Day 4 - Morton to Mount Rainier Viewpoint - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

June 6, 2016

Day 4 - Morton to Mount Rainier Viewpoint

Got up at dawn, as always - but this time after a great night's sleep. The clothes I washed out last night were still wet, so I dangled them "hillbilly style" off the bike.

Little Downtown Morton
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Poor little downtown Morton. The new businesses are down on Highway 12 which has left downtown high and dry. Few places are still open.

Ah, but the old highway heads straight east from downtown and nary a car on it. Yes, there are a few more hills and it is a smidgen longer, but it has that magical feel.

Misty, Cool Morning on the Old Road
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Had to get back on the main highway to get to Randle, just coming into town there is a nice view of Mount Adams - but it just shows up a a smudge on the horizon in photos. Stopped by the closed town library and sat outside catching up on my journal. Then had some hash browns at the Mt. Adams Cafe.

Back on the old road for another 6 or 7 miles. The difference is everything - not that US 12 is bad. It has wide shoulders and a level grade, but with the constant zoom or cars and big trucks. The old road is shaded by huge trees and is a reverie.

Getting a Peek of Mount Rainier
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As usual, I spent the better part of the day in town - in this case Packwood. The view of Mount Rainier from the IGA is da best. The library was closed on Mondays, but I could still get internet on the porch and then stretch out for a nap. This nap thing is getting to be a habit.

Mount Rainier View from Packwood
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I was pretty sure that I couldn't get over White Pass in the evening so I went by the local tourist info place for options. Dean was extremely helpful and suggested a free spot on the Cowlitz River where an old bridge used to be. Sounded ideal, so I went over to the coffee shop, had a giant frozen mocha and a peanut butter cookie, and caught up on my journal.

Two Bikes at the Coffee Shop
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When I did get up the nerve to get on the bike again - in the heat - I did the five miles to the river spot only to find a bunch of strung out guys there and the place littered with beer bottles and cans. "Surly" would be a very generous description of their expressions.

So, I decided to keep going up the mountain - thinking that I might just make it to the pass by twilight. Crunch, groan, sweat, drip. "Hmmmmm, the grade is pretty steep and I ain't as young as I used to be." I won't tell you how many times I stopped to catch my breath.

The Palisades - Cliffs on the Other Side Suggest a Steep Climb
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I got 2/3s of the way up - to the scenic overlook with a sunset view of Mount Rainier. Looked like the time and place to stop.

Fine View of Mount Rainier before Bedtime
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Today's ride: 52 miles (84 km)
Total: 184 miles (296 km)

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