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The terrible trio of Beau, Tyson, and myself, slowly awoke from our late o' clock stupor and packed up our stuff. We tried to get going by 11:00am but Kelvin's mom and stepdad got home from a short trip and we ended up talking with Kelvin's stepdad, Steve, for a good bit. Steve is an art teacher(?) at a local school and is a really cool guy. He is a sculpter, refinishes vintage wooden golf clubs, modifies and custom makes all sorts of cool parts and body panels for his Ferrari 550 Maranello influenced 1972 Nissan 240Z car, builds his own surf boards, airbrushes and paints everything from snowboards to motorcycle helmets to bicycle frames, and the list goes on. He is a really inspiring individual that is a real do-it-yourself type who seems to be able to make just about anything with amazing results.
In any case we finally escaped a bit after 12:00pm and road back north on highway 97 through Orondo, past Chelan, to Pateros and then east on highway 17 to Brewster, and finally further east on highway 174 to Grand Coulee. Most all of the ride was not very interesting. Lot's of slightly curvy, up and down road across sage brush, brown grassy regions of eastern washington. It was hot too. Up in the 90s in lots of areas.
We stopped in Grand Coulee at a 50s style drive-in burger joint to fuel up for the rest of the hot afternoon. Both Beau and Tyson were like children, exclaiming their excitement about being able to ride above the ton for a 20 or 30 minute section on highway 174. I was pretty unphazed by it as it has become all too common place in my cross country trek through nowhere U.S.A. I vaguely remember at the start of my trip when I exhibited the same excitement though, so I could understand.
Our trio then headed northwest on highway 155 through Nespelem to Omak. The section of road after Nespelem was the first really good road we'd had all day and felt very much like northern california with its pine forests, exposed dry dirt forest floors, and nice benders.
Omak was really hot and we passed right through on our way north to Tonasket. I had been told by the canadian guys in Republic that one of the best roads in the area was the one from Tonasket to Chesaw and then from Chesaw to Curlew which was straight north of Republic on highway 21. After asking around at the Texaco in Tonasket we found the road that led northeast into the mountains towards Haverhill and Chesaw.
The road up out of Tonasket towards Haverhill was really twisty and, once up at a higher altitude, emerged onto a hilly plain that among other things was the home of the Sitzplatt ski area which became a cattle farm in the summer months. Beau kept remarking at how much the area looked like lots of Colorado, and I was lamenting the fact that I found it to be very much like areas of the swiss alps.
On to Chesaw the road got a little bumpy and there was a lot of sand and gravel on the corners. But, the scenery was awesome and the whole area had such a remote feeling about it that the road didn't really matter. East of Chesaw we got back into the Okanogan National Forest and were coddled by it's green alpine embrace. Really nice small lakes dotted the side of the road, and after a time we emerged on Wauconda road which heads north and east to Curlew.
Once on Wauconda road the pavement became much smoother, the scenery was excellent, and we turned up the wick in the waning hours of the afternoon sunlight. We debated if we should eat dinner at the Blue Cougar in Curlew and nixxed the idea in favor of hitting up the great hometwon pizza place in Republic. The whole loop from Tonasket to Chesaw, Curlew, Republic, and back to Tonasket should not be missed if you're in the area.
As we rode into Republic we came upon the worlds largest water balloon fight in the middle of main street, that included 10 year olds on up to adults in their mid-20s. Not something that you'd be likely to see in any other town.
We ate some tasty Calzones and then hit the rode again and went west on highway 20 back to Tonasket. On the way we saw a magnificent sunset, rode some really great roads, and quite enjoyed ourselves in the waning temperature of the early evening. We made it past Tonasket and went south to Conconully State Park, west of Omak, where we camped for the night. It's a really nice secluded park rought with a large number of deer (that were grazing near our campsite for much of the evening) and is sprawled on the shores of a wonderfull lake.
What a perfect end to a perfect afternoon. Wonderful roads, scenery, and people, and now a nice 70 degree evening that we all took full advantage of.
Total Mileage for Day: 367
©2003 John Meloy <email@example.com>