The RAMROD is a well-known ride held every year in the state of Washington, known as the Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day. Well, we did it in two days, thus RAMRTD. Ramrod riders will use the sleekest and lightest bicycles, light clothing, and utilize supply stations. We utilized larger, heavier touring bicycles, and carried all of our necessities plus with us.
We headed out from our house at 8:30 on Friday morning. Russ was the main pacesetter, with me tagging behind at my own pace. We headed down to the Orting Valley, and then out to Kapowsin and Eatonville. Taking the Eatonville Cutoff Road, we stopped by good friends of mine, B & N Lindsey, who lives on the highway going up to Mt. Rainier. They took some photos of us, which they e-mailed to me. Here is the Russ & Ken show!

We then rode through Elbe, stopping at Scale Burgers for the best burgers in the state of Washington, and run by an old patient of mine, whom I always need to say hello to. When in Elbe, there is only one place to eat and say “hi” to Cora. From there, we rode up to Ashford, got on the Skate Creek Road, and dropped down in Packwood. While in Ashford, we visited the Visitor’s Center and were informed that there was a MAJOR swap meet occurring in Packwood and that it was unlikely that we would ever find a hotel. The nice lady at the visitor’s center was able to call and find us one last room. The scenery on the way to Packwood was incredible, and one stand of trees really caught my attention.

Here is Russ coming up on me on the summit of the Skate Creek Road…

We made it to the very packed city of Packwood. It was interesting to see how everybody had tattoos, and ate the worst greasy food imaginable. Definitely not our crowd. I was unable to make a connection with AT&T on my iPhone in Packwood, and the hotel had Wi-Fi, but it didn’t work. So, we remained out of communication in Packwood. Packwood was an interesting phenomenon. According to my bicycle computer, we rode 75 miles, burned up 5545 calories, and climbed 2600 feet. We went to sleep early.

The next day, we headed north, aiming for Mt. Rainier Park, and Cayuse pass. It was a lengthy climb. The summit had up to 10-12 feet or more of snow in spots, though the road was clear. From the photo, we don’t look tired, but we were faking it.

The descent was fast and freezing cold, but fun. We had to stop and get photos at the park entrance.

The remainder of the ride was mostly downhill to the Orting Valley through familiar territory. I had Betsy pick me up at VanLierops not wishing one last awful grunt up to the top of South Hill. Russ did it (to his regret) without his panniers. Saturday was 82 miles, 5800 feet elevation gain, and 6800 calories burned. Was it worth it? Absolutely… I’m ready to do it again. We just need a little more care at limiting the extent of riding when we are mostly climbing, like of Saturday. On multi-day rides, it is perhaps not wise to push yourself too hard on your first few days of riding. We knew that we’d have rest on Sunday and Monday (Memorial Day), so, it didn’t matter.
Bicycling has got to be the best geriatric sport that there is. Jogging beats up the bones. Backpacking is hard on the back. Swimming is flopping around in somebody else’s pee. Cycle touring is an adventure, meeting people, seeing the world, and going places you’d otherwise never go at a leisurely pace, slow enough to really see where you are, and feel the environment around you. It’s great exercise, and a nice way to spend time with a friend.