Pacific Northwest - Orondo WA area riding suggestions
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05-27-10, 12:22 PM
We are bringing our tandem with us to Orondo, WA in the middle of June. Anyone familiar with that area? Any good rides that you might suggest? If there are other nearby areas that you might suggest, we are certainly willing to drive. Distances anywhere from 20-60 miles is fine. Hills are not a problem.
I have checked MapMyRide, but think getting suggestions from those of you that know the area are more reliable.
Thanks in advance.
Orondo is a great place to launch trips from, but be aware that 2 of the 3 directions you head are uphill and it starts pretty quick. I would not recommend US 2 east [Pine Canyon] for a tandem due to the slow speeds climbing but take a look at it, it's 7 miles to the top, it's a grind with the elevation on top close to Snoqualmie Pass. I think it sticks in my mind that Waterville is the highest incorporated city in the state but after you are on top there is a lot of backroads you can link together.
The highway shoulder heading north is decent and there are really nice parks scattered north from Orondo to Lake Chelan and a couple of fruit stands [Orondo Cider Works at the Sun Cove turnoff is great] about halfway. The short climb up to Lake Chelan is tough but you can actually head north for a few miles and come at it from the Chelan airport area at a gentler grade or you could stay along the Columbia and ride on into Chelan Falls where there are 2 more parks and take a dip. There is also 1 park on the eastside right at Beebe bridge.[ Chelan Falls Park, Chelan Falls Powerhouse Park, and Beebe Bridge Park]
Heading South from Orondo takes you down to Wenatchee, if you decide to do this I strongly recommend jogging down to Cascade street at Baker Flats, the last hill out of Baker Flats on 97 has crappy shoulders that wind through a rock cut. You can skip all that going via Cascade and there is a new entrance to the Loop Trail off Cascade. The loop is an 11 mile bike path the goes the undevolped eastside and what seems like a continous park on the west. The foot and bike bridge on the south is only open on the weekends though. The only way across from East Wenatchee to Wenatchee on the South during the week is the car bridge which would be really sucky on a tandem. There is a free shuttle service provided by Link Bus but they cannot accomodate your tandem.
North to the Chelan or Chelan Falls area one day then south to Wenatchee around the loop and back another would make some good riding.
From Chelan you can ride out South along the lake or north to the Village of Manson returning by backroads through orchards and wineries.
www.wenatcheeoutdoors.org (http://www.wenatcheeoutdoors.org), click on the guide book menu, then biking-road for routes in area plus downloadable maps.
I'll ponder this some more and post any other good ideas.
05-27-10, 10:56 PM
Pyeyo, many thanks for your insights and recommendations. You are giving me exactly what I had hoped for. I did see the grind from Orondo to Waterville - nine miles of uphill. I am ok with that, but 8% grade is a long, slow journey on a tandem. It is about a 2000' elevation gain. However, we are used to climbing about 1000'/10 miles, so I think it is doable.
When I looked at MapMyRide, there appeared to be a lot more options using Wenatchee as a starting point. You mentioned Chelan. I think that is also a great choice.
Many thanks. If other suggestions come to mind, please post away. We will post up as our vacation progresses.
05-27-10, 11:01 PM
If you'r willing to drive a little, start in Pateros and ride up the Methow Valley. There is some beautiful country up that way.
I also like the methow but both the Entiat and the Methow River valleys are a bit twisty and rude on a tandem, tons of folk ride Hwy. 20, if one is going to drive to Pateros i think they should keep going and laiunch from Twisp riding up the North Cascades highway towards Mazama with Winthrop as a break in the middle.
If you tackled Pine Canyon you could head north on Waterville North Road, at about 20 miles you would ver down McNeil Canyon, Mcneil could quite possibly be the steepest paved road in the state, I once saw some folks pushing a tandem up it, the wife had a harness and was pulling, the husband was sort of in back pushing, you are high enough to view over the Columbia Gorge and see Lake Chelan and the North Cascades to the west, watch your brakes descending either Pine Canyon, Mcneil Canyon, or if you loped s from Waterville - Badger Mountain [this ride would give you about 5000 feet of climbing with a short unpaved section probably too much ] A loop up to Waterville down Mcneil and back along the highway would push your mileage to about 60. It is lonesome country up on the Waterville plateau but all the farmers are approachable if one had difficulties.
An out and back to Chelan Falls would be around 45 miles to any of the parks and you would add a couple of miles to jump up to Lake Chelan with one more big hill added.
If you rode the hiway south to E. Wenatchee the intersection with Apple Capital Loop trail is in 12 miles, the loop is another 11 miles, with the same 12 back to Orondo. There is a nice stretch of fruit stands just before you would turn to catch Cascade Street going south.
The other ride that would be excellant is to drive to Chelan and park at the City Park, ride to the Village of Manson along the north shore of the lake, stop at the casino and leave all your money behind, do a loop up to Wapato Lake road on Summit Rd. [yep it's a nasty short hill that Manson's water tower sits on] ride through the back orchard country and rejoin the highway at Wapato Lake blvd. continue on to your car. [Just kidding about the casino, Manson has a couple of pretty good restaurants, one Irish Pub, and one Italian]
This is a link to the Chelan Century, a notorious elevation monster; there are however clickable maps showing these roads, both the Tour de Vine and the Manson Loop - the Manson Loop map has too much climbing in it but it shows the area I'm talking about, go to google maps and download the Manson map and you will see the ride, it could be done in a reverse direction.
This is a link to Blueberry Hills Farms out of Manson, do not miss it.
Have a great time, post your ride for us to enjoy.
05-31-10, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the great suggestions. I used Google Earth to see the elevation changes on these suggested rides, and I think they are doable for us. Our toughest climb (so far) was 13%+ for 2.5 miles. I can hardly wait to ride some new areas.
06-20-10, 10:52 AM
First ride yesterday after sitting in our car for two days. We drove to Chelan just to check out the roads and climbs. The weather was starting to look threatening, so we decided to do an out and back along the south side of the lake. Started at the little park by the bridge that crosses the lake. Love your road shoulders. Wide, smooth and clean. We turned off SR 97 onto SR971 to stay close to the water. Amazing change in tree cover. The start of SR971 is almost barren of trees, yet as we got closer to Lake Chelan state park, it began to look a lot like our mountains. Can't believe how green everything is up here. It is a real treat. We rarely get rain from May to October, so all of our grasses are brown.
We ended up riding a little past the state park, but saw that the weather was looking threatening back at Chelan. We turned around and put the hammer down. Got back and the clouds started dissipating. Now we are sorry we didn't ride longer.
Last night it started raining. This morning, it looks like more rain, so we are going to go to Leavenworth and look around. Remember that we don't know what rain is, since we never see it during the summer,. You are so used to riding in it. What can I say - we are wusses when it come to riding in the rain.
Tomorrow, we are going to ride Loop One of the Chelan Century. Looks pretty easy. We live close to the Sierra foothills, so are used to lots of climbing during our rides.
Thanks for the recommendations. Will post after our ride tomorrow.
06-27-10, 02:24 PM
6/21 Chelan Century - Loop1
The weather improved, so we decided to ride Loop 1 of the three loop Chelan Century. There are maps of the ride, but are done on topo maps and it is difficult to determine the exact route. Google helped us out and we thought we had it nailed. Wrong. The ride up Boyd Rd was fun, but we missed the first turnoff onto Boyd Loop Rd and went to the end of the Boyd Rd. pavement. A local resident helped us out and we returned to the course. Winesap was a great downhill run. Turned onto Chapman Rd., then Swartout Rd, which became Wapato Lake Rd. We started riding into a really strong headwind that sapped our energy and desire. We had done the Davis Double a couple of weeks earlier and the last 60 miles was straight into a headwind, so our appetite for headwinds was non-existent. Upper and Lower Joe Creek were fun roads, although LJC had been recently chip-sealed and it was difficult to see loose gravel, so we kept our speeds pretty low. Would have been a fun road to go really fast. Stopped at Blueberry Hill for a piece of pie (very tasty) and continued through Manson to our starting point in Chelan. Total Distance was 37 miles and ascent was 2600'.
6/22 Twisp to Pictographs
This was one of our all time favorite rides. Perfect weather, light winds and spectacular scenery. Pyeyo, we took your suggestion and started at Twisp. We talked to a lady in the Community Center Visitor Information Center that was a long time resident and a bike rider. She suggested that we use the Winthrop Twisp Eastside Road instead of SR20 to get to Winthrop. Great suggestion. Very light local traffic, courteous drivers and spectacular scenery. We were constantly pulling over for a digital moment. She also suggested that we continue on through Winthrop (instead of going to Mazama) and ride out on Bluff St (becomes Eastside Chewach Rd.) to the pictographs. She told us that they were "on a large boulder that doesn't belong there". We would know when we got there. We got out about 8 miles and the road became really deserted. We wondered how much further we had to go. We came across three women that were hard core cross country ski racers. They were summer training on the road version of snow skis. One woman said she had lived in the area all her life and didn't know where they were. Interesting. We decided to continue. At exactly 11 miles from Winthrop, we saw the boulder. The sides of the road had been lined with pine trees with no visible rock. Yet, here was this huge boulder right beside the road. Sure enough, we looked around the backside of the boulder and there they were. Unfortunately, some lowlifes had defaced some of them, but a few were still very prominent. Very cool.
We retraced our route back to Twisp and had a late lunch (6pm) in the park next to the Community Center.
What a great ride. Highly recommended. Total miles: 44. Total ascent 1733'. No big climbs, just rolling terrain.
6/24 - Winthrop to Mazama
Decided to do an easy ride today. Conditions were perfect again. Warm with a light headwind going out. Light traffic and a wide shoulder on SR20. Went from Winthrop to Mazama. Just rolling terrain, but continually uphill (a little over 300' of altitude gain) to Mazama. Went out of Winthrop on SR20. Turned right onto Goat Creek Rd at Mile 8. Cruised into Mazama. This is truly a one commercial building town. Beautifully redone inside and out. The steel fabricator is a real artist. We had coffee and a energy bar and retraced our route back to Winthrop. Really fun going back because we had some great downhills with a tailwind. Saw 50+ a few times. When we got back to Winthrop, we had to have a ice cream come at Sherry's, and it was really good. Really cute town.
Total miles: 30. Total ascent 1017'.
Thanks to both of you for great riding suggestions. Loved the area and the rides. Very different than our usual terrain in CA and everything is really green instead of brown. Will upload some pics soon.
06-27-10, 05:00 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed your rides - there are some great places to ride in Central WA.
glad to help, thanks.
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