Washington Parks 1 trip 7/26 – 7/31 2014 with Jonathan Feucht
Jon and I had planned this trip out for a number of months, and originally planned on a trip that went over Stevens Pass and then back over the North Cascade Highway (ACA Washington Parks II route). A week before our scheduled start date, the Methow Valley caught on fire from Twisp to Pateros and Brewster, in addition to fires along Stevens Pass, closing down both passes. Thus, this choice ended up being a good alternative for a loop week cycle ride in Washington. We planned on starting in Arlington at Jon’s house and ending in Puyallup, following (for the most part) the ACA Washington Parks I route. Jonny and I both had the Washington Parks maps, but mine was an older version. Oddly, they made some very significant changes to the route, some of which were not necessary or helpful.
Day 1- Arlington to Oak Harbor
The start was a little rough. Jonny drove down to get me in Puyallup, and then we drove back to his place in the AM, to get a 10 am start. Somehow, my helmet could not be located, but fortunately Jon had a spare. It did not have a mirror, which I depend heavily on nowadays. It was 28 miles up the Centennial trail and then route 9 to Sedro Wooley, WA, where we intersected the start on the ACA maps. The route followed mostly back roads, though the main highway past Anacortes and on to Deception Pass was brutally busy with tourists, especially Portable Life Support Units (trailers, Winnebagos, RV’s, etc.). Worse, while stopping for lunch just past Anacortes, some jerk stole my Garmin unit. Garmins are invaluable for trip planning, and many decisions are made based on distance and speed travelled, but fortunately, Jon’s unit was intact, allowing us to record our trip. Past Deception Pass I was viciously attacked by an old German Shepard. It was way out in the country, right across from a gun club. That Shepard almost got the delight of eating some lead. We finally made it to Oak Harbor, a little farther than I had planned, only to find that ALL of the hotels were full. Fortunately, the trailer park down on the beach had some bicycle (tent only) spaces, allowing us a place to lay our heads for the night.
Total miles 68.5 Time 8:15 Elevation Gain 2211 ft
Day 2- Oak Harbor to Port Angeles
We got a fairly early star in the morning, and managed to make it just in time for the ferry to Port Townsend – they actually delayed the ferry until we got our bicycles on. The ferry ride was quick, and we then started the slow climb up and down to Sequim and then Port Angeles. contrary to our maps, we noted that the Olympic Discovery Trail started in Blyn, which was a beautiful trail for bicycles, and off of the extremely busy 101. Our only difficulty was that the trail was not the best marked in a few spots, one place leading us to about a mile diversion, before we could find the trail again. It was awesome riding into Port Angeles on the beach, and as soon as we came up to the downtown where the ferry went, we saw a Red Lion Inn. They had first floor vacancies and and so we stayed there.
Total miles 66.2 Time 7:54 Elevation Gain 3008 ft
Day 3- Port Angeles to Forks
This day was our hardest, with lots of hills to climb, we were tired, and it was hot. It was also quite beautiful as the route took us away from 101 and on 112 and 113. The only disadvantage to this route were the massive numbers of logging trucks on a narrow two lane road with no shoulders. We were able to have lunch on the Straits of Juan DeFuca, eating PBJ sandwiches and admiring Mt. Baker and Canada off in the distance. We had wanted to camp, but the camping places on the route were not convenient, which left us in Forks. Even there, the hotels were almost entirely full, but we procured the last hotel room on the edge of town. Dinner was at a pizza parlor, and we slept quite well after a grunt of a day.
PBJs on the beach
Total miles 64.6 Time 8:17 Elevation Gain 3556 ft
Day 4- Forks to Amanda Park
I expected this day to be a real grunt like yesterday, but it wasn’t. The two major climbs went very smoothly, and seemed shorter than the maps suggested. We arrived in the coast section of the Olympic National Park about 10 am, when it was quite sunny. Soon, the clouds rolled in, and we were rather cold, so decided not to spend time freezing on the beach. We had arrived in Amanda Park on Lake Quinalt about 3pm and talked the nice lady that ran the RV park and Inn to let us sleep on the lawn, since there were no available rooms. Once we were about 5 miles from the beach, it became sunny again, and the temperature in Amanda Park was in the low 90s. Our tent site was under some trees, that was cool with a breeze until you left the area of the trees, where the temperature was roasting hot.
Entering the beach section of Olympic National Park
Camp at Amanda Park (Lake Quinalt)
Total miles 64.6 Time 6:59 Elevation Gain 2270 ft
Day 5-Amanda Park to Elma
We weren’t sure as to how far we should go today, as Elma was a short distance, but there were no campsites or hotels for a great distance past Elma. There was a short climb out of Amanda Park along 101. After some distance, we encountered a stray dairy cow on the road. It nearly was hit by a truck. Soon afterwards, we got off of 101 and onto a road that would take us into Montesano. It was an excellent choice, though a touch hilly. After lunch in Montesano, we had to detour a bridge out by riding along route 20, which was horrid. By the time we got to Elma, the temperature was in the 80’s and we were cooking. We decided to call it a day. Dinner was at the Rusty Wagon, a rather nice restaurant.
Total miles 61.0 Time 6:08 Elevation Gain 1995 ft
Day 6- Elma to home
We were up early and headed out. Once reaching Tenino, the route was quite familiar to me, as it followed the Yelm Tenino Trail. The temperature was well in the 80’s and we were cooking by the time we reached Pacific Avenue in Parkland. There was a wonderful Dairy Queen there, and Andrew graciously picked us up to avoid 15 more miles of hot busy city riding. It was a wonderful way to spend a week, but am now looking forward to doing Washington Parks II or something else similar.
Total miles 67.02 Time 6:01 Elevation Gain 1008 ft
Gesamt Milage und Zeit
394.1 miles, 42.4 hours, 14,048 ft elevation gain
It was a delight to have time with Jon. At first, he was complaining about his back, and the bicycle seat. Several days later, I really didn’t hear much about that problem. Not wishing to push Jon too hard, I offered him an “escape” route, which he refused. Soon, he was keeping up and often pushing ahead of me, who held a fairly steady pace throughout the journey. I think he really just needs a different seat, such as the Fizik seat on his road bike. It was nice to see Jonny making good decisions about our travel.
We followed primarily the ACA maps of the Washington Parks. They were helpful, especially in knowing where we might camp or find lodging, and the ideal routes. Although I’ve spent much time in the Olympics, I have never gone on some of the roads that this route took one through. The route around the Olympics really did not show off the mountain splendor of the Olympics, though that would include a fantastic climb up to Hurricane Ridge, not an easy feat. There were two errors with the ACA maps. The first and most bothersome was with the elevation profiles. This made rivers and towns in the valley sitting on the map profile on the top of climbs. It was about a 3 mile displacement that needs to be corrected, as it made it difficult to estimate exactly where was on a route. The other bothersome item was that grocery/convenience stores and camps were not always in existence any longer. This is not entirely the fault of the ACA map system. Unfortunately, there always seemed to be less supply areas rather than more than the maps indicated. Milage on the ACA maps was always right on, according to our Garmin maps.
I’m ready for more touring. I’d love to do the Pacific Coast route, Sierra Cascades route, and the trans-America route. This is somewhat a dream for the future, but then, who knows?