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Old 09-06-2005, 10:45 AM   #1
Guaglione OP
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PNW route-gurus, help needed

I need to find a GS-able route from Seattle to Wenatchee, staying off pavement as much as possible. Anyone have any good ideas, as well as pointers on which maps to use?

Thanks,

luca
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:15 PM   #2
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Over Stevens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guaglione
I need to find a GS-able route from Seattle to Wenatchee, staying off pavement as much as possible. Anyone have any good ideas, as well as pointers on which maps to use?

Thanks,

luca
You've got seveal choices as the major route, but tieing side routes into the main, quickly diminishes the total. There are secondary roads travelling up the North Cascades hiway 'til Marblemount. Then you're on the main road over. You can resume secondary roads at Mazama easily enough, but many are paved. Once at Twisp, you can ride over the Sawtooth range to Chelan. I like this ride, but it is a short day all by itself. After that, there may be some alternate routes, but you will mostly find you'll have to follow the Columbia to Wenatchee.

If you use the Stevens pass thru-way, I know FS roads form Plain to Leavenworth, then jump hiway to ride to Cashmere. Then you can ride Mission Ridge to Wenatchee. GSable? I dunno, it was 20 years ago I rode it, and then it was moderately challenging on my XT 500. It might be better these days, or not...

I'm not too well versed on the Snoq/Blewitt route, tho there are routes up over the Colockum to Mission/Wenatchee.

I use Mapsend Topo, but USGS 7.5' maps would do ya, too.
Are ya makin' it a multi-day ride, or just a diversion or 2 from one of the main routes?
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:37 PM   #3
Guaglione OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer
You've got seveal choices as the major route, but tieing side routes into the main, quickly diminishes the total. There are secondary roads travelling up the North Cascades hiway 'til Marblemount. Then you're on the main road over. You can resume secondary roads at Mazama easily enough, but many are paved. Once at Twisp, you can ride over the Sawtooth range to Chelan. I like this ride, but it is a short day all by itself. After that, there may be some alternate routes, but you will mostly find you'll have to follow the Columbia to Wenatchee.

If you use the Stevens pass thru-way, I know FS roads form Plain to Leavenworth, then jump hiway to ride to Cashmere. Then you can ride Mission Ridge to Wenatchee. GSable? I dunno, it was 20 years ago I rode it, and then it was moderately challenging on my XT 500. It might be better these days, or not...

I'm not too well versed on the Snoq/Blewitt route, tho there are routes up over the Colockum to Mission/Wenatchee.

I use Mapsend Topo, but USGS 7.5' maps would do ya, too.
Are ya makin' it a multi-day ride, or just a diversion or 2 from one of the main routes?
I am planning the ride around the route, so the route I choose will determine the length of the ride.

Any specific FS road #'s to look for?
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Old 09-06-2005, 01:11 PM   #4
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A primer on maps.

Maps are made from photography; either shot from aircraft or satellites. The photography is shot in stereo pairs to provide for 3D viewing. Two types of data are normally produced from these stereo pairs; planemetric data (things on the surface of the earth like roads and rivers) and elevation data. Elevation data can be represented with contour lines on paper maps or as a digital file of elevation points.

Because of the huge cost of photography and the cartographic work necessary to produce maps, cartography is done mostly by the government. Most mapping is done by the federal government via either the United States Geological Survey USGS or the Defense Department. Small scale jobs and updates to existing maps are done by state and local governments and small private companies.

The bottom line is that most maps and atlases are reproductions of maps produced by the government. USGS and the Defense Department sell their data at low cost to anyone who wants it. It is public domain information.

The best topographic maps available today are the 7.5' (minute) USGS topographic quadrangles. These maps are printed at a scale of 1:24,000, meaning that one inch (or any unit of measure) equals 24,000 inches on the ground. These are large scale maps. USGS also produced or produces maps at 1:63,500, 1:100,000, 1:250,000, 1:500,000, 1:1,000,000, and 1:5,000,000.

The entire US has not been mapped at 1:24,000 and never will be, it is too expensive. Also keep in mind that it takes years to make a map from the time the area is selected for a mapping project to the planning of the photography mission, to shooting the photography, extracting the data and printing the map. By the time a map is printed it may be 5-10 years old, maybe older. Sometimes, older photography is used to fill in where clouds covered an area.

If you buy a map from Green Trails or National Geographic (to name two) you are buying USGS map data (most likely 1:24,000 7.5' Quad) printed at a different scale. What you get is the latest map data the government had over that area plus (hopefully) updates. Updates might include roads, hydrography (rivers, lakes, dams), and city outlines. The updated material is often lifted from other (local) government map sources.

Maps cost about $7.00 per sheet whether from the government or a private company. It takes hundreds if not thousands of 7.5' quads to cover a state. The best buy in maps today is the National Geographic TOPO! product. They offer seamless USGS 7.5' (and smaller scale where applicable) Topographic Maps on CD-Rom for an intire state for about $100.00. This is an incredible deal. You get all the topographic maps for a single state on your desktop with the ability to print just what you need for the field.

National Geographic also offers a product named Backroads which contains topographic maps for the entire US at a smaller scale (17 CD set). The software engine that runs and displays the maps is TOPO!

If you want to find the best backroad route through the mountains this is your best source of maps. Commercial maps based on USGS/government data might contain updated road information, but not the kind of information an adventure rider would want or need. For that you need to ride the road.

Things to know about cartographers (map makers, of which I am one):

They look at photography 5+ years old, sometimes much older.
The photography scale does not let them see rocks, gravel, sand on the ground. They can see roads, but not too much detail about their surfaces.
Photo INTERPRETATION is an art as much as it is a science. Cartographers make guesses as to what they are looking at.
The cartographer wasn't an adventure rider trying to determine if he could get a GS over that pass.
Coniferous trees obscure the ground year round (most aerial photography is shot in winter to make the ground more visible).
Most mapping projects are scheduled around urban centers where change takes place. Maps of mountainous regions may be at smaller scales (meaning less detail) and be 30-50 years old. A lot of erosion can take place in the mountains in 30+ years.

The bottom line:
Get National Geographic TOPO! for your state, and study it. (I have no connection to National Geographic)
Look to private companies like Green Trails and local and state government agencies to make updates to USGS data.
Forest Service maps would be the best source for road info on Forest Service land and are also based on USGS topographic maps.
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Old 09-06-2005, 03:25 PM   #5
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I think I have a headache now

Whoa, that's a lot of info. Thanks.

So perhaps I should rephrase the question. Has anyone ridden any of the FS roads in between here and Wenatchee recently, and have any pointers on road conditions not shown on whatever maps I may choose to buy?
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Old 09-06-2005, 04:34 PM   #6
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Thats a good question- I use the Gazateer maps which has good detail, but I find roads blocked by gates, or within DNR lands are inaccessible.
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Old 09-06-2005, 05:25 PM   #7
Johnny Drunkard
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Luca,


Which Pass are you thinking of: Washington/Rainy (Hwy 20), Stevens or Snoqualmie?

Dig around on the Touratech site...the last GPS ride had a route over Rainy/Washington, one of the ones before Stevens to Snoqualmie.

Davidovich led a ride of the latter a few weeks back.

I'd recommend augmenting your GPS w/ a DeLorme Gazetteer (toothy note correct spelling ).

One option: Index - Jacks Pass - Hwy 2 - Old Cascade Hwy - Hwy 2 - Stevens Pass - FR 6700/6500 - Lake Wenatchee - Plain - Leavenworth - Mt Home Rd - 97 - Old Blewitt - FS 9711(?) - FS 9712(?) - Squilchuck Rd(?) - Wenatchee.

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Johnny Drunkard screwed with this post 09-06-2005 at 05:53 PM Reason: I mispelled Gazetteer!
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Old 09-06-2005, 05:50 PM   #8
Johnny Drunkard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by das Rider
Maps are made from...
Know it all.



Seriously though, great post dR. Do you know if Google Earth uses the same source data as the USGS maps?

Being GPS-less and somewhat of an armchair cartographer, I rely on the DeLorme book & the Green Trails maps. As you said though, these can be outdated or plain wrong. Thats when the adventure begins...

For broke folks like myself, topozone.com has a free viewer for the USGS maps. IIRC you can't save or print with the free version, ::cough:: unless you can read html code and find the URL for the source img ::cough::
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Old 09-06-2005, 05:51 PM   #9
Johnny Drunkard
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Almost forgot...

A map is worthless without a compass.

DAMHIK
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You can't drink all day unless you get started in the morning.
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:16 PM   #10
das Rider
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[QUOTE=Johnny Drunkard]Being GPS-less and somewhat of an armchair cartographer, I rely on the DeLorme book & the Green Trails maps.QUOTE]

I like DeLORME Atlas & Gazetteers. They get their topo, hydro, vegetation, and other data from USGS, then combine it with other more recent government sources like highway maps and print the pages at a scale just large enough to read, if you are 20 with 20/20 vision. Green Trails is more of the same.

What they can't tell you is where have the roads washed out in the last 30 years, where are the gates and which ones are locked, is this "road" through the mountains GS-able.

We could use the TOPO! web site for just this purpose. Ride a road or trail, collect a GPS route and post it on TOPO! with a description of its suitability for dual sport motorcycles. Then other advriders could download the tracks/routes and read the descriptions. Everybody wins. I'll look into it.
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Drunkard
A map is worthless without a compass.

DAMHIK
Well, technically, you could still use it for toilet paper without a compass.

Or; fold it into a hat, or a drinking cup, or diaper (in an emergency), cover up with it on a cold night, use it as a signaling device (large white square on a dark background, or wave it like a flag), use it for sun shelter in the desert, the list goes on and on. I just hate to hear that a map is useless.
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:13 PM   #12
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You could use it to start a fire, use it as paper mach'e. You could use it to write down the phone number that could save your life. You could roll it up and use it as a funnel to put oil in the bike, there are so many different things to do with a map.
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:20 PM   #13
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this is funny...
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:26 PM   #14
Guaglione OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSguy
You could use it to start a fire, use it as paper mach'e. You could use it to write down the phone number that could save your life. You could roll it up and use it as a funnel to put oil in the bike, there are so many different things to do with a map.
You could use it as a coaster for your In-N-Out burger.
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:54 PM   #15
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You could use it as a wraper for your in-and-out burger
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