Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Washington Cascades, Day 8 Ellensberg to Wenatchee

Windmills Washington Cascades 2014_0323
Read all the posts about this trip in backwards order (or better yet, start at the bottom and work up) here.

Here's the thing with wind and photos: It's hard to tell just how windy it is. In the photo above maybe it's windy, or maybe those huge blades are just waiting for a breeze.

Look at this one. Can you tell that we can barely make any forward progress? Can you tell that for the first flat 12 miles we were fighting (and sometimes losing) to keep our speed up near 10 mph? Well, we were.
Can't see the wind Washington Cascades 2014_0310
Maybe this will help

Our day went on with wind, and then a climb, which was at least a lot more fun. We were riding 67 miles with 4,300 of climbing. That's enough even without the wind. With it made for a long day.

Happy Curtis Washington Cascades 2014_0328 copyWe also got to ride along a busy highway for a while. There was room for us, but having big trucks fly past just isn't very romantic. Heather, our ride leader,  suggested an alternate route when we neared the summit. Some riders said the road was bad, but Heather said we'd like it anyway. When we reached the turn I was still undecided. Right then two huge, loud trucks blew past, Tricia gave me a look, and our decision was made. It was so very much the right thing to do. Within a few hundred yards we were all alone, with no traffic noise and beautiful trees all around us. We laughed and chatted our way to the top. It was the first time I'd felt good all day.

Optional route Washington Cascades 2014_0330
We saw only one car driving our alternate route. Such a deal.
switchback Washington Cascades 2014_0336

Torn Tire Washington Cascades 2014 0095We returned to the highway, enjoyed a lovely downhill and turned to follow the Wenatchee River toward Wenatchee. We had some wonderful short climbs and some short, quick descents I love. On Dead Man's Hill I reached the bottom and waited for Tricia. She's usually just a second back, but I didn't see her. I panicked and rode like mad back uphill. I was relieved to see her pushing her bike, meaning nothing too horrible had happened. Tricia has a policy: Never do a ride or ski run with death in the name. I can see why now. Somehow something had put a huge gash in her tire. When the tube hit the road, it exploded. Fortunately, we were prepared. We booted it and were on our way. (See what the heck that means here.) Unfortunately an emergency repair like this doesn't make for a smooth, confidence-inspiring tire.  We limped the rest of the way to camp.

We did at least come across a young entrepreneur selling some darn-near perfect lemonade. She also refilled our water bottles.
lemonade Washington Cascades 2014_0344
We also got to take our bikes over the freeway on a bike-ped bridge, (Why can't we have those?) then ride up Easy Street where we saw a pumpkin cannon, unfortunately not launching that day.
Bike bridge Washington Cascades 2014_0349
That evening we found out that due to fires where we'd planned to ride we were going to load our bikes on the van and head to the land of werewolves and vampires in the morning.
Greg on van Washington Cascades 2014_0364

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