August 7

8 08 2009

Day 62:

After a wonderful sleep in the Country Inn and a great big breakfast we were off to tackle our final mountain pass. We did not get very far past the general store before the EXPLOSION! Jake’s rear tire, already extremely bald from all this riding, tore right through and the tube popped. Luckily, we had a replacement tire, so we were able to replace the tube and the tire before continuing on our 20-mile climb. The sun was out and it was getting hot. As usual, we took our time getting to the top, stopping every five miles to regroup and have a quick snack break. The climb got much steeper as we neared the top, and Dad and I stopped with about 3 miles to the top to load up on snowballs and waited for the others to arrive! With the final hairpin turn is sight we headed for the top. Up around the corner, I looked over the edge and saw the others not too far behind. Finally, the sign was in sight and we had reached the top…Washington Pass: Elevation 5477 feet. Turning around, we saw a sign that read “7% grade – Next 7 miles” …we had just climbed it! We decided to knock off the last mountain pass before lunch, so we cruised down 3 steep miles and climbed the last 2 to the top of Rainy Pass: Elevation 4855 feet. With no services available for the whole day, we stopped for lunch at the Rainy Pass Picnic Area where we enjoyed lunch of Ramen Noodles, crackers and peanut butter, freeze dried chicken teriyaki, gummy worms, and whatever else we had left. With the rest of the
day a guaranteed downhill we were eager to make quick work of the next 50 or so miles. We cruised down the mountain, surrounded by the gorgeous views, for a little while but were soon slowed by the wind. We really can’t catch a break! The wind was incredible. It was actually blowing us over, and we turned around to find that it would actually push us up the hill…where was that while we were climbing? The view over the turquoise lakes was still spectacular as we worked our way down the mountain. We definitely we not making the time we had hoped for, as we had anticipate cruising at 20 mph for 50 miles. With the wind picking up, we hurried to the nearest town as it was nearing dark. Through two tunnels and down a hill we arrived at the Newhalen county store just before closing. We quickly munched on some sandwiches for dinner and stocked up on snacks for the night. It was clear we weren’t going to reach or original destination, so we headed one mile down the road to a State Park campground where we set up just before the last of the sunlight disappeared. Having fallen14 miles short we have a long day ahead of us if we still plan to finish tomorrow…so we are in our tents and ready for bed. Must rest up for our final day as we plan to arrive in Anacortes, Washington tomorrow night!