Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour

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© 2001,

Day 6 - Saturday, June 23, 2001
Okanogan to Tonasket, WA
30 miles, 1627 feet of climbing

I had the whole city park to myself last night, with the exception of an RV that pulled up around 9 PM or so. I had forgotten my earplugs so I had to use my pocket radio to drown out the traffic noise (and the wind noise too!) from the main street. 

I woke up at 4:45 AM just when it started getting light outside. The wind had finally stopped also! So I got up early and was on the road by 6 in an attempt to avoid the wind. 

I looked for a place for breakfast in downtown Omak. Everything looked closed, but there was one place with a few cars in front of it. It was indeed open, you just had to open the door and go in. Everyone there was a "regular", with the exception of me - I'm sure this won't be the first time this happens on this trip! 

After breakfast I crossed the river and headed north on US 97. Not a fun ride! The wind was already blowing hard, although not as bad as the end of the day yesterday. It still required pedaling on the downhills, with the uphills even worse. Scenery was pretty bleak most of the way too. 

No road construction was happening, probably because today is a Saturday. The first part of US 97 had a fresh coat of blacktop - the only thing missing was the shoulder stripe, no big deal since the drivers and I just stayed in the same places as we would with the stripe. 

The winds started dying down near Tonasket. I had a choice between a short 30 mile day by stopping here, or a 70 mile day (and a 4310 foot mountain pass) by continuing on to Republic. I chose the former, since I've already done three passes in two days, plus today's headwinds. 

I found the city RV park on the other end of town. There was no sign showing the tent rates, and there was no one at the volunteer booth. So I went to the police station to ask if it was OK to camp there, sure no problem they said. While I was setting up my tent an older gentleman drove up and said it might not be a good idea to camp there, since the sprinklers come on twice a day. Ahh, that's why the grass is so green there! But he said that Shannon's ice cream place lets you camp in their yard. 

It was kind of weird going to the ice cream counter and asking for a campsite. Without missing a beat she said it's $4, just find a good spot in the side yard. Hot showers/rest rooms laundromat/internet access are at the truck stop thingie just down the street. What a deal! 

Just so you guys know what I'm doing with the e-mail thing, I'm using a device called "PocketMail" that you hold up to a payphone to send/receive e-mail. Since this is a very low bandwidth device, I'm mainly using this to send my updates, while my incoming mail at this address gets forwarded to my Yahoo mail account. 

So I finally got a chance to read my "fan mail" this afternoon. Despite being unsubscribed from all this lists, I still got 45 messages this week. It's one of those pay internet access terminals with a lousy keyboard, so I've been skimming through most of the messages, and sorry for any short replies with typos. 

I got a glimpse of tomorrow's ride - WA 20 breaks off from US 97 here in Tonasket, and once it does it looks like it goes straight up!

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