From September 6th to September 9th Jerry and Odette rode tandem out of Winthrop.
I’d been talking for months about a trip to Eastern Washington. I wanted to repeat the Grand Coulee ride we’d done a couple of times, and I wanted to ride the Tour de Okanogan route again. Odette hoped I’d forget and just kept putting me off. Finally it dawned on me that Labor Day was only a couple of weeks off and then it starts getting cold up there. I volunteered to make the reservations and we had a conversation about dental appointments and house painters and decided that we needed to go before the workmen came in mid-September.
I clipped this from an email I sent to Odette:
Twisp River: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40844141
My preference would be to drive out over SR20 with a stop in Marblemount to do that loop. Alternatively we could drive all the way to Winthrop and ride the Lost River route. Wednesday I’d do Chewuch and Thursday I’d do Carleton. Friday I’d drive home via SR2 and stop to ride either Twisp River or Navarre or Chumstick. There are a couple of other options that would likely be rideable but on RidewithGPS they are labeled “unpaved.” Note that I’m not pushing for Grand Coulee or LoupLoup or Washington Pass…
To make a long story short, on the Wednesday before Labor Day we booked a room at River Run and shut off mail and newspapers starting the next Tuesday – with rides still to be determined. On the morning of the Tuesday after Labor Day we drove over to Marblemount, parked at the boat launch on the Cascade River Rd., and did the Marblemount / Rockport loop. There was no traffic on the Cascade-Rockport Rd. and not very much on SR 20. We had kind bars when we got back to the car and then drove to Winthrop. There were signs threatening road work all the way across but none materialized. We had ice cream for lunch and walked the wooden sidewalk district to see what had changed. The biggest difference was that Duck Brand was closed, but there was a new park where Arrowleaf had been and several other new storefronts. We decided to have dinner at at Spanish place that served tapas and asked if reservations were in order. The assured us that we could just walk in, but at 7:00 they were really busy and apologized that they were out of food. We walked on down to the Old Schoolhouse where the sign out front told us that because of a staffing shortage they were only serving tacos on Tuesday. After a wait to get seated at the bar (and a longer wait to get noticed by the staff) we found out that they were out of tacos. We walked out and went to the Cider House north of the ball field where both food and beer were available. Once fed, our thoughts turned to breakfast and the internet informed us that without Duck Brand there was no place in town that was open for breakfast on Wednesday. We made reservations at Sun Mountain even though it was a 20 minute drive each way. (I’m not convinced that we had the whole story here – there has got to be some place where the retirees and farmers go for breakfast – and it’s probably not the breakfast burritos at the gas station south of town.)
The next morning, after the swanky dining room at Sun Mountain, we rode the Chewuch River Rd.
loop. It was pretty much as remembered. Only a couple of pitches steep enough to get me to shift down from the big ring in front. Some places where the road surface was deteriorating but also some places where it had been resurfaced. RidewithGPS said it was paved all the way to the 30 mile fire memorial, but it looked like dirt to us once we got to Andrews Creek so we turned around at the usual spot.
Coming down we got trapped by deep loose sand in one of the places where water had run over the road and we went down. I managed to get my feet out and didn’t even fall, Odette ended up on the ground but didn’t get scratched or bruised. It was hot at the bottom and we had ice cream for lunch again. Then we went to the Lost River Winery
, tasted, and bought a case for home. (We didn’t have to ask if they would ship to Germany.) Luckily we were staying at that end of town so I carried the case back to our room.
That evening we ate at Jupiter, an organic place without table service operating out of the old Duck Brand kitchen. They had one meat dish the menu – a pulled pork sandwich – and when we went to place our order they informed un that they were out of that item. Luckily someone came by and corrected the order-taker in that they were only out of slaw, so a pulled pork sandwich would have meat and nothing else. That worked for me – and it tasted pretty good.
We had breakfast at the bakery in the morning – fine pastries and great coffee. We rode the Carleton
loop after breakfast, familiar territory and a pretty flat ride. The further south we went the smokier it got and by the time we headed back it was smoky in Winthrop. Another ice cream lunch. Walking back to the room after lunch we were surprised to see a rooster crowing its heart out high in a pine tree. Back at the room we got a call from the painters asking if they could start on Thursday or Friday. We ate at Arrowleaf and it was spectacular. Coming back there were two roosters in the pine tree. The smoke was really thick, even in the room with the windows closed and the air conditioner turned up high.
On the final day we had breakfast at the bakery again. We drove to Twisp, parked at the city park, and did an out-and-back on Twisp River
Road. The river was beautiful and the air was not bad – much better than in Winthrop. Odette complained all the way out about every uphill segment and called out every downhill as a climb on the way back. The return was much faster so she could only complain about our speed. We drove back via Wenatchee. The smoke didn’t get bad until SR 2 so we took the Blewett Pass highway and came into Seattle over Snoqualmie. We stopped for gas in North Bend and noticed that the horizon was really hazy – it turned out that the smoke was worse in Seattle than it had been anywhere else that day.
So four days of riding. Short rides. No complicated route finding. All rides we’d done before, too. Still, it was great to be back in the Methow, the weather was great, the changes in the last couple of years are sobering.
- A lot of tourists for the week after labor day but ll of the businesses seemed stressed.
- The bike worked flawlessly. I locked it on the roof rack every time we got back from a ride and probably should have found a regular rack to use.
- There’s not a huge amount to do in Winthrop except eat and drink. Longer rides would have meant less time to kill.
- choosing rides based on reported air quality is a new one for me
- Someday I’d like to stay at Sun Mountain
- I still want to do the Grand Coulee route and the Tour de Okanogan route and Mazama / Washington Pass OAB.
Here’s the links from my recent rides page:
9/9 – Winthrop 4: Twisp River Rd. loop. Here’s the map. 30 miles on the tandem with Odette
9/8 – Winthrop 3: Winthrop / Carleton loop. Here’s the map. 43 miles on the tandem with Odette
9/7 – Winthrop 2: Chewuch River Rd. loop. Here’s the map. 48 miles on the tandem with Odette
9/6 – Winthrop 1: Marblemount / Rockport loop. Here’s the map. 21 miles on the tandem with Odette