kettle Falls. We do text, back and forth, but miss meeting up so once again they will be a day ahead of us.

What a day. One more of the five passes left to ride over (or in Rachel’s case, walk some). A rest day tomorrow will give us recovery time, and planning the next stage from Republic to Sandpoint Idaho.

Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Wauconda Store and Gas station...closed
Heart 1 Comment 0
Almost to the top of the pass
Heart 0 Comment 0
Wauconda Pass
Heart 2 Comment 0
We stop at Sweat Creek picnic area for food break and drying the tent before reaching Republic
Heart 0 Comment 0
A welcome room in our warmshowers hosts house, full sized towels, chocolates and water.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The bar in the Republic Brewing Company with mugs on the wall
Heart 3 Comment 0
Republic Brewing Company for the two beers and hamburgers for the two passes...Loup Loup and Wauconda
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 335 miles (539 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Chris & Heather HartridgeLooking good kids. These places and passes have such an important place in our early years of touring. We'd start at a friend's house in Penticton and head south to explore more routes in WA. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and Bemiji... is it the last destination on this tour? We spent time in that town in 2017 - headwaters of the Mississippi!
Reply to this comment
2 days ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensHi, thanks for sharing, that is what is great about touring and seeing others tours, the memories. Bemidji is the end of the first stage....then we are doing lots of rails trails through Minnesota Wisconsin and Michigan stage two. Stage three montpellier Pa on wabash cannonball trail, picking up other trails and roads to Buffalo by, then erie canal to Albany. Stage 4 through vermont and new Hampshire to bar Harbor maine by oct and flying from Boston to Amsterdam oct 16 for 2 week family visit.back to Boise nov 1st
Reply to this comment
1 day ago