ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Day Trippin'
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-11-2011, 07:47 PM   #1
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Riding the Mt. Rainier Loop - An All Time Favorite

Another last minute road trip decision. We’re looking at unusually warm weather for this time of year with zero chance of rain. Seems like a good chance to do the Mount Rainier loop. It’s an easy 2 day ride. Heck, it’s not a bad one day loop - depending where you start from - if you just want to log some miles and enjoy the view.



Mt. Rainier from Sunrise Point. That's Little Tahoma Peak on the left.

PNW riders are familiar with this route. It’s been one of my favorite Washington areas for many years. For those of you just passing through, it’s worth a shot, depending on the weather. I’ve heard many times before – the mountain makes it’s own weather – and it’s true.

This was a bullet proof weekend, but it pays to be prepared for rain, mist, fog, and worse when riding here. Chinook pass is closed November through late May due to heavy snow just to give you an idea. The riding season is realistically restricted to maybe four months a year for a fair weather rider like me if I want to make the loop.

I’m going to make the clockwise loop, running from Federal Way to Sunrise on the North side of the mountain.


It seems like I usually go counterclockwise, but I’m tired of the slog homeward on 410 West through Greenwater, Enumclaw, Buckley, and Bonney Lake. I’m going to try and be smarter this time. Turns out to be a good choice. Lesson Learned.

I pack up Friday night and depart Federal Way at 9am Saturday – not too bad considering I was up until 2:30 this morning.

I’ll try and mostly let the photos speak for themselves from here on - I know, I'm long winded - my apologies.



Making a straight shot to White River Campground, I’m lucky to find this spot.

There’s a minor traffic jam at the entrance to the National Park. I think I got one of the last, if not the last spot open here. Most times when I’ve been here there is a campground full sign out front. As it turns out my site might be the most private spot in the place. Site C25. It looks ugly at first, because it’s directly across from the day use area, but that turned out to be a good thing.

Tent set up by noon, it’s time to head up to Sunrise via the Sunrise Park Road.


It’s a twisty 11 mile climb from the campground in reasonable condition with some great views.


Sunrise Point, a bit over halfway up, features great vistas and a trail to alpine lakes.


Harley headed down the hill.


Sunrise Point parking lot.


Pulling around the switchback at Sunrise Point, the mountain just hits you in the face. It’s an awesome feeling riding up this stretch.


Alpine lake from Sunrise Point.


At the top of the climb there is a parking lot, and visitor’s center. It serves as a trailhead to paths that can take you right onto the mountain if you’re so inclined. There a lot of trails up here, leading to alpine lakes and meadows, and of course, the volcano.

Sunrise gives the absolute best view of the mountain in my mind, Paradise on the south side is nice, but it’s nothing like the view you get from here.

I’m hungry. It’s hot out. Not much to choose from at the visitor’s center since they are usually closed after labor day. They’re open special this weekend because of the outlandish warm streak. I buy a cold bottle of water and guzzle half of it while snacking on some trail mix.

There is a place about halfway to Yakima from here on 410 east. I decide to head there for lunch. It’s a hot ride, but fun.


After crossing the Chinook Pass summit the downhill run to Whistlin Jack Resort is a blast if you can squirt past the slow rollers.


The best thing about Whistlin Jack Resort? They have gas and a mini-mart here. Sounds like a joke, I know, but they’re located halfway between nothing and next to nothing so it’s a big deal.

I was less than impressed with the restaurant. I was thinking a nice salad would be perfect on such a hot day. Well, it would have been nice if not for the stale tomatoes, stale lettuce, surly wait staff, and burned steak medallions I foolishly added. Everyone from the hostess and waitresses, on down to the mini-mart employees, had that ‘what the hell do you want’ attitude. You know, those people who work in the service industry that treat every customer as an irritation and intrusion into their daily routine. Near as I can tell, the only reason they remain in business is because they have no competition.

The Mount Rainier loop can be challenging for those on a bike with limited range. There are really only 4 places to stop for gas on the edges of the park…Greenwater, Ashford, Whistlin Jack Resort, and Packwood in the NW, SW, NE, and SE corners, respectively. There’s not a lot of margin for error if you only have a 150 mile range and you’re thinking about exploring. No problem with the weestrom’s range, though.


I met these two Harley riders as we exited the eatery. He tells me it was his idea to park in the shade – “nobody was parked here when I showed up, I’m thinking fuck this I’m parking in front. There was nobody here and now we have a long line!” The gal is interested in the bright yellow Beestrom. The guy says, “that must be fast, what the hell is it?” “Umm, yeah, faster than I need”, comes my standard response. “It’s only a 650, though. It’s a Suzuki.” We chat for a bit and they head out. They seemed like a real nice couple, doing the loop from the Seattle area. A lot of HD riders won’t even acknowledge a Japanese bike. These two were friendly.


Parked in the shade.


The ‘resort’ had a nice little riverfront area with tables and outside dining.


This place is a popular rest stop for riders of all flavors.


A little of everything here – Harleys, Japanese V-twins, sport bikes, gold wings, and a gaggle of dirt bikes.


And, of course, a popular spectator sport is watching folks scream out of the parking lot. This guy and his buddies fly out at warp speed.


His buddies follow.

Next Post – Spending the night at White River campground, some fun with the camera, and the Sunday ride home.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-11-2011 at 08:09 PM
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
Ladybug0048
Bug Sister
 
Ladybug0048's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
Oddometer: 10,698
Such a great place to ride.

One of my many great memories is one day deciding I wanted to watch the sunrise at Sunrise. I was camped with a number of other motorcyclist at Rimrock Lake and mentioned my plan to a couple of people. I was surprised when well before daylight I had 7 other riders wanting to ride with me to watch the sunrise at Sunrise. Let me tell you even in the middle of summer that is one cold ride before daylight.

Seeing your pictures of Sunrise made me think of that day. Thank you for that they are fond memories.

Waiting for the rest of your report.
Ladybug0048 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 08:25 PM   #3
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladybug0048 View Post
Such a great place to ride.

One of my many great memories is one day deciding I wanted to watch the sunrise at Sunrise. I was camped with a number of other motorcyclist at Rimrock Lake and mentioned my plan to a couple of people. I was surprised when well before daylight I had 7 other riders wanting to ride with me to watch the sunrise at Sunrise. Let me tell you even in the middle of summer that is one cold ride before daylight.

Seeing your pictures of Sunrise made me think of that day. Thank you for that they are fond memories.

Waiting for the rest of your report.
Hi Ladybug! Nice to hear from you. I just read your report, The Superbug rides to Lake Roosevelt, WA, the other day before I left. I wanted to shoot you a note, but I was pressed for time. That report reminded me of a solo ride I took from Electric City north through Nespelum and then over the ridge and back south over the Keller Ferry. The ferry ride was really cool and the ride up the canyon face was hairy. Steep switchbacks, recently gravelled, from the river to the top of the canyon was challenging for this semi-newbie back in 1997. When you get to the top of the hill it's rolling wheat fields and farmland - awesome.

I made the trip to Sunrise point for sunrise about 25 years ago. Showed up there about 5am with the camera and tripod. Managed to get some decent pics of the mountain in the moonlight and as the sky grew bright. Back in the days of film cameras

Hominid screwed with this post 09-11-2011 at 08:51 PM
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 09:56 PM   #4
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Heading Back to White River

I’m ready to ride back to camp and take some pics along the way. It is so dang hot at Whistling Jack’s I’m thinking screw it – way too hot for ATGATT – I’m packing the jacket behind the dry bag – going studly like a biker dude. Took me about sixty seconds – I kid you not – to remember why I wear long long sleeves. SPLAT! Whatever it was, it was a big soft juicy one. I now have a streak of yellow goo lining my forearm. Gross. No place to pull over now, I’ll get it at the next photo stop – barf.


Lots of rocky views over here.


Big skies too.

These pics are just west of Chinook Pass, a really special summit just because of the views and the grand nature of the passage. For most of the year you just can’t go here – nature prevails. It’s not a freeway, it’s not a sport bikers dream, the frost heaves demand caution.


Pointing West


Pointing East


Pretty Stuff


Grabbed this viewpoint pullout in a near panic stop as I was accelerating out of a good corner.


Yup, those are rocks.


Only a matter of time before these rocks fall into the road.


That road in the top half of the photo is the descent from Chinook pass – where I just came from, headed west.


You can see the descent from Chinook Pass in the upper left of this one – again, where I just came from, headed west.

I make it back to White River Campground with plenty of light left. Things are working out well for me today. There is a trail that heads down to the river across from my site and I feel like going for a walk.

There is a transition that takes place; between riding and being. Does that sound corny? But it’s true, right? Anyway, all sentimentalism aside (wow, long word – is that a word?), it felt good to finish getting camp set up, strip the riding gear off, and go for a walk to the river.



Okay, I was gonna include the rest of the pics in this post, but this seems like a good break point. I’m hungry.

Next post – River Pics

Hominid screwed with this post 09-13-2011 at 08:38 PM
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 10:47 PM   #5
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
River Pics

Some days everything happens in the right sequence at just the right pace. Today was one of those days. It was a relaxing mix of riding, walking, and photos – really nice to be on the road and it was a bonus weekend for this part of the world.


I can hear the river before I can even see it. The White River is glacier fed and there’s a whole lot of melting going on this weekend!

Note the rock formations in the background…


The river is boiling.


This bridge leads to a trail that heads toward the mountain.


The sound is constant and roaring down here.


I’m not sure why it was named the White River. It always looks brown to me – filled with silt.


Okay, I’m just playing with the camera now. It’s my idea of fun.


On the far side of the bridge is a collection of what 243Win might call Hippie towers.

















I have to admit, there was a certain mood induced by the sight of all that effort manifested in stone pillars. Was it cosmic? Maybe not, but it was cool and gave off a good vibe.


There is a side channel to the river.
















Then there is a smaller side channel.













After I got done taking pics I just stood around leaning on a log and drinking in the sights and sounds.

Next Post – Campfire and ride home; no really, that will be the end

Hominid screwed with this post 09-13-2011 at 09:20 PM
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 06:58 AM   #6
JaxObsessed
RushMoran....... :D
 
JaxObsessed's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: From Alabama to Newfoundland it's all Appalachian
Oddometer: 12,119
Gorgeous! Thanks.
Wow I love it out there.
__________________
ADVers are out of control and that's their charm, they don't line up, they don't have standards they follow, each and every one does their own thing. They know how to ride free - BugSister.
Jax mediocre photo thread
20% Smugmug discount coupon
JaxObsessed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 06:25 PM   #7
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaxObsessed View Post
Gorgeous! Thanks.
Wow I love it out there.
My pleasure.
I'm fortunate to have so much nice country so close that the mountains, rivers, ocean, or even the heat of Eastern Washington are all within a short stretch. It's just a matter of choosing a direction

Riding along the east coast some day is definitely on my bucket list.

Hominid screwed with this post 04-03-2012 at 11:18 PM
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 08:13 PM   #8
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Camping at White River

The Beestrom is resting comfortably on the parking pad, camp is set up, with nothing to do but relax and enjoy the evening.



I brought a presto log with me so I light that and sit at the table to do some reading. I do believe itís time to see how my little cooler performed today.


I bought this little portable cooler at REI.

I put the cooler in the freezer overnight, along with my two nalgene bottles filled with water. Just before leaving home this morning it gets loaded into the pelican case, with the frozen bottles and 3 of those refrigerant packs. Seems like a good formula, but still, Iím not sure how well it has held up after over 10 hours on such a hot day.

I bought the six pack at about 3 while at Whistlin Jack, took out one of the nalgene bottles and loaded the beer in. That was over four hours ago in 90 and 80 degree temps.
The can feels cold to the hand. The true test is that first swallow. Itís absolutely ice cold and magically delicious.

I read my book until the light goes away and pile the firewood on top of the presto log Ė all of it except for one piece, to be saved for later to burn down the coals.


The obligatory campfire photo.



Dinner and chores happen while the fire burns - turned out to be a four hour fire.

Itís a beautiful evening with a full moon and stars in the sky. The human sounds have died away and the constant noise of the nearby river takes over the night.

The morning is clear and crisp Ė perfect day for a morning ride.


Early morning view of the mountain.

On the rode by 8, Iím headed for the Stevens entrance to the park to head home via Paradise.

The run from 410 down to the park entrance is sweet, lots of good stretches, but you do need to keep eye out for frost heave dips. Iím digging the light traffic and cool temps.


Well, maybe not.



Oops. Road closed. I see the no pedestrians and no bicycle signs. Nothing about motorcycles. HmmmÖ.ya think? Itís Sunday and the anniversary of 9-11. Certainly no one is working up there today.



Just as Iím stupidly thinking of going to take a peek a ranger comes pulling down the road in his white pickup. Turns out a big piece of the road is washed out up ahead. We talk about alternate routes heading west and he clues me into Skate Creek Rd, which cuts from Packwood to Ashford. He was a really nice guy who seemed to have an ideal life, living in Packwood and working in the National Park.



This road is a nice little short cut, but in many places itís in really dicey shape. Lots of bumps and dips. I spent most of my time in 2nd or 3rd gear through here. I narrowly averted disaster by panic braking just before hitting a huge, sudden dip at one point. It still jarred me pretty good. Slow down, pay attention, I remind myself.

From there itís Ashford, Elbe, north on 7 through Spanaway and then north on I-5 through Tacoma to home. Just in time to watch the Seahawks lose a really sloppy game of football. I should have spent Sunday night at White River.

Hominid screwed with this post 09-12-2011 at 08:23 PM
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 08:31 PM   #9
Loud Al
.
 
Loud Al's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Forest Grove, OR
Oddometer: 3,892
Very nice report, I keep forgetting to plan a trip up there.
__________________
A Quick Trip to Big Sur


Allan
Loud Al is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 09:05 PM   #10
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loud Al View Post
Very nice report, I keep forgetting to plan a trip up there.
Thanks, it was a nice ride
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 09:13 PM   #11
orbiker
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Springfield, OR.
Oddometer: 367
GREAT PICS
Mt Rainier is a fabulous place. Almost a cool as Crater Lake.

A note: The piling of rock is called Cairns. Hikers passing by often add a stone, as a small bit of maintenance to counteract the erosive effects of severe weather. Also as a bit of good luck.
orbiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 09:14 PM   #12
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Cooler Follow-up

By the way, after getting home and unpacking I had to make another check on the cooler. Call it research, if you will



Itís about 1pm. Ice packs still feel cold, the cans still feel cold. Only one way to really gauge the coolerís performance, though. Crack, slurp, niceÖstill colder than what normally comes out of my fridge. Would have done just fine if I had decided to spend a second night at the campground, I think.

File that info for future reference
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 09:22 PM   #13
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Cairns

Quote:
Originally Posted by orbiker View Post
GREAT PICS
Mt Rainier is a fabulous place. Almost a cool as Crater Lake.

A note: The piling of rock is called Cairns. Hikers passing by often add a stone, as a small bit of maintenance to counteract the erosive effects of severe weather. Also as a bit of good luck.
Thanks for the info. I thought the cairns were cool. Primitive artwork combined with mojo is how I look at them. I thought it interesting that a lot of these cairns seemed to have a sentient quality to them with stones that almost appeared to be heads pointed back at the bridge crossing the river.

Depending on my mood I might view them as welcoming or cautionary

I missed my chance at Crater Lake this summer. I think it's a must for next year, one way or the other.
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 09:39 PM   #14
Hominid OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Hominid's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Pugetopolis
Oddometer: 255
Trip Summary

Best Stretch of Road: 3 way tie Ė Chinook Pass, The downhill run from Sunrise, and highway 7 north from Elbe to the Roy Y. 7 can be a pain sometimes, but headed north early in the morning was a blast. Lots of good curves heading into LaGrande.

Worst Stretch of Road: The closed road to Paradise. Other than that, they were all good.

Best Food: Tie between trail mix and the infamous dinner in a pouch Chili-Mac. That should tell you something

Worst Food: Salad and steak at Whistlin Jack resort. Overpriced and not very good to start with.

Wildlife Spotted: Hawks, squirrels, stellerís jays, a billion chipmunks, and a big juicy bug on my forearm

Miles Logged: 324. A pretty relaxing overnight run Ė definitely worth the effort
Hominid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 10:00 PM   #15
orbiker
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Springfield, OR.
Oddometer: 367
[QUOTE=Hominid;16842803
I missed my chance at Crater Lake this summer. I think it's a must for next year, one way or the other.[/QUOTE]

Let me know and I'll give you the tour. KEN
orbiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 12:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014