It's 6:30 am. We leave the now-quiet Blue Mountain Motel and bike into the Okanogan. At the IGA grocery store, we buy and eat breakfast, drink coffee at a pleasant table. Onward we travel on the highway for 30 miles to Tonasket, along the Okanogan River (see photo). Sagebrush, bitterbrush, and grasses dominate the vegetation on the hillsides. There are flat, irrigated hay fields along the river and orchards here and there, on benches above the river. At Tonasket, we stop for water and a cold drink to prepare us for the coming dry stretch. From town, Hwy 20 gains elevation gradually.
The Adventure Cycling map showed a steady climb to Wauconda Pass, but actually the route alternated between steeper and almost level stretches. As we gained elevation, ponderosa pines become more numerous. Four miles from the pass, the dark clouds we’d been watching delivered rain. Out came our rain jackets. We wore these in the rain to the pass, after gaining 3,300 ft. of elevation. We stopped to celebrate! After a short celebration, we donned our gloves and rain pants for the descent to Republic. Our gear helped prevent us from freezing, and when we arrived in Republic we immediately found a restaurant for hot soup and hot tea. What a relief! After buying food, we headed east on Hwy 20 for three miles to the Ferry County Fairgrounds. For $15.50, we got a nice campsite, a picnic table, and a shower. We chatted with 3 young bikers from North Carolina who were headed east to Bar Harbor. Total mileage today was 71 miles.