The hardest part about today was not riding over Stevens Pass. No, the hardest part was saying goodbye to my friends, Annette and Lorraine. I'm back on the road for the last three days of riding.
I left the cabin at 8:10 this morning.
Pulling out of Bronco Lane.
Annette rode with me as far as the junction of 207 and Hwy 2--about 10 miles. One last photo together, and I was back on my own.
I know the part over Stevens Pass to Skykomish very well from doing the Courage Classic Bike Ride for four years. So, there would be no surprises. I stopped at the Nason Creek Rest Stop for a quick potty break, and minor refill of water from the people operating the coffee and cookies stand (missed the root beer floats that are served there during Courage). I chatted a bit with the two ladies staffing the stand. The usual questions were asked and answered.
From the Rest Stop, the road begins climbing, but this is not the climb to the Pass. This is one of those climbs where you gain a bunch of elevation only to lose it before having to regain it all. This is almost more difficult, mentally, than the actual summit climb.
Almost to the top of the faux summit.
As I rode along, I was reliving my Courage Classic rides...only slower. But, it really wasn't that bad. There are places of shade, and places where the road flattens out some. For long stretches, I wasn't even utilizing super granny gear!
I reached the summit at 12:15. I thought that was a pretty good time! There is a pedestrian bridge over the highway.
I rode it over to the lodge area.
Since it was lunch time, I pulled up to a table on the patio of the lodge area to fix myself some lunch. I talked to a couple of guys that had been hiking. One of the guys, Warren, was a bike "collector" and owned several, including a folder. Sounded like he didn't ride them much.
Stevens has a couple of "Terrain" parks. Betsy wanted to ride the curvy one.
Might be better to get a running start at it!
After lunch, I refilled my water, and took Betsy down for the summit sign photo.
As you can see, Stevens is not quite as high as Old Blewett.
The ride down Stevens can be a little hairy. Mainly due to three things--wind, traffic, and snowmelt runoff grates. There was a little construction, so that narrowed things for a short distance.
Then there were four lanes, so I was able to ride out in the outside lane to avoid the grates. I didn't really need to brake because the wind was doing its best to blow me back up the Pass.
Here's a panorama of the road down. The grey spot down below is the road I would eventually get to.
After I made it down the steep part, I turned onto Old Cascade Hwy. This is my favorite part of the route. There are a few sections of the old highway left. This one is about 4 miles long. It's all downhill, and mostly shaded.
There is a creek to the right that babbles along as you are riding. I did not see a single car. I try not to go too fast through this so I can make it last.
I popped back out on to Hwy 2 and continued toward Skykomish. I had another opportunity to ride on Old Cascade Hwy to come into Skykomish. First I had to wait for this train to go by.
The "CC" Dan Henry is for Courage Classic.
I rode into the town where I found the caboose to the train.
Apparently, there is a way to get to Money Creek Campground without going back out onto Hwy 2. Unfortunately, the road is closed, so I came back out to Hwy 2 for the last couple of miles to the campground.
Although the campground is called Money Creek, my campsite is situated on the Skykomish River.
As you can see, the river is quite swift near my campsite.
I have not found Money Creek (nor have I found any money for that matter!). Perhaps I'll go for a stroll and see if this campground can show me the Money!