72 Photos - Jun 29, 2012
Photo: At the startPhoto: At the start.Photo: At the start, 5:50AM.  Not raining yet.Photo: At the start.Photo: At the start.Photo: Day 1 -- heading out of town with the lead group for a fast (too fast) start, as usual.Photo: Day 1, still around 8AM, and I start to think that the clouds may part ...Photo: Day 1 -- Nolte State Park just past the Cumberland Control (PC1).  The rain starts, light at first, then harder.Photo: Day 1 -- a quick stop for some coffee at Jackie's Java in Elbe, 171 kms so far.  It has been raining for about 3~4 hours and I am soaked.Photo: The friendly staff at Jackie's Java in Elbe.  Yes, I put something in the tip jar.Photo: Day 1 -- the river that flows into Alder Lake, just after turning off of State Rte 706 onto Forest Service Road NF-52/Kernahan Road.  Mt. Rainier should be somewhere up there.Photo: NF-52/Kernahan Road.  As with many places on this ride, no riders visible in front or behind me, despite at least a mile of straight road.Photo: Still NF-52, but now we are on the descent alongside Skate Creek into Packwood.  20 kms at mostly a 1% to 3% downgrade alongside a beautiful rushing stream.  And the rain has stopped.  Nice!Photo: Descending NF-52/Skate Creek Road.Photo: At the Packwood Control 225 kms so far and blue sky for the climb up White Pass!Photo: On the climb to White Pass.  US Rte 12.Photo: On US Rte 12 to White Pass.Photo: At a viewpoint along US 12.  Is that Mt. Rainier?Photo: My bike did not let me down a single time this trip.  Comfortable, efficient, and no "mechanicals" or even flat tubes over 1200 kms. Of course, the wet weather gummed up the drivetrain and the shifting was not quite "crisp" at times, but even that got better after a little chain lube at the first overnight control.Photo: Yes!  It is Mt. Rainier!  As seen from the US 12 viewpoint on the climb to White Pass.  The only time I saw it during 1200 kms of riding.Photo: The ski area at White Pass ... with some condensation on the camera lens.Photo: Day 1 near sunset, at Clear Lake, after leaving PC 4 where I warmed up with some instant cup noodles.Photo: Day 1 - Clear LakePhoto: Day 1 - Clear LakePhoto: Morning of Day 2 - on the gradual climb up State Route 410 toward Lodgepole Campground, below Chinook Pass.   40 miles of headwinds to ascend only 2000 feet.  Death by a thousand cuts.Photo: On the climb to Lodgepole Campground -- looking back down SR 410.  Those who went earlier/faster than me got rain.  I mostly just had a wet road.Photo: Day 2 -- Approaching Lodgepole Campground PC/turn-around point.Photo: At Lodgepole Campground PC6.  Gourmet "pour over" coffee served by the RUSA President.  What service!Photo: Day 2 - Lodgepole Campground PC6.  Shadows mean sunlight!Photo: Day 2 descending SR 410 along the Naches River.  A different climate zone?Photo: Day 2 afternoon, on the long, dry stretch after PC7 Fruitvale and Yakima, along State Route 24 toward Hanford.  I believe those are hops growing ... as far as the eye could see.Photo: Along SR-24.  No contact with other riders for at least 50 kms.  I stopped here to rest for a few minutes because of the shade -- very, very scarce.Photo: Day 2 afternoon along SR-24.  I am past the hops fields. I start rationing what remains of my 2 liter water supply.  Still a long way to the Vernita rest area with its fountain.Photo: Day 2 along SR-24, looking town at the Columbia River, barly visible.  Without irrigation -- nothing but sage brush.Photo: More SR-24 down the hill to the Columbia.Photo: Hanford Nuclear Reservation, home to most of 70 years of the high level radioactive waste generated from the U.S. weapons program.  You can see a few buildings in the distance, near the Columbia River.Photo: Day 2 afternoon.Photo: Day 2 - nearing sunset.  The escarpment across the Columbia River near Beverly, WA.Photo: More of the same.Photo: Day 2 late afternoon/early evening, along SR 243 south of Beverly, WA, looking across the Columbia toward the South.Photo: Day 2 sunset along Beverly Burke Road, east of Wanapum Dam.  Lots of high tension electricity wires buzzing and popping in this part of the world.  Lots of hydropower from the river dams.Photo: Day 2 dusk, looking back down Beverly Burke Road.Photo: Day 2 sunset.  I rode alone almost the entire stretch from  Yakima to Quincy -- 170 kms -- though I met riders at the Vernita rest area, the Mattawa PC, and again when I passed 2 BC randonneurs closer to Quincy.Photo: Photo: Photo: Day 3 morning, en route from Soap Lake toward Dry Falls.  Spectacular, harsh countryside.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: At the Dry Falls Visitor Center ... a near 1000 ft drop just beyond the chains and telescope.Photo: On the high plains between Dry Falls and Mansfield.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: On Sr 17 between Dry Falls and Mansfield.  Not much traffic out here.  Not much of anything.  But so far cooler weather than on Day 2.Photo: Photo: Photo: Chief Joseph Dam at Bridgeport, as we return to the Columbia far North of where we left it.Photo: Chief Joseph Dam.Photo: A roadside object in Brewster, about 830 kms into the ride, just after crossing the Columbia and before we head up Old Highway 97 toward Malott and Loup Loup Pass.  Hotter here than on the high plains.Photo: Day 3 - Between Brewster and Malott.Photo: Day 3 - PC 12 at Malott.  People are starting to look a bit tired -- 855 kms so far and Loup Loup Pass ahead.Photo: Inagaki-san is exhausted but manages a smile and a V for victory sign.  At the Malott PC.Photo: Photo: Day 3 -- near Loup Loup Pass ... or Twisp just beyond it?Photo: Day 3 -- near Loup Loup Pass.  I am starting to see shapes in the clouds.  Is that a fish swimming right to left?Photo: Day 4 early morning -- on the COLD climb from Mazama toward Washington Pass.Photo: Day 4 -- Granite Falls McDonalds.  At the last PC before the goal.  Inagaki-san looks tired but is about to get a second (twenty second?) wind.Photo: Day 4 - Jun Sato at Granite Falls.  He looks rested and has changed into a clean Saitama Audax PBP jersey for the ride to the finish.  He was riding a beautiful Calfee frame with road disk brakes, carbon ENVE rimmed wheels and 42-30 front chainrings to spin up even the steepest hills.Photo: As I get on I-405 and head south, the sun is out and Mt. Rainier is visible in the distance ... as it was not during the ride.Photo: Mt. Rainier at last -- taken from my rental car.