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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ikeya-Seki, Jul 9, 2021.
Sti Rep: About to cross the Bridge of the Gods to begin the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route.
Oh she is, no doubt.
By the way that dinner looks fantastic!! Keep it coming, love the report.
Saturday, September 3
Nuts & Bolts: After shuffling campsites each night at Nehalem State Park, I bump up to Fort Stevens State Park and secure a yurt for a night, Katy M gets a fresh chain and sprocket, and we ride section one of the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route to Packwood, where a mammoth Labor Day flea market is unfolding.
Miles: 271.4 (excluding park to park)
Total Miles: 9370.7
Weather: 51F-86F. Sunny, light clouds with a cold sea wind kept temps low and skin chilled. Conditions warmed inland, wind dropped and a light, smokey haze returns.
Trail Conditions: 101 along the coast. Slab to The Bridge of the Gods and then into the woods. Combination of twisting narrow asphalt with many elevation changes to both groomed fire roads and long stretches of hard pack with multiple potholes, some large and deep. Fine grey gravel with some wash boarding and fine dust. This first section of the WABDR saw a fair number of passenger vehicles, raising dust clouds.
Stops: Warrington for fish street tacos & the yurt for camp chow, Cascade Locks Ale House for margarita pie & IPA and the Blue Spruce in Packwood for meat & potato.
Lodging: Yurt @ Fort Stevens State Park, Cowlitz River Lodge, Packwood.
Observations: Katy M purrs along much happier with fresh drive parts and her rider sits more confidently too. I could have gotten more out of what was left, but I didn’t.
Other than obvious signs of blight in Portland, not much stood out on the ride in from the coast, except the change in climate. Along the coast I believe it would be 82-85 degrees as strong and plentiful as the sun is, but the sea wind is bitter and relentless, chilling all that warmth down to 57-62. It feels cooler on a bike, like February wind. Trust me.
However, as soon as I rode free from the sea’s frozen fingers, the sun began to have her way. I celebrated at first when I saw 70F for the first time in 10 days, but by 84F, I was cooked and ready to peel layers. I must have acclimated to cold, ugh.
The night in the yurt at Fort Stevens came at a good time. I’d spent the previous 8 nights in my tent and I was craving some night time real estate. I get relief from drawing a knee to my chest when I sleep and that doesn’t happen in a sleeping bag, on a cot. The yurt had a double bed and I spent a half hour stretching before sleep. Packwood I knew would be a laundry stop, a much needed laundry stop. I got lucky and snagged a cancelation room. Packwood apparently hosts a massive flea market twice a year and Labor Day is huge. I will take a stroll before I roll.
Before I wrap up, I want to again tip my hat to the health of human hospitality. At Nehalem State Park (an RV heaven) I was welcomed by my campsite neighbors on all sides. Grant, sister Quinn and their parents invited me for dinner and then coffee. Walt, the 84 y/o firewood prospector, turned out to be my happy hour buddy 2x and Don & Naomi surprised me with a decadent plate of French toast & a mug of java. I’ve enjoyed meeting each of them.
The WABDR so far has been mainly a easy roll with a few moderate climbs, pot holes and minor erosion. Section 2, on deck today, is only partially open, from what I’m reading. I’ll take it as it comes.
Love your hat!
Thanks - my wife made it!
Sunday, September 5
Nuts & Bolts: We leave Packwood, WA and the flea market madness behind and ride northwest onto Section 2 of the WABDR, arriving in Ellensburg, Washington for Mexican food and a bed.
Total Miles: 9517.7
Weather: Cool 55F to 77F with smoke filled skies and muted sunshine. Low wind.
Trail Conditions: Winding, scenic asphalt mountain pass (RT 12) turning to steep, heavily rock littered climbs, switchbacks and rocky ridge roads. Views limited 5-15 miles by smoke. Less smokey toward Ellensburg.
Stops: Mountain top for peanut butter & tortilla sandwich. Los Cabos for typical Mex.
Lodging: Best Western
Observations: The first section of off road which runs along Bethel Ridge was closed do to fire and the WABDR really didn’t get going until the town of Nile. Once it does however, climbing begins right away.
Packwood flea market
No steeper than what Katy M has climbed so far, the trail offers an added challenge of being cobbled with large baby-head sized gravel - or rocks really. And it doesn’t let up. Not so much that there are no smooth parts or that in some places you can’t find a fairy decent line, just that there are round rock sections from beginning to end.
Ashes into the Tieton River
From the first turn in Nile to the last decent toward Ellensburg the trail will feature rock garden after rock garden.
Two hills got me to stop midway and neither was easy to get going on again. As a matter of fact, it was rugged as hell but Katy M has a way, Katy M has a way.
One little section was a non-stop second gear rippa where a nasty wheel stopping step sits ready to drop ya and to my delight Katy M just pulled a wheelie mid hill, on baby heads and ate that step for lunch. What a machine.
On both of the hills that I had to re-start on, I need a rear wheel chock to launch from and full twist of 1st gear to donkey the way up. It wasn’t aways pretty and I didn’t always match my intended line, but we clawed to the top every time, once blazing some new tacks. Traction control setting 3 seems best for my climbing style.
Smoke white washed the horizon from floor to ceiling and the sun shown though in a coppery glow, never heating things up past 75F or so. I lunched at one of the summits. No wind. Odd.
Other than wishing the views were better, I am enjoying myself. Ever impressed by the bike, we tackle sections that challenge balance and line. Babyheads suck. You gotta think like ‘grasshopper’ on rice paper. It’s a workout on the forearms and a clamping the legs helps, but this riding is physical and I feel it.
Today we’re looking at Section 3.
Great update! Digging the terrain.
sneak peek .
I don't know what it is...
Your photography or your persistent narrative,
a bit dry and yet detailed
keeps me engaged.
PS. I just returned from 10 days of riding CO, UT and everything in between; yet your ride is epic mine was meh
Thanks for the feedback. Keeping in tight & light for my known audience(s). My fiction would burn your ears off…..
Also, 10 days in Colorado and Utah makes for a pretty memorable trip in my mind. Punctuate it with a local constabulary action and you got something you’ll not likely forget. Lol.
Great views today….. RR and photos to follow….
Monday, September 6
Nuts & Bolts: I ride the WABDR Section 3 up along a mountain ridge and down into Cashmere for a couple tacos and more fuel before climbing back up in Section 4 for about 100 miles before cutting off the last bit due to fire road closures. I make camp at Chelan Lake State Park and wake to a barely visible coating of fine ash on the fly. One of the park rangers picks a fight.
Total Miles: 9677.4
Weather: 57-93F Smokey & sunny start with increasing visibility 20+ miles. Smoke intensifies just toward Chelan, Washington. 93F at Cashmere, temps drop to as low as 67F with elevation, leveling out in the low 70’s. Light breeze to steady 5-10 mph wind. A fine day for riding.
Trail Conditions: Far fewer rock gardens and when they come, the rocks tended to be embedded and easier to both pick a line through and to roll over. Plenty of climbing on mainly hard packed roads with a 1-2 inch layer of soft, silty sand on top. Overall smooth rolling and technically less difficult than Section 2. Lot’s of pickup trucks and a few SUV type vehicles. A few other WABDR riders were out. I passed them all.
Stops: Agave Azulejo, Cashmere for so so tacos and the Chelan State Park concession stand for an Italian (ok, they only had turkey) panini, which was tasty.
Lodging: Chelan State Park hiker/biker tenting zone.
Observations: Much clearer skies allowed for some spectacular views along the ridges. I took the opportunity to launch the drone and am looking forward to reviewing the footage. Should get some sweet shots from it.
At every turn.
The morning ride included a trek though a burned out and completely dead forest landscape. Bald pine trees and others splitting from their bark lined the road like war torn soldiers creating an eerie and ominous feeling. The only positive was open sight lines and funky photo ops.
Ride Right, a BDR mantra, became the order of the day with so much vehicular traffic. Unlike the TAT, BDRs tend to be well traveled and yesterday in Section 4 especially, Ride Right was paramount. While I rode alone much of the day, I never felt alone like in Nevada.
Twice I caught oncoming traffic unaware of my approach, both times in solid climbs. The first was a young man in a brand new looking Ford Raptor, who I am sure could hardly contain this desire to rally ride & power slide. He was clipping along above 40 mph (my guess) and rounded a right handed well over then center line. He pulled it in sharply and I skittered by with little more than a visor drop and small head shake, but based on the tracks I saw further on, he was in full hooligan mode. Maybe not the best plan for Labor Day weekend.
The second tight press came at altitude on a switchback with a view. The driver of a white Toyota Tundra was eyes on the view as he took it wide. I was locked on his face and had a narrow, but clear path around. I think it woke him up a little. So ya, Ride Right, especially on BDRs…and Labor Day.
Yesterday’s ride was thoroughly enjoyable. A great mix of terrain, calendar grade views, elevation changes, jaunty uphills and line-pickable trails made for day long engagement and lots of body English. Katy M & I were in tune.
Stopping too came easy and often. My camera came out more than usual to try and catch the vibrant color and texture of landscape. I smiled all day and though I never like skipping or bumping into a road closure, when the go around is dirt and fun as it was yesterday, it takes the sting off.
Chelan State Park reserves a small spot for hiker/biker visitors and when I rolled in around 6 p.m., I was first camper in. The gate girl, both friendly and informative, directed me to the spot I needed to be in but when I got down in the area, exactly where was not clear. A dude in a park shirt riding a golf cart with a rake hanging out the back helped me pinpoint the spot.
Makeshift at best, the hiker/biker area turns out to be a Covid defunct grass amphitheater ensconced by shrubbery. Née. Katy M took me straight over and I found the greenest level spot more or less center stage. I parked and went to the food shack.
When I returned, an official looking note in soft penmanship was waiting for me, rubber banded to Katy’s GPS. Apparently someone officious didn’t like my parking spot and issued me a written order to move it to a designated parking spot. Well, about 30 feet away laid a 8 x 10 foot patch of pavement that I naturally assumed was the designated spot. So I moved to it.
Not moments after my tent was up with me busily stuffing things under the vestibule, two fully uniformed and armed Washington Park Rangers marched over. Both women, one a presumed trainee, stood fast hands on holsters as the rather attractive blonde did the pit bull work. No ‘hello,’ no ‘welcome the park,’ no ‘where are you traveling from?’, none of that. Not even, ‘I see you are a veteran.’ She couldn’t have been 25, so there’s that, but she started to lay into me about where I was parked, that I was given a note to move it and hadn’t yet, that I was not technically a hiker/biker and could find another park, that it was a 190 dollar fine, etc. etc.
Fully willing to comply for my own serenity, I explained that would absolutely move my bike once I finished settling up and that, unless. It was a problem, I’d like to bring it back over in the morning to pack up, which she agreed to, surprisingly. I did add, admittedly, that although I was willing to comply, the order was senseless, to which she took some offense. It’s when she began to shell out a few more of the authoritative threats. I think her chonies were in a bunch and my jock strap might have been a little tight, but in the end, parted in peace.
I fully appreciate the fact that enforcement officers work under stressful and at times extremely dangerous situations, but this was neither. This was one person in uniform’s personal affront to where I parked my bike. Her explanation that “we have rules about where a vehicle can travel in our parks” was total bullshit and senseless. Her order and subsequent permission to collect my kit in the morning effectively doubled the amount of times I’d ride over 20 feet of grass. A complete misapplication of authority and a lack of common sense and decency. I do have to admit that part of me wishes she’d come by again. Anyway…….
Off the charts dreams last night and I woke to sunrise & coffee, my favorite way to get up. I got most of it down the hatch and need about 45 mins or so of packing up to do before I roll onto section 5 and very likely, 6. I’m slightly ahead of plan.
Similar campground nazi encounter for me, but in BV along the COBDR,
Usually, I don't like to gripe about little annoyances that detract from a trip experience, but this one deserves mention
https://goo.gl/maps/nGBzEBcRD1r81yzaA this couple had about the same greeting as I got and I chose a different outcome for me, LOL
I moved on before he could kick me out of his gravel kingdom.
Sit Rep: Section 6 of the WABDR is effectively closed by fire control operations.
Aiming for Porthill, ID w/o entry into Canada.
Wednesday, September 8
Days: 59 & 60
Nuts & Bolts: Katy M & I leave the Conconully State Park and attempt to complete the WABDR before following the connecting route toward the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route, avoiding Canada. Fire control operations hinder trail access but present enjoyable go-arounds. We pause in Colville, Washington for the night.
Miles: 122.4 / 166
Total Miles: 9966.4
MPG: 55.7 / 61.9
Weather: 57- 82F. Sunny with smokey skies. Visibility ranges from 2 near hot spots - 20+ miles in between. Perfect riding temps, warm sun, cooler in the Sinlahekin Valley shade and with elevation. Excellent conditions.
Trail Conditions: Long winding gravel roads with heavy dust trails. Great forest twisties, long sight lines and very little traffic. Everything to the north west of Conconully was closed to fire operations, but the run around was fine, just followed the Sinlahekin Valley with frequent water views. The ride east to Colville followed the Kettle River at one point offering excellent views and smooth rolling. Very little traffic.
Stops: Many riverside stops for photo opps. Sandwich & IPA at Nighthawk, WA. Dinner at Acorn Saloon & Feeding Station for T-bone, spud, salad and conversation with three Green Beret sniper instructors.
Lodging: Conconully State Park, Benny’s Colville Inn.
Observations: Ever aware of potential fire control closures, adjustments are part of the planning. I met with FC coordinators in the morning who confirmed that Section 6 was effectively closed. The ride up the Sinlahekin Valley through the Okanogan National Forest proved to be an enjoyable ride around. Cruising along between 25-40+ mph on firm roads with only spots of sand and scattered rock made quick work of the ride to Nighthawk.
I skipped the border access road and rode along a gorgeous river, paralleling the U.S. / Canada line. Easy rolling in low wind and gentle slopes bright MPG to near 70 at one point. A good sign of Katy M’s overall health. Numbers dropped some once 65 MPH sections opened up.
I’m ahead of my planned schedule and have been dragging my feet, not moving on before noon the last three days. Today’s check out is 11. I am hoping to find a sweet campground in Idaho and stay put for 3-4 days. Fish. I do not want to get to Death Valley too soon. Stalling some. I’m also out of Micro SD space. I need more.
Unexpected Observation: I quit daily television about 20 years ago, but when I get to a motel, I turn it on. I am overwhelmed by the amount (1000 channels?) of programming garbage. Half of it seems to be trying to sell crap products. My pop culture capital is depleted and if what I see is any indication of the state of the nation, I’m glad to be in the woods. Horrifying.
The port side Rade Garage pannier has now failed at the same joint as the starboard side. I will definitely write to them when or before I am done with this ride. Now, I’ve wrapped some straps for support and threaded the Steel Core lock strap through the Perun Moto micro racks to spread the load. They are holding for now. Bags are about 20-24 lbs depending on H2O, not heavy. I intend to find a welder in either Idaho or Bishop, CA - someplace before the CABDR. I will also shed some luggage there too.
It’s cloudy and cool this morning, no sun yet. I will ride into Idaho this afternoon and find a spot to camp or maybe a room.
Loving this report
Sit Rep: just passed 10,000 miles
Did you go back to the Matrix after the call? Great report BTW, really enjoying it
Is that one of those killer hornets? Just asking for a friend...