Chelan and Carlton Ride

Introduction to the Ride

Last summer went with the Clems to Tyler’s uncle Roberts cabin near Carlton on the Methow River, in the Methow valley of Eastern Washington . We had a great time last year, and we were all looking forward to going again this year. Jess and I tried to work out a time when we could all go, but were never able to work anything out. Without agreement from us Ty and Jess picked a week to go to the cabin and told us when they were going. CL and I burned up all of my vacation time this year in London and Paris. With out any vacation we were not able to stay for the whole week. Luckily, the week was a four-day work week that started at the end of a three-day weekend. This gave us one day to be out there with them, and swapping a Saturday of work for a Tuesday off gave us another day out there. The Clems were playing on Lake Chelan with the Gaskills (Jess’s parents) for the weekend and were not going to be at the cabin until Monday. CL and I described that we would ride out on Sunday, stay the night somewhere, meet the Clems on Monday at the cabin, then ride home late Tuesday.

***The best part of any trip. heres the link to the pictures***

Sunday Ride Over the North Cascade Highway

I spent about an hour Sunday morning while CL was waking up, and getting ready mounting the TomTom GPS and the Sirius satellite radio to the new bike. I could not find the mount for the Sirius so I ended up with a base screwed to the dash, and the radio zapstraped to the mount. The TomTom I stuck to the gas tank of the bike with the suction mount; I’ve not gotten the proper mount for it either. I did run all of the wires in a nice wire loom to make them look all-pretty. After the wiring, CL had some breakfast and I loaded up all of our stuff in the bike luggage. We were on the road by eleven o-clock headed for the North Cascade Highway (Washington State Highway 20).

The Ride up 20 was a nice scenic ride. It travels along a few lakes, and rivers, through mountain passes and a few small towns. I set the TomTom to take us to Concrete Washington to have it map out the first half of our trip. CL found it amusing that the town of Concrete had a number of very large seemingly abandoned Concrete silos, and other buildings in it. We made most of the major stops on the road last year with Tyler and Jess and CL thinks that Dams are just big boring cement things. Other then one stop to stretch and pee, we did not make any stops until we got to the old west town of Winthrop. I was amazed to see a number of bicyclists coming up the longer hills on the highway (about 4,000 feet of elevation and 30 miles from a town) Riding like that takes dedication and a love for pain in my mind.

Before getting to Winthrop, we followed a Canadian on a Honda motorcycle for about 70 odd miles. When we stopped he got off on one side of the road, and we got off on the other. I wanted to walk over to him and see if he wanted to do lunch with us. However, by the time that we were done removing all of our gear he was gone. It’s too bad that it worked out that way, but the gear needed to come off. It was well into the high 80’s by now in Winthrop. With gear hung over my right arm and helmets strapped to the bike, we wondered in a southerly direction to find some food. As soon as we hit the first corner, we were bombarded with the smell of waffle cones.

On the corner is an ice cream shop that offers a number of homemade flavors. To attract customers they cook fresh waffle cones at a stand on the sidewalk. Like the smell of popcorn in a movie theater, the waffle cone smell made it very hard to resist the ice cream. We discussed the ice cream calling, screaming out for us to eat it and agreed that we needed food first. We went to the newer sandwich shop that we tried to eat in last year, only to find it, again, closed. Without many other options, we went to Three Fingered Jack for lunch. CL had chicken strips, and I had the taco salad. Jacks’ is a seat your self place; we ended up at a table for 8, it being the only table open. Another couple came in looking for a place to sit, without any available I motioned them over to sit with us. They seemed to be locals to the area, taking a break for bow hunting for deer. There was a bit of talking but not a whole lot. They were not overly attractive or interesting.

After lunch, we walked across the street to our bike, only to be hit, yet again, with the smell of the waffle cone. DAMIT, this time we cannot resist. We went and got a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream. We did not need to get a cone; the smell was enough of a taste of that. Bladders empty, and bellies full we got our gear back on, loaded ourselves on the bike and proceeded to the Apple Inn motel in the town of Chelan. CL chose the hotel for us earlier in the week. The hotel had free internet, I wonder if that’s why she chose it? I took a quick shower, we had a quick roll around the room, then I peeled CL away from the computer and we took a walk in the dark, down the main drag of Chelan. There was not much going on in town, on the last day of a three-day weekend. Most everyone should be on the way home by now. One would assume that that is the reason for the low numbers on the streets, or the fact that it’s a small town in the middle of nowhere that feeds on tourists and the tourist season is coming to a close. Whatever the reason was, we had a nice walk. While walking we counted 13 Microsoft parking tags in cars along parked along the street.

Monday on the River at the Cabin

We got a call late Monday night from Tyler and we worked out a place to meet for breakfast in the morning. After a great nights sleep, we got another hit of internet, showered, brushed teeth, packed up again, then headed off to Blueberry hills farm to have breakfast with the Clems and Gaskills. We were supposed to meet at 9:30, we were on time everyone else was early. Tyler and Jess ordered for us, a blueberry waffle for CL, and the Farmers breakfast for me; Eggs, amazing hash browns, bacon, and toast. We chatted about their weekend on the lake, and caught up on other things. It was a great meal, with great friends. The restaurant is at a U-pick blueberry farm. We sat on the deck over looking part of the blueberry field. There were a number of groups of people out in the fields picking. I guess the place must do good business.

At about 10:30 we bought some fresh fruits, left the farm, and took off to the Cabin. Tyler and Jess followed us to Safeway where we picked up some supplies. With the help of our cashier Richard, I was able to go unnoticed and bought a Twix to eat. As we were walking out of the store, I opened the candy bar, took half of it, and then stuffed the rest in Jess’s back pocket. While we were walking out to the car I ate my half, it was brilliant. CL and Tyler had no clue what we were doing until we told them what we had done. Candy bars are so good, and they are totally legal when you are on vacation, right? We arrived at the cabin a bit before noon. Robert, Tyler’s uncle, was still there packing up to head home. We hung out with Robert and his wife for an hour or so, catching up, sampling drinks, and talking while Robert made some fried rice for a local family. Robert and his wife, with plans to retire at the cabin soon, seem to have totally immersed themselves in the area. They seem to be a mission getting to know neighbors, become involved in events, and generally become part of the community. It’s very cool to see someone love where their home is, or in their case where their home will soon be.

We were waiting for Jason and Hillary to arrive at the cabin before we floated the river. In the hours that we waited for them ( they were a few hours later then we expected them) we inflated the tubes, Jess made ~15 bean no meat chili for dinner, we unpacked, and CL and I drove into Twisp and got a few more floatation devices so that everyone had their own. When Jason and Hillary arrived, we quickly unpacked them and hit the river. Hillary and Brandon (Their child age ~3) drove down to the put out spot and waited for us at the beach under the bridge. The rest of us got into the very cold water and onto our floatation devices. We spent the next 2 or so hours floating very slowly down the river. We ended up all tied together with me paddling with my arms in the slow spots to speed up the ride. Tyler called it about an 8 beer float. He rates the float time in beer consumption. In addition to being the power of the group doing the paddling, I was also responsible for carrying the beer.

Being late in the summer the river was fairly low, and running slow. There were a number of spots where you really had to lift yourself off the tube to avoid being hit by a rock. I recall hearing Tyler talk about penetration, and being hit by rocks a few times. At another point Jason got off his tube, to pee I think, and ended up neck deep in the water. He swore that it did not look that deep. I did a lot of whining about the water being so cold, until everything went numb, then it did not matter at all. After a while, the water felt pretty good. CL and Jess were just hanging out having a grand time. Jason had an issue with his tube half way down, seems he ran into a nail, and was losing air. Luckily, he did not run out of air while we were still on the water. After floating the river we had a brilliant dinner, put Brandon to bed, then played some apple game that was very entertaining. It was a brilliant day, very relaxing, filled with fun, and loaded with great friends.

Tuesday on the River then the Ride home

Tuesday morning, I got up early, did some work on a PowerPoint slide deck, while watching V for vendetta. I managed a few hours of quiet time and work until everyone else got up. Brandon was the next one up, along with his parents, then Tyler, CL, and finally Jess. We had bacon, eggs, crumb cake and toast for breakfast. There were only four seats at the table so we took some shifts eating in one of the chairs at the table. With a number of clouds in the air, the weather for Tuesday was not looking very nice. The day before we ended up in the shade for the end of our river float. Without the sun it got uncomfortably cold, and no one wanted to repeat that. Without sunshine, we were really not motivated to float the river.

Jason, Tyler and I played a few games of cribbage, the girls read some gossip magazines, we watched a movie, took some naps, and I read some Cosmo. For the most part, we all had a nice lazy vacation morning and early afternoon. Later in the day, it finally got sunny so we all got ready and floated down the river. I followed Jess down the get out spot on my bike. She dropped off her car, and got on the back of the bike. I was amazed that she agreed to get on the bike. “Bikes are not safe, Kev” she tells me all the time. I did my best to avoid scaring her back there. I was extra nice, because she’s a princess, and with the hope, that maybe some day in the future she will want to get back on a bike again.

While we were dropping off the car Tyler and Jason got everything inflated again and loaded up the beverages. I took the big fly-fishing pontoon this time; it has oars that will make it much simpler for me to row everyone down the river in the slow spots. We got back and we all headed down to the river and dropped out floaties in. Tyler almost lost his river rat. He had to run down the river to catch it before it was carried away by the current. We all sat there and watched him.

The sun was out, the river was nice and lazy, and we all had a great time floating the river. Brandon even had a great time once he swapped from dad’s tube to mom’s tube. The drama of this float, was not the lack of sun, it was me breaking an oar in half. They don’t call me Brutus for nothing I guess. I was sitting in my raft minding my own business trying to row upstream to slow down and meet up with everyone else, and my starboard side oar snapped in half. I was doing so good too. I’d done some repair work on the cabin thinking that I was being a good houseguest. Then I go and snap the oar in half. This made Kev sad, as you can see by this picture.

After the river float, we were thinking about heading into town and having an early dinner / late lunch. That thought kind of died with everyone taking naps. Instead, we made some sandwiches at the cabin. By now it was starting to get late in the day to start a 4 hour ride home. CL and I quickly packed up, and got ready to ride. We went south along Lake Chelan, and the Columbia River until we hit Highway 2. Before hitting highway 2 we stopped at a dam and did a headphone adjustment. We have about 3,200 miles on the bike by now and we have never really moved the headphones in the helmets. After some adjustment, CL reports that she can now run the volume at 10 instead of 20 (the max). After improving our sound quality, we headed south towards the mighty Columbia. The ride along the Columbia was a bit hairy. The wind really started to kick and blow the bike around. At one point when we crossed over the river into northern Wenatchee, we were actually blown sideways into a different lane.

That really scared us both. CL nuzzled up behind and held on tight while we crossed over the river until the wind calmed down a bit. After the wind had calmed down a bit, we got a new bit of a challenge. The sun was just about to peak behind the mountains in front of us, and it was glaring right in our eyes. Not so bad for CL who can look to the side, very annoying for me when I have to look right at it and try to see where we are going. Thankfully, the sun eventually dropped behind the mountains and stopped shining right in my eyes.

The lack of sunlight was brilliant for vision, until it started to get dark. Then when you add the decrease in sun to the increase in elevation the temperature quickly dropped. By the time we got to the top of the pass the temperature went from about 80 to 55. We pulled off the road at the summit and added a few layers of gear to our bodies. CL had some very cold legs that needed to be warmed up. I swapped out my dark face shield for the clear one to improve my night vision. Then we got back on the road to get home, we chose to make no more stops for the night. Coming up and down the pass we passed a lot of cars, trucks and Harleys. Harleys don’t seem to go that fast, either they can’t, or they just like to ride slow. We think that it is more a matter that they can’t. At least they are nice about it and make it simple for us to pass.

We got home at about 10pm calmed down for a bit, and then went to bed. We had a great time on the trip and are looking forward to our next ride, at the end of the month.

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