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Old 08-31-2010, 10:56 PM   #1
Hominid OP
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North Cascades - Whidbey Island - Hood Canal

Just finished a ride around the North Cascades loop with a couple of riding buddies.

We’d been kicking around the idea of this trip for a month or two and finally decided we needed to fit it in before the labor day weekend if we wanted to avoid massive crowds of RV’s and the cold weather that’s likely to follow.


Here’s the cast of characters.

WetRider57 (aka BeeStrom Rider) – 2008 DL650
243Win (aka Slim) – 2006 DR650SE
eupson (aka ShadowMan) – 2001 750 Shadow



We settled on taking the counterclockwise route that would take us East over Stevens Pass via US 2, through Leavenworth and then into Eastern Washington. From there it’s 97 North past Chelan and then West to Winthrop, the gateway to the North Cascades Highway. The view as you head West through the Cascades was supposed to be terrific and it did not disappoint. The original plan was for three days of riding and two nights of camping. This eventually morphed into an extra day and night for a couple of us. Keep in mind, the destinations we visited could be broken down into several different day rides depending on point of origin.


First things first, though. Day one ride report and photos to follow in the next post.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-03-2010 at 01:14 AM
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:26 PM   #2
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Day 1 Report With Pics

My mission is to head out early on my own to secure a campsite near the town of Leavenworth. I’m hoping to get a spot at Tumwater campground about 8 miles short of town. Since it’s a first come first serve situation I take the most direct route possible.






Fed Way to Tumwater Campground – 121 miles for me






I leave the Federal Way area before 7am after about 4 hours of sleep – definitely blurry and not in the best shape to ride. The weather does not help my disposition much – heavy, dark clouds with rain threatening. Battling the rush hour traffic could have been brutal, but carpool lanes helped a bunch.

Got hit with a pretty heavy rain shower passing through Bellevue, which gave my rain gear its first real test. The Kilimanjaro jacket and Tourmaster pants held up fine.


My first stop was in Monroe WA for a quick breather and cup of tea before pressing on towards Stevens Pass, Eastbound on US 2. Climbing the hill, I quickly realized that I needed to upgrade my clothing. My lower half was fine, but my upper body was chilled and my ventor gloves were not up to the task, despite the hand guards on my BeeStrom.


As I thought about hypothermia and my fingers became increasingly pained I began to wonder if this expedition was such a great idea after all. It was damp and misty the whole way and avoiding the cagers was a bit tricky in a few spots. By the time I reached the summit I was flexing my fingers repeatedly just to stave off the tingling and keep them flexible. I thought about stopping to rest, but the campground was less than 30 miles away so I pressed on.


Reaching the campground none too soon I began scouting camp sites. Seemed like most of the good ones were taken until I stumbled on site # 46. Plenty of room for three tents and complete visual separation from every other site. MINE! Parked the BeeStrom at the end of the parking pad and went to register.







BeeStrom and campsite






BeeStrom and Campsite




Campsite # 46




BeeStrom and campsite




BeeStrom



After setting up my tent I decided to make a run down to Leavenworth to see if I could contact the guys by cell phone – no cell service at Tumwater campground. It’s about 8.5 miles to town from the campground and I stopped a few times along the way and back to take some photos.

This section of US 2 is one of the prettiest in WA, running along the Wenatchee River with nice sweeping turns as it cuts through the river canyon.



Wenatchee River




BeeStrom and river canyon




US 2 sweeping turn




Wenatchee River Dam




Dam logjam




Dam logjam close up




Dam warning




Dam approach.



For those who have not been to Leavenworth the town has been constructed with a Bavarian theme. It’s a very popular destination and though a bit touristy it’s a fun place to visit. If you like German food, sausage, and good beer you’ll love Leavenworth!

I didn’t take any photos while in town, but hoping one of my buddies can contribute a couple? I took the time to purchase a brat from a street side vendor and enjoyed some people watching from the curb side patio while munching on my well earned lunch. Mustard, onions, and sauerkraut were mandatory, of course.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-01-2010 at 07:36 PM
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:37 PM   #3
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Looking forward to the rest of this one. You already showed me one place I didn't know was there and that was the campground. I remember it the next time I'm in the area.
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:54 PM   #4
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Talking Tumwater Campground

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladybug0048
Looking forward to the rest of this one. You already showed me one place I didn't know was there and that was the campground. I remember it the next time I'm in the area.
Tumwater campground is pretty good. Flush toilets and running water were nice.

Site # 46 was perfect for us. It's probably the most private site in the place. We could not see any other people from that spot. We had three small tents, but we could have easily fit six small tents in that site. It felt like we had about an acre of land

There were two small bathrooms within a one minute walk, but totally invisible from our site.

Cost was $17 dollars per night. The camp host was friendly. He informed me that one extra motorcycle was free, but more than that would mean an $11 extra vehicle fee. When I told him we would have three total he waived his hand and said, that's okay - never mind.

I have to wonder if he would have said the same thing if I had been a Harley riding biker looking type, though. I'm fairly harmless looking and generally friendly so that might have played into his approach. Also, the quiet Beestrom might have helped
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WetRider57
I have to wonder if he would have said the same thing if I had been a Harley riding biker looking type, though.
You say that as you used to have a rather classical "harley-esque" look about you.

Or is that "harlequin", I forget,...
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 243Win
You say that as you used to have a rather classical "harley-esque" look about you.

Or is that "harlequin", I forget,...
Yes, but I've cleaned up in my advanced years
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:58 PM   #7
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Day 1 Report - Second Half

After lunching in Leavenworth and connecting by cell with my ride partners I head back to the Tumwater campground. My buddies started a little later and took a more leisurely route to meet up with me and I needed to let them know where I had landed. Mission accomplished.

And to make things better the weather had cleared up and I had clear skies and warm sunshine to enjoy. It felt great to thaw out after the bone chilling ride over the pass.



Alternate route that takes advantage of some back roads - Note points between G and B



Buddies were in camp with tents set up by the time I arrived back at Tumwater.




The gang’s all here





The gang’s all here









The boys seemed a little restless so we discussed our options. We all wanted to have dinner and a couple of brews in town, but it was a little early for that.

We debated heading back West on US 2 for a look at the Wenatchee Lake area or heading down towards Leavenworth and taking a run up the Icicle Creek Road. We settled on Icicle Creek.




Icicle Road Side Trip - 21 miles from Tumwater camp to end of paved road.

Icicle road turns to dirt 12.5 miles from the highway.


The run down to town from Tumwater is a beautiful ride in the late afternoon sunlight. Just before getting to the Leavenworth town center you’ll hit the turnoff to Icicle Road on the right. The road runs through houses situated on the outskirts of town and eventually starts climbing and winding into the mountains through the canyons. There are a few campgrounds along the way including Eight Mile, Upper Johnny Creek and Lower Johnny Creek, all of which were full.

The views from this road are spectacular and well worth the side trip if you’re in the area. We followed this road until it turned into dirt where ShadowMan and myself being the noobie wimps that we are had to call it quits. Slim, on his DR650, seemed to be drooling at the idea of continuing on, but he cut us some slack and acquiesced to our limitations.


There’s a makeshift trail down to the creek at this point in the road that provides a nice view of the area so we took the short walk down to enjoy the nature opportunity. I’m kicking myself right now that I did not bring my camera along for a couple of shots to share.

We run down Icicle Road into town and find a place for dinner. Just after you enter the town center there is a place on the right with a nice patio layout that serves brats, pretzels, and a few other things. We settled in for dinner and as luck would have it there was a small band providing live music. Brews, brats, pretzels, and live music. A good time was had by all.


We made our way back to camp in the dark and enjoyed some drinks and a campfire until we were all ready to fall into our tents.



All in all a very successful day of riding and exploring! I highly recommend this area.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-02-2010 at 02:24 PM
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:32 AM   #8
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I am inspired by your trip route. I have done the mountain passes often, but never coupled with Whidby Island and Hood Canal.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott of the Sahara
I am inspired by your trip route. I have done the mountain passes often, but never coupled with Whidby Island and Hood Canal.
For me it's a no brainer as I live on the kitsap peninsula and rather than slog down I-5, jumping over to Port Townsend was my intended route home. Riding Hood Canal came about as we added an extra day to the trip and I wanted to avoid HWY3 as well.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:01 PM   #10
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Talking Combining North Cascades with East side of Peninsula

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Originally Posted by Scott of the Sahara
I am inspired by your trip route. I have done the mountain passes often, but never coupled with Whidby Island and Hood Canal.
Like Slim said, it was a natural extension of the ride, really. We were already right there in Burlington so what the heck, just kept riding West on 20 and then turn South to Deception Pass.

We could have extended the trip even further (timewise) by spending a night at Deception Pass State Park and then another at Seal Rock. Glad we didn't, though. Rain moved in on Tuesday and it would have been miserable.

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:27 PM   #11
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Day 2 Report - 1st Half

The morning of day 2 finds the BeeStrom rider sleeping in while Slim and ShadowMan are kicking around the camp taking pictures and wondering when I’ll drag my lazy butt out of my tent. I’m glad they allowed me some extra sack time given that I only had about four hours the previous night.





Rider Sleeping Here – DO NOT DISTURB!










The boy’s tents are well separated from mine.










Caught me fumbling with my tent poles – whatta dweeb!










Slim’s packed and ready to go.







We head out from the campground about 10:30 and ride into town for breakfast which actually turned out to be lunch. Sammiches all the way around and we’re ready to hit the road. Our goal is Pearrygin Lake in Winthrop.





Tumwater to Winthrop – 136 miles







The weather is perfect as we ride out of town with blue skies and moderate temps. We cruise through mountains and orchards along US 2 on our way to 97 where we turn North to cruise through the arid landscape of Eastern Washington, mountains to the left, the waters of the Columbia River to the right. The scenery is desolate yet beautiful.

I was leading the pack and had an idea that I wanted to see Rocky Reach dam along the way. The entrance snuck up on me and I had to flip the turn signal on and jam on the brakes at the same time, going from 70 to 30 in no time at all. Luckily Slim was alert and we all managed to make the turn without creating a 3 bike wad of metal and flesh.





Rocky Reach Visitor Center



Had to pass through a guard shack and then followed the signs to the visitor’s center and fish ladder viewing area. Security is surprisingly tight here so be prepared to go through a metal detector if you want to see the fish ladders and visitor center.

Slim had been talking about espresso and was delighted to see a stand inside the visitor center as we were passing through security. Java fix satisfied, we move on to tour the dam.




Rocky Reach Fish Ladder



The fish ladder viewing area was cool and the timing was right. There were some impressive steelhead and king salmon passing through while we were there.





Rocky Reach Dam










Exploring Rocky Reach










Rocky Reach










Rocky Reach










Rocky Reach Powerhouse










Columbia River










Rocky Reach with Lake Entiat in the background







The tour of the dam was fun with the fish ladder, powerhouse, and the historical museum. It was a nice break in the ride and now we’re ready to move on toward Chelan and Winthrop.

Wildlife spotted
Steehead
King Salmon
Mergansers feeding on fish
Hawks
Eagles

More to follow.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-03-2010 at 01:17 AM
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:43 PM   #12
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Day 2 Report - Second half

We head out of Rocky Reach dam and I’m leading the pack again. For some reason I’m the default leader, maybe because I’m more familiar with this area? No problem, I like being in front. It allows me to call the shots with regard to where we stop or turn off. It does task me with making sure I keep the boys in my mirrors to make sure nobody’s dropped off, though. Still, a good trade I’m glad to accept.

ShadowMan said he’d never seen Lake Chelan so I keep in mind that I’d like to make a side trip to see the Lake. Somewhere short of Chelan I see a sign that says Lake Chelan State Park. I take the left off of 97 onto 971. It turns out to be a good choice.





Lake Chelan Highway 971 Loop



This road starts climbing through the hills as soon as you leave 97. This road seems to go on and on and I start to wonder, where the heck is the lake? It’s a real pretty ride, though, running through the hills and valleys. There are quite a few houses out here in the middle of nowhere and I find myself thinking this would be a really peaceful place to live. After this the road starts climbing again and the thought reoccurs, where the heck is the lake? We reach a crest, start heading down and there it is. We’re treated to spectacular views of the lake as we wind down the hill toward the park.

We take a nice break at Lake Chelan State Park and enjoy watching the swimming area from the overlook above the beach.



Lake Chelan State Park Beach






Lake Chelan State Park




One sight I am trying to erase from my memory at this park was of a 75ish man in the dressing area of the bathrooms. Old naked dude with girdle pulling on a pair of depends. OMFG – please burn my eyes out right now!


Leaving the sate park 971 runs along the lake past waterfront houses that probably cost a pretty penny. As we cruise along the lake I spy an osprey that flying next to us. It has what looks to be a ten inch trout clutched in it’s claws. Very cool.

The run from Chelan is very pretty. Passing through Winthrop was cool with its old West town center theme.



Winthrop Town Center



Making our way to Pearrygin we were greeted with fierce winds, threatening skies, and tumbleweeds in the road.

Our arrival at Pearrygin Lake campground was disappointing. This place has a definite KOA feel to it: absolutely no visual separation between camp sites. Kind of sad when you consider that you’re out in the middle of nowhere. It will suffice as a place to rest your weary bones when pressed, but if I had a choice I would opt for something else. On top of that the campsite was $24 with an added $6 fee for reserving online. Ugh.



Say hello to the neighbors…




To make matters worse there was a hellacious wind ripping through the place with ominous clouds overhead. It looked like a storm was brewing. We hastily set up camp hoping to beat what looked to be an impending thundershower.



Threatening Skies




Our fears turned out to be unfounded. The storm was moving out, not in. Shortly after setting up camp the wind died down and the skies started to clear. Slim and Shadowman headed into town while I stayed put, started to build the makings for a fire, and took some pics.



No fire starter needed – Beestrom rider can build a fire.






BeeStrom at camp






Clouds moving out at sunset






Slim returns from town






Action shot with Slim




These are either artsy fartsy shots or I screwed up with the shutter speed



An attempt at a graceful dismount






ShadowMan returns with Slim






Best thing at Pearrygin Lake




The best thing about Pearrygin Lake campground? The bathrooms, flush toilets, showers, and laundry machines.

It actually turned out to be a good night, though. Once it got dark we couldn’t see our neighbors. It also turned out to be a clear night without a cloud in the sky, stars glowing in the clear dark night We had plenty of firewood, purchased from the onsite store, and we cooked up our camping food with our hiking stoves. Slim had boil in a bag Indian food with minute rice. Shadowman and I had packaged Mexican beef with tortillas warmed on the grill over the fire. Once again we had drinks by the fire and fell into our tents.

I woke up to noises in the middle of the night. Sounded like animals were in camp. I took a peek around with my flash light hoping I wouldn’t see a bear. Seeing nothing, I made my way to the nearest bush to drain the lizard. Midstream, I heard a large animal rustling in the brush. Can you say shrinkage? I turn on my hat light and much to my relief it’s just a deer. I head back to my tent shaken, but safe.


Wildlife spotted
Hawks
A deer pretending to be a bear.

Day three report to follow tomorrow

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Old 09-03-2010, 12:27 AM   #13
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Putting Mike and the BeeStrom in the front is a no-brainer as well. He had a camera and likes to stop at interesting places. I tend to charge on through when traveling with a group. I'll stop a hundred times a day traveling alone, but with others in tow, I tend not to stop and blow by a lot of stuff that really needs more time. Heck, I didn't even bring a camera this trip due to that tendency of mine.
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 243Win
Putting Mike and the BeeStrom in the front is a no-brainer as well. He had a camera and likes to stop at interesting places. I tend to charge on through when traveling with a group. I'll stop a hundred times a day traveling alone, but with others in tow, I tend not to stop and blow by a lot of stuff that really needs more time. Heck, I didn't even bring a camera this trip due to that tendency of mine.
When on my own I would stop more often, as well. We covered 697 miles by my odometer. Prolly would have taken me twice as long to cover that distance left to my own devices.

Definite party foul leaving your camera at home, though. Thirty lashes with a wet noodle for that faux pas. Picture with sarong queued up for tomorrow
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:44 PM   #15
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Day 3 Report - First Half

We rise early on day 3, knowing we have a long stretch to run today. The ride from Winthrop to I-5 alone is 168 miles.





Winthrop to Burlington 168 miles



I made use of the camp showers and we proceeded to pack up.





Slim with his sarong – don’t ask




Three bikes – three solutions




Beestrom packed and ready




The Beestrom’s rigged with Caribou luggage side bags, Givi Monokey topbag, and Sea to Summit dry bags for the tent and sleeping bag.





750 Shadow ready to go




ShadowMan is utilizing soft saddlebags and an expandable Wolfman topbag.





DR650 rigged up






DR650 rig






DR650 fender bag




Slim goes all in for the Wolfman gear, side bags, top bag, tank bag, with an MSR fender bag. He can pack an amazing amount of gear on this small bike!



We head into Winthrop for breakfast and a few photos before hitting the road.





Three Fingered Jack’s




Three Fingered Jack’s serves breakfasts with huge portions. My order of roast beef hash was enough to feed a small family. Still I managed to put it all away except that last chunk of sourdough toast. I was set for the day.





Espresso and burritos anyone?




Winthrop attracts bike riders of all kinds on a summer weekend.





Heart of the North Cascades






The finger points the way





The road to the summit passes several campgrounds that would probably be a better option than Pearrygin (Early Winters is one of these). The weather changes from sunny and hot to a cold mountainous overcast. The views are still great, but we press on due to our schedule, narrowly averting some careless and some obnoxious cagers along the way.

The climb to Washington pass is fun, but the downhill run is even better. Miles of sweeping twisties are great fun, especially since the weather is clear on the West side of the pass. The Beestrom is leading the pack again – how did that happen?


We finally pull over at the first available Ross Lake viewpoint.





Ross Lake Viewpoint






Ross Lake Viewpoint






Ross Lake






Ross Lake






Clouds from Ross Lake Viewpoint




We head a few minutes down the road to the very popular Lake Diablo viewpoint. The color of this lake is even more spectacular in person. I’ve never seen a lake this shade of green before.




Lake Diablo






Lake Diablo






Lake Diablo






Lake Diablo




Running West from Diablo presents more nice twisties, some of them pretty tight. As I exit one turn I come across a deer standing very close to the road on the inside of the next curve. Bambi is staring right at me and I slow down to a crawl, fearing she may bolt in front me at any second. We pass by without incident.


It’s a long run the rest of the way toward I-5. We endure a long trail of cars, a rain storm with a little hail and gusting winds through the Skagit Valley. We finally make it to Sedro Wooley where we stop to gas up, just short of I-5.




Slim and I part ways with ShadowMan




This is where we part ways with ShadowMan. He’s gonna head down I-5 to the home front so he can make it to work Monday morning. Slim and I elect to continue heading West. Our plan is to head over Deception pass on our way to Port Townsend and the Hood Canal area.



More to follow in next post.

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