Author Topic: Vancouver to Spokane route  (Read 6201 times)

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Offline yfor01

Vancouver to Spokane route
« on: January 06, 2006, 09:34:33 pm »
I am planning the above trip. My planned route would take me from the Canadian border on Highway 9 (thru Nooksack) to Sedro Wooley and then east on 20 mostly all the way to Spokane. I am planning on daily centuries (100 miles)...has anyone every riden this route.  I was wondering how the roads are for touring riding!!

Offline judyrans

Vancouver to Spokane route
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2006, 03:46:25 am »
You can see what Washingtons State Routes and Interstates look like by going to the State Route Web (SRWeb):

To view SR (State Route) 9, start at the end of SR 9 in Sumas, MP 98.17, and go backward to Sedro-Woolley (Decr. MP), where you'll meet SR 20.

SR 9 between the border and Sedro-Woolley is mostly a two-lane road with no shoulders. According to the Washington State Bicycle Map, traffic from the border to Wickersham was in the 0-1,999 vehicles range in 1998. Wickersham to Sedro-Woolley is in the 2000-5000 vehicles range.

 My daughter used to work in Sedro-Woolley, so a couple of times my bike and I rode in her pickup to Sedro-Woolley, and I rode home to Ferndale via Highway 9 and Smith Road. One day I counted 18 logging trucks and 15 gravel trucks (with trailers) that passed me. Since they were north/east bound, the overtaking trucks were empty and the logging truck trailers were piggy-backed. The southbound trucks were loaded. The drivers were polite and knew exactly low long their truck and trailer were in order to pass safely. I made it clear to the drivers by my road position that the lane was too narrow to share.

On another two occasions I have ridden southbound on Hwy 9 from Deming to either Acme or Park Road. The Deming to Acme ride was on a weekday and my husband and I did not have any problems. The Deming to Park Rd. ride was part of the 2000 League of American Bicyclists Rally in Bellingham, so there were many cyclists (not necessarily League members), some pretty flaky. Since it was on a Saturday there probably werent any logging or gravel trucks. Instead, there were RVs, and cars and pick-ups pulling trailers. I would rather share the road with professional gravel and logging truck drivers than folks that drive an RV a few times a year.

Since then the county has put up Share the Road  signs which according to at least one local results in motorists being more polite to bicyclists. I am cynical about such signs, since no motorist was rude to me in the first place.

At Highway 20, which you can also look at on SRWeb, takes you through the Washington Alps.  The road has shoulders and you will, depending on your exact route, go over five mountain passes. There are also two nifty tunnels.

SR 20 Start at MP 64.81. There are tunnels at  122.43 and 124.07.

Note that the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier route passes through Sedro-Woolley, but drops south of the Skagit River on the narrow, two-lane South Skagit Highway until it meet SR20 at Concrete. It's more rustic, but you'll miss the food stop and camping options on Hwy 20.

You can also parallel SR 20 north of the Skagit River, but you'll want a Skagit County map. Either a commercial map or the Skagit Bike Map.

I rode east on SR 20 in June 2004 on a sagged cross country tour. It was the most beautiful part of the tour. On the other hand, one of my riding companions was sick for this section, and came back later in the year to complete it in nasty rain and cold. So, be prepared, you're in the mountains and it could even snow.

SR 20 has traffic in the 5,000 to 9,999 range as you leave Sedro-Woolley, and decreases as you head east. The range is 2,000 to 4,999 from Rockport to Marblemount, and drops to 0 - 1,999 as you climb and descend Rainy ((4,855') and Washington (5,477') Passes, until Winthrop. The road is busier from Winthrop to Twisp (5,000 - 9,999), but there is an alternate (traffic count unknown). It's back to 0-1,999 for the trip over Loup Loup Pass.

SR20 joins HWy 97 from Okanagan to Tonasket and traffic increases near the towns to the 5,000 - 9,999 range. Traffic drops to 0 - 1,999 over Wauconda (4,310') and Sherman (5,575') Passes, then rises from Kettle Falls to Colville, then drops again as you climb over a nameless pass to Tiger. At Tiger traffic continues to be low, and the route levels out along the Pend Oreille (pond-er-ay) River.

Here's some more information about SR 20:

You'll have to leave SR20 to get to Spokane. You could follow SR 20 to the Idaho border at Newport, then turn south on SR2 to Spokane. Traffic will increase around and in Spokane.

Or, you can turn south several other places from Okanogan onward. If the weather is cold and wet, you might want to opt for a more southerly route through the "desert," rather than the nountains.

There you have it--more than you probably wanted to know about Hwy 9 and Hwy 20.

This message was edited by judyrans on 1-15-06 @ 11:54 PM

Offline yfor01

Vancouver to Spokane route
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2006, 10:17:16 pm »
Thank you very much for all the trouble on providing this information. Sounds like my plan on going down on SR 9 is not such a great plan.  Do you know any other better rides from the Canadian side...was wondering if I should stick on the Cdn side thru Osoyoos...