Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rainy Pass with El Gordo

I left the house thinking it would be mid 30's where I was to ride today on Smith Brook Road just east of Stevens Pass. This road is popular with snowshoers, back country skiers (us) and snowmobilers (now us). So, I figured it would be beaten down enough for me to ride on. I arrived at the trail head at 10:00 am and my car was telling me it was 16 degrees! Only a few others at the trail head gearing up to find their Christmas trees. 

Things I forgot...all my bike tools, a 8mm allen wrench to tighten rear axel (come to find out finger tight works), winter pack with insulated water hose. It was a going to be a short ride, now made a bit shorter. Coverage was good as long as you stay on the road. A foot deep in places. Probably all the way to Lake Wenatchee I would suspect due to the snow mobile tracks coming from that direction.

road just above the s turn 

Hoar Frost

Just above switch back at Union Gap trail head

Final pitch to Rainy Pass (4600')

Looking South

Union Gap (right)

(right to left) Union Gap, Mt McCausland, Backside of Mt. Lichtenburg.  Areas we play when on ski's

Jove Mtn. Excellent ski in the right conditions. Our new snowmobile will make getting to this one much easier

Rock Mountain. We have not ski'd this yet

Lunch at Rainy Pass (Turkey,ham cranberry sandwich, pickles, pumpkin pie and hot beef broth with cayenne) I think I was still full from T-day so I had left overs again when I got home. 

Closer look at McCausland

Got back to the car around 12:30.  Total of 8 miles with an elevation gain of 1400ft. This route has the potential of  being a much longer ride. You do drop 2000 feet on the other side of Rainy Pass. Maybe not a day ride. I will have to calculate the mileage for a possible long day or overnight to Lake Wenatchee? I do plan to ride from that side this winter to check it out. Corrina and I also plan to take the snowmobile from that side to explore other ski slopes.

This will be my first winter riding El Gordo. First ride was excellent! Gear improvements for next ride. Warmer boots (clip-in) and Bar Mitts. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

John Wayne Trail 10/22/2015 - Day Five

Today started out like any other day on the trail. Unknowing how far we had to go and where would would be by the end of the day. We had to be back in Leavenworth by Friday evening so we knew we wanted to knock out a big chunk today (Thursday), leaving only about 20 miles for Friday morning. Definitely didn't think we'd finish!

Chris was filming us taking down camp and was asking us questions of why we liked to do this (cuz we can), what did we like about BBD bike bags (they're awesome) and overall opinion of the trail (so lucky to have it). Can't wait to see the footage and out takes. It was hard to get Shawn up this morning. 5:00AM was the requested time. I yelled, he snorted and rolled over and kept on snoring, I set off an alarm on my phone, played a Lamb of God tune as loud as my phone would go and then resorted to throwing a rock at his tent...6:30 he final awoke and pulled out his ear plugs. I guess I snore too, hmmm.

Packed up and back on the trail. I think I could do this everyday. The trail was fast today. We just about beat Chris to all the connections. We never knew though where we would see him or have a drone appear out of know where. The first hurdle was a locked gate at the Benge/Marengo road crossing. It had a combo lock on it but we had not heard about a combo from the state for it. I had hurting my back was a Shawn's mercy to lift my tank over to me as I slowly let it down with his help (Thanks bro). We ran into several other combo locked gates. Think it was just as fast going over them then opening, and shutting? It was probably the last locked road crossing that one gate was unlocked and the other was locked. Brilliant that Shawn is, he locked at the unlocked combo lock and yelled 1221! Sure enough it worked. Don't think I will ever forget it.

Before we knew it we arrived in St Johns. This is where we had yet another detour around Rock Lake. All the detours had their own beauty but we knew the Rock Lake section of the JWT would have been a highlight. At least the road was gravel. We rode into Pine City where we could get back onto the JWT. Chris was waiting for us here. It was somewhere between St John and here that Shawn and I decided that we could bag this trail today, knowing we'd finish in the dark. What we didn't know was the trail surface gets a bit rougher from here on. This slowed our pace down a bit. Both of us were getting tired, stopping briefly to shove food into our moths. I even resorted to squiting mayo packets directly into my mouth. Think I will buy a squeeze bottle next trip, yum. Darker and Darker it became and dang cold. There are a lot of missing Trestles in this section and navigating at speed and in the dark definitely was slowing our pace even more. Then we hit the Swamp section. Dried out for the most part but the grass was taller then me. This section was also supposed to have been detoured but it was too late we where deep into it. We could see the road on our right. So we found a way across this unknowing, potentially bottomless ditch. It was not dry. Neither was Shawn's right leg after sinking to his knee. This did not help his already cold feet. The rest of the way was a roller coaster ride to Tekoa. Somewhere in between Pine City and Tekoa we also decided that Tekoa was where we would call the end. Our friend Dave came down from Spokane to greet us we cold beer. Thanks again Dave. He and Chris both had smiles on their faces and beer in the hands. Ended up being close to an 80 day and finished around 8:30PM

Quick conclusion of this experience...I want to do it again! Thanks all of you who followed and cheered us on through texts, FB and emails. You are all awesome

Here are the pictures. Didn't take to much time to stop and smell the roses. a setting got changed today on my camera making some of them weird
Master at work or play...

another wonderful rise

familiar site

luckily the only sighting

Columbia Plateau Trail

still has life

thin line 

up and over

wait its unlocked


They do exist


Alien life forms do exist

Which came first?

Nice curves

Shawn P in the house


We saved this poor thing from a healthy coyote( for now) just on the other side of the pond


St John

Gravel Grinder

Rock Lake below

...dream, enjoy, get out there