I had set my alarm for 6:45 since John's brother and sister-in-law were coming to ride Flowery Trail with us on their road bikes. I made sure Annette told them we would be slower. I got up and began my usual routine. I thought I heard Annette stirring. I came out of my tent and headed over to the restroom. When I got back, it was about 6:45. Silence was coming from Annette's tent. I quietly called Annette...no answer. I thought maybe she was already up and I missed her in the restroom. I continued packing. Still no Annette. At 7:00, I unzipped her rain fly. She was still fast asleep (she's the one who told me she'd be awake well before 7:00)! That was fine. Rick and Sandy wouldn't be to the park until 9:00.
Rick and Sandy came and got their road bikes ready to ride. As we were getting ready to leave, Rick was going to take a photo, when a couple who were heading out of the park in their car stopped and offered to take a photo of us. They were Annie and Kevein, cyclists who live in Chewelah.
Our first stop of the morning was less than a mile away at The Bread Box Bakery. I got a cinnamon roll for later and a monster cookie.
We hit the Flowery Trail Rd, and almost immediately started climbing.
Just around that corner the was the beginning of the 9 mile climb.
I was soon experiencing Gear 1, Tilmann's easiest gear. I was slower than molasses...and everyone else, but it was not terribly difficult. Well, once I was warmed up.
It was sunny, but not too warm. Perfect climbing weather! Rick and Sandy, on their road bikes, would circle back periodically to Annette and I. We all just kept plugging along, taking breaks when necessary.
Up up we go!
At one point, Annette decided to walk for a short bit. Soon she was back to riding.
As we were getting close to the top, there were some great views.
Finally, we reached the Flowery Trail Pass.
Rick took the summit photo of us gals. That was nice of him!
Rick and Sandy had planned to go another hour with us, but the weather was not looking good for their ride back down to Chewelah. We even heard some thunder. They decided it was best if they went back down as quickly as possible (which would be pretty quickly since it's all downhill!). We said our goodbyes, and they took off.
Rick and Sandy headed back into the blackness! I hope they made it okay.
Annette and I continued on. We were thinking of eating some lunch, but we wanted to get down to a lower elevation where it would be warmer, and we also wanted to stay ahead of the weather if possible. As we started down, we quickly pulled over and put sleeves back on jackets, and I put my leg warmers back on. It was a little chilly descending. After awhile we started feeling raindrops, so we put our rain gear on. It didn't really rain that much, but the rain gear kept us warmer.
We went by 49 Degrees North ski area. I have been there before about 34 years ago. I was in college and my dad's aunt (Naomi), who I barely knew, just one day out of the blue, sent me a check for $1000. So, besides putting most of it in the bank, I used a little to go skiing for the first time with my roommate.
I'm sure it's much different now.
There were still some sort of rolling hills, and then we had another long downhill. Due to the headwind on the descent, there was no need for braking. Mother Nature was doing that for us. About 5 miles from Usk I stopped to take this photo.
There were a few cattle grates too.
We made it to Usk. For it being such a small town, they had a bakery, so we, of course, stopped. We hadn't had any lunch yet, and they had outdoor picnic tables, so we each got something to go with our lunch of tortillas and peanut butter and Nutella. I was pretty hungry, so it was all delicious!
Boo Boo's Bakery and Cafe.
Boo Boo and us.
After lunch, we crossed the Columbia River.
Then, we turned onto Le Clerc Rd. The gals at the bakery had told us about a natural spring that had water flowing out of a pipe. They told us what to look for, and that it was "9 miles away".
On Le Clerc we passed a couple that were pulled off on a tandem. They were touring too. We didn't stop, but later when we were taking a break, they pulled up and stopped to talk to us. They were Pete and Karen from New Hampshire. They are on their final summer quest to ride the perimeter of the US. They've done everything else (including Alaska) over the last 3 summers. Now they are riding back to New Hampshire.
Annette and I took off ahead of Pete and Karen. Finally, after 12 miles (not 9), we came to the spring. The water was indeed quite good and we filled our bottles. Pretty soon, our new tandem friends showed up. We told them about the spring. Then we chatted more while admiring each other's bikes. We asked if they were going to Pioneer Park (a USFS campground and couple of miles up the road). They said they were going on into Newport to Old American Kampground. We decided to go there too as it was only a few miles further, and they had showers. We all arrived together and decided to share a site. First the gal said only two tents were allowed per site, but she let us all stay together. And it was a darn good thing too, because the fee is $27.70! Annette and I split half of that making it quite reasonable for us, and helping out Pete and Karen too.
The showers were great, and there's a kitchen, so we cooked dinner there instead of using fuel. Now I'm writing up this post in the clubhouse and it just finished pouring rain outside. Nice comfy couch in here.
It was a great day, and fun to have Rick and Sandy with us for the long climb in the morning. It was also great to meet Pete and Karen, and make new friends in the afternoon!