Day 81: Twisp, WA to New Halem, WA

By Michael Riscica / September 5, 2007

Wednesday September 5, 2007, 83 miles (134 km) – Total so far: 4,400 miles (7,081 km) map81 ## 83.33 miles 11.2 avg 40 max mph
(I’m starting to think my cheap bike computer doesn’t go any faster than 40 mph) 

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     Click Here to Visit Previous Page: Day 80: Omak, WA to Twisp, WA
     Click Here to Visit The Next Page: Day 82: New Halem, WA to Anacortes, WA: Done. Video


Last night the sprinklers went off but luckily we were all safe. I didn’t sleep that well, I was paranoid of falling off this skinny picnic table while in my sleeping bag.

We grabbed breakfast in town. It was ok, nothing special, it’s the same breakfast that we’ve eaten all the way across the country. Have I mentioned on here that we’re tired of eating?

The plan for today was to cross Washington pass. Washington pass is the biggest climb since we crossed Sherman Pass a few days ago. Washington Pass is up 3500′ to the top then it’s a quick downhill and then there’s another short climb over Rainy Pass. Today is one of those days where there is no services for 70 miles or so and because we failed to meet our goal yesterday today is going to be a 90 mile day to the next campsite.

The 3 of us rode outta Twisp pretty hard and we got to Winthrop in no time. There was no wind so we rode like maniacs. In Winthrop we stocked up on food for the day and even a sandwich for dinner, just in case. We’re all a little scared with today’s elevation profile. After the grocery, we got back on our bikes and charged outta town, Winthrop looked like a nice town at 20 mph, too bad we couldn’t stay here last night.

As we rode outta Winthrop Jamie and Chuck got ahead, I stopped to try to get a voicemail from Bob Potter. I rode up and found them with.
Bob Potter and Team Northern Tier were really happy to finally meet each other. Bob and I have been talking back and forth via email since last winter. Bob started riding the Transam this summer and had a lot of problems and just decided to go home. Nevertheless he still wrote a really fantastic journal about cycling through Virginia. Bob’s been having the best time reading about our trip. Eventually Bob just decided to fly out, rent a car and spend the last few days with us as we finished up our ride. We’re all really excited to have Bob on board as our newest member of Team Northern Tier!Bob said he drove over the mountain that we were about to cross and we better unload some gear in his car. We each shed a couple of pounds into the backseat.  Bob also had the trunk of his rental car packed with fruit, snacks, cold water and beer! It was great to know there was plenty of water for today because even though we’ve been carrying extra water over these passes, I still find myself conserving water because I’m worried it’s not going to be enough to get me over the pass.81panc13

We finally entered North Cascade Park, Bob drove behind us a good 200 ft. and each time we would stop to take a brake he would get outta the car and hang out with us. At one point I lost Jamie and chuck and I wasn’t sure if they were in front of behind me. Luckily bob was with us and he found them and they turned out to be about 1 mile behind. I took a long break and hung out with Bob while I waited for them to catch up.

While we were climbing up the mountain we rode up to his really nice couple taking a break on the side of the road. Dave and Kris are from Connecticut, they flew out to Glacier, Hiked around for a month, started cycling west towards the pacific coast then are going to ride down to San Francisco, Then East towards Pueblo, then south towards Texas. We stopped and talked with them for about 45 minutes. Eventually all 5 of us got on our bikes and continued with climbing Washington Pass.

The climb up Washington was really beautiful. Today is definitely the most beautiful day since we rode going to the sun. We leapfrogged with the people from CT all day as we climbed the hill. They’re awesome people and with Bob Potter on board us all had a lot of fun climbing the mountain.


At the top of Washington pass we all took our well-deserved break.  The top of Washington pass is kind of funny because after Washington pass its about 3 miles downhill where you drop about 1000′ and then its 3 miles up 500′ AND THEN ITS FINALLY ALL DOWN HILL TO THE COAST . Dave said he’s going to try to get fast enough to jump off the uphill on Rainy Pass.


The real break was at Rainy Pass. Jamie gave a speech on top of the mountain. We videotaped it, but the audio came out real bad. He talked about all the shit we’ve been through cycling cross country and thanked Bob Potter for coming out to see us.  Rainy Pass is also where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Northern Tier.

The top of Rainy pass was really cold so we all bundled up; from here we had to descend 4500′. It was a beautiful ride down the mountain. Unfortunately the wind came out and slowed us down a little bit but it wasn’t that big of a deal. Jamie and Chuck got way ahead.


The trail took us along Diablo Lake and Dam. It was really beautiful. North Cascades Park is really quite a beautiful ride. We were all really happy to be here.

It was starting to get late, cold and threatening to rain. We ate those emergency sandwiches that I bought for dinner, we’re glad we bought them.  We wanted to ride into Marblemount and stay there but we ended up staying at in New Halem in the town park, which was 17 miles shy of Marblemount. We were all tired and none of us like to ride in the dark.

We found a nice little camping spot at the park. The cyclists from CT caught up to we and they decided to stay there too.

We locked up our bikes and jumped in Bob Potter’s car and drove into town to go find some dinner. Luckily we got there just in time to get some food. Jamie was exhausted so he slept in the car. Chuck Bob and I had a great dinner and we had a lot of fun talking with Bob.  We talked about a lot of stuff but mostly about Bikes, touring, architecture, the cookie lady and Virginia.  Bob bought us a delicious dinner. And dropped us back off at the campsite.
Jamie and I both slept on top of picnic table again tonight. Today was a long day it felt like it was 3 days long.  Tomorrows a big day in our little worlds. It’s a 100 mile dash to the Pacific Ocean. That’s it for the Northern Tier. We’ve been cycling for the past 81 days to finally get to this point.

     Click Here to Visit The Table of Contents
     Click Here to Visit Previous Page: Day 80: Omak, WA to Twisp, WA
     Click Here to Visit The Next Page: Day 82: New Halem, WA to Anacortes, WA: Done. Video

About the author

Michael Riscica

Hey, I’m Michael Riscica and I live in Portland, Oregon with my Labrador Retriever. When I’m off the bike, I make my living as a Licensed Architect and also write a architecture blog at

I took my first bike tour in 2003 when I rode from Boston to New York City, and at that time I learned about cycling across America. My life was forever changed. I have successfully ridden and blogged about Coast2Coast bike rides during the summers of 2005, 2007and now 2016.

Thanks for following along. I would love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Linked In! Also check out my new project Young Architect Gear, designing architecturally themed gifts and products.

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