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David Freeze: One big mountain left in Washington

Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Anacortes, Washington, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Post is chronicling each day of his ride. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

By David Freeze

For the Salisbury Post

I am comfortably inside another great motel room in Republic, Washington, and as I write this, there is steady rain and cold in the low 50s outside.

I am off the road early Thursday because there is one big mountain left to climb in Washington and this is the perfect jumping off point.

After climbing over Wauconda Pass on Thursday, the one remaining is the Sherman Pass today at 5,575 feet. It’s the highest yet.

The climb over Wauconda took about six hours with lots of challenges. Besides being chilly, there was off-and-on light rain and sometimes hairy road issues. The road shoulder was alternately very good and occasionally missing. Blind curves in some spots with a lot of truck traffic and fast drivers kept me on my toes.

Along the way as we were nearing the top of Wauconda Pass, I met three cyclists who are spending most of their summer riding from Anacortes to Connecticut. Two of them are future doctors and are spending their last free summer on the bicycle tour.

The future doctors are Brett Lehner and Sonali Rodriguez. Their friend Joe Podurgiel is riding along. I expect to see them multiple times over the next few weeks as we are taking the same route.

Taking a second to jump back to Wednesday night, I promised more on the owner of the Red Apple Inn in Tonasket. Chris Zaferes answered the phone when I called about a room and said, “I have a room for you whether you bring the bike or not.”

After that, I learned that he had lived in New York City, where he was a bus driver among other things. He tried to straighten me out on such subjects as the Civil War, Donald Trump, baseball and plenty more. I really enjoyed my discussions with Chris, and yes, Chris, I did get a room in Republic.

Interesting people are showing up everywhere on this route. Chris gave me a great room for a super price. I had another one Thursday night in Republic, so there will be more on it Saturday.

Thursday’s journey was a simple one. I originally wanted to climb both passes but it just simply wouldn’t work out to climb them and get back and do my report.

The only other “town” along the way today was Wauconda, consisting of a closed store and a working post office. The weather was just too much, so now I will hope to climb big and steep Sherman and head back down for some easier riding over the next few days as I leave Washington and head into Idaho.

If it continues to rain Friday, I will add clothes under my rain jacket and hope for the best.

Just a little about Republic, Wash. I found out quickly as I entered town that this was a gold and silver mining area and the last of this was done in 1995, almost a hundred years after it started.

Logging is a major industry as witnessed by me this morning with plenty of logging trucks on State Road 20. The population is somewhere around 1,100, and the town has a wonderful Main Street with an Old West look that I plan to visit shortly.

An all-day breakfast cafe called the Knotty Pine can’t wait for a visit, or maybe it’s me who wants to go there. My motel is the Klondike. I have a balcony looking out over the town, and I hope to spend some time there later.

Total distance for today was 40 hard-earned miles.

I want to thank the sponsors so far who have supported this trip. I will mention each one over the next few days.

The Men on Missions at First Baptist Church in China Grove does great things like building ramps, steps, helping with moving and plenty more. The members are a talented and resourceful group. For the second consecutive year, they are supporting this cycling adventure.

Big Sherman comes first today, then a long ride down to Kettle Falls or Colville. See you with that chronicle in Saturday’s paper.


See more from David Freeze

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