Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bikepacking setup in progress

this is what I have so far for this year's go at the John Wayne Pioneer Trail:


ceramic mug for laughs 
It's bulky up front, and I'd like to pare it down but will probably live with it. Might need a sleeping bag in September. Underneath and holding all those items is my Blackburn Top-It rack. Right now the idea is to use small bags like the Revelate handle bar bag shown instead of panniers cuz I ain't got no front panniers and don't want to buy any. I can fit a Platypus Platy bottle on top the front rack, too.  There's another handlebar bag above the sleeping bag and bivy, and dual feed bags. One of the feed bags might have to go as it's a little cramped up front; I can probably attach one on the Bindle.

I've biked with the sleeping bag and other items in a bag hanging from the handlebars before, but there's just not much room between the drops on the Woodchipper bars.  The new Woodchipper  2 bars on the new Fargo Rival have more width, and I could've switched them out I suppose but I like having a larger handlebar bag up front.

Instead of a rear rack and panniers like last time, I  picked up the Portland Design Works Bindle Rack which solves the saggy butt-rocket problem.  It's  holding the Salsa Terrapin dry bag which gives me a lot more room than the Revelate Pika I have. Inside I'm packing clothes and stuff in ditty bags to keep things separate and make it easier to get to things.  I also fit a Platypus flat bottle between the Bindle and Terrapin. More water storage!

I took it out for a spin, and the bike road smoothly, no wiggle waggle. We'll say how it works when I get it fully loaded.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

R2T: Ellensburg to Columbia River

I made it to the other side of Ellensburg.  Soon, there was a little rain, big threatening clouds and thunder off in the distance.  Big storm heading my way. I turn around and wait out the storm in a little shop a block away from the trailhead.  Winegar's - homemade ice cream and gourmet coffee, a perfect spot for me.  It was 5pm or so and with the storm not letting up, I called and made a hotel reservation.  Of course, the skies soon turned clear, and I debated about cancelling my reservation and moving on.  A little guiltily, I kept my res, and spent the night in comfort.


The trailhead is about a block from Winegar's on Alder Street and I looked around a little more closely in the morning.  Down Alder Street there's a set up for horses, RV Camping, and showers right close to the trail - part of the Kittitas Valley Event Center.  Looks like a good spot to camp, instead of forking over $'s for a hotel.  It's funny, but the day before I think I checked out the other side where the office is, but couldn't see where camping was.

On the trail again.

Why the John Wayne Pioneer Trail is named what it is:

 Just outside of Ellensburg and definitely on the dry, irrigated side of the state.

There's a closed trestle that crosses I-90 a few miles from this spot, and you have to detour.  I rode past a ways before turning back and taking the detour.  The trail is more scenic than the road, with some nice rock cutouts.

 On the south side of I-90 on the detour, the Renslow Trestle in the distance.

There's some debate amongst bikers if it's ok to skip the detour and stay on the trail.  The problem is you might have to cross private land from the trail down to a road that crosses under I-90 to the other side.  From what I could see from the other side, there's a short little trail leading down to the road.



Looking at the old railbed from the trestle.  I can't remember for sure now, but I think this was closed off and I rode down below then up a dirt trail back to the JWPT.

 My left pedal felt a little wonky riding up, but once I got going again on the flat and slightly downhill trail it felt fine.


This section is part of the Army's Yakima Training Center.  It's a live fire training exercise area which closes the trail sometimes.  It's a good idea to check ahead of time before riding.  The Friends of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail website says it's closed August 1-15 this year.
Getting my registration card.
The Army West Trailhead
This section is very sandy, and from what I hear is a real pain to bike up going in the other direction.  But it's not bad heading east, beginning the long descent to the Columbia River.




The Boylston Tunnel.  I missed the sign for a detour around it.

the detour pic, out of order.


Reminds me of parts of the Columbia Plateau Trail.


Not your usual Eastern Washington Basalt rock.



There's potable water just off the trail here at the tank in the distance.  It's just a few miles from the  Columbia and Vantage, but I stopped for a rest and to top-off my bottles.  And my favorite trail snack - Bumble Bee Snack on the Run - tuna or chicken salad and crackers.

That's the Columbia on the left in the distance

The Army East Trailhead

The Beverly Bridge at the Columbia River.  A fire in the area burned the railroad ties on this end making it impassable.  It was always closed off due to safety concerns, but before the fire there was talk of ways to cross over it.

To get across the river you ride north on Huntzinger Road to Vantage, where you can bike across on the I-90 bridge (no shoulder, dangerous, not recommended) or hitch a ride.  Another possibility I've looked into is biking south on Huntzinger Rd past Wanapum Dam, follow some dirt roads past Priest Rapids, around the bend in the river, and cross the river on Highway 24 near Desert Aire, then back north to Beverly.  It looks like a long way around.

So anyway, I'm biking on the road to Vantage.  It's a little hilly and I'm biking up and down some steeper grades. Suddenly my left pedal is wobbly.  I had forgotten about it, and hadn't checked it out any further.  I stop and take a look at it and discover it's barely hanging on to the arm.  The threads in the crank arm are almost completely stripped.  Well, shoot.  I hobble into Vantage and ponder my next move.  I get the pedal back on fairly tight, but I'm sure it's not going to last long.  I don't want to break down in some remote spot across the river.  No bike shops within a 100 miles at least.  This is my only bike I have set up with tubeless tires, and I'm heading into goathead country.

Somewhat reluctantly, I do what not-so-intrepid explorers do and called my wife for a ride home.

The plan now is to try again in September.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

R2T: Lake Easton to Ellensburg photo dump

Lake Easton was a good camping spot, and I got going a little late in the morning. A little warn out from my Issaquah escapade. A Bunch of pics from there to Ellensburg:




a party float! tempting




 Cle Elum


There's a Barbecue joint here in the old train depot, but it was unfortunately closed Monday.  I hung around for a bit, borrowing their electricity to recharge phone/batteries and ate some snacks.

On the dry side of the state now, but got a few rain drops.



Enter at your own risk! I dutifully signed the waiver, gathered up my courage, girded my loins, and forged onward.




Party Barn! A roadside attraction tempting me to get off track.

 

In Ellensburg, there was a nice trailhead with directions through town to the next trailhead.



ok that's it for now, shouldn't take me too long to post pics from Ellensburg to the Columbia River.