John Wayne Pioneer Trail: Bike Overview


In the next few posts I thought I’d just layout all the gear as it came directly off my bike….the good the bad and the ugly 🙂  I’ll start with the bike and it’s construction and then I’ll post about the gear next.

First up this is my bike that I handmade here at my home just for this trip.  I nicknamed it “The Duke” for obvious reasons.  One of the cool features I put into the build was the internal cable routing on the top tube called the “Double Barrel”.

It’s built and meant to be a fatbike but works perfectly for a bikepacking rig with my 27.5+ wheelset and tires.  This wheel size is the same diameter of a fatbike tire (29er) but a bit narrower in width.  This results in a very fast and light high volume wheelset that doesn’t change the handling of the bike.  And the perk is when the sand or snow are calling all I have to do is swap wheels!  The extra wide seatstays are also an excellent portaging handle when we had to lift the bikes over the gates.


Over and Under double barrel 🙂


This part is quite tricky. I have two very thin wall tubes (.014″) in the top tube where they both start in one spot and exit 180 deg from each other all while not touching each other or the main tube wall and not crimping the tube…sheesh!


I think the Duke would’ve been proud of this!

The internal brass tubes run the entire length of the tube so the housing is ran without having to fish it through a small hole.  This is one cool feature they haven’t figured out with most carbon frames yet.  You have to spend all day running wires and digging for housing.

The frame was built in sections.  First the front triangle, then chainstays and finally seatstays followed up with brazeons and disc mount etc.


Here are the front triangle main tubes mocked up directly after mitering on the mill


This is the chainstay mitering procedure. A bit crude but quite accurate and repeatable with this setup.


You have to nail this part or you’ll be fighting wheel alignment

Here are some shots of the finished frame.  All said and done this one took me about two weeks to make in my spare time.  It’s all butted 4130 cromoly with bits from Paragon Machine Works.


Finished and polished heat tube fillets


…where a fat rear end is the desired result 🙂


Done. This build with no stay bridges. Worked pefect with lots of clearance and less crud build up.

22250704861_5e061f5c9f_o 22052544628_3df5474981_o 22240280515_91c6bbe78d_o 20151025_113231KThe final bike weighed in at 25.63 lbs!  Seriously not bad for STEEL and large volume tires!  I know some road bikes that weigh way more than this…..

Here are some of the specs of the build:

  • Frame:  Steel custom hardtail fatbike.  Fillet brazed 4130 chromoly.  18″ seattube and 22.5″ tt.
  • Geo:  69deg HT and 74deg ST.   440mm stays with room for 5″ Dillingers on 100’s.
  • Fork: Fatback Carbon tapered
  • Wheelset:  Stans 27.5 Hugo tubeless rims with Hope Fatsno hubs 170/135.  3.25″ Vee tires.  The full tubeless setup with Stans fluid was unstoppable.  It got us through the hundred plus puncture vine thorns (goat heads) with zero flats…just some touching up of psi.  I can’t stress how important this was to our trip.
  • Gearing:  Race Face Next SL carbon crankset with 26t NW ring matched with Giant Cog 11-42 10speed rear cassette, XTR rear clutch derailleur and XTR shifter.  I had a full XT/XTR 1×11 drivetrain sitting at home right before the trip but thought I better not change the drivetrain.  That was a BAD call because I forgot that my Wolf Tooth 1st gen giant cog didn’t come with the supplied 16t cog.  So I had a big just between my 13 and 17…basically the 15 was what I would’ve done the ENTIRE trip on but was stuck one gear too high or one gear too low…oh well I made due 🙂  It’s basically the same issue I ran into the beach trips…still haven’t fixed it haha.
  • Small Parts:  Chris King Inset 7 tapered headset.  Thomson stem and seatpost.  Easton Haven carbon bar.  WTB Rocket V Ti and last but certainly not least, Ergon grips.  They were life savers on all that rock!  I’d go as far as to say they were nearly as effective has having a suspension fork for the comfort part.

You can read about the entire 5 day JWPT bikepacking trip starting here


John Wayne Pioneer Trail Day 5: Marengo to Tekoa 10-22-15


Day 5.  Marengo to Tekoa.

Our last and longest day.  What a journey this day was.  Such a beautiful area.  It quickly became my favorite area of the trip and worth keeping in mind another overnight trip heading west on the trail out of Tekoa for an overnighter.

We left camp at 8am rode a really cool elevated dirt railway bed.  Seemed crazy how that was ever made.



Hmm. I do need some new boots!


Hard to see in this pic but the railway is elevated about 20 feet or more over the surrounding land. Must have been a boggy marsh or something back when it was constructed.

Saw an owl getting chassed out by a few hawks and got some Gopro footage of it hopefully that turned out.  We came across a very old fence that was covered in tumble weeds and looked like it hadn’t been moved in years.

20151022_084835D Felt very wild wild west right here.  We had also encountered a locked gate with a padlock that we had to climb over.  Turns out State Parks padlocks some of the gates instead of combos and you have to request a key…wawawa.   I read that in my “Eastern State Parks” permit info.  Which is another story in its own I’ll discuss in a later post.  The DNR combo we got didn’t work.  Oh well….arms still felt fine so no biggie.
A bit down the trail we encountered another rail trail that we noticed looking up at the bridge and noticing there were no tracks on it.
20151022_094059E 20151022_094728F 20151022_094751G 20151022_094839H 20151022_094910I 20151022_095017J  It is listed on my Delorme map as the Fish Lake Trail.  But this is the unfinished sections way south of Cheney and I also see it listed as the Columbia Plateau Trail.  But the cool thing is that is goes 10 miles down to Benge and heading north it goes all the way to Cheney.  I wonder if one could just ride into Benge and then up the old Railway Fish Lake Trail back to the John Wayne?  Hmmmmm.   Rock may be very rough though and just not worth it yet, but an option for a longer southern Cow Creek detour”.  It’s also a good spot to head north to Spokane if you are taking the train back to Seattle.  However, read ahead.  You do NOT want to miss the trail from here to Tekoa.
(FYI, the train for Seattle leaves Spokane at 230 AM every day.  Yikes)

From there we continued on riding some more on the elevated railway part.

20151022_100407K We eventually came up to a real pretty area that had some nice irrigated farms, cows and our first signs of trees again.

Looks like your standard grove of trees but was our first sign of trees for over a hundred miles so it was pretty neat.


The trail east of Lind is all posted NO CAMPING but Parks specifically told me that it’s OK provided you leave no trace and respect boundaries. No problem!

20151022_102402M 20151022_105631O 20151022_112435PWe saw some hunters out driving their horse trailer setups around.  In the distance we could see towering basalt rock towers.   They were super cool and really made me feel like I was in Ea Wa, but felt like Utah or something.  Lots of nice trail here.  We crossed a cool old bridge that appeared to be newer.

20151022_114406R 20151022_114746S 20151022_115151T 20151022_115206U 20151022_115418V 20151022_115433WJust over our left side we saw a coyote running off and a deer standing in a nearby pond below us shivering.   I think we interrupted the coyotes dinner….
After 25 miles from Marengo we entered the small town of Ewan where we ran into a nice fella driving around on his 4 wheeler out looking for deer.   He was super talkative and gave us some beta on the area.  We asked him how many people lived in town and he started pointing and counting…was so funny. Totaled somewhere around 20 🙂
20151022_115726Y 20151022_122026Z Ewan would be a safe place to knock on a door and ask to use their hose for water.   This was also the start of our Rock Lake detour.  This part confuses me.  I see all these pics of people riding in the Rock Lake area but we took the listed detour and never saw the lake.  Turns out you can ride the entire section of trail by Rock Lake.  Many riders have done it with no issue.  Some rock fall to go around by the tunnel but otherwise uneventful and no landowner conflict with cyclists.  A small sliver in the middle is private property but have been told the landowner is OK with cyclist.  They just don’t want people driving on the trail there.  Again, another reason to go back. The marked detour however was beautiful.   Rolling hills of amber and nice views.  Zero traffic.   BUT, it was SUPER hilly.   Damn thing was like the Alpe D’huez of gravel and grain.
20151022_132128AA 20151022_132225AB 20151022_132529AC 20151022_132905AD 20151022_133244AE 20151022_134059AF 20151022_134132AG 20151022_134408AH

We got down to the northeast end of Rock Lake and that’s when we had to make a call.   Go on and finish this thing or camp somewhere.   We quickly and smugly decided we had it.  We had already ridden nearly 26 miles and we were making OK time.  It was another 31 miles to Rosalia where we had another quick detour. (There is a restaurant in Rosalia)  I was starting to hit the wall at this point because the ride from Pine Creek at the end of Rock Lake to Rosalia was really rough. Possible water in the grain silo in Pine City.  The rock ballast takes it out of ya over a bunch of miles but had some pretty sections of trees.  It’s a pretty part of the trail though because it crosses over Pine Creek a lot and the wood trestles were really cool.  They were banked up on both sides and almost felt like an old board track.


The end of our day was a bit of a blurr.  We rode through the sunset on some pretty nice downhill trail and spirits lifted a bit (even though they were never low).  We had been riding all day and it was getting super cold.

20151022_172444AK 20151022_172948ALWe also had to ride with only one light on at a time because I forgot to charge Chris’ light earlier since my battery pack had finally died.  It’s hard to ride with one light and swerve around rocks while keeping the trail light for the other guy.   All was going OK until we came up to the “Marsh” Lone Pine detour.  It looked innocent enough from the map.  We got pretty deep into it and the grasses were way over our head and it was dark and cold.  We decided to jump out of it and up onto an adjacent road.  This was where I though it would be fun to fall in up to my knees in the mush.  I was pretty much a Popsicle at this point and everything south of the border was going numb.  Not fun.  We also decided to just stay on the road into town.  This also turned out to be a bad call due to all the climbing involved lol.  Yikes.  But eventually we were rolling over the last hills and could see our comrades off in the distance.  Was a cool feeling to know we were about done.  Dave Nelson came down from Spokane and greeted us along with Chris.  Some beers and stories were shared then we immediately hit the road back to Leavenworth.

Somewhat anticlimactic but hey what are you gonna do haha.   We arrived back in town at 1am to a warm shower and a nice soak in the hot tub in the morning.  Life we feeling pretty good!  Thanks again Woji for the hospitality!


  • Marengo to Ewan          =26
  • Ewan to Rosalia            =31
  • Rosalia to Tekoa           =19
  • Total:  76 miles and 14 hrs of ride time
  • (7:45am to 9:30pm)

Total trip mileage was right at around 300 and nearly 50 hours of riding time.  The entire eastern section is super pretty and a very unique way to see our state that you won’t see if driving I90.

Thanks for following along.  I plan on posting on a “cliff notes” version of the ride info and my gear as well if you really want to suffer the details 🙂

Read about Day 1 here Day 2 here Day 3 here Day 4 here