DAY 71 (8/20/05): Twisp to Newhalem, WA 84.9 mi.  The town of Twisp,
at an elevation of just under 1000 ft, is l ocated in a valley between
two passes in the North Cascades.  So, this morning I rode 20
relatively flat miles t hrough the valley to the town of Mazama, where
I had breakfast.  Leaving Mazama, I passed a sign noting that the re
are no services for the next 74 miles, basically all the way through
the Cascades.  After this sign I started climbing almost immediately.
The climb was gradual for a long time, accounting for at least half of
the total elevation gain.  Then, the pitch of the pass increaed
dramatically, to 6-8% for a few miles, and finally culmina ted in two
long, very steep switchbacks at the top of the pass.  A group of
motorists had pulled into a turnout near the top and gotten out of
their cars to cheer me on *, which was very nice.  After summitting the 
pass (5400 ft), I descended pretty quickly for a few miles, after
which I climbed again to get through Rainy Pass, at 4800 ft.  It is
psychologically pretty hard to do all that climbing, lose a bunch of
it, and then have to climb again immediately.  At the top of Rainy
Pass, though, I had the satisfaction of knowing that I ha d finally
climbed the last pass of the journey and that it was all downhill to
the ocean.  The descent off of Ra iny pass was very challenging
because it proceeded through a series of 1-2mi of very steep, twisting
downhill fo llowed by relatively flat sections.  One of the steep
sections also featured two tunnels.  On the longer of thes e tunnels
(which are not lit inside), there was a sign above the enterance to
the tunnel saying "Caution, bicycl e in tunnel when flashing.". To
activate the flashing lights, the cyclist just has to push a button
outside the enterance to the tunnel.  The only problem with this
system is that there is only one sign alerting cyclists to the
presence of the button, and that sign is right above the button, and
written in small enoug type that it can only be read from 10 or 15
yards away.  So, for th ose of us traveling at 35-40mph downhill on a
fully loaded bike, the sign is totally useless.  At that speed you get
through the tunnel in about 5 or 6 (pitch dark, totally terrifying)
seconds, anyhow.  After all the descend ing I was pretty wiped out
when I arrived in Newhalem.  To my disappointment, the services that I
had traveled 7 4 mi to get to consisted of a tiny country store, which
was closed.  So, I cooked up my emergency noodles and we nt to bed
* [and take pictures! -erik]

DAY 72 (8/21/05): Newhalem to Anacortes, WA 89.1 mi.  At long (long,
long) last, I woke up this morning knowing that I had the chance to
see the Pacific by evening.  I fueled up for the effort at an
all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in Marblemount (I ate 4 plates full
of food) and the headed out of the Cascades and into mostly flat, un
remarkable scenery, a few farms and small towns.  I had a slight
headwind which I told myself was a sea breeze, and thus motivated made
excellent time. As I got closer to the coast traffic grew denser and
denser.  I had my f irst glimpse of the ocean from the top of an
overpass just outside Anacortes.  From there, I followed Adventure
Cycling's. Back route into the city, along a very ritzy sea-side road
with lots of luxury homes.  Finally, I wen t down a short steep hill
and emerged onto the ferry dock.  And that was it.  No ceremony, no
one singing the na tional anthem, no adoring fans.  In the end I feel
like that was very fitting.  This whole journey started with a girl, a
bike, and a dream, and that is how it ended as well.  I felt very
satisfied and ve ry exhausted, having ridden from Jackson, WY to the
coast without taking any rest days.  So, I headed to the nea rest
campground (on Sunset Drive!), had a well-deserved quart of chocolate
milk, a hot shower, and the satisfact ion of hearing a foghorn sound
regularly in the distance as I set up my tent on the other side of the