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Tour Deshais

Tour Deshais: Native American influence indelible along Washington bicycle route

NEWPORT – Wind-driven waves on an ancient glacial lake beat against the rocky shore, slowly carving out what we call the Manresa Grotto. I was about 30 miles into my day’s ride, and the cool shade of the cave grotto was on my mind for the rest of the ride, as the sun beat harder and a wind urged my bike to slow despite my wishes.

Water, water everywhere, and only 8 liters to drink

IONE, Washington – When my day begins, I load my bike with eight liters of water in four different vessels. That’s almost 18 pounds. More than one cyclist I’ve met along the way has pointed out that I may be carrying too much water, that maybe one of my three-liter water sacks is enough, that maybe a water filter would be wiser.

Tour Deshais: Descending through history

COLVILLE – After I crested one of the highest strips of pavement in Washington, I descended into history. My speed reached 25 mph, 30, 35 mph, and I went back in time. First along the ancient footpath that transformed into a wagon train route and then today’s highway that I’m biking on. But I also went from the relatively recent destruction of a forest fire, to the recovery work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, to the days of the frontier when trees were first felled by industry.

Charred Methow Valley landscape tempers joy

The scorched lands around the road leading to Loup Loup Pass are a grim reminder that not even a year ago the Methow Valley was under siege by Mother Nature. Wildfires jumped rivers and highways – the same ones I crossed today. Houses and power lines fell to the flames, and the largest fire in state history threatened town after town, including Twisp. As I peddled up to Loup Loup, the forest that I can only imagine was verdant a year ago now consists of blackened, dead trees. At one point I simply stopped pedaling, in awe of the destruction.

Climb more bearable as fifth wheel

As we climbed toward Rainy Pass, and then up to Washington Pass, Emma Koenig led the pack. The 21-year-old college student from Portland, Oregon, is riding her bike to Maine with three friends, and I was lucky enough to leapfrog up the mountain with them and their buoyant spirits.

Picture Story: Tour Deshais

The Spokesman-Review reporter Nick Deshais embarks on a 416-mile U.S Bike Route 10 ride across Washington State to the town of Newport.