Ok rock stars,
We have now gone over Washington Pass (elevation 5,477 ft) in blaring heat during the hottest day on record. We were sustained most of the way by icy cold (literally) water from streams running down the mountains. After filtering the water, it was freezing cold and delicious. During the hottest part of the day, with no shade, thin air, and a 4 MPH pace, we decided for safety (and sanity) sake to hide from the sun under a bridge next to a creek. The creeks there were amazingly cold - even biking past one would lower the air temperature about 20 degrees. After a few hour break (and a dive into the water - cold!) we got back and finished the ascent, in perfect time to coast down 18 miles of downhill (only a few very short bits of pedaling). Now that was fun.
Before this we had been climbing up through the Cascades, which are monsterously beautiful (we would post pictures, but the computer at this library doesn't permit it). We have been camping every night and cooking our own food except last night when we treated ourselves to a nice room and meals.
So far we are both a bit beat up physically, but in good spirits (except for the deathly heat). The equipment is all working fairly well - I have a sqeak in my drivetrain somewhere and jason is having some trouble getting a good hand position due to the geometry of his bike. Thus far things are looking good. We have exceeded our planned distance each day so far, and have conquered (I believe that this is the appropriate word) the largest ascent of the trip. We have three more ascents to do - one a day for the next three days (we will go and do the next one right after finishing up here on the Internet), and a fourth ascent in about a week. After that it should be smoother sailing.
Bottom line: It is hot, but we're doing fine.