Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tacoma, WA
Day 2, Sections 2 and 3, Hwy12 Camp to Wenatchee
Packing up camp early in the morning of day 2, probably around 0600. It was a bit chilly that morning.
Dark Knight, baby! That's the face of content right there with my trusty DR650 in the background.
First road kill of the trip. A rattler?
Mike putting down a breakfast bar fueling up to hit the dirt..
We geared up and made the couple mile jaunt down 12 to hit Bethel Ridge road. Dirt starts for the second day, as does the most difficult section of the trip.
The difficulty of this section weighed on my mind a bit due to all the things that I have read in other ride reports. More on this later.
Starting the Bethel Ridge ascent.
Mike tearing off down the gravel road like a pro.
Erik right after him on his BMW X Challenge.
The nicely graded gravel road zigs and then zags up to the top of Bethel Ridge where there are some antennas. Past the antennas the road gets more interesting and the riding gets much better then it already is. :-)
Looking down off the ridge you can see the dammed end of Rim Rock lake and Mt. Adams. Just beautiful.
There were some burnt areas of forest getting up to the ridge.
Mike joining us at the end of the graded road up on the ridge. Mt. Rainier looms up behind him.
All three bikes looking south into the valey and Mt. Adams.
Back on the bikes we head further along the ridge. The road begins to show signs of ruts caused by 4X4s and the track gets just a bit sandy.
On a top 5 list, this area has to be in the top 3 for most stunning of the whole trip. I want to go back so badly. Try not to rush through this area if you can afford the time.
Erik is in the lead and spots the critters that leave this hoof print all over the ridge - mountain goats.
He hops off his bike and follows them to where they clamber down an impossible bluff.
When Mike and I get there, we can hear them but can no longer see them. No worries though because the landscape takes the breath right out of me. Look at the vast scale of this scene. How small we are in our great big world.
Nikon Man shooting the action from an adjacent bluff.
I wonder if he has a bad assed look on his face over there. I can't really make out his expression.
The ruts get deeper and the riding even better.
Mike working the track like he's been doing it all his life.
Erik gets a little cocky and bites it nicely in one of the deep ruts.
He does a bit of damage to his leg, but he's more concerned with his beautiful BMW X Challenge. Now the front fairing says X allenge.
Nothing but pure beauty up there.
It gets better and better with every mile.
Up on Bethel Ridge we saw some great wildlife. An eagle and very large owl flew right in front of us, and we saw a gaggle of wild turkeys - maybe 5 of them only 30 or so feet away.
From here we head down to 410 for some breakfast and petrol. Unfortunately, Mike decides to head home due to mechanical issues and some personal reasons. Erik and I were very sad to see him go. Little did we know, he would join us again up north.
Erik and I head out on the second half, and MOST DIFFICULT part of the WABDR.
And it gets difficult (for me at least) pretty quick.
This drop happened on a fairly steep hill. The road behind the camera is just covered from side to side with the same kind of rock that the DR is lying on. When I hit the deep rock everything went haywire.
At least I didn't go off the side of the hill. :-)
We continue on meandering around the base of hills and climbing up and down here and there. The track will be solid, and then loose with sandy ruts and lots of large loose rock. Riding all of these surfaces really builds your skills.
Up on the ridge I get stung in the face by something and come to a fairly quick stop. Erik, following close behind, runs into me falling on the hill.
Nothing but fun.
Big Wan and Little Wan two up on the 990 doing all the stuff that we are about to do. I don't know how they did it.
They are on the return trip of a 6000 plus mile adventure when we see them on the WABDR and they say, "oh, we're just headed home" like they're headed down I5 or something
Great people on the WABDR.
The top of Baby Head Hill (I think it is called by those who have ridden it).
This is really where all the "difficult" culminates as far as the difficult section goes. What you don't see in this picture is the grade of the hill (steep) nor the switch back turn, much less the earlier part of the hill.
To sum it up, it's a pretty steep hill with a canted switch turn in the middle with roots in the turn and baby head sized rocks throughout. IT WAS AWESOME!
I just made it through with feet out, throttle wide open and all 650ccs screaming, rock flying, me crying, and God looking on. It was kind of difficult, but it was the best part of the trip for me.
I have read that lots of people talk about going around it via the alternate route, but if you do you miss much of the best scenery and you most certainly miss challenging yourself with an obstacle that is worthy of your time.
Don't skip it if you're feeling up to it. If you do do it, go first and take pictures of your buddies doing it.
At the top of Baby Head hill taking a well earned breather.
Erik dropped his bike on the hill, so he really earned it!
Making the final push to the top of Umtanum ridge.
Down the hill from Erik in this photo, the hill was fairly steep with plenty more large rock waiting to damage your bike as you will see in a moment.
Up at the top is a fancy setup of antennas.
Damage caused to my bash plate from the previous climb up to Umtanum Ridge. The rock left a very sizable dent in the aluminum plate material.
We dropped out of the hills and into Ellensburg around 1530 or so. The days riding had been great, but we were a bit spent and needed gas. We fueled up then headed to DQ for a quick ice cream treat.
In the DQ parking lot we met these fellas. They were running the WABDR south to north, but had been delayed due to one of the riders in their group crashing and breaking his leg. They also lost another of their squad earlier that day that just wasn't enjoying the ride.
These guys seemed really excited to be doing the WABDR and had made sacrifices to be here. When we met them here in the parking lot, they were just headed out to start section 3. We would see them again in a couple of hours on the trail side dealing with more bike issues, and learn later on that they had to head home early due to even further mechanical issues. No fun, but I guess that's why they call it an adventure.
We decide to knock out section 3 right after our tasty treat at DQ.
FS3500 at the beginning of section 3 is nicely paved for quite a few miles. It meanders through pine forests and meadows. This area was really relaxing.
Table Top mountain out in the distance. The landscape was oddly flat further beyond.
Sinclair cabin sits along the route with a very nice meadow right out front.
We dropped off section 3 where Mission Creek Rd is closed due to the wash out further down the track. The alternate route took us down into Wenatchee arriving around 1900. We grabbed a burger and Coke which was very refreshing after completing section 2, and section 3 all in the second day. After dinner we got back on the road looking for a place to camp.
From our experience, camping in Wenatchee is not all that great. First we headed up the road to the country camp, but were turned away because they don't take tenters. The gentleman at this camp recommended the fair grounds in Cashmere so we headed up there. The fair grounds camping area was like a gravel parking lot fenced in with chain link fence. It was depressing. It was getting late so we decided to head back to the state park in Wenatchee. At first sight it looked to be OK. Nice green grass and not too busy, but then the mosquitos made their assault. There were mosquitos everywhere -thick as soup, but we were tired and decided to stay.
We set up camp - I set up my tent for the first and last time of the trip only because of the bugs, and we proceeded to the bathrooms to rinse our clothes out and take cold (free) showers. It felt great. It was very warm that night, so no sleeping bag was needed.
Look at all that green grass and they make you set your tent up on a patch of wet sand. :-/
Camping at Skeeter City marks the end of day 2.
therivermonster screwed with this post 08-20-2012 at 03:07 PM