Been camping outside of cell phone coverage, so this is several days update all at one time!
Day 2: In the Shadow of Mt Adams
At least the old man made it to the gravel road before he dumped his bike today…but I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back to the night before. The tents have a really cool glow when we turn on our LED lights on the inside. I tried to capture the effect last night and it came out pretty good.
my tent came out brighter because the light is actually brighter – I’ve got new batteries in my light.
This was just the beginning of a very long night. It turns out that the campground is right on the train tracks, and the train only comes at night. But that’s ok because it’s just a train, or two, or about twenty. To make things better, the train tracks cross the entrance road to the park. So, each train was obligated to blow their horn 3 or 4 or 10 times as they crossed the road.
About 6:30a or so, I gave up and got out of bed. I whipped out the Jetboil and made a quick batch of oatmeal and ate it up for breakfast. Then it was time to start working on my bike.
My plan was simple, ride down on the roads with my standard sprocket on, and switch out to the 14 tooth sprocket (makes it easier for off road) when we got down to the start of the route. I even switched out the sprocket nut before we left to make it easier to change. Well, after loosening the back wheel, taking the chain off, and taking the sprocket guard off…couldn’t get the stupid nut off to swap the sprocket out. So, I had to put the whole thing back together again. I’ll use an impact wrench when I get home to get the thing off…It could have been worse – the old man forgot to bring his 14 tooth sprocket (wasn’t that the theme of yesterday’s blog?).
At this point, we hadn’t even started to break camp yet. So, once the bike was back together, it was time to tear down the tent, and try and get it back into the same package it came in…I actually pretty much took everything off of the bike and repacked it and got it to fit a bit better.
So, our 6:30a wake-up turned into a 10:30a departure. It was a bit windy for the first bit of the ride.
We stopped for some fuel and then we were on the road! I was leading the way today, and after being on the gravel for about 15 minutes, I hear a big “uhhhohhhuhhohh” over the intercom, followed by a big crash – the old man dropped the bike. So, I found a spot to park my bike, so I could help him lift his off the ground. One of his panniers was ripped up pretty good, so he got out another strap and wrapped it around everything to hold it on his bike.
From there, we continued on to lunch at the Oklahoma campground. Upon getting into his pannier, he found that his Jetboil had been crunched!
but is was nothing he couldn’t handle – after pounding on the thing forever (or at least until I was through with lunch), he finally got the cup straightened out enough that he could get the fuel and burner out.
After lunch we headed up to the ice caves. The ice caves were really cool! (get it ). You walked down a big staircase into this cave, and there was ice all over the place. It was significantly cooler than the temperature outside the cave. According to the sign, the cave is actually an old lava tube.
Because of our late start and the “incident” (and repair), we were running a bit behind schedule. It was pretty apparent that we were not going to make it to Packwood today, so we started scouting out campgrounds. About 4:30 or so, we found a cool campground to stay at.
once the tents were pitched, it was time to make some high quality freeze dried food – Teriyaki Chicken dinner for me!
After dinner a guy stopped by to check out the bikes. He is up here elk hunting – archery season just opened yesterday. Conditions are a bit hot right now though. His buddy did see a bear yesterday – I better sleep with my pepper spray tonight!
Day 3: Hard
Got up around 6:30a again today, made oatmeal for breakfast, and then broke camp again. Actually hit the road by 9:30a or so! The ride into Packwood was pretty straightforward. After Packwood, we jumped on Highway 12 on our way to the next offroad section of the WABDR. Well, there was road construction. At one point they had dumped a bunch of fresh dirt onto the road – deep, soft dirt, and a big milk truck had gotten stuck. Well, they routed traffic around the truck and both of us almost bit it…we were going over a section that nobody had driven on to pack it down.
After our near crashes on Highway 12, we went up a road toward Bethel Ridge. There are several trailheads at the top and we stopped for lunch.
Bethel Ridge is supposed to be the hardest part of the entire ride – baby head sized rocks while climbing uphill. Well, there is an “easy” bypass that we opted to take, and it was easy. This got us to highway 410. Next up was to go over the top of Cleman Mts. We started heading up the hill and we missed one of our turns. I picked a poor spot to turn around, caught my front tire in a rut, and gently put down the bike…however, it took both of us to pick it up again. We zipped back to our missed turn and started to climb. The road was getting more and more difficult with large (golf ball to baseball sized) loose gravel, and big erosion ruts thrown in. As we started to climb a long steep part of the hill, I stalled my bike (had it in 2nd, should have been 1st) and dropped it. My dad sped on by to keep his momentum going. I managed to lift the bike myself and get going on the steep hill again. I stood on the footpegs and just went for it. I passed my dad who had stopped in a good spot because he though he needed to come help me lift my bike. The hill was probably a total of 2 miles long. I waited at the top for several minutes and the old man was not showing up. So I started hiking back down the hill…about a mile down the hill he was trying to lift his bike up…he had dropped it. After some serious wrestling, we got the rubber side down again, and he jumped on and started up the hill…Made it about 100 feet and then dropped it again. We did this two more times before he finally just went for it and made it up the hill. Of course, I had to hike .
Top part of the road…he made it through this part:
Resting at the top of the hill
After a long rest at the top, it was clear we weren’t going to make it all the way to Ellensburg today. The WABDR map had a campground shown at the bottom of the hill…The bottom of the hill was still a long ways away. The way down was easier than the way up, but it still wasn’t super easy. Eventually, we popped out at Wenas Rd and headed toward Yakima looking for the campground.
Of course, we couldn’t find the campground…ended up going to far, and then pulled over to chat w/a farmer to figure out where it was. Turns out it was an RV park, and really the only camping around. We had passed it about 5 miles back up the road. We got there just as the guy was closing up and snagged a tent site. To top off the day, the old man dropped his bike as he was parking it at the site.
and a view of our campsite.
Well, it really isn’t a super level site – I’m kind of on a hillside, hopefully it won’t bug me too much. There is a pretty decent shower here, so I’m looking forward to that in the morning. At some point today, my 12v adapters died – I’m hoping I popped the fuse, I’ll check that out in the morning as well.