Author Topic: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route  (Read 4506 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BOHICA

Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« on: January 03, 2011, 12:11:43 am »
Newbie here. This will be my first self supported tour. I have been looking at the AC maps. Trying to to decide which way to go. I'm thinking the Section 1 of the Northern Tier then Section 1 of the Pacific Coast route. With that being said, I would get a ride up to Sandpoint ID and start my route from their. Once I made it to Anacortes, WA would jump onto the Pacific Coast route. I would then make my detour over to Oak Harbor Wa. I'm thinking I will be eating when I come to towns. I will be taking a stove to make coffee for in the morning and breakfast tell I get to the next town. Will be camping for the most part in parks and camp sites.

Now here are the questions. What would be the best time of the year to start this? What are your thoughts on the route? What are things I need to prepare for with the climbs? Any other important info would be great.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 10:07:44 am »
To start with, you'll want to wait until the passes are open.  Check out http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/passdates.htm for historical dates in the North Cascades.  You will probably want to make sure the campgrounds are open, check out www.nps.gov for more information or contacts.  Without knowing how hot or cold you like it, I can't tell you whether to leave May 1 or July 1.  (Skip August -- it gets too hot!)

I don't think the passes are all that steep on the NT (Washington 20), but they are long -- especially from Mazama up to Washington Pass.  So the standard prep answers will fit: get in shape, lose weight early, get used to long hours in the saddle, get used to riding with a load, make sure your gear is in good shape.

WA 20 had some very good scenery, and was well worth the trip for us.  It was also fairly remote; you're going to have stretches of 50 miles between services, so make sure you have water and food to cover those stretches.

Somebody else will have to answer your PC questions.  I was happy I made the trip on the NT, and very glad to stop when we hit Anacortes.  Have fun!

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 02:16:40 pm »
They are getting a lot of snow in the Cascades this winter.  It was a very snowy year the first time I did the Northern Tier west to east.  We crossed Rainy and Washington Passes at the beginning of June.  The rain we encountered on the way up turned into snow as we got higher (nothing stuck to the ground), and there was snow plowed six feet high along the side of the road.  This was taken near Washington Pass:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/5246696015/

Crossed again the following year at the same time.  Less snow, but there were some light snow showers.  As noted, you will have to decide whether the possibility of encountering such weather is for you or not and adjust your dates accordingly.  Personally, I am glad I went when I did.  Made for an epic ride, and the tourist traffic was nonexistent.  Note that Winthrop, Okanagan and Tonasket will likely be warm and dry in early June.  We had snow again in Republic and on Sherman Pass.  Colville, Ione and Sandpoint were also chilly and damp.  I agree that I would not like to be in some of those places in August due to the heat.

As noted, prepare for a long stretch without anything.  If I remember correctly, the climb from Mazama to Washington Pass is about 15 miles.  Then you go down for about 3.5 miles and then up 1.5 miles to Rainy Pass.  From there, it's another 30 miles (if not more) to Newhalem, where there at least was a store.  If it’s no longer there, you will have continue on to Marblemount.  Most of that 35 miles is descending.  It’s a beautiful day.

While not as long or isolated, the climb up the east side to Loup Loup Pass has sustained sections of at least 8%.  Sherman Pass is a good climb, but not killer.  The east side of Wauconda Pass heading west from Republic is not bad.  Earlier on, there is a very steep, twisty section of road heading west from Ione.  It looks like a vertical wall on the map’s profile.  Fortunately, it’s probably only a mile or so.  Unless things have changed for the better, resist any temptation to take U.S. 2 out of Sandpoint.  Little to no shoulder in places because of rock cuts and traffic, including logging trucks.  Follow the route proper.

I found the route to have good services, including adequate camping in most places.  If the same family still owns the Winthrop KOA, they are very nice people and give cyclists a deal.  There is also a new cyclist-only camping area that opened last year between Winthrop and Mazama.  It’s called the barn or something like that.  Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport has Adirondack shelters.

Offline BOHICA

Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 01:30:42 pm »
Thank you all for the info......

The cold does not really bother me. Was more concerned about traffic. I have been on that road (drove) a couple of times, and as we know the traffic can be crazy.

Is there a big concern of bears and those type of things up that way?


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 01:36:08 pm »
As to bears...

When we stayed at Newhalem, I wondered whether we needed to string up our scant remaining food, since the NPS claimed it was bear habitat.  The campground host told me not to worry about it, it had been more than 15 years since they had had a bear incident.

When I got back to civilization (and cell phone coverage), my wife pointed out there was a crazyguyonabike picture of a black bear in that very campground one week earlier.

Maybe they've trained those wild bears?

Offline PeteJack

Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 10:47:26 am »
Do make sure you drink plenty of water going over the North Cascades. You tend not to think of dehydration if you are cold and soaking wet but it does happen. I made the mistake of making the trip in October http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/pjraw09: lots of rain, sleet and of course cold. I didn't drink much at all and was as sick as a dog when I got to Mazama. The second time I made the crossing it was the hottest day of 2010. (I know how to pick 'em don't I?) I went through 3 bottles of water after Newhalem (heading east) and resorted to drinking from creeks, fortunately with no ill effects. Wait until the weather warms up to something reasonable.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Spokane Wa to Oak Harbor Wa Looking for advice and Route
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 10:07:47 am »
Thank you all for the info......

The cold does not really bother me. Was more concerned about traffic. I have been on that road (drove) a couple of times, and as we know the traffic can be crazy.

Is there a big concern of bears and those type of things up that way?



I encountered almost no traffic both times I crossed in the beginning of June.  That’s one of the advantages of going early.  The major tourist rush has not started, especially since school is still in session.  The south side of Colonial Creek Campground was virtually deserted.  There were a few logging trucks descending the west slope, but nothing to be concerned about.

As for bears, the host at Colonial Creek told us not to worry.  However, the NPS campground map indicates that there are a few bear boxes.  While I saw no bears, the Steller’s Jays were a nuisance the first year.  They tired to get into soft sided food packages left unguarded on the picnic table.  One guy had a bag of cereal leftover from that morning’s breakfast on top of his trailer bag.  A jay landed on it and began pecking a hole in it.