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Old 04-19-12, 10:24 AM   #1
Seattle Forrest
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E Steven's Pass to Lake Wenatchee (pics)

On Saturday, I took my bike up Route 2, kind of playing it by ear. There turns out to be a highway rest stop about 15 miles east of Steven's Pass. Signs in the parking lot ask you not to stay more than 8 hours, which is more than enough for a great ride. They were giving out free coffee, with actual humans working there, so I asked if I'd get towed if I left my car there and went for a bike ride. Nobody was willing to actually give me permission, but they said it probably wouldn't be a problem...

I rode up the mountain, until the point where the road divides, like a freeway. People are still skiing at the pass. There's a lot of snow. The speed limit is 60 mph before the road divides, and it doesn't change, but the split tells drivers that it's ok to go much faster. Shoulders are as narrow as they could be. I'd really like to cover this ground, but it'd be a really bad idea before the snow melts (and just a regular bad idea afterwards). So I turned back. I wanted to do more exploring, though, so I passed the car, and turned left at highway 207, at the little town of Coles Corner, after stopping at the one diner for an iced cream shake. About four or five miles down the road is Lake Wenatchee, which turns out to be starkly beautiful.

I'm not sure how this is possible, but maybe the roads were designed by MC Escher. Route 207 was down hill both ways.

















This came to 38 miles, with about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. It's a very easy route to follow, and, if you have a map, there are a few opportunities to explore and make a longer ride. Highly recommended.

If you want to read more about it, I wrote up a blog post called Beyond the Cascade Crest about the trip. Honestly, though, you should just take your bike up here instead.
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Old 04-19-12, 11:07 AM   #2
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Looks like you had a nice ride. A loop up SR 207 to Lake Wenatchee then east through Plain and then south to Leavenworth then west along US 2 back to Coles Corner would also be a beautiful ride although IIRC there are some narrow spots and a few curves. I've driven it but never rode it on a bike.
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Old 04-19-12, 11:44 AM   #3
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I'll probably head back to Leavenworth this weekend, ride up to Cole's Corner, and I'm debating the loop I think you just described. It looks like that would change my plans from a 25 to about a 50 or 55 mile ride?

I'd driven Route 2 before, at least as far as 97, but I'd never been toward Lake Wenatchee. Now I've done it by bike, but not car.
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Old 04-19-12, 12:32 PM   #4
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Nice pictures and blog - what camera do you use and how do you carry it when riding?
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Old 04-19-12, 12:48 PM   #5
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For almost all the bike stuff, I just use a cheap point and shoot. For non-bike photography, I have a Canon 1D mark 2 and a bunch of lenses (and a 5D that died a few years ago in a sudden downpour, while I was hiking at Pyramid Lake in the North Cascades). The SLR system and the tripod that go with it are prohibitive to bike with - I've done it a few times, and only once for long distances. It just doesn't make sense.

Anyway, I'm not sure what camera I have, exactly, but it's a Sony something or other, with a 25 mm (field of view) lens. The image quality is very disappointing, but once you shrink them from 16 million pixels to 800x600, you can't really tell. I carry mine in my right pocket, so I can grab it while I ride and not let go of the front brake. Usually, though, I stop to use it; occasionally I get a good shot while moving, but my attention is too divided to think about composition and exposure.
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Old 04-19-12, 01:45 PM   #6
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I have been using a compact point and shoot or, in some cases a cell phone, but the image quality is frustrating. The newer line of mirrorless micro four thirds models like the Olympus PEN series (http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_se...p?product=1573) may be a good compromise - still too bulky to pocket but will fit nicely in my rear trunk bag.
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Old 04-19-12, 02:03 PM   #7
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I am a diehard Canon DSLR person, but I cannot transport the body and glass on my bike. So I recently bought a Nikon AW-100 point and shoot at Costco. I primarily bought it because it is waterproof, so it has now become my outdoor activities camera. Pretty good picture quality.
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Old 04-19-12, 02:04 PM   #8
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Like your blog.
I ride out of Cle Elum a few times a year but wait for the weather to warm a bit.
....and yeah, I stay out of the Road forum pretty consistently - C&V for me and the 60+ forum mostly.
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Old 04-19-12, 02:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnTP View Post
I have been using a compact point and shoot or, in some cases a cell phone, but the image quality is frustrating. The newer line of mirrorless micro four thirds models like the Olympus PEN series (http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_se...p?product=1573) may be a good compromise - still too bulky to pocket but will fit nicely in my rear trunk bag.
A friend of mine has a 4/3 camera he loves (except for night photography) and has been trying to convince me to go with. He pointed out that there's a body that's about the same size as my Sony P&S, and that you can get a pretty small 24 mm lens for it. A prime, even! And, going in for the kill, he mentioned that it has some black magic that lets it shoot wider than 4:3, without throwing any pixels away. But I haven't bit.
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Old 04-20-12, 01:21 AM   #10
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I usually do the Leavenworth-Plain-Lake Wenatchee-Coles Corner loop a couple times each year.
The last leg east on Hwy 2 along the river into Leavenworth is a great scenic ride. I rode it three weeks ago when there was still some snow along the shoulders but I imagine most is gone by now.
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Old 04-20-12, 08:26 AM   #11
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How long is the Leavenworth -> Coles Corner -> Lake Wenatchee -> Plain -> Leavenworth loop? I'm thinking about doing that tomorrow. What's the eastern section like? I've got a 3D map of the region, and it doesn't look like too much elevation gain, although I see some switchbacks near Plain...

Anybody done Blewett Pass?

I'm also thinking about going from Cle Elum through Roslyn and up to Salmon de Sac. I haven't been there ... is that all paved? How's the scenery?
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Old 04-20-12, 10:16 AM   #12
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Cle Elum to Salmon la Sac is paved (chip seal); they're planning on putting down new chip seal this summer, so you'll want to get the ride done before they start.

I did both Blewetts last year http://retrocycler.blogspot.com/2011/08/pass-x-2.html. I drove past the North end of Old Blewett yesterday--there's still several inches of snow on the road. The bridge at the North end is going to be closed from June-November, so if you want to go over the Old pass, sometime during May will be your only chance this year.
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Old 04-20-12, 10:17 AM   #13
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I think the Leavenworth - Plain loop is about 35-40 miles. There are a couple of options when you get to Plain. You can take a left and stay on the main road which is the shortest route. Or you can turn right on the Chiwawa Loop Road which is a few miles longer which is what I usually do. There a small store on this route where you can get coffee. Have a great ride.
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Old 04-20-12, 12:32 PM   #14
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Thanks for the great info! Good to know there's a shop along the Plain loop, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aRoudy1 View Post
I drove past the North end of Old Blewett yesterday--there's still several inches of snow on the road. The bridge at the North end is going to be closed from June-November, so if you want to go over the Old pass, sometime during May will be your only chance this year.
I'm a little confused by this. Is there any chance you can post a map? I drove home from this ride over 97, and I'm pretty sure I went over Blewett Pass - I remember a sign saying as much, and informing me I was about 4,100 feet above sea level. There was a lot of snow next to the road, but the roadway was bare. My map shoes 97 avoiding Blewett Pass and taking Swauk Pass instead, and I didn't see anything that looked like another road, once I was on 97. I saw a few stop signs that implied roads joining the highway, but they looked like the forest had been reclaiming them for decades... Clearly, I'm missing something, and I'd love to learn it the easy way.

Thanks for the tip that I need to go in May if I'm to do this. It's very easy to come up with a big list of goals, and not accomplish some of them because of inadequate planning.

EDIT: From your blog, aRoudy1, it sounds like they renamed the pass from Swauk to Blewett, and not just the road?

Last edited by Seattle Forrest; 04-20-12 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 04-20-12, 01:30 PM   #15
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Yes, they renamed the pass; the old pass is here http://www.mapquest.com/?q=47.34833,-120.67222 and is on Forest Service road 7320/9715.

If you want to go over Blewett (Swauk) on highway 97, there's no problem; the bridge outage I mentioned is going to be on the Forest Service road over the old pass.
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Old 04-21-12, 11:57 AM   #16
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I would be more enthused about riding 97 over Highway 2 over the pass. Highway 2 is dangerous enough on my motorcycles with the traffic and getting blown around by the trucks. I don't think I would try 2 on my bicycles, unless it is from the Lake Wenatchee turnoff down to Leavenworth.
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Old 04-21-12, 10:54 PM   #17
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Dammit! I wanna go. That's it. I'm quitting smoking and getting back to 60+ mile rides.
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Old 04-23-12, 09:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
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How long is the Leavenworth -> Coles Corner -> Lake Wenatchee -> Plain -> Leavenworth loop? I'm thinking about doing that tomorrow. What's the eastern section like?
About 45 miles long, and almost 2,000 feet. It's a fantastic ride. I'll post pics shortly, in a new thread.
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