Sunday, September 26, 2021

Day 16-Home to Greet Not One, But Two New Members of the Stable

I was packed up by 8:00 this morning after sleeping quite well in the big tent. I was going to help Rebecca take it down, but she decided she wanted to clean the floor first before storing it for the season. So, we proceeded with photos. Eli was still sleeping (like any 14 year old would be on a Sunday), but the dogs were happy to be included. 

Teton on the left, and Yonni on the right. They are Great Pyrenees (brother and sister).

Teton is very friendly. Yonni was warming up to me. 

I headed out, retracing my route to the Tahlequah ferry terminal. As I approached the ferry dock, the boat had finished unloading, and one walk-on person was walking down the ramp. The dock operator said I could just ride right on. This was strange because every time I’ve taken the ferry recently, I’ve been told to walk down the ramp. Once on the boat, I can ride to the other end. One ferry employee even said that bikes have to be walked on the ramp due to insurance reasons. I did have to walk up the ramp on the point Defiance side. Curious…of course, I didn’t object to riding down the ramp. 

Not as nice of a day as yesterday. 

There’s MC down there (probably her last ferry ride).

While I was on the ferry, I checked my email. Lo and behold, there was an email from Fed Ex saying my new Priority 600X bike had been delivered. I immediately texted my husband to make sure it had indeed arrived. He didn’t get back to me. It wouldn’t have concerned me, except that we’ve had some burglary issues in the neighborhood lately (so much so, that my husband has been locking the garage door). When I didn’t hear from him, I texted my neighbor across the street and asked if the car was there, and if not, was there a large box. She said no to both. Then I asked her to go open the garage door (gave her the code…I didn’t know the door was locked at that time) to see if the box was there. Right when she was going to do that, Tim pulled up. He then sent me a photo of the box in the garage. Woo Hoo!

I still had about 33 miles to go. Now that I knew the bike was secure, I enjoyed the ride. I stopped at Starbucks in University Place for some hot chocolate and a snack. Talked to a gentleman who was interested in the bike and the trip. 

I continued my usual way of riding home from Tacoma/University Place/Steilacoom/Dupont. At the top of Grandview Dr, I decided to take the East Slope Trail down instead of Chambers Rd. 

I had come up this in the first day. Going down was way better!!!

In Dupont, I stopped at Subway for some lunch. I figured I would not want to take time to eat once I got home what with unloading, and taking care of my gear, and…new bikes waiting!

Oh yeah, forgot to mention the other bike. Before I left, I ordered a Brompton M6R folding bike to take with me when I go to Minneapolis (or Boston, or Miami Beach) to visit the kids. That came while I was gone too. So, I was coming home to two new bikes!

I was trying to beat the rain, and was mostly successful. Only a few sprinkles. I didn’t even put my rain coat or poncho on. I got home just before 3:00. I unloaded MC and piled everything in the living room. My tent was dry when I put it away, so I wasn’t too worried about opening it up. Besides, it was now raining. 

I decided dealing with the Priority bike would have to wait until morning. I did bring up the Brompton box to the living room, and set to work unboxing it. Reading the instructions, it was pretty easy to unfold. That was all I had to do. Unfold it, and it’s ready to ride (too bad it was raining out).


Presto! Unfolded!

I also got the transit case for it so I can take it with me to Minneapolis in a couple of weeks. 

So…I guess I should do a little wrap up of the “Bob’s Bakery and Beverly Bridge Tour”. First of all, this was the first time I’ve done a tour with people I didn’t know beforehand. For the most part, it was fine. There were a few moments, but things seemed to work themselves out in the end. For me, the most important thing was that I was self-sufficient. I had all the routes, and everything I needed. Prior to going on the tour, other than the routes, and the daily itinerary, I didn’t really know much else. There hadn’t been a lot of communication, but that was okay for me because I knew I could do the trip regardless. Except for the one day where the route had us going to a dead end, the routes were pretty good. I modified a couple of the days to make them more logical. I did learn to not assume the route creators knew entirely what they were doing (or maybe just didn’t look closely at what the route was…ie the dead end). I, for one, should have questioned when the route didn’t make sense. Of course, it all worked out (as it usually does).

I had waffled about which bike to bring. While I would have loved to have my new bike, Mama Cass did an excellent job. I had no issues whatsoever, and even though I was over-biked for much of it, it was great for those times when things were pretty rough. Truthfully, those super knobby 3” tires rolled pretty good on the road. 

Seeing the new bridge (but not getting to go across, or even get very close) now has me wanting to do the whole Palouse to Cascades. I know across the river the trail is far less developed, but I still think it would be fun. 

Anyway, I had a good time. Honestly, it was nice not doing huge mile days. I enjoyed stopping in at bakeries, or having a leisurely lunch. It’s really the first tour I’ve done where I’ve been perfectly happy to hop back on my bike at the end of the day to go check something out, or go to dinner, etc. 

Thanks to Bob for planning the ride, and allowing me to come. He is definitely a bakery kindred spirit!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

(Temporary Backup) Day 15-Saying Goodbye, and Hello Again

Last tonight was very…busy. We had heard yesterday while we were at Hyak that there was going to be a gravel race (from Cle Elum to Rattlesnake Lake), and a 50km run. I’m not sure if all the hub bub was for the gravel race or the run, but I was awakened by the sounds of vehicles and voices. I thought it was probably about 6:00. No, it was 3:40am! The noice went on for awhile, then it quieted down. About 5:30 or so, the noise ramped up again. I got up about 6:00. There were all kinds of people milling around, and then a bunch of ATVs took off up the trail. No one said anything to us as we were packing up. 

We headed out about 8:15 or so. Either the race had begun, or they were all down at Rattlesnake Lake. It was all quiet. 

We started out on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. 

It’s a great trail, however, last time I did it I made the mistake of going to the end of this part where there is a bridge, then stairs. This time, I made a better route. 

We were all still together. Bob kept asking Thomas what was the way to go, since Thomas had ridden there before. It was all rather confusing (plus there was a road closure). I knew where I was going, and I tried to tell Bob and Janet that they needed to go the way that routed them to where they were going (back to Snohomish and the park where I met them).

Finally, it was clear that Thomas and I were not going the way Bob and Janet needed to go. So, we said our goodbyes, and Thomas and I continued on. Last time I went a different way (stayed on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail for longer), but RWGPS had routed me a way that was 5 miles shorter. It was also quite a bit hillier. 

Climbing along the Snoqualmie Parkway. 

RWGPS used some sly dog ways to take us to the Snoqualmie-Preston Trail. Thomas had never come that way before. He was surprised. I told him there was more than one way to go. 

The trail did do this weird switchback down to the road, then did a gratuitous squiggle to avoid crossing a bridge, before doing another very steep climb back up to the trail. It showed on the Garmin that there was a trail that went straight through (without all the squiggly bits), but it crossed a river, and I wondered if there was no bridge. Anyway, except that Thomas didn’t like the climbing, it was just fine. 

The next trail was the Issaquah-Preston Trail. Unfortunately, part of the trail was closed, so we had to go through Issaquah. For awhile, there were detour signs, but then there weren’t. Good ol’ Garmin did a reroute that got us back on route after the closure. 

Issaquah-Preston Trail goes along I-90.

By this time, we were getting a little hungry. There was a McDonalds, so we stopped and had some lunch. Thomas was very nice and bought my lunch. 

We continued to work our way toward Lake Washington. Thomas’s plan was to take the Lake Washington Loop Trail home. I would continue on the I-90 Trail into Seattle. At one point, Thomas thought he had made a wrong turn, but according to the Garmin, he was going the right way, but he insisted it was the other way. I told him I was going to follow the RWGPS route. He went the other way. 

I got to come down this brand new bit of trail, and over a new bike path bridge. 

As I made the turn to get on the I-90 Trail, there was Thomas. He said he had only been there for about 3 minutes. Now, however, we were parting ways for good. I really enjoyed riding with Thomas for these last few days. I’m glad we convinced him to ride the sand (P2C). He also learned a few things about touring. 

I headed toward Lake Washington and the I-90 bridge. 

Getting closer to the lake. 

Crossing Lake Washington on the I-90 Bike Path. 

I crossed over Mercer Island, then over the other part of the lake. 

Last time, it was very confusing when I got off the bridge. This time I had the route in front of me, and it wasn’t hard at all. I went through this tunnel. 

There was a couple ahead of me with a dog in a trailer. The dog barked nearly the entire time in the tunnel. It was very loud. 

Once I was heading into Seattle proper, there were more and more homeless encampments. 

Behind the signs are a bunch of tents. 

I got off the trail onto Holgate, then came down through the International District. There was some festival going on, and a ton of people. My route went right through it. 

There were a lot of food vendors and someone making a speech or something. Once I went under the Chinese Arch thing I was out of it. 

I returned to the Portside Trail and rode to the West Seattle Bridge. 

This time the sun was shining!

As I came up to go over the West Seattle Bridge, the bridge was opening for two tugs to go through. It was really cool watching the bridge pivot. 

See how the bridge is nearly sideways? 

I had been thinking I might take the Alki Trail around, instead of going over the hump, but I figured since it was Saturday, and very nice weather, that the Trail would have lots of people, and be pretty slow going. I went over the hump. It was the 6th climb that initiated the climb profile. I was getting tired. 

I made it to the ferry just as the Vashon boat was about to unload. That gave me plenty of time to get my ticket, and be ready to get on the boat. 

Heading back to Vashon

There’s MC down there (the Sheriff was keeping an eye on her).

When I got off the ferry, I made a mistake. Instead of waiting to go up Vashon Hwy after all the cars went by, I went up the road I had come down to get to the ferry. It had a shoulder, whereas the Hwy did not. Big mistake! That road was very steep!!! Yikes! I didn’t have to walk, but it sure was exhausting. 

When I got to the town, I decided to stop at Subway. Rebecca wasn’t going to be home yet when I got there anyway, and I was hungry (I could have cooked myself some dinner, but I didn’t feel like it). After Subway, I had maybe 2-3 more miles. I remembered when I had left Rebecca’s I had come down a really steep hill. Now I had to go back up it! It was even steeper than the hill up from the ferry! I was having to weave back and forth across the road. Fortunately, it’s essentially a dead end road, so no cars were coming. 

I made it back to Rebecca’s and back to my big tent in the woods. I got myself set up, and then when Rebecca got home, I went to the house to eat a little bit of dinner with them, and take a shower. I really like both Rebecca and Eli. They are a lot of fun. 

Tomorrow I will help them take the tent down for the season. It’s the least I can do since I stayed in it twice!

Friday, September 24, 2021

4B Day 14-Being Pampered

Lake Easton on our way out. 

Today was a beautiful day for a bike ride! Thomas and I somehow got out ahead of Bob and Janet (miscommunication). We rode through the park to the trail that connects back to the P2C. It put us back on the trail war the bridge over the Yakima River (our last crossing). We rode back just a bit to check out the bridge. 

It’s really a cool bridge. 

We had come from the other side of the lake. 

Bob and Janet joined us, and we headed out on the trail. Janet and I got ahead of the guys. It was really easy riding up to Hyak. 

Another tunnel. Funny thing…my Garmin initiated the climb profile, but there was no climb. I finally figured out it was thinking we were going over the hill instead of through the tunnel (it did the same thing for the Snoqualmie Tunnel). Silly Garmin…why go over when we can go through!

Lake Kacheelus 

This bald eagle was taking a bath in the lake. 

Fall color

Hyak Trailhead. 

Janet and I had ridden pretty steady to Hyak, so I was pleasantly surprised when Bob and Thomas arrived only about 20 minutes behind us. We ate some lunch and filled up water because there’s no water at the Cedar Falls Trailhead where we would be stealth camping. I asked Thomas how much water he could carry. He just had two bottles. I pulled out my two 1-liter platypus containers, my CNOC 2 liter bag, and my 1 Liter CNOC collapsible bottle. I filled everything (plus my 1 liter bottle, and my 17 oz bottle. I told Thomas I could carry three extra liters for him. That meant I was carrying 6 liters plus 17 ozs. Then, I realized I could message my friend Donna (who was bringing us dinner), and ask her to bring us water too. But, just because I could, I carried the water anyway. It was downhill the whole way, and weight always wins on the downhill. 

We all made it through the tunnel (Thomas’ first time).

Ready to go through!

Almost there! Tunnel is 2.3 miles long. 


Bob and Janet

Back to the Western side of the state!

Granite Mtn (lookout on top).

In all the times I’ve ridden to and through the tunnel, I’ve never had such nice weather. It was about 70 degrees! The colors are really looking beautiful. 

Thomas and I made it to Cedar Falls Trailhead at about 2:45.  The others rolled in not much later. We hung out at the picnic tables next to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. 

Waiting to set up our stealth camp. 

Donna arrived with dinner about 5:45. She brought us a ton of food (Bahn mi sandwiches, spring rolls, soup, chips, cider, and brownies). It was all fabulous! But most of all, it was great to see Donna in person again! Thanks so much, Donna!

Then, as I was walking with Donna to her car, Sue, who had ridden with us from Flowing Water to Sultan (with Bruce), showed up with beer, and pastries (for breakfast tomorrow). We have definitely been pampered today!!! 

We set up our tents as it got dark, and waited for them to lock the gate. All appears to be quiet now. Tomorrow, I part ways with Bob and Janet, but Thomas is going to ride with me into Seattle. Then he’ll either ride home to Kent, or have his wife come get him. I’ll continue on to the Fauntleroy Ferry, and back to Rebecca’s on Vashon for the night. 

Goodnight from Cedar Falls!


Thursday, September 23, 2021

4B-Day 13-Just One Bit of Unfamiliar Territory Today

Hey, I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that I saw 5 snakes. One that was really big, two that were medium sized, and two small ones. Today I only saw two. Of course, that’s two too many in my book. 

Bob, Thomas, and I went to Perkins for breakfast again. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much restaurant food on a tour, but I’m not complaining. Certainly, I wouldn’t have to if I didn’t want to. Janet seldom joins us, and that’s fine too. 

Instead of taking the route as prescribed to get back to the P2C, we just headed straight to it. It meant we missed a small section, but I still got to do about a mile or so more of trail I hadn’t done. So, between Cedar Falls Trailhead (western terminus), and the Columbia River, I’ve done all but the bit through Ellensburg (some is on city streets). 

We got on the trail at Reecer Creek Rd. 

A little bit of new territory left. 

Bob was moving fairly slow today (probably tired from yesterday, and maybe from his crash, although he said he felt fine this morning). I would get ahead of everyone, then wait periodically. 

All together on one of the bridges over the Yakima River. 

We stopped at the Thorp Fruit place. I got a few snacks and an apple (which I ate there). I think I have enough food to make it home. 

Back on the trail, we came to the first of several gates. 

I wast he gate keeper for this one, and Thomas was for the one across the road. There are several road crossings, but not all have gates…in fact, most don’t. 

Next, we came to the first of the two tunnels for today. 

Just as we approached the tunnel, a government pickup truck went by. It kicked up a lot of dust, so we waited for the dust to settle (and we were waiting for Bob and Thomas to catch up).

Going through the tunnel. This one is fairly short. 

I went through, then got these photos of everyone exiting. 

Not long after, we came to the second tunnel (these are collectively called the Thorp Tunnels). This time, Janet and I just rode on through. This one was a little longer. We  couldn’t see the end when we first got in the tunnel. 

Good thing I have my headlight!

Once again I got ahead, and came to another gate. This one was at the place where there is the world’s fastest water slide. 

Bob said the water is from the irrigation. They have to return any leftover water back to the river. It was a ton of water!

We proceeded on. At the next gate, I opened it, let the others pass through and a couple of cyclists happened to be going the other direction at the same place. I told them it was fortuitous timing. 

We were headed to lunch at Smokies at the Depot at the South Cle Elum Trailhead. I was staying with Bob. The wind was blowing a bit, but nothing like yesterday. I asked him if he wanted me to block the wind for him. He said yes, so I was riding slowly so he could keep up. Then from behind me, I hear an “Ack!”. I stop and look back to see Bob’s bike on the ground. I don’t think he went completely down himself. He said he was starting to go toward the edge, and over corrected. I think he was just pretty tired. It’s not difficult terrain. 

When we got to the road, Bob said we needed to turn and go on the road. I was pretty sure it was right on the trail (which it was), but I went on the road too. We took a long break, and had food. I had a pulled pork sandwich and pecan pie. 

Smokies at the Depot. Literally right on the trail. 

From South Cle Elum we still had 14 miles to go. It was nearly 3:00. Admittedly, I pushed a bit harder, and got to Lake Easton State Park at 4:45. There were some pretty windy sections where I would drop down to 7.5 mph, but mostly I was staying around 9ish. I snagged one of the two H/B sites. The ranger wouldn’t allow me to get both sites. Thomas came in about 15 minutes after me, and got the other site. Bob and Janet arrived in about another 30 minutes. 

It ended up being 39.1 miles. I thought it would be less because we didn’t do the initial start of the route, but it wasn’t. Maybe it will be less tomorrow. 

While we were at Smokies, I got a message from a woman I met in Oregon when I did Sierra Cascades Route. We’ve stayed in touch over the years through FB. She has offered to bring us dinner tomorrow night at the Cedar Falls Trailhead! How nice is that??? I’m excited to see her again!

That’s about it for today. I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the trail today. 

Old method of transportation and new method of transportation (at the Thorp Fruit place).

Mt Stuart and some wind turbines in the distance. 

Yakima River. Didn’t stray far from it today. 

Yet another trestle over the river. 

Sparkly in the sunshine. 

Yep, Fall is here!

This little guy was waiting for me when I got to the H/B site. He was enjoying his pine cone snack.