Saturday, April 17, 2010

North Cascades Highway 20 Trip

The North Cascades Highway reopened at noon on Friday April 16th.

Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen

I wanted to be in the line for when it opened but I just missed the gate opening by about 20 minutes because it took me longer to cover the 100 miles up to the gate than I anticipated. The road was in great condition - nice and clean with snow banks up to about 8 feet beside the road in places.

It was a glorious day and really nice to be on that beautiful road with almost no other traffic.

I road East on 20 to Winthrop, Twisp and then South on 153 to Pateros, Brewster and then North on 97 to Tonasket for the night. That route takes you over Rainy Pass (4855 feet) and Washington Pass (5477 feet). On Saturday I came home on 20 out of Omak over Loup Loup Pass (4020 feet) and continued on 20 over the Cascades.

Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen

It was raining off an on Saturday and felt much more winter-like up on top. There was a snow slide that closed the road for a short time. You can see the front end loader scooping up the snow behind me. The North Cascades highway is an up and down winding road - unlike going over Snoqualmie Pass on 90 or Stevens Pass on 2 where it's pretty much just a straight shot up and over. That makes it a lot more interesting. The last time I was on this highway it was packed with other cars and RV's. This time it was me and some bicycle riders, motorcyclists and some cars - no RV's yet.

Tonasket is about 20 miles from the Canadian border. If I had the right documents I would have looped back through Canada - next time after I get one of those enhanced driver's licenses.

Funny questions I was asked on this trip -

"Is that your motorcycle?"

"How fast have you driven that thing?"

Both by boys about 10-12 years old. One in Brewster and one in Marblemount.

I like the way riding puts you out in the open and people will strike up a conversation. A lot of times it's a story about a motorcycle someone used to have.

Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen
On the ride though Marblemount I happened to run into a gunfight in the middle of the street. They had cannons and loud booming things - How lucky can you get?

I posted pictures of the Civil War Re-enactment
and the North Cascades Highway on Flickr.

It was nice to get out.

Looking forward to more summertime...