I'm strongly considering riding the Mountain Loop Hwy out of Granite Falls to Darrington on the 4th of July by myself. I plan on riding it one way only and getting a pick up. It's a 51 miler ride from point to point and if I start in Snohomish like I'm thinking, it's about 70 miles. The road out of GF follows the south fork of the Stillaguamish River up to Barlows Pass before peaking and descending back down into Darrington along the Sauk River. It is here at the pass the paved road gives way to gravel and dirt for about 14 miles before your the pavement picks up again Yesterday, I scouted the loop by car and it appeared the best approach is to ride from GF to Darrington for a couple of reasons. The first is the slope up to Barlows Pass heading from the west is not nearly as steep, and secondly all your up hill riding is on pavement. Has anyone ever ridden this before? I don't think traffic will be an issue but will be on guard for drunken yahoos. My main concern riding this alone is for the exact same reason I want to ride it alone. Solitude. There's not a lot out there and cell phone reception doesn't exist. Of course I'll take a back up tire, etc.... but if something bad goes on -- anything -- I could be SOL.
Do you think this is a good idea? Has anyone ridden this alone? Do you agree with my assessment that it's better to start out of Granite Falls rather than Darrington?