Saturday, November 5, 2016

Rail to Trail: Spokane to Seattle and Halfway Back Prep

One summer's eve a long time ago, me and my Fargo headed to the Spokane Amtrak station for a trip to Seattle and then to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.  But first I had to do some planning and packing, which in my case starts with getting out the plastic bin that holds all my bikepacking stuff, pulling items out and hazarding guesses if I'm going to need them or not.  How many freeze-dried food packs should bring vs how many will I actually use?  Bear spray, first aid kit, wipes, jetboil, coffee - all the essentials. Hammock - maybe not this time.  New Sawyer water filter contraption along with the SteriPen, Platypus Platy 70 oz flex bottles.  Need more chicken/tuna salad & cracker snacks, along with the usual turkey jerky and trail mix to survive on.

I was going to use my Velo-Orange front rack to hold the sleeping back and tent, but it didn't fit on the Fargo.  Its 29" mountain bike tires are too tall.  Next up was the Blackburn Top-It, but I remembered from experience on the Columbia Plateau Trail that it was a pain to securely tie the sleeping bag and tent crossways on it.  Next plan - Revelate harness.  I had a week to go, so I ordered one from Universal Cycles and it arrived from Portland in two days.

For the rear, I halfway hoped to use the Revelate Pika seat bag. But I also wanted to carry as much water as I could east of the Columbia River, so I opted for the rear rack and panniers.  From front to rear I was set: sleeping bag in harness, handlebar bag, Anything cages, frame bag, Topeak bottle holder under down tube, rear rack with tent on top, panniers to hold rain gear, clothes, food, empty Platypus etc. And a Camelbak.

I loaded most everything up and took the Fargo for a spin.  Rode great, perfect.

My only real worry regarding way finding was getting from Seattle to the Iron Horse State Park/JWPT Trailhead.  Debbie and I have ridden the I-90/Mountains to Sound trail from Bellevue/Factoria to Seattle and back, but there are a few gaps and tricky spots.  Then there's the matter of getting from Issaquah to the JWPT.  I was hoping to find a way south of I-90 after Issaquah, but that wasn't looking too promising.  It looked like I'd have to stay along the I-90 corridor to North Bend.

the JWPT is near the lower right hand edge

But through the wonders of the internet I found Chris Rhinehart's JWPT Seattle Start on Ride with GPS.  It follows the I-90 Trail, then connects to the other trails in King County - the Issaquah-Preston Trail, Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, Snoqalmie Ridge Trail and Snoqualmie Valley Trail.  I downloaded it to my phone, along with printing the cue sheet. Then our Internet went out and I stopped researching.  I figured with Chris' route and the King County pages torn out of my DeLorme Washington State Atlas, I'd be fine.


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