Tuesday, October 08, 2013

2013 Wilderness Challenge – Devil’s Dome Loop Day 2

During the first day I mostly imagined hiking fast and making great time on day two. As I started and headed out I realized that this backcountry was the reason for the previous day’s work. It was incredibly beautiful and isolated. I quickly decided that I was going to take my time, savior the incredible beauty and not worry about my pace.

Camp in the Morning
My plan was to hang in my bag and make/eat breakfast from my tent. Nature called me out of the tent and I wasn’t going back in. It had frozen hard the night before and still below freezing when I rolled out of the tent at 7AM. The previous night’s fire had dried my firewood and the morning’s fire started quick and was hot. I cooked by the fire and intermittently packed my gear and watched the sunrise over the eastern peaks. I like camping high in the mountains.

Jack Mtn
I am not sure when I rolled out of camp. I think it was about 8AM. The land was mine. There was nobody for miles around. I was surprised that I hadn’t seen much wildlife and only surmised that they had moved down. Later reports would confirm that I was wrong. Today’s trek was a large circ around the Devil’s Creek drainage and Jack mtn. As I moved South and West across minor drainages I looked back at where I had been the previous day: Devil’s Pass, Devils Dome and then I got a great view of the Picket range. Don Brooks and I had been there a few years back. We had done a circ of the northern Pickets and our last night was sleeping up on the high ridge of Luna Peak. I remember sleeping under the stars and watching a forest fire burn to the East. Near where I was today.

Talless field switchbacks up to the highpoint of the day and lunch
Up and down beautiful country with high alpine meadows and sweet fresh water drainages. When I climbed to the high point of the day up and over a large talles field I stopped for lunch. I took in the whole valley and looked across at Jerry Lakes. What a great remote bushwhack that would be; maybe another day. Lunch was great. I was glad I packed a lot of food. I took my boots off and savored the day’s sun.

From here I hiked down into Devil’s Park and decided that this area would be the week long Boy Scout hike I would lead in 2015. This place is incredible and I would recommend it to anybody reading this. There were campsites scattered throughout and I was thankful that Ras brought me here.

L to R Picketts, Devil's Dome, Hosmean Peaks (double hump that looks like a part of a woman)
One last small uphill to McMillan Park, which was another beautiful spot with many campsites scattered around. Still, I was getting close to the trailhead and this place was slowly losing its wilderness feel. It was truly downhill from here. I was looking forward to the gravity assist. Unfortunately, my legs were not cooperating. What should have been a fun easy jog down turned out to be a painful slog down on sore feet and untrained legs. This section was incredibly like Mt. Si (3,500 feet in 4 miles) and I thought that runners going clockwise would have a great run down to their finish.

As I finally rolled into Canyon creek, I began to notice the marks of man again. First there was a large pit which was about 10ft across and 20ft deep. I tried to understand this. Is it a cave or is there a reason that somebody would dig this hole. Further along I continued to see what looked like road beds but they ran in parallel with deep trenches between them. The hike down Ruby creek was an enjoyable river hike that reminded me of the Lewis River trail. The undulation helped my aching legs

Beautiful Alpine Meadows
As I rolled back toward the East Bank trailhead, I noticed another pit with signs next to it. This is where I learned the history of the area. Many years ago there were thousands of miners here searching for gold. The main town is now below the surface of Ross Lake. The lower road I started on was the way up to the gold fields of Ruby Creek. The holes are all that is left of miner’s claims. The parallel roads and related trenches are the diversion channels that were used to divert water from the creek bed and flush out the gold. These channels were dug by hand by thousands more Chinese laborers. This reminded me of the old stone walls I would find in the woods back east. A man’s life is spent and he is long gone. Some men’s life’s endeavors leave tracks on the Earth which are slowly erased by the passage of time.

Devils' Park Shelter
I think my total time out was 29hrs and 15minutes
I think my total time hiking was about 17:25 (At least that is what my GPS says.
Not sure of the exact mileage because my gps lost satellites in the valleys
Not sure of the elevation change because my watch batteries are dead.

Final shot - GPS a bit short because of drop satellites
But these stats are not important for me. I was not racing for time. I was taking advantage or a great opportunity to share an experience over time. It has been great to read all the other stories and experiences. For me the categories that I compete in include:

Best campsite, Devil’s Pass next to brown sign
Most campfires, 2
Most weight carried over Devil’s Dome, a lot
Longest time out, 29:15

more pics HERE.

Monday, October 07, 2013

2013 Wilderness Challenge – Devil’s Dome Loop Day 1

Ras came up with this great idea, to specify a course, in this case the Devil’s Dome Loop, and then have an open period when anybody could do the loop any how they wanted in any direction. He invited all to do it in whatever form they preferred; ultra-light trail running, fast packing, backpacking or any other means by foot. This fit me really well as I am not in running shape and definitely not in 45 mile running shape but I still want to get out in the backcountry. So I decided to fastback/backpack in two days with an overnight whereas most other participants did it in one day.
Getting ready to start
My life is super busy and my first intention was to do the trek on August 29-30 which was less than a week after returning from an 8 day bike trip. But my wife had had enough of me being gone and I postponed it until September to give her some time to recuperate from her solo watching of the kids. As it turned out, September 18-19 was the only open days I could squeeze in the trip and have my daughter watch the little boys.

After talking to Roger Micheal, I chose to do the loop clockwise for a couple of reasons. First there is about 13 miles along the East bank trail. This trail just winds its way north along the east side of Ross Lake. I have paddled the lake many times and been on parts of this trail. It is not real exciting and I just wanted to bang it out quick with fresh legs on the first day and save the mostly downhill remote section to enjoy on the second day. Finally, with the campsite that Roger suggested, it would be a few miles over half way by going clockwise and it would leave an easy mostly downhill hike for the second day. The campsite selected was Devil’s Pass which had a nearby spring.

Panther Creek coming into Ruby Creek
I had hoped to hike with a friend but I couldn’t get any schedules to fit so it was going to be a solo trip. This led me to bring a little more gear than just my minimal fast packing kit. And since I was carrying a little extra weight, a little heavier good food would be in order as well. My plan was to leave my house at 4AM and hit the trail at 8 but that wasn’t to be. Life kept me busy late the night before and I was only able to leave the house a 7AM and hit the trail at 11:45. This proved a bit problematic later on. I left from the Eastbank trailhead. The rules stipulated that you could start anywhere in the loop as long as you finished in the same spot. The first few miles were easy and mostly downhill to the Eastbank trail on an old road bed. I was a bit surprised to be on a road bed but would learn the history later on.

Bridge Over Devil's Creek
I made the turn onto the Eastbank trail put my head down and pushed fast. Along the way I ran into a group from WWU heading back in. They were a bit surprised to learn that at 2 in the afternoon my destination was Devil’s Pass. I quickly passed many of the campsites I have paddle in the past; Roland Creek, Little Jerusalem Island, May Creek, and Rainbow point fell to my pace. I carried very little water. It was raining and there was lots of fresh water around. I didn’t treat my water with anything during the whole trip. At about 4PM I reached the devils pass trail. I had a nice meal before heading up the trail and leaving the lake. The trail was nice and easy going until I got to the wilderness boundary.

This was a hard climb. Climbing out of the valley I could see the weather filtering through the drainages that fed Ross Lake and the upper Skagit drainage. I was soaking wet. The trail tread has collapsed and the brush has not been trimmed in a long time. This is the result of being a wilderness trail. In a few years it will be gone. Little use, no maintenance, just a scratch on the earth. My sons’ will probably never be able to hike this trail. This is the ultimate goal of those who propose wilderness: A land without humans. This will be an unfortunate loss.
My heavy pack and extra girth around my middle weighed on me as I climbed up to and over Devils Dome. The day was long and I reached the top at 7PM. I carried very little water up the hill wanting to conserve weight. However, there was no water down on the east side of the dome heading down to the pass. Around 7:30 I found an incredible campsite high on a ridge but with no water I had to push on. At this point my headlamp was on, along with every piece of clothing I had.

Stormy skies all week
I arrived at my camp on devil’s Pass at 8:45PM. I was wishing that I was there three hours earlier as planned but now I was cold, wet, hungry, and thirsty. On the hike in I went through my priorities, water, stove/food, fire, shelter. I hiked the short bit to the spring and filled my bottle and bladder. When I arrived back I fired up my whisper light and started cooking dinner. As it cooked I gathered firewood. Everything was wet from the day’s rain. The wind was blowing the clouds sideways through the pass collecting every drop of moisture that passed like a sieve. I gathered as much dry wood as possible and lit the fire with my fire starter nursing it to life. I piled on as much wood as I could find building up a large bonfire that served to heat and dry both me and the surrounding firewood.

Devil's Dome
The hot meal was good and warmed my bones. As I set up my tent, the clouds cleared and the temperature dropped. My bonfire raged and I went to bed happy that I packed heavy and wasn’t in a bivy sac. Coyotes lulled me to sleep.

more Pics HERE.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Day 8 August 23th West of Port Angeles

Logging Trucks
Wow it was the last day and we felt it. SR104 is a small double lane secondary highway. This means that it has steeps, no shoulders, and lots of logging trucks. While it is great to see loggers working on state lands, it is a bit scary having logging trucks bearing down on us constantly and nowhere to go. A number of times we just put it in the ditch and sometimes we couldn’t. In all cases the trucks were courteous and just doing their jobs the best they could. I waved as much as possible in hopes that they would radio our position to other truckers. I am afraid that my goofy Seattle sign I put on the back of my trailer may have made me stood out in a bad way.
Elwah river

Just over 60 miles to go

Cool old general store along the way
As we continued on, we went up and down from the Straight up into the hills and back. Our legs were not conditioned for this. Further progress meant fewer logging trucks. We lunched in a park in East Clallam Bay and as we left the rain began to fall. It only got harder the further West we rode. As we approached Neah Bay, locals stopped to talk to us. There was a festival going on and it was too bad we couldn’t stay for it. We rode through and onlookers congratulated us for making it. But we were not done yet.
Not much room here to get out of the way

Lunch in east clallum bay
We pushed on for the last few miles west on Cape Flattery road. As the rain and wind were driving in our face, it was getting close to 4, our appointed pick up time and there was no sign of our ride. We pushed onto the beach, took some pictures in the rain and looked for shelter. This was very anticlimactic. I am used to finishing the race with at least somebody to cheer you on but there was nothing but a cold driving rain.
Nice riding along the water

And the rain begins

entering the Res
We found a bus shelter on the side of the road and huddled inside near hypothermic. We put on every piece of clothing we had and fired up the stove. After a while we had to make a choice, set up the tent and get in our sleeping bags or try to make it back to Neah Bay where there were hotels, shelter and fire. Before we could make this choice our ride arrived at 5:45. I wasn’t in a very good mood and kind of tainted the atmosphere. The ride was over. We had done what we set out to accomplish. It seemed that every day there was a problem to overcome which seemed insurmountable but we worked through it.
End of the line

Found a friend to take a pic
Stats for the day72 miles 555 for trip
2,900ft ascent/3400ft descent
9hr 21min total time
more pic HERE

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 7 August 22th Upper Mongolia, Seattle

Some random guy early in the morning on the way to the ferry
The Road
We left Jenny’s at 5:00AM made the quick ride down on the Elliot Bay Trail to catch the 6AM ferry to Bainbridge. It was pretty unremarkable road riding for most of the day. We took whatever back roads we could find up to Port Gamble, Across the Hood Canal Bridge and 101 onward toward Sequim. We ran into a biking couple from Austria biking around the state. The guy had a great horn. Just before Sequim we got on the Olympic Discovery Trail and took it into town.
Sunrise over Elliott Bay

Coming into Port Gamble
Sequim was our third and final stop at an Alzheimer’s facility. We were lucky that both Trisha Averill and Keri Pollock of the Alzheimer’s Association were at Discovery Memory Care. Once again we had a great stop visiting residents and talking about our trip. They gave us a huge bag of food and we were off for Port Angeles on the trail.

Getting on the Olympic discovery Trail

This trail is mostly railroad grade but they have lost a lot of the right of way and bridges. So the trail is on and off public road, big drops into rivers and climbs out, and strange 90 degree turns to steep climbs. This was not what we expected but the last few miles were right down along the Strait of Juan De Fuca and it was a beautiful ride into Port Angeles. Once there we went shopping for food and talking to a nice couple from France who had been biking across the continent for the last 4 months. I marked on their map where we lived, gave them my email, and invited them to stay with us. We rode out of town to a campground, had a large meal and relished our last night on the road.

Strait of Juan de Fuca
Stats for the day
92 miles At Goal
4,400ft ascent/4100ft descent
15hr 11min total time
More pics HERE

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 6 August 21th Snoqualmie Pass

WackieDoodle Land
Riding down the Old Snoqualmie Road
We got up early, pushed up to the pass and down the old Denny Creek Road. We girded ourselves to the ride on I-90 down to North Bend. Lights, Helmets, all our clothes and reflective triangles on, I led down and hammered it out. Once at North Bend, we got on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and started following Robin’s directions to the Preston Fall City Trail. I told Robin that I wanted a clean route with no multi-hour navigation extravaganzas. But that is just what he gave us – an undecipherable labyrinth on a very bad map. I traveled 5 days without a compass and today I had to break it out. Trying the get through the development on Snoqualmie ridge is a real problem. Anyone you ask is helpful but can only do it in their car with a gps. What should have taken 15 minutes took us two hours but our reward for getting through was meeting up with Jerry Gamez in Preston and having him follow us into Issaquah.
Issaquah was our second Alzheimer’s stop At Aegis Living of Issaquah where we had a great lunch with Melissa Mather and her crew. During lunch Jerry offered to look at our bikes and this is when Mathew dropped a bombshell: If he stopped pedaling, his read wheel was making a horrible noise. It had been behaving like this since Ellensburg and he had hadn’t coasted at all during the last day and a half. We called a good friend Roger Micheal who lives up in Redmond and he agreed to meet us further up the trail with a replacement wheel. Riding on at this point the railroad grade was mostly paved and we were making good time up and around Lake Washington.
What a change. I think we saw more people in the first ½ hour on the Burke Gilman trail than we had seen in the previous 6 days combined. As we rode, we were passed left right and center. They rode fast, didn’t talk much and grimaced a lot in their passive/aggressive way. Not a lot of happy people here. Like the Police said, packed like lemmings on top of shiny metal contraptions. This is the human race in the city. In a case of government inspired social correction of it residents, there were brightly colored signs all along the trail that read; “Be Super Safe”, “Stay Right Except to Pass”, “Use Your Light at Night”, “Use Your Bell or Voice When Passing”. Thereby replacing human interaction with government inspired mandates on Signs.

Since nobody seemed to be minding these signs, in a fit urban inspired madness, I began quoting these sayings to those who were not obeying the signs. I received a lot of strange looks and thought that I might get punched. In another fit of madness, I stopped where the trail crossed the UW entrance. I had a stop sign but also had a crosswalk. There were tons of cars and with this bit of inconsistent right of way; I followed the stop sign in front of the crosswalk waiting for traffic to clear. With me following the stop sign, cars were not sure if they we supposed to stop for the crosswalk and cyclists began stopping for the stop sign. Chaos ensued.
One of the many signs to help people get along

Upper mongolia in the distance
We soon saw upper Mongolia in the distance and my sister’s house grew near. While this stop was short of our goal camping spot just past Bainbridge Island, a ferry ride and 30 more miles of road where not in the cards. She was nice enough to offer her fold out couch, salmon dinner, a shower, and our fresh clothes bag were just what we needed. We cleaned out our trailers and almost fell asleep at dinner.
Our old tire collection
Stats for the day
90 miles 30 miles short of goal
1,800ft ascent/4100ft descent
11hr 34min total time

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 5 August 20th Ellensburg

The prior day we were scheduled to make our first stop at Hearthstone Cottage, an Alzheimer’s facility at noon in Ellensburg. That didn’t happen. I suggested that we sleep in to 6:30 and visit them for breakfast. I got up at 6AM and was busy putting my bike back together. While I called and explained the situation to Recycle Cycle of Ellensburg and my daughter tried to explain they just didn’t get it and they didn’t bother calling. I said; repair, rebuild or recreate my wheel. Instead of a rim that was presta and fit my tires, I ended up with a shraeder rim that fit the bad Wal-Mart tires. That meant that I would not be able to use my maxxis semi-slick on the new rim with all the road riding that would be coming up in the end. This was a complete disappointment and I would really like to talk with the guy who did this to understand why? But my Turner was back under me and it felt great.
We spent an hour at the facility with Joan Allyn meeting the residents and explaining what we were doing, taking pictures and having a great breakfast. We finally got out at 9AM and rode west out of town. My daughter Sarah joined us for a few miles of this ride and as we parted with Mathew yelling for Sarah to tell Jenny to look to the East on the morning of the fifth day, I hoped it would take us 5 day to get to Seattle.
I knew that once we got to Ellensburg the trail would only get better and I was not disappointed. Mathew was focused on the pass but I knew that it would only get easier than the prior days. Our goal for the day was to get past the pass and find a camping spot on the western side of the Cascade Crest. The upper Yakima River canyon is beautiful and is worthy for future exploration and a paddle trip. We had lunch in Cle Elum and were quickly back on the trail.
We met our first bike travelers and horseman at this point of the trp. We also learned from them that there was a freak lightning strike ahead the knocked out the fiber optic lines west of the pass. The trail was closed and we would be riding down I-90 from the pass to North Bend. Once again we had the wind knocked out of us. the whole trip we were looking forward to the fun ride down that part of the trail… the good news was that we would cover shorter distance, move much faster and make up lost time. We would plan on camping as close to the pass as possible and head down I-90 as close to sunrise as we could before traffic got bad. We were not looking forward to it.
Along this part of the trail it gradually climbs but given the nice trail condition the climb is not noticeable. We were back in the trees after three days and the change was welcomed. This section of the trail is beautiful including the very expensive bridges they built. I have no idea why the state spent millions of dollars on bike bridges but they were nice.

Along this part of the trail it parallels the active BNSF line. As a train passed, it scared an animal up and out of the woods between the lines. At first I thought that this was a strange place for a pussy cat and thought there must be a house nearby. Looking closer, I realized the cat was as big as my wheels and motioned Mathew to have a look. Before I could get out my camera it looked back and was gone. What was remarkable to me was that the cat was a dark brown and very scrawny. I wish I had gotten a picture. We ended up camping just east of the pass in a “backcountry” campsite. If these nice campsites were considered backcountry, I knew we were getting close to Seattle.
Stats for the day
57 miles 15 miles short of goal
1,200ft ascent/200ft descent
10hr 57min total time
More pics HERE

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 4 August 19th Along Crab Creek

The Crucible
Coming into Smyrna and Goat Head Purgatory
Betsy hurt my back. The night was hot but we didn’t need the rain fly. We saw the space station again. There were no trains rolling by so we slept well. I was up at 4:30 to prep the bikes and make breakfast. It was going to be a long day. 100 yards out of camp I flatted. I replaced the tire with a non-slime tired and moved on. We were on farm road until the active line turned north to Royal Slope then we rejoined the abandon line heading west.

This was very beautiful farmland. Just west of Smyrna Mathew called out a flat. When we stopped he said you better have a look at your tires. Every tire was covered with goat’s heads. 26inchwheels had warned about this but I had forgotten. We were in a world of hurt. This is why we went with slime tubes but our bike slime tubes were worthless. The trailer tubes we made ourselves and they had lots of slime. Mathew was completely dejected. How do you repair dozens of holes with two tubes and limited patches? So one wheel at a time we pulled out the thorns and spun the wheels. Mathew’s wheels didn’t hold. My front wheel resealed and held and my back didn’t. We carefully pulled all the thorns out of Mathew tires with tweezers and replaced the tubes. We pulled the thorns out of my rear and started patching. We patched and rode and it would go flat again. We did this a few times and finally when it looked at its worst, I cut open one of our empty water jugs and filled it with water from my bladder to find all the holes. We patched the remaining 10 or so holes we found with patch pieces that we cut from our dwindling patches. We also repaired one of our holy spares. I kept the water pan and poured the dirty water into my empty bottle in case we needed it again.
Cut near Crab Creek

For those who will do this trip in the future, there is a white gate just west of Smyrna. Do not ride any trail east of this gate and you should miss the goat head zone.

Now we were on our last legs. Our bike tires have been repaired and are holding air. The trailer tires are still full of thorns. I decided to leave the thorns in the trailers and hoped they resealed as they leaked. If there was another patch of goat heads ahead, we were all done. We had one patched spare and a few patch pieces. All we could do was move on. I said a prayer to God and asked Joseph to pray with me as a father would do for his son. As I rolled over my bike, a pack of long forgotten old patches fell out of my saddle bag and I knew that we would be ok.
Tressel At Beverly
We pushed on having spent 2 hours on flats and still not at the Columbia River. When we arrived at the little town of Beverly on the Eastern shore of the Columbia it was noon and already very hot. We asked some workers for water and they let us use their hose and gave us two of the best apples I have ever eaten. We rested, had lunch and got ready for our climb up through the firing range.

The railroad trestle over the Columbia was locked and since Mathew did not get the combination, we would have had to ride about 20 miles around and over I-90 at Vantage. This was not an option so we climbed yet another and the hardest fence, walked our bikes across the mighty Columbia and set out on the long climb to Ellensburg. Since it is a railroad grade it is not steep. It climbs about 100ft per mile. However, it is at least 100 degrees, the wind is strong against, and the tread while not bad was still sand. This place is beautiful in its desolation. This would be a long day alone with our thoughts in the blistering heat.
Yakima firing Range notice the cuts in the distance

We slowly rode up in the heat stopping in patches of shade to eat, drink and rest. We constantly refigured the distance, climb, and time remaining until the top. We were excited to get to the top and ride down into Ellensburg fully expecting the evening Kittitas wind to be against us but still riding down to my daughter Sarah’s place with a shower, pizza, and my rebuilt bike. By now my back was hurting so much that I asked Mathew to take a pull in it. I was so glad to get on my old bike that fit well. Mathew’s first comments were, “How have you been riding this bike?” He took it to the top of the hill and let my back rest a while.
Tunnel at the top

We were excited to reach the top but our excitement was quickly tempered. Riding down to I-90 in a strong head wind, on tread that can only be described as cat litter, was harder than riding up. Our spirits waned greatly. It was getting late and a full night’s rest was slipping away. I was getting fearful that we might not make it to Ellensburg that night. There is a reroute around the trestle over I-90 and when we rejoined the trail 9 miles east of Ellensburg; I made an executive decision to ride the parallel road into town. Mathew didn’t like this idea but as it was, we arrived in Ellensburg after 9PM. Sarah had pizza waiting for us and the cleansing shower buoyed our spirits and helped us to sleep well that night.

Kititas Valley into the sunset

Stats for the day
63 miles 30miles short of goal
2,400ft ascent/1600ft descent
15hr 9min total time (longest day)
more pics can be found here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 3 August 18th Lind

Lind Town Park

Disaster Strikes
After a horrible night sleep next to the active rail line and crossing signal we were happy to get on the road. The trail here is actively used and in great shape. We had about 25 miles to Warden and made great time. It was looking like our problems were behind us. We left town only to ride a mile and then get rerouted und
er an abandon bridge. It would have been better to just leave town on the highway for a mile to join the trail and avoid the bushwhack. The trail was fast and flat as we transitioned from dry land wheat farming to irrigated crops of the Columbia irrigation district. We started playing how far is it. On a long flat trail structures in the distance can appear deceptively close and we were busy passing many gates along this section.

Great riding here

Abandon bridge West of Lind

Abandon silo along the rail bed

Once in Warden we stopped for food and breakfast. As we rode in town on the pavement I heard a syncroness sound coming from my back wheel and decided to check on it on our way out. A nice lady thanked Mathew for what he was doing and told him that her mother had Alzheimer’s and was in a home in Moses Lake. We had a great breakfast and were off. The sound was ominous. If you have spent time around bikes you can tell sounds and feels that are serious and this was one of them. I quickly determined that it was not the brakes, cranks, or drivetrain but seemed to come from one part of the wheel and I suspended a broken or otherwise problematic spoke. We needed to get to Othello where there might be a bike store.

Active line between Warden and Othello

Lots of corn once in the Columbia Basin Irragation District

The rail line from Warden to Othello is still active so we used the route that 26inchslicks used that uses irrigation canal roads and other roads using the gazetteer. As we rolled into Othello on pavement the sound was now noticeably worse and had to be fixed before we set off into the wilderness between Othello and Ellensburg. We stopped to ask if there was a bike store and were pointed in the direction of Wal-Mart. I began to take apart my tire and what was an invisible hairline crack in my rim now presented itself as a crack almost the entire circumference of the wheel. We were out of commission as the bike was now unridable. The ruggedness of the trail had destroyed my old wheel with no fix in site.

Mathew looked dejected but my racing experience had prepared me for this eventuality and I was about to implement the RVG Betsy option but I needed help. First we went to Wal-Mart and after helping a young kid and his mom pick out a bike; I purchased the largest kid bike they had for $95. When the cashier offered replacement insurance I seriously considered it. We tuned it up on the spot, transferred any parts I could (tires, pedals, bottle cage) and went looking for help. Our first stop was the Othello Fire Department and after explaining our predicament they graciously agreed to help. First, they filled our bladders with ice water and agreed to hold my bike. Next, my father in-law Bob had offered us any help and I was about to ask for a big favor to which he agreed. He arrived from Moses Lake to take my broken bike to Ellensburg to have it fixed. Without his help we probably could not have finished the project.

Betsy is hooked up and the Turner is read to go to Ellensburg for repairs

And we were off except I was riding Betsy which was super heavy, too small, and didn’t quite work right. It turned out that the rail line has been refurbished all the way to Royal Slope so we were once again on farm road paralleling the trail. Given the day’s problems, we were well short of our goal of the Columbia River and we stopped to camp on some remote public land halfway between Othello and the Columbia.

Riding into the sunset along Crab Creek

Stats for the day
63 miles 10-20miles short of goal
1,000ft ascent/1600ft descent
13hr 11min total time
More Pictures can be found here