David Freeze: Adventure ramps up from here

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 14, 2019

After the 100-mile ride Wednesday, I didn’t finish with everything until after 11 p.m.

Rewarding myself with an extra 15 minutes of sleep became 30 minutes’ delay leaving Thursday morning. I got on the road heading toward Wenatchee and East Wenatchee in north-central Washington. U.S. 97 took a left turn to head slightly northeast following the Columbia River. Alternate U.S. 97 took the west side of the river. U.S. 97 took the east side, where I joined in.

Without knowing which side was better, my choice of U.S. 97 seemed to be a poor one for miles. I could see the cars on the other side following the river and not climbing any hills. The trucks and I were up and down quite a bit, but I got to see lots of fruit trees and roadside stands.

I pedaled through the community of Orondo, Washington, and crossed the river at Chelan Falls. In the meantime, Alternate U.S. 97 had climbed way above the river. Following the big, slow-moving river was easy for a while, but then it began climbing and falling as the heat finally hit me.

By noon, it was hot and I was running low on water for yet another day. I passed the Wells Dam as part of a 40-mile stretch without any place to pick up more water.

Pateros slowly drew closer, already planned as the end of my ride for the day. At 96 degrees, I was toast.

The first thing in town is a big, overpriced convenience store, but I still stopped for a big cup of ice cream and an iced drink. Having traveled only 64 miles for the day had been way harder than the 100 miles with much more climbing Wednesday.

The best thing about Thursday was riding beside the river, one of the oldest in the world. The Columbia begins in British Columbia and is the largest river by volume that enters the Pacific Ocean.

Pateros, Washington, was nearly destroyed by a wildfire in 2014, but much of it has been rebuilt. There has been considerable damage by flooding, too. From my standpoint, everything here costs a lot because of limited options, but my stop here ended a long drought for supplies.

I had air conditioning and a beautiful second-level view of the river Thursday night at Pateros Motor Inn as the temperature cooled down.

I plan to head to the doorstep of Canada on Saturday and spend the night in Orville, about 4 miles from the border. If I make it to the bank in time, I will exchange some U.S. dollars for Canadian money. I will also get my Verizon service set up to use the international travel pass. Supposedly, AT&T is already good to go.

I will be in British Columbia, Canada, and the Yukon for about 1,600 miles, almost twice what I have done so far. I guess I will purchase bear spray a few days in.

My previous trips to Canada have been wonderful, and I’m hoping for the same this time. Regardless, the adventure ramps up from here. As always, thanks for your time and your prayers.

Dick Richards and the China Grove First Baptist Church Men on Missions have returned as sponsors for this year’s trip. They have both been involved for several years.

David Freeze is a Salisbury Post contributor who is biking from Nevada to Alaska. He can be reached at David.freeze@ctc.net while on his journey.