I'm sure many of you have ridden many/most/all of these roads but I'm sure many others have not, so I thought I'd post up some details to stimulate dreams for next season. I’m not very ‘facile’ with adding map and photo links, but I’ll do my best as I go along. (I'm going to post up all 8 days first, then come back and add the map and photo embeds to each day, so 'early' readers will need to return to get that stuff.)
I used the Destination Highways Washington map as a resource extensively, so I’ll reference their listings whenever they are relevant. Also, so as to be informative for anyone who might follow down this way, I’ll add info about places I stayed and ate, in case that’s useful.
I'll embed a few photos along the way, but a selection of 100 photos (out of about 400 I took) are available to be viewed on flickr at:
Just click the WA-OR Oct'09 set.
So here we go...
My buddy Michael has ridden in north-central Oregon a time or two, and contends that “the fun starts at Shaniko”. That sounded appealing, but I hadn’t had the chance to see for myself. Also, I had suffered thru a summer of superb weather, not riding because of a broken heel, so (despite three great 3 or 4 days trips in late August and September) my frustration level was high. Thus when the forecast turned for sun in the midst of a wonderful autumn, I pulled the plug on work for the week leading up to Thanksgiving and headed southeast. My intention was to wander at will, to ride secondary highways as much as possible and to avoid interstates entirely, and to bend the bike thru as many corners as I could fit into a week. Here, day by day, is the story of my trip.
Day 1: Vancouver to Buckley WA – 10:30 to 5:15 - 435kms.
Despite sun on the coast, the weather was forecast to be cold and cloudy on the eastern side of the mountains for the first day or two of my time off, so I decided to poke south thru Washington, hitting Oregon as the sun arrived about Monday.
I crossed the border at Sumas and took the well-travelled route down Highway 9 to Sedro Woolley, and then started to explore. I rode the South Skagit Highway (DH56) east, picking up a waggling finger thru the windshield of a police SUV headed the opposite direction, so I picked up my pace some thereafter.
I looped south thru Darrington, admiring the fine views of Whitehorse Mtn above, then popped back west to Hwy 9.
I did my best to avoid the major routes by staying east of Seattle-opolis, down 203 from Monroe to Fall City (especially nice around Duvall), 18 southwest past Hobart, and 169 thru Black Diamond to Enumclaw. Despite the proximity to Seattle, traffic was light and easily dispatched. With the afternoon wearing on, I was attracted by the look of the town of Buckley and stopped for the nite. The Econolodge was uninspiring but clean, comfortable, and not pricey ($63 plus tax, free fresh-baked cookies included). I had a good burger at the genuinely 60s-ish Wally’s Diner ($10) followed by a beer and an interesting conversation with some locals at the Firehouse (?) pub on the main street.