25th Anniversary Tour - Day 57

08/12/2006 04:32:51 by Administrator

From: Mazama, Washington
To: Newhalem, Washington
Mileage: 63

. . . And yet, and yet, the moments we have had, the marvels we have witnessed, the wonderful truths we have seen. You see, when night falls and you close your eyes to sleep and dream, we have seen the things that you can only dream about. We have been there. . . Oh yes. All the way and back!

This quote, taken form the TV movie Gulliver's Travels and revised a little, only begins to describe today's ride. Just when we thought we had seen it all, one spectacular ride after another, days and places you wish you could never forget, God decides to give it to you with both barrels. Today's ride was the crown jewel. We are so glad we decided to ride east to west because we are finishing our journey in the Cascades and we have truly saved the best for last.

We crossed Washington pass (elevation 5477) and Rainy pass (elevation 4855) today. Out of the five passes, Sherman was the most difficult for us to pedal over; Loup Loup and Washington are tied for second followed by Wauconda and lastly Rainy. Rainy was only a 2-mile climb up after we rode steeply down from Washington pass (about 3 miles); so for us riding from the east, this pass was very easy.

A full moon was our guide on our morning climb. The moon was centrally framed between each set of mountain peaks as route 20 rose out of the Methow River Valley floor. As we climbed, the highest ridges and peaks in our views were snow covered. Around every bend was another "Kodak" moment. Route 20 was pretty quiet until the late afternoon, when it got pretty busy. Temperatures for the day did not pass the high 70's and for most of the day there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Perfect cycling conditions, with perfect scenery. . .what more can we say.

We passed waterfalls, forest of huge evergreens, the smell of cedar, orange mountain ash berries, blueberries, blackberries, gorges, rivers, turquoise glacier lakes, stony fast moving creeks, huge mountain peaks dotted with glaciers, tunnels, black squirrels, wildflowers galore, and a variety of birds. So much filled our minds until it seemed like we were on overload.

Then, if the ride was not enough. . .just for something extra . . We were able to camp in Cascades National Park; where we pitched our tent in between a group of enormous Douglas firs right along the Skagit River.