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Best Place to Start/Finish in the Pacific NW?

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Best Place to Start/Finish in the Pacific NW?

Old 03-30-24, 02:29 PM
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Best Place to Start/Finish in the Pacific NW?

Like most people touring, I want perfect weather, perfect roads, perfect camping, etc., etc., etc.
Therefore, I keep touring and touring and touring always in search of the holy grail.

Well, I started or ended quite a few trip on the Washington and Oregon coasts.
And - I gotta admit - that the route from Westport thru Chehalis over White Pass to Yakima
has to rank at the top for a great 240 miles, low traffic, scenery, camping, services.

Here's a RWGPS - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/46020446

Westport, on the Washington coast, is kinda hard to get to, but worth it.
A funky little town on Grays Harbor, like Astoria was 50 years ago.
There are airport limousine services from Sea/Tac -
or you can take Amtrak to Centralia and connect to Grays Harbor Transit.
Bike shop in Hoquiam, all other services in Westport.
And a paved beach trail with ocean views for starters. Or enders.




There are two state parks just south right on the Pacific.
Twin Harbors has hiker/biker sites. Grayland Beach has walk-ins.
Grayland is quieter, but you should reserve.
Then there are back roads thru cranberry bogs, a nice detour to Tokeland,
and miles of riding right on the shore of Willapa Bay.




Raymond has most services and makes a nice midday stop.
The Willapa Hills Trail is not finished on the western end, but the roads have light traffic.
You can pick up the trail at Pe Ell all the way into Chehalis. All services
Then after a short busy stretch with shoulders, there are miles of empty back roads.
Morton has great camping in town on the river - even with a classic movie theater.




The rest of the way is via US 12 - a major highway with lots of back road alternatives.
Here and there you can catch glimpses of Mount Rainier, if it is clear.
The entrance to the Packwood grocery store has great views, also the climb up White Pass.
Of all the road crossings of the Cascades, White Pass has the least traffic.




Then it's a glorious ride down the east side into dryer canyon country.
Lots of camping options - developed and random.
The reservoir has expansive views, but I prefer the rushing Tieton River.
Before long, you come to the Naches Valley, lined with fruit orchards.
And a quiet, back-road ride into Yakima.




<<<>>>

If you've done this ride, let me know what you think.
If you haven't done this ride, let me know what you think.
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Old 04-03-24, 06:05 PM
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Thanks for this. Our plan this year has been to start in Missoula, to Coeur d'Alene, then looping north towards Glacier, eventually back to Missoula. We are considering instead heading for the Pacific with your route in mind. Might you have a route between Coeur d'Alene and Yakima?
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Old 04-03-24, 09:59 PM
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About when would you be doing this?
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Old 04-04-24, 11:49 AM
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Starting last week of June
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Old 04-04-24, 07:02 PM
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If you are starting the last week of June - I might suggest west-to-east.
AND - - -
Doing both the Pacific coast and Glacier ending in Missoula.
Don't know your time window, your average mileage, or camping/lodging preferences.

Have you ridden Going to the Sun Road in Glacier yet?
Because if you haven't, it should take priority.

But if you start on the coast you will hit the Yakima Valley in peak cherry season.
I mean, hey, what are delicious fresh cherries with juice dripping down your face worth?
Also, the Palouse Hills should still be lovely with a mix of greens and golds.

East of Yakima there are two general choices -
1) Via the Yakima Valley, Kahlotus, and the Palouse to Tekoa

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/46085911


Rolling Hills in the Palouse in June


2) Via the Yakima Canyon, Vantage, Lind, the Milwaukee Bridge, Lind to Tekoa.
Both would link you to the Coeud d'Alene Trail and over Thompson Pass to Thompson Falls.
Both routes have some long empty stretches

From Thompson Falls you could continue on the Missoula directly -
Or you could head up to Glacier and ride Going to the Sun.

<<<>>>

If you are loaded with time Amtrak goes to Centralia, Washington with Bus connections to the coast.
And Amtrak head back from East Glacier with roll-on baggage service.
But you have to have plenty of time plus the patience of Job for late trains.

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Old 04-04-24, 07:59 PM
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I've ridden a lot of those miles with Seattle International Randonneurs, and it is indeed a fabulous place to ride. Stunning views and some low traffic roads at least on weekends. Wildfires hampered the last trip; we rerouted around Packwood.
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Old 04-04-24, 09:32 PM
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I've only ever been to Raymond on that route, from Aberdeen on 101. LOL. Had lunch and supper at the DQ and in between I went and got a pretty motel in South Bend.
That evening I installed my disc brake on the mount that was welded in Seattle. Had a late breakfast at Chen's motel/ cafe. Next day I was going back and forth between Long Beach an Ilwaco.
Last year a guy was asking about a 10 day trip from Portland to Seattle by way of Rainier. I said to go to Raymond either way and head east.
Never heard what happened. I didn't realize there was gravel. Looks OK on paper.

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Old 04-05-24, 06:11 AM
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Thank you. The "Via the Yakima Valley, Kahlotus, and the Palouse to Tekoa" option looks good.
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Old 04-05-24, 10:09 AM
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From Tekoa it's just a short jump into Idaho to catch the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.
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Old 04-05-24, 10:16 AM
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In 2018 I rode the west side roads northward from Pasco to Connell, a real nice town not too small. Motels and burgers.
Then 260 from Connell to Washtucna, that is mostly dead but still has a little general store at the north junction. Good quiet road with 2 foot shoulder, but I got a damn goat thorn and slow leak.
After I started going to Ritzville my pump started going bad and it was hot. A lady doing a delivery offered a ride, so I took it. This is a really beautiful town. This was after the wheat harvest, so I saw nothing but stubble for 20 miles anyway.
The next night I ended up staying in Cheney to see EWU. Spokane and C'dA are gorgeous but expensive. I took 290 out from Spokane to Stateline. In the evening I rode the wide side path 10 miles east along the lake. There was the national ski team doing training on rollers. LOL.

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