The 43rd annual Cascade Country Rendezvous, the rally of the Washington State BMW Riders, will be held July 30th to August 2nd at the Ferry County Fairgrounds in Republic, WA.
Great riding and food Friday and Saturday nights. Includes three nights tent or RV camping, free flowing coffee, refreshments, rally pin, awards and door prizes.
Based on the description below, it might be the nicest little rally you’ve never attended.
Are you a big fan of large crowds? Campgrounds cheek-by-jowl with your neighbors, who like to party late at night and smoke a brand of cigar you just can’t abide? Do you love to spend your rally time in the vendor halls finding ever more fabulous farkles for your favorite two-wheel steed?
Or would you rather ride awesome smooth-paved backroads through an obscure and beautiful segment of the American Northwest, full of history, ghost towns, and marvelous scenery? Perhaps your taste in roads runs to the gravel variety, probing endless Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir forests or rambling through rugged open rangeland?
If you’re like me, those twisty backroads and graveled forest highways have plenty of appeal. So do uncrowded washrooms, lots of room between tents, and great food. Big rallies can be good, but small ones are great!
Every summer in late July, the Washington State BMW Riders hosts a marvelous small rally-the Cascade Country Rendezvous-in the town of Republic, Washington. Ideally situated about halfway between US Highways 97 and 395, this small mountain town boasts only about a thousand residents. Originally settled in the late 19th century, the town was incorporated in 1900 and named for a nearby gold mine; a local mining company is still one of the county’s largest employers. The town hosts a geological interpretive center (Stonerose Interpretive Center and Fossil Site) where you can even hunt for your own fossils!
The Ferry County Historical Center caters to those who’s interested trend towards well-displayed local history. The county fairgrounds even has restored carousel that was originally built between 1985 and 1900. It’s now housed in a new building at the fairgrounds and is available for rally go-er’s use. Those same county fairgrounds, a couple of miles east of the main portion of Republic, host the Rally.
The club rents the fairgrounds for the rally weekend and the rally fee covers camping and the use of all the facilities. With over 100 RV spaces (including water and electricity) and a multitude of tent sites, there’s room for everyone. Because there aren’t many BMW riders who bring RV’s to the rally, tent campers normally use the vast majority of the RV sites—so keeping your electrical devices charged and your water bottle full are both easy and convenient!
The rally provides chili on Friday evening, a fully catered feast Saturday evening, often breakfasts provided by local groups, and Republic has several restaurants and motels for those who’d rather enjoy the town’s offerings.
And the riding. Oh my, the riding—uncrowded paved roads abound. Fantastic loops of almost any length can easily be ridden from Republic. Grand Coulee Dam is less than an hour south along Washington 21and 174. Two free ferries across Roosevelt Lake (at Keller and Inchelium) ensure easy access to roads further south and east, respectively. The magnificent Washington Pass and North Cascades Highway are less than 130 miles to the west. Canada’s only a short distance to the north so don’t forget your passport—Highway 3 along the Kettle River is another ride not to be missed.
Perhaps riding through historic ghost towns is your hobby? Remnants of the mining town of Bodie, WA are a short distance north along the well-paved Toroda Creek Road and a short loop back to Republic through Curlew. Don’t miss the excellent tiny restaurant on the corner of Washington 21 and West Kettle River Road in Curlew. Lunch there is well worth the ride!
The fascinating town of Molson, Washington lurks less than 60 miles to the northwest, following some of the curviest, most delicious mountain highways this side of Deals Gap. Lying only a few hundred yards from the Canadian border, this tiny, almost deserted town was begun in 1900 by a promoter and John W. Molson, of Canadian beer fame. Never large, the town drifted in and out of incorporation over the early years. Boasting of stores, saloons, dance halls, blacksmiths, livery stables and more during its prime, Molson now has less than 20 permanent residents. Many of the old buildings have been preserved and the old schoolhouse is now an excellent museum. Particularly evocative are the photos of the high school graduation classes over the middle years of the 20th century as they get smaller and smaller, with the last class having only two graduates before the school was finally shuttered.
Seemingly endless gravel forest roads lace their way through the nearby Coleville and Okanogan National Forests. Some are well-travelled, others can pose more challenges; something for everyone on these backroads.
An hour’s journey south from the forests around Republic will bring the rider to the north side of the “channeled scablands.” These relatively barren, rocky areas are a striking remnant of the immense floods that scoured the area when ice dams from the Cordilleran ice sheet that formed prehistoric Lake Missoula periodically gave way between 18,000 and 13,000 years ago and sent water hundreds of feet deep hurtling towards the sea. This open dry land forms a striking contrast to the forests to the north just across the Columbia River.
If your ride to or from Republic along Washington Highway 20 to the West, you’ll find the northern portion of Washington’s bountiful fruit-growing region that ranges from Oroville to Wenatchee along the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains. Late summer is a wonderful time to fill your panniers with the freshest of fruit from the numerous outlets that stand adjacent to the orchards. Just a few miles further west on State Route 20 brings you to the beautiful Methow Valley and the fabulous scenic North Cascade Highway that loops over Washington Pass, past Early Winter’s Spire and Liberty Bell mountains before tumbling past Diablo and Ross Lakes, bisecting the North Cascades National Park.
Whatever your route to this unique and splendidly scenic part of the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find fabulous roads, beautiful views, and fascinating history. We’d love to meet you this summer!
For more information, go to WSBMWR.org.