Welcome to my first blog post, ever! In this series of posts I’ve tried to catalog as much info about the John Wayne Pioneer Trail across the state, our route details and my gear. I hope you enjoy it!
Day one started out with an early morning rainy commute from Leavenworth to Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend,WA.
We drove up to Leavenworth and stayed with my friend Chris Saturday with the idea that he was our ride from the border and we’d have a car that we could drive home from there on Friday evening. Chris followed along with us for a few days here and there and shot some video footage with his camera and his drone in hopes that we could all use the cuts for specific purposes including telling a story of using the trail for Rails To Trails efforts to help save the trail, footage of our bike packing setup and just a general small film about our ride. Chris would later be renamed our “Guardian Angel” by Randy. We can’t thank him enough for being along on the trip and his awesome infectious attitude and hospitality.
We arrived at our start around 9am. Packed up our bikes and were on the trail around 10am. It had cleared up just enough for us to get packed and get going. It was perfect and a great way to start the ride, dry! Chris needed to be there to film our departure anyway so it was super convenient.
Our first goal for the day was getting to the Snoqualmie Tunnel 18 miles up the pass, a 2.3 mile long tunnel under the Snoqualmie Pass Ski Area.
This tunnel closes on Nov 1st each year so we were one of last few to ride through it for the year. It’s a beautiful ride with amazing views of the mountains when it’s clear. We were socked in with fog so we just put one foot in front of the other. Along the way, Chris was able to get an incredible drone shot of us riding over one of the large train trestles. The tunnel has been cleaned up quite a bit since I was there last. It was closed for almost two years undergoing renovations to make it safer and it showed. It was very smooth and dry. Halfway through the tunnel you can turn off your lights and just see a tiny dot on either end of you which is super cool.
After exiting the tunnel, we noticed, and hear from Chris, that it had been dumping rain. This was the start of a long wet and cold ride to Cle Elum. We passed Lake Keechelus and passed through Lake Easton. Along the way there are a couple of cool tunnels that offered us some shelter to check our gadgets and grab snacks.
Lake Easton is another 18 miles from the tunnel and offers camping/food/water. From there we rode to Cle Elum where along the way we received a text from a friend Glenn and his wife Emily asking if we needed a warm drink! Hard to turn that down! They own and operate Northwest Bicycle Improvement Co out of Roslyn and they are good peeps. http://www.rideroslyn.com/ They met us off of Bull Frog road and brought coffee with creamer and banana bread and Chris had grabbed us some McDonald’s too lol.
We finished up the day riding to the train depot site in Cle Elum where we had some beers to celebrate our first day at Smokey’s BBQ right on the trail. Full menu there it seemed. There is a pretty cool rail museum/history room there to check out as well.
From there we were shuttled into Ellensburg where we stayed with our friends Meg and Steve. They offered up their floor so we couldn’t resist. Thanks Meg and Steve for your hospitality,food and good talk. We were all in bed by 9pm that night…snoring away on the floor.
Day 1 Totals:
- Rattlesnake Lake to Snoqualmie Tunnel =18 miles
- Snoqualmie Tunnel to Easton =19 miles
- Easton to Cle Elum =17 miles
- Day total: 54 miles and 7.5hrs ride time including breaks
Follow along on the rest of the trip: