Trip V (2013) Coming Your Way!

Friday 14 June 2013

Have you noticed how Big our Country Is?

Apparently, we are going to measure each and every mile by bicycle!

Our Fifth bike adventure begins in less than a week when we fly to Seattle.  From there we will (for the most part) follow the “Northern Tier” route (purple line on this map) hoping to see old friends and meet new ones, as we make our way back to the east coast.  We’d love to see you if you are along the way and as always, LOVE the comments!

Gotta get packn’ and figure out which Duckies will join us!

Here We Go Again…2013 Edition!

Thursday 20 June 2013

Or at least getting ready to go again.  We’ve arrived in Seattle, just need to put the bikes back together, pick up a couple of items then we will be ready to go.

Seattle is offering us the weather they are known for: overcast, cold and drizzly.  Walked the route we will take tomorrow to the train station, connecting us to our course, and managed a little sightseeing, along the way.  Did you know that UPS started in Seattle 107 years ago?  This park, in the middle of the city,was dedicated on their 100th anniversary.

Also visited another Seattle original, REI, celebrating their 75th year; their store here is Huge and filled with lots of Fun outdoor/adventure toys!

And no trip to Seattle is complete without a walk through the Market.  Even though we stopped here on our short visit during Trip II, the sites are still exciting and colorful offering a cornucopia of food beyond description.

And you simply cannot be in Seattle without having a Sourdough Bread bowl filled with incredible Seafood Chowder.

We savored every morsel, knowing that This trip will not be the tour of incredible food and wonderful hotels along the Sea, but more of camping and dehydrated food. But not today!

After spending way too much time on our feet, we head back to the room only to find our wonderful hotel (Thank you, Steven and Sheraton) has left a Perfect treat in our room.

So the bikes are put together, duckies are on board and we are chomping at the bit to start our ride.  Hope to see you along the way.

Day 1 Friday, June 21 – Mount Vernon to Marblemont, Washington

Saturday 22 June 2013

It is tough to talk about the first day of pedaling, when you begin writing at the end of the day.  Hence, we depend on photos…….ah yes, the Beginning…..when training, eager anticipation and exploration meet.  We rose at 5:30 to catch the train, leaving behind the comfortable confines of the hotel and the city.

Finally started pedaling just before 10 am and were almost immediately plunged into the Rainforest of Washington state.

The density of fur, spruce and pine allowed only an occasional glimpse at the source of rushing water.

Each turn was bordered with towering trees

and an occasional field, grains still green with early growth.

Our ride today started in very crisp high 50’s and overcast; quite cold to walk into, but felt good once we warmed up, which did not take long.  The ride today was a constant low grade climb, the kind that doesn’t look like it is going uphill, but required a constant effort to pedal. We followed the Skagit River and crossed many creeks that fed it. It was not until mid-afternoon that we began to see some blue skywarming the day to almost 70, but only when we were in the sun, otherwise it remained cool; the threat of rain remaining just in the distance.

We finally made it to our destination by 4:30, totally spent after 59 miles and six hours in the saddle!  Usually exuberant after our first day, we silently wondered if our previous training was not sufficient or our old bodies just weren’t responding like they used to.  Either way, it was a Great way to spend the Summer Solstice.

Day 2. Saturday, June 22 – Marblemont to Colonial Creek, Washington

Sunday 23 June 2013

Slept in, enjoying a deliciously comfortable bed; finally starting to ride after ten o’clock.  The 70 degree morning was cool with crisp air carried down the river from the snow topped Cascades.

We were immediately surrounded by gorgeous vistas; words and pictures cannot do the day justice.  Everyone was out enjoying the day!

Foxglovelined the road

we climbed along the tumbling Skagit River,

a most incredible azure that the photos could not capture.

The snow seemed odd sitting atop such lush green

mountains and we could not stop taking photos from every angle. 

Stopped for lunch at the only general store there was on our course today.  As we were pulling off, we stopped to chat with Chris and Jenni and their delightful seven children.  Could have talked all day, but we needed to head out.

Our afternoon offered more waterfalls 

and spectacular views,

each one more incredible than the next.

Now I know why Jerry wanted us to start in Seattle instead of Spokane; would not have wanted to miss these sites. It was a tough ride today; it took us four and a half hours to bike three hours and do 26 miles.  But, Today is the reason we bike!

Tonight is our first night of camping.  We had no idea the campground was situated in such a beautiful spot along Diablo Lake.

Arriving at 3:00, we had time to enjoy the area,

after setting up the campsite.

We dined on cheese, apples, bread, smoked salmon from the Seattle Market and wine…..quite tasty.

The day was filled with fabulous sites, so more photos below.

End of Week 1

Thursday 11 July 2013

Mt. Vernon to Colonial Creek Campground, Washington

only two days in this week

85 Miles

1 night of camping

Day 3. Sunday, June 23 – Colonial Creek to Mazama, Washington

Monday 24 June 2013

Forty eight degrees is really cold climbing out from a toasty down sleeping bag.  But a steaming hot cup of coffee (note the stove) and homemade cinnamon rolls warmed us and got us rolling out of the door by 7:00.  A shout out to our campmates, great to talk to you last night; sorry we didn’t get a photo of you.

Immediately leaving the campground, we started our climb leaving the 7771 foot high Colonial Peak behind us.

We stopped often on our iniital climb to try to capture some of the beauty that surrounded us.

Within 45 minutes we dismounted to let the Duckies rest and strip off jackets; even in the 50 degree temps, the sweat was rolling.  The morning was beautiful, though the air was cool, the rain that had been promised for all day was still in sunshine form.

Clouds started gathering and a little more than two hours into our ride the sunshine was gone, but waterfalls and beauty still abound.  We knew our climb today was going to be tough (started at the pen), but had no idea how much the lack of training on hills with 60+ pounds loaded on the bike would effect us…..ALOT, apparently.  Four hours into our ride, we were still trying to reach our fist peak, having only gone about 20 miles.  Thankfully, Terry (running a sag wagon for some bikers)flagged us down and offered us water and homemade cookies, he was a lifesaver.  Having done this ride, as well as cross country trips before, he assured us the worst was behind us.  An hour later and still climbing, we had our doubts.  We did not reach our first summit (4855 feet) until after one o’clock.  True to it’s name, it was starting to drizzle.  We then dropped 2500 feet only to have to re-climb that plus a thousand to reach our next pass.  The second climb was slow, painful and it was now raining.  Our legs were screaming and on the verge of cramping; Terry’s bottle of water was the last we had and that was a couple of hours earlier.

It took us over an hour to make the over three mile climb, but we made it.

Dreams of our joyous fly down were dampened by the icy cold rain that was now pelting us.  We tested our brakes as we rode down, making sure they would still work in the wet conditions.  Had to stop a few times, just to thaw the hands to keep them working on the brakes.  It took us over an hour to ride the 20 miles downhill.  Though the air was now dry and 70, my hands and feet were like rocks of ice.  As we stood at the crossroads, trying to decide whether to stay at the little town in front of us or continue to Winthrop to catch up with Terry and his gang, we were rescued by Sam and Katie.  Every once in a while, someone special happens to us on a ride; Same and Katie were that someone!  They offered us their cabin for the night, as they were heading back to Seattle, but not without first showing us to the most incredible community hot tub; perfect for our cold and aching bodies.  Sam, Katie and company are delightful and we were sorry they had to head home as we would have enjoyed spending more time with them.  Though, after over seven hours in the saddle doing 52 miles, we were really not much company.

Day 4. Monday, June 24 – Mazama to Okanogan, Washington

Monday 24 June 2013

Slept soundly (10 hours) with the crisp mountain air coming through the windows while being tucked under double down comforters.  By the time we got out of the door at nine, all that remained of the overnight rain hung on the mountains, or so we hoped.  Though the morning was overcast, it was still a beautiful ride.

It helped that the morning portion of the ride was rolling hills, allowing time to enjoy the “simple” things.

The dense forest that had surrounded us for days, opened up to the beautiful Methow River Valley.

It took us an hour and a half to reach Winthrop, where we had planned on staying last night.  Though it looked like a cute town, we still cherished Sam & Katie’s cabin last night.  The winds previously hidden in the thick forest, now took full advantage of us as we rode along the river valley.

Shortly before noon we stopped for lunch in Twisp, our last outpost before our destination tonight.  The only thing that lay between us and Okanogan was a 12 mile straight up mountain.  Experience has taught us not to eat a large meal before a big climb, but we also knew we would need the fuel of a Rueben and Cheese Steak sub to get us to the summit.  Our nice lunch rest allowed the rain clouds to catch up to us; as we pedaled away from Twisp it started to sprinkle.  Luckily, during our twelve mile climb it never actually rained, just a mist to sprinkle, which gave the fields a healthy glow.Though this climb was steeper than yesterday’s, thankfully it was slightly shorter and (we hope) our legs are finally getting used to what we are doing to them each day.  We took our time, resting often and finally made it to Loup Loup summit by 4 pm.Lesson learned from yesterday’s decent, we stopped to don warm clothes and dry gloves.  We sailed down the 18 miles; apple (red delicious and gala) orchards being the only thing notable, but not enough to stop and photograph. The first ten miles of drop was steep enough to not have to pedal, but gradual enough to not need brakes; not having freezing rain in our face helped, too.  Finally made it to our hotel by 5:30; six and a half hours of hard riding and 58 miles completed, it was time to stop.