Editor’s Note: Apologies for the lack of contextual links which are usually sprinkled throughout my posts. My tablet’s browser seems to be having difficulty with the WordPress interface. Looks like you’ll have to do your own Googling for a bit.
Here we are, 12 days into our epically epic bike ride and it occurs to me that most of you following along at home do not even know our route. We’re following the Northern Tier route (slightly modified) as established by Adventure Cycling. The route starts in Washington and heads east through northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota. From there we’ll start heading southeast through Minneapolis to Wisconsin and mostly likely through the upper peninsula of Michigan. After that is a quick turn south through the rest of Michigan, hooking a left into Ontario, and then heading home through upstate New York and Vermont. Technically, the route proper starts in Anacortes, due north of Seattle, but we wanted to hit the ground running and start heading east as soon as we left our house.
At this point it would be prudent of me to draw up a beautiful full-color map highlighting our route, but I’m typing this on 5-inch tablet at a drive-thru espresso stand using the employee wifi. You get what you pay for.
To wit, we made our way north over Lake Washington and meandered in a south-easterly direction until we hit the John Wayne Pioneer Trail just outside of North Bend. We followed this trail uphill for 20 miles or so until we made it through Snoqualmie Pass at which point it transformed into a “downhill” trail which didn’t feel all that downhill if the amount of pedaling required was any indicator.
We jumped off the trail in Cle Elum and started our northward journey to the Northern Tier, mostly via route 97, over Blewett Pass, and down into the upper Columbia River valley. Eleven days (and two relatively small mountain passes) later and we have finally arrived at the Northern Tier.
Planning the start of our journey this way allowed us to skip two relatively large mountain passes and ride through country we’ve never even driven through, let alone ridden through. It’s been glorious and wonderful and beautiful and frustrating and difficult and rewarding all at the same time and we’re only just starting.