Across Loup Loup Pass to the Methow River Valley, to camp before the climb to Washington Pass -- that was the plan, anyway - Over the hills and far away - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2016

Across Loup Loup Pass to the Methow River Valley, to camp before the climb to Washington Pass -- that was the plan, anyway

Making an early start from Leader Lake, I needed two hours of slog to cover the remaining 16 kms to the top of Loup Pass.  I had a substantial snack at the nondescript summit, well clad against the wind by my rain gear and a dry jersey, and a long downhill took me into the small town of Twisp, in the Methow River Valley.  The peaks of the Cascades were clear in the middle distance: 

Heart 0 Comment 0

While I was reprovisioning at Hank's excellent supermarket, a fellow came along and said he'd seen me on the road.  He recommended I take the Eastside Road to Winthrop, the next village.  It was a secondary route on the other side of the river, quieter and flatter than SR 20.  I thanked him for his kind advice, and after a good lunch at Logan's Café, retraced my tracks to the bridge which took me to Eastside Road. 

The stranger's kind unsolicited advice morphed into my good fortune.  I set out for my planned campground just past Mazama, some 40 kms away, at the base of the climb to Washington Pass. I kept an eye on the weather--
there were rain clouds and squalls in the mountains to the west across the valley, and I started to wonder when and where the curves of time and distance would cross, and how much shelter there would be when they did.

Two cyclists pulled abreast of me, one on a touring bike, the other on a road bike. They were unladen, and kindly slowed a bit to chat.  Kurt and David were headed to Winthrop, the next town along, and asked where I was going. “To a campground on the lower slopes of Washington Pass,” I said, “so that I can get an early start on the climb tomorrow.” “I know a much better place to stay than that,” said the older of the two, the rider of the road bike. “Oh?” said I. “Where would that be?” “My place,” said Kurt. “It’s just a few miles up the road.  Come and join us.” With the heavy grey clouds now beginning to roll down into the valley, I said, “I’d be delighted to. Thank you so much.” A hurried half-hour or so later, just as the first huge raindrops were hitting our helmets, we rolled into Kurt and Susan’s front yard a mile west of Winthrop in the Methow River valley.   They opened their spacious wooden house to give me a warm dry shelter, and a well-made shed-cum-bike-garage ensured the same for my Raven and gear.

Kurt is a retired physicist from Seattle; Susan, a retired self-employed weaver.  Their house is full of brilliant art and artisanal creations—the latter not only her own rugs and blankets, beautiful to look at and to touch, but also pottery, sculpture, and photography.  Awed, I asked if everything was their own creation. “Oh no,” said Susan, modestly. “At the end of any craft show, there’s a lot of bartering done.” Some of the pottery held a superb meal of grilled chicken, pasta, pesto, and salad; some of it held local craft beer.  We ate and drank and watched and listened as the rain poured down.

After supper, we shared a comprehensive round-the-houses talk about our lives and the world:  cycling and cross-country skiing, both for the love of it and also to stay young(-ish); life in the Methow Valley after decades on the coast; grandchildren, sometimes far away; dysfunctional politics in too many places, and oddly, hopeful signs of political life in Canada; climate change; and the healthcare question. 

Kurt gave me good advice on my climb over Washington Pass, especially on water sources along the way.  The next morning, he and Susan sent me on my way with a hearty breakfast and several pieces of fresh fruit from their trees and nearby orchards. 

Serendipity can do marvellous things, sometimes. 

Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 1,886 km (1,171 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 0