Sunday, August 10, 2014

Washington Cascades bike tour, Day 3 Eagle Cliff to Randle

Read all the posts about this trip in backwards order (or better yet, start at the bottom and work up) here.

It's disconcerting. We ride all day, day after day, and when it's all over there are days that are hard to separate from the other days. Ho hum, just one more day of beautiful views, big hills and general delight.

It was supposed to be easier. I made a lot of photos, but somehow when I downloaded them they ended up in a jumbled mess instead of in proper date order. In a way, perhaps that's a plus. It's made me have to really dig into my memory to reconstruct the day.

Headed to Randle flowers Washington Cascades_0338Our ride to Randle had, again, a lot of climbing. We rode out of Eagle Cliff (or Creek, whatever they call it) and headed up. And up. We'd ride 49 miles and climb 4000 feet before the day was done. We didn't see many other people or cars, but did see a few other cyclists. About the time I'd find myself thinking how cool and tough I was, we'd encounter a rider carrying four panniers, or pulling a trailer, or both. On one descent where I thought I was zipping along quite quickly, a young shirtless rider with a trailer blew past me. I was doing at least 35 and he left me like I wasn't moving at all. 

One of my great annoyances in life is crappy out-of-focus boring flower photos. Yet here I am, on this ride (which was beautiful. Did I mention this already?) stopping along the road and making flower photos. They were so eye catching even I, flower curmudgeon that I am, couldn't resist. I'm sure they have names. I just wish I knew what there were.

And again, the scenic vistas were as good as the closeups, with Mt. Saint Helens peeking through the trees again and again.

Headed to Randle Washington Cascades_0308 copy

To Randle lush state park campground on the way Washington Cascades_0339 We were a bit concerned at the start of the day because there was a 35 mile stretch with no water. It turned out not to be too hot of a day, and even with all the climbing it wasn't an issue. Still, we were glad to reach a state park with water. The caretakers there were proud of both their cool clean water, and their very clean restrooms. As we rode over to the highly recommended pit toilet #2 (and indeed, as promised, it was spotless) we noticed that there was almost no one there. Amazing. Such a beautiful park with gorgeous trees and prehistoric looking ferns, and no one there but us to appreciate it. So we stopped and had lunch.

From there it was a sweet downhill to Randle and its corner grocery. I don't know what the deal is with Washington, but even out-of-the-way town's grocery stores have really good beer selections. Guess what I bought and carried to camp, just up the road.

We had dinner with our fellow riders. Jeffrey had been lobbying for salmon since before the trip started, and it was his night to cook, so we had salmon.  It was also Jeffery's birthday, so he not only got his salmon, but ice cream — somewhat melted, but we didn't care — with candles on it.

As the sun went down we had our map meeting, where we went over plans for the next day: a huge climb headed up Mt. Rainer.  But at least it promised to be hot, too.

Compadres at Randle Washington Cascades_0344
Lowell, Terry and Randell like their salmon
Randle - Strephen and Heather
Heather and Steven relax after dinner
Randle another birthday Washington Cascades_0341
It's Jeffrey's birthday!
Randle map meeting Washington Cascades_0356
North is not always up on these maps.

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