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Old 07-01-11, 12:13 AM   #1
Medic Zero
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Cycling up to Little Mountain in Mount Vernon? Other nearby rides?

I'm going to be passing near here on my way from the train station to a short bike camping trip nearby. I'd actually like to get a few more miles in before I get to my destination anyways and am looking for side trips in the area in the 2-6 hour range.

Anyone done this? Is it possible with a loaded touring rig? The City's website describes it as gaining 943 feet of elevation in 1.5 miles. I ride a really heavy late 80's GT steel MTB with full camping gear. Fairly strong rider - 100 miles a week commuting and lots of walking at work, and regular 40 mile rides, but only lightly loaded most of the time. I'm looking for a derailer that can handle a wider spread of gears but at the moment I am running my 53-42-32 triple that I love for commuting and won't have changed that before I leave a couple of weeks from now.

Thanks!

Last edited by Medic Zero; 07-01-11 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 07-01-11, 09:44 AM   #2
Wildwood
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Mt Vernon to Concrete
Hwy 9 North
Right on S Skagit Hwy (heading east) - just at the south side of the Skagit River
Nice quiet road for maybe 25 miles out to Concrete.
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Old 07-01-11, 05:10 PM   #3
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one downside to the S Skagit Hwy used to be the chip-seal pavement. aggregate size 1/2" or bigger. Motorcyclists told us they avoided it for that reason. But, very scenic.

Hwy 20 (ends up going over Cascade Pass) has good shoulders but would be busy any time that tourists are going over the mountains; smoother, though.

LaConner? Ride up toward Bellingham on Chuckanut and loop back?
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Old 07-01-11, 06:45 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies so far!

A clarification - I'll be ending the day camping with friends about halfway between Big Lake and Murray Lake. Anyone know how Highway 9 is between Cedro Wooley and Big Lake? I'd be looking at taking that if I go for a ride to the NE on Highway 2o or South Skagit Highway.

I could also go to the South if there is anything interesting that direction and take WA-534 towards Lake Murray...

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Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
LaConner? Ride up toward Bellingham on Chuckanut and loop back?
How are the grades on Chuckanut between Mount Vernon and and Larrabee State Park? I imagine there must be some nice views along there and nice places to have a picnic lunch. What's toward LaConner?

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Old 07-11-11, 02:25 AM   #5
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So at this point my plan is to ride from the train station in Mount Vernon south along the Skagit River to the Skagit State Wildlife Area (basically Dike Rd to Fir Island Rd) and do a little bird watching and then roll from there via Highway 534 and Highway 9 to Lake McMurray. Return to the train station will be the "direct" route - North past Big Lake.

I'm curious if I can take my bike into the Wildlife Area, I'm leery of leaving it fully loaded and don't know if there is a ranger station or something like there where I could leave it (locked).

Still feel like it isn't as many miles as I would like to do, but on the way back I imagine I'll be thankful for that after partying with friends! A couple of nice meals and a little trolling of pawn shops in the area is going to pretty much fill up my day on the way out anyway.

Any suggestions for nice places to eat in the area (preferably where I can keep an eye on my touring loaded rig) would be most welcome! I think I've got a couple of places staked out for lunch*, but am stumped for breakfast as the train is going to get me in around 0930.

* Garden Cafe' (Conway)
* Curious about Reverie BBQ
* Conway Pub and Eatery
* Kelley's BBQ
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Old 07-17-11, 04:59 PM   #6
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Mt Vernon has some of the best places I know of, actually...
There's the Porterhouse, the Skagit River Brewery, The Empire Alehouse, and the Trumpeter Public House.
I've had multiple great experiences at them all. They are all within a couple blocks of each other, too.

Any part of Hwy 9 north of Arlington is really nice. the Loop from Arlington, Darington, Concrete and back to Sedro is about 100 miles and although I've never done it, it is a favorite for many local cyclists.
Going east on hwy 20 won't disappoint, either. You could just head out and when you get tired/run out of time, just turn around. The return trip would be easier.
Skagit Cycling Club might be able to help you find some nice rides. Great group.
There's lots of stellar cycling to be had in Skagit county. There are definitely some rough chipseal in places, though.
The ride up to Lake Cavanaugh is really nice, but don't try to make it a loop... the southern route is all gravel.

Tim
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