Sunday, August 2, 2015

Day 47--A Day With John Wayne

Today and tomorrow are what Chapter 5 is all about...riding the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. But first, I had to get there.

When I crawled out of my tent this morning (after not the best night's sleep due to the highway being rather close by), I noticed a number of cyclists across the highway. Thinking for a moment, I realized it was the Courage Classic. I've done Courage four times, and the Mineral Springs rest stop was always my favorite (homemade cookies and hot chocolate). As I was leaving the campground, I was tempted to go across the highway and see if I could bum some cookies...but I didn't. Instead I just took a photo.

I was continuing my ride down Blewett as they were going up.
I always thought Blewett was the easiest of the three passes. I said hi to all the riders.

I left the Courage Classic route at the junction of 97 and 970. I turned to remain on 97. That was the end of my ride down Blewett. I would have more downhill, but not until I climbed for a couple of miles.
My favorite barn.
You can see the top. Also, for once, I was going in the same direction as the wind turbines!

I came down the other side continuing to Ellensburg. Well, I knew I didn't have to go all the way to Ellensburg, but I wasn't quite sure how far I did have to go to get to the John Wayne Trail.

When I came to a "T", I decided to turn on the Garmin to see if it would show the trail. Sure enough...and it was behind me. Yep, I had ridden right past it! Fortunately, it wasn't too far back. I turned around and went to the trail.
In all fairness, there wasn't much of a sign.

Yay, I was finally on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail! 
Back to gravel!

This part of the trail, as you can probably imagine since it is eastern Washington, is pretty dry, and mostly grassland. I didn't see another soul, but it was pretty warm out, and who in their right mind would be out riding the trail in this heat...oh,

I stopped at Thorp and bought a Gatorade. One thing about my experience on JWPT today--there is no piped water along the trail, and access to the river is minimal. There were, however, a number of vault toilets, and picnic places.

Beyond Thorp, there are two tunnels. Before the first one, there was a sign stating that in order to enter the tunnel, one had to sign a liability waiver.
However, in the box below, there were no waivers. I guess they're not too worried about it. Besides, the tunnels were fine.
Here's a not so great photo from inside the second tunnel.

Awhile after the tunnels, I was getting hungry. The picnic tables I had passed so far were all in the sun. So when I got to some shade, I just pulled out my chair and had my lunch by the side of the trail. Wouldn't you know, after getting back on the bike, there was a picnic table in the shade just around the bend. Oh chair is lovely!

Although the trail at this point is pretty flat, I had an awful headwind. Remember that tailwind earlier in the day? Now I was going the opposite direction. It made for slow progress.
Here's where the trail went under I-90.

I had thought to stay in Cle Elum, but it was still early when I got there. But I still wanted a break, and needed more water. Where South Cle Elum Rd. crosses the trail, I got off and rode into town. Lucky me, I spotted a Subway! I guess second lunch would be okay. I drank lots of lemonade, and refilled my bottles with ice and water. I was about ready to leave,when a couple asked me if I was the bike rider. 45 minutes later, I left Subway. It was a good break, and I really enjoyed talking to the couple.

I returned to the S Cle Elum Trailhead as I wanted to look at the map to see how far it was to Lake Easton. It was 11.5 miles to Easton, then about 4 or so more to the park. I could do that. The wind was still blowing, so it wasn't the fastest ride.

About 6 miles later, I finally saw another cyclist. His name was Steve. He was just riding from the park on an electric assist mountain bike (not sure I've ever seen a mountain bike with a motor). He was going the other direction. Then I saw a touring cyclist. He was on a pretty long tour, now heading back to Montana. Then, two more guys went by me. They didn't stop. Steve had turned around and caught up to me. I asked him about a trail from JWPT into Lake Easton State Park. He said there was one. I had planned to just get on the road at Easton to ride to the park (I knew the way from Courage Classic), but a trail would be nice. Steve let me draft behind him for awhile, but he kept getting ahead (Mama Cass is no match for an e-bike). Finally, he disappeared, which was fine with me because I was working way too hard trying to keep up with him. 

As I was riding along, I realized that I would be backtracking by riding to the trail into the park. But, it was too late, I had already passed Easton. At least now I know where to go tomorrow.

When I arrived at the kiosk for the park, the gal told me she had just sold the two hiker/biker sites. I said I would go and see if I could share with them. She said that was fine (Idaho could take a lesson here). I rode to the sites, but no one was there. So, I waited. Pretty soon, two guys rode in. We decided I would take the smaller site, and they would share the bigger one. I gave them $12. Paulo and Jeff are just on a short couple of nights ride. They started at Olallie, and are heading back tomorrow. They had passed me going the other direction (the ones who didn't stop). Funny thing, they have both lived in Olympia. Paulo even knows the guys at Joy Ride Bikes, and also knows my friend Andy! Small world!

Since this is a state park, I got to have a shower! That was great because now everything is dusty again from being on the gravel.
MC and JP are a dust covered mess!

Total miles today: 61.5
Ave. speed: 9.82

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