Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ride across the USA: 6/09/10 -- 39 miles, Diablo Lake over Cascade Rainy & Washington passes -- 117 total

Kirk on the long climb up to Rainy from Diablo Lake

A look down at Diablo Lake through the rain & clouds.

A little fun to go along with the excitement of reaching our first pass in the Cascades.

What a beautiful view looking back as we head to Washington Pass, the second one of the day.

Here we are!! Feeling pretty good after going over 2 passes in one day. Now to bundle up more for the long ride down to Lone Fir .... so named because of an avalanche that left one lone fir tree standing & was a landmark for years b/4 disease caused it to be cut down.

This is a day you dread but anticipate ....... great contradiction, isn't it? We knew this would be hard as we continue the 50 mile climb to this first pass. Since we are heading to Rainy Pass it is only fitting that it rained on us most of the day. There is definitely something to be said for riding so slow as you really take in the surroundings with all the waterfalls and birds. Rainy Pass is 4,855' and we had a little fun with the snow. Then it is time to put on more winter gear for the ride downhill. Short-lived relief from the climb to Rainy of 500' because now we start climbing up Washington Pass, 5,477'. Had a group of riders with Timberline, out of Denver, pass us .... all 23 of them. They do this ride in 2 months which is a lot harder riding than I want to do -- and it only cost each of them $16,000 -- but they don't cook, carry or worry, just ride. We conquer Washington Pass and it is a great feeling!!! Time to bundle up again as we have a 2,000' decline with a 7% grade. A lot of braking to keep yourself under control. Tonight we are staying at a Forest Service campground so we know we have no services. The first problem was when the battery was dead and we couldn't get the top of the camper up! Hooked up to the van battery and was successful, just took a long time. It was cold sleeping but when you're tired, it really doesn't matter.

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