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

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