Day 35: To Bonaparte Lake, Washington - Western Canada 2007 - CycleBlaze

August 3, 2007

Day 35: To Bonaparte Lake, Washington

I got up at 7 but somehow didn't get on the road until 9:20. I bought some scones in Grand Forks to spend the last of my Canadian currency. Just west of Grand Forks I turned south on a low-traffic road to the Danville/Carson border crossing, 12km from Grand Forks. No hassles at the border crossing.

U.S. and Canadian customs share one building at this low-traffic border crossing.
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Shortly after crossing into the state of Washington the road starts to follow the Kettle River. The scenery is great, the weather was perfect, and there was NO traffic on highway 21. Maybe one car per minute. It follows the Kettle river upstream in a shady riparian oasis.

Beautiful riverside riding with no traffic. A sweet welcome to USA after so much traffic on the Crowsnest highway.
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Kettle river.
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I never get tired of roads like this.
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I stopped for lunch at a country store in the village of Curlew. My first impression was that the prices there were extremely cheap. A can of Coke was 45 cents. A bacon cheeseburger and chips was $3.25. Less than half what it would have cost in B.C.

After lunch I continued on a county road another 10 scenic miles northwest, still going upstream along the Kettle river. Then I turned left on Toroda Creek road and began to climb. And climb. And climb. Uphill for 22 miles. climbing at least 2000 feet with the summit near the junction with highway 20 at Wauconda.

Irrigated pasture.
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The climate is getting more arid every day.
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The temperature got noticeably cooler as I climbed. Very refreshing. Near Wauconda the road passes numerous abandoned farm buildings. An area that was settled but then abandoned. I'm starting to see big Ponderosa pines for the first time on this tour. The landscape is mostly grassy fields with a few scattered pine trees.

This area had many abandoned buildings.
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Abandoned log home right next to the road.
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More abandoned buildings.
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I stopped for pie a la mode at the cafe in Wauconda. The cafe is the only building in "town". They said there is no camping in the town of Tonasket, and suggested camping at Bonaparte Lake, which is 8 mostly uphill miles off the route. So I reluctantly rode up the hill to Bonaparte Lake. The lake is at 3554 feet elevation surrounded by tall pines in Okanagan National Forest. There was a National Forest Campground with no showers and campsites well away from the lake. Then half a mile farther is a rustic resort with cabins and $10 lakefront campsites with showers and a store. Again, much cheaper than it would have been in B.C. I think this part of Washington is very economically depressed.

A couple days ago the dry skin split on the side of my left heel. I wear Shimano sandals and bump my bare heel against things sometimes. The split started small but has grown considerably as I keep bumping into things. It's time to cover it up with a bandage.

I really enjoyed my QUIET campsite at Bonaparte Lake. No traffic noise at all. There are advantages to being 8 miles down a dead end road. Today's high temperature was 29C (85F). Pretty nice for bike touring. I had a south wind (headwind) all day to keep me cool and spent much of the afternoon at high elevation.

Distance: 96 km / 60 mi

Climbing: 750 m / 2500 ft

Today's ride: 96 km (60 miles)
Total: 2,862 km (1,777 miles)

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