Day 119: September 28: Kettle Falls to Republic

Today was the day that I did the 4000 foot climb over Sherman Pass. Unfortunately, I got a late start because I was busy using the Internet from my motel room. I left around lunch and figured that I could get at least to Republic, 43 miles away, before dark.

As it turned out, I had about 23 miles of climbing, most of it pretty easy, with about 7 miles of 6 to 8% grade at the top.

The view was pretty good, though.

View from Sherman Pass
I was riding in sandals, and my feet were getting progressively colder, despite the Gore-Tex socks. Despite the 50 degree weather, I was working up a sweat, so every time I stopped I got chilled. Finally, I got to the top, where it was 40 degrees. I put on all of my rain gear, as well as a balaclava to keep my face warm. I even tried to put a couple of hand warmers down in my socks to thaw my toes.

The ride down at 30 miles per hour in 40 to 50 degree temperatures had me pretty cold after 10 miles. Still, it beat pedaling. The last three miles or so were back uphill. This was not something I had been looking forward to. Also, it was getting dark.

When I got into town, I decided to get another motel room (two nights in a row!). I had a long hot shower, which let my feet thaw a bit, and then went out to dinner at a local bar. The room was very smoky and loud, with a large table full of miners getting progressively rowdier.

This is an area that makes its living from gold mining and timber, as well as a small amount of farming. In the windows of many businesses are signs that say "This business supports the timber industry" or something to that effect. I'm not sure what that means, but perhaps it's some kind of stab at the environmentalists (remember the controversy a few years ago about the spotted owls?).