A Clash of Titans

Joey here.

We’ve biked 159 miles so far, from the Seattle metro area to Wenatchee, the “Apple Capital of the World”.

Today’s route was flat. Google Maps says so.

“Mostly flat”

No, it wasn’t flat. Apple Maps says so.

“3,600 ft [1,097 m] climb”

Google and Apple dominate the map app world.

Which of these titans is right?

While you ponder that question, meet our new friends.

Jon lives in western Washington State. He came to Cle Elum to scout loci for a family reunion.

It’ll be quite a gathering! Jon has five children, 18 grandchildren.

Jon is of English-Welsh ancestry. He’s a retired tech expert for a local government and a bishop in his church. A kind and thoughtful man, he lives his beliefs. He counsels military veterans, seeing them and their families as admirable people who have suffered for causes they did not choose.

Jon’s empathy extends to refugees: good people who suffer from others’ agendas. He supports Human Rights First!

Jon is a bicycle tourist. He mentioned some of his multi-day treks, and said one of his family uses a pool noodle as we do, to encourage motorists to keep their distance. He and Jeffrey had a lot to talk about!

Dawn is the first person we’ve spoken to on this Ride who is a native of eastern Washington.

Dawn grew up in Dryden, a tiny town 12 miles east of Wenatchee.

Dawn works at the Moonlight Motor Lodge, where we stopped for the night. She and the owner don’t just talk about helping. They act. The owner keeps the weekly rent affordable so people down on their luck have a roof over them. He hopes to find some Ukrainian refugees to get a start here. Dawn is fully behind these efforts.

Dawn and Jeffrey had a long talk about refugees, victims of dangerous drugs, the cost of housing, New York City (which she visited and loved), road violence and verbal violence, children and grandchildren.

Dawn and Jon have big hearts. You can count on them to stand up for human rights.

Now . . . was the route flat?

We started at about 1900 feet (580 meters) above sea level.

“Range Area • Watch Out For Livestock”—the FLAT outskirts of Cle Elum city.
The road wound, and was FLAT.
We passed grazing horses, but not on this particular FLAT plot.
We don’t see many active Grange halls on our travels. This one is on a steep, unpaved road. The rise isn’t enough to disqualify the route as FLAT.
The road here is FLAT, and so it remained for miles toward Wenatchee.
The road began to rise.
Snow appeared along the road.
The gradual rise went on, and on, and on. There were turnouts, and signs warning that delay of 5 vehicles is illegal.
Too high, too cold, for apple trees—or apple maggots. The point is to not carry them over the mountain to apple country.
We climbed for hours! The top was 2200 feet (670 meters) higher than Cle Elum. It was over 1,000 feet (305 meters) higher than yesterday’s Snoqualmie Pass transit. We had no idea we were going over a pass today!
It was cold. It felt even colder for most of the 22 mile (34 km) descent.
For 22 miles, for 90 minutes, Jeffrey was extra alert to every bump, piece of debris, pavement crack, guardrail, narrowing of the shoulder, roaring RV and tractor-trailer. He was even more alert than on the ascent. Sometimes we coasted at 30 mph (48 kph). Sometimes we braked to a stop.
Downhills are good, but there can be too much of a good thing.

At the bottom, we got onto U.S. 2. It’s a divided highway with wide shoulders and signs warning motorists to watch for cyclists. We passed towns and apple orchards along the Wenatchee River. Beautiful!

To answer the question:

The road was not, not, NOT, flat.

On the Rides, we roll with the punches. We take things as they come.

So what if Google misled us.

We reached Wenatchee anyway.

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