Author Topic: Crossing the Palouse in summer  (Read 4397 times)

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Offline DonKahn1

Crossing the Palouse in summer
« on: July 06, 2023, 06:20:15 pm »
Hello,
I am currently on a cross country trip from Washington DC to the Olympic Peninsula.  Since I am a proud 1986 graduate of the University of Idaho, I am stopping in Moscow Idaho in a day or two.  I am debating how to proceed from the Moscow/Pullman area to Yakima, where I can pick up an ACA route to take me to the Olympic Peninsula.  I would welcome any suggestions from anyone who has done something similar to this.  Basically, I see two options
1.  Leave from Pullman and travel north to Colfax, then west on 26 to Othello.  Then jog down to 24 and go around the Hanford Reach, and cross the Columbia on 24, then on to Yakima
2.  Travel down to Lewiston, and follow the Lewis and Clark as far as Waitsburg, then travel west on 124 to the Tri Cities, and possibly follow either 12 or I82 to Yakima

Option1 seems like it would have much less traffic, but be much more remote.  Option 2 would be more towns but less interesting
I would really appreciate it if anyone has info on where to camp, especially on option1 (Any  possibility of camping in town parks enroute?

Thanks for the info, and I plan on carrying plenty of water, as I know it is hot and remote in eastern Washington!!

Offline jamawani

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2023, 10:45:10 pm »
I've toured for 35 years.
Hwy 24 west of Othello to the Columbia sux - one of the worst roads ever.
Narrow, no shoulder, fast & aggressive traffic, trucks.
The Columbia bridge is dicey, too.
Not to mention that it's gonna be really hot in eastern Washington.

Do you absolutely, positively have to go via Yakima?
Option 2 would be better of the two, but brutally hot.
With very little shade.

You could combine Hwy 26 with Pasco-Kahlotus Road.
Seriously remote, seriously hot.

<<<>>>

Have you considered a more northerly route?
Hwy 23 from Steptoe to Sprague to US 2 is one of the nicest roads in E. Wash.
Very low traffic, scenic Palouse, St. John, Sptague, Harrington with services.

Then cut over via Grand Coulee and and Bridgeport to the Methow.
Then take the Northern Tier over Washington Pass to the Olympic Peninsula.
It would be 5 to 10 degrees cooler.

Offline DonKahn1

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2023, 02:25:18 pm »
Thanks for the route advice Janawani,
I am not wedded to the Yakima route, just that I did do the northern tier 2 years ago, and was hoping to not repeat some areas.  That being said, I think your route looks great, and will probably go that way.  Any tips on places to stay en route, such as city parks, fairgrounds and other campgrounds.  I am not opposed to staying in the occasional motel, especially since it is going to be hot.
Thanks again

Offline jamawani

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2023, 05:27:13 pm »
How daring are you?
Are you doing any dirt on this trip?
Are you willing ot hitch-hike across the Columbia River by boat?
(I've crossed many major rivers that way - but it does add uncertainty.)

Where are you right now? Moscow? Pullman??

The Palouse has some really sweet, empty roads.
Then there are the massive coulees of the Columbia Plateau.
If you are not familiar with them - it makes for stunning riding.

If you've already done the Northern Tier, then maybe another?

A) The Palouse to Cascades Trail has a new bridge crossing at Beverly.
I suggest riding pavement thru Vantage and Ellensburg then hopping on the trail.
You can bypass Seattle and come out at Everett.
The ferry to Whidby Island and over to Port Townsend and the Olympic Penin.

B) Chinook Pass via Hwy 410 is eye-popping.
You yop out at Tipsoo Lake with spectacular views of Mount Rainier.
Camp fairly close to the pass on the east side so you get morning light on Mt. Rainier.
Biking the Rainier N.P. road thru Paradise is challenging - narrow and heavy tourist traffic.
Also, Rainier N.P. has zero hiker/biker campsites. Booooooo!

C?) US 2 is tricky on the west side but very scenic.
Crossing at Wenatchee is nice, safe, and with a state park right there.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43592319

Offline DonKahn1

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2023, 02:24:42 pm »
Thanks for the route suggestions.  I decided on a combo of State routes 23 and 28.  Should be in Wenatchee tomorrow.  Both 23 and 28 were nice for riding and enough towns en route to get water etc.  Will probably continue on Hwy 2 to Everett and ferry to Whitby Island to get to the Olympic Peninsula.
Thanks again for the route ideas

Offline jamawani

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2023, 10:34:21 pm »
There are a few miles of unpaved road on top of the mesa between Soap Lake and Wenatchee -
But getting to ride Moses Coulee is worth it.

Offline jamawani

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2023, 11:07:35 pm »
Some suggestions -
Lake Wenatchee is lovely. Busy on weekends.
(But Washington State Parks has a "No Turn Away" policy.)
https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/no-turn-away-bike-camping-policies/

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43646298
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43646327

West of Skykomish it gets very tricky on US 2. Do NOT attempt on a weekend.
Traffic is heavy in general, but 2X or 3X - especially on Sunday afternoons westbound.

Offline jamawani

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2023, 04:32:52 pm »
PS -

Here are two more segments.
US 2 west of Skykomish is very, very tricky.
Do not ride on the weekend, especially do not ride westbound on Sunday.
The highway has a tunnel, narrow bridges, sections with little to no shoulders,
plus, guardrails which force you into the travel lanes when there is a small shoulder.
The best time to ride from Skykomish to Sultan (30 miles) is between 8a and noon.
Make sure to take Reiter Road out of Index.

Sultan to Monroe to Everett has better back road options.
Still, you are getting into a more populated region.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43646555
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/43646621

Offline DonKahn1

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2023, 12:31:33 pm »
Thanks for all your helpful information on the hwy 2 route.  I made it safely out to the Olympic Peninsula.  Your descriptions of the narrrow shoulders near Skikomish were spot on.  After a couple of days on the Olympic Peninsula, I am planning on taking the ferry to Victoria, and then cycling on to Banf and Jasper.  Hope to take the via rail east from Jasper to Ontario, and then cycle home to northern Minnesota
Thanks again for your helpful route descriptions

Offline jamawani

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2023, 12:41:14 pm »
You are most welcome.  Jama

Offline Ty0604

Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2023, 04:08:15 pm »
Hello,
I am currently on a cross country trip from Washington DC to the Olympic Peninsula.  Since I am a proud 1986 graduate of the University of Idaho, I am stopping in Moscow Idaho in a day or two.

Hey Don! In the future consider riding the Palouse to Cascade State Park Trail, which will soon be the longest Rails to Trails Route in the USA, replacing the Katy Trail in Missouri.

https://www.parks.wa.gov/521/Palouse-to-Cascades-Trail

Graduated from Washington State in 2015 and miss the Palouse so very much. I dated a girl who went to UI and I rode the trail between Pullman and Moscow fairly often. I purchased my first bike at the LBS in Pullman and that’s where I got hooked on bicycle touring.

Go Cougs
Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO