Cashmere-Ellensburg, WA: Two thumbs up for Old Blewett Pass! - The Granny Panties Tour - CycleBlaze

June 17, 2015

Cashmere-Ellensburg, WA: Two thumbs up for Old Blewett Pass!

Super 8 Motel 1500 Canyon Road 509-962-6888 $70. plus tax. Typical Super 8 room. wi-fi very slow. Otherwise just what you would expect. It's directly on route for tomorrow with several restaurants and a grocery within a few buildings. Great location. Clean. Chain motel.

Oren and I agreed today was a climbing day with more miles. We would need to get out about 7 AM. I gave him the last minute sweet talk about riding the first 7 miles with me on the ACA route. It worked! I was so happy. It's a good thing also, the second turn I would have gone the wrong way. Who knows for how far.

That is a train passing down below.
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I played the southern gentleman card to get Oren to go with me this morning so I wouldn't get lost during the ACA navigation. He wasn't too excited about all of the hills, but agreed to go. I think this is the only time I will be able to play that card this trip.
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I liked the cupola on this barn. Note that the barn is not red.
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The route wasted no time getting up out of the valley. There were plenty of fruit orchards on both sides of us and down below also. Oren woefully commented he would have been seeing just as nice of scenery below, just with more traffic. There's nothing like a wake up climb first thing in the morning. My Garmin registered up to 12% on Deadman Hill. I stopped to take the barn photo there on the really steep piece and didn't get started quickly enough and tipped right over on to the ground. Nothing was hurt but my dignity.

Oren stayed with me until we made the turn onto 97 in 7 miles. from there we were on 97 the whole way unless we took the Old Blewett Pass Road. Thank you Oren! Goodbye, never to be seen again for the ride today.

I'm sure ACA was sad they couldn't figure out a way to route us on this road. Deadmans Hill was a good choice for the shock value.
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I wanted the sign to say Old Blewett PASS Road. Luckily Wayne Este's had emphasised how we needed to do this road. It was listed on the ACA addendum - turn at Scotty Creek Rd. Finally, here was the turn.
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This was very nice. It's a great route in general, the Sierra Cascades. Each day has been prettier than the one before. Today had lots of pine trees. Lots of traffic also. I was looking forward to the Old Blewett Pass Road. I passed a couple of signs that said Old Blewett. But they seemed too soon and did not say PASS. Hmmm, well, if I don't take the side trip, this is mighty nice. But I did remember from the addendum to watch for Scotty Creek Road and finally here it was.

This looked like a nice secret. Along the first section of the road there were several pull outs, all full of motor homes. Finally I saw one with a man outside. I asked him how far to the top of the pass. He replied if I wanted Blewett Pass I was on the wrong road. What about the OLD pass? Yes, this is correct. He didn't know how far to the top, but he knew the total length of the road was ten miles. That sounded great. Ten miles of bliss. He offered water, so I had him top one off. He was there with a motor cycle at the moment, but said his mountain bike was inside. I asked if he'd seen a man on a bike like mine (Oren). No. I told him to watch for Jacinto and to say Kelly says hi. He did see Jacinto and told Jacinto I was about ten minutes ahead.

Sure enough, Jacinto caught up with me 300 climbing feet before the top. It was about a mile. We took several photos and had a snack. I had a piece of cheese with chip turkey (remember the chip beef of our childhoods? - this is turkey). I'm not buying that again. Blech. But I ate it. I had some cherries. Those were really good. I splurged and mixed up a half bottle of Spiz since it was getting warm and I didn't think I was getting enough calories.

I appreciated the shade on this side road.
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Way down there is where the cyclists are who don't know Wayne Estes! To the right of the pine tree is the road.
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Jacinto caught up with just before the top. The only pass sign is that little blue sign above our heads.
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I don't see Jacinto on the road too often. I have to take photos when I get the chance!
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We had switchbacks on the downhill. The road surface was much better than it appears in this photo. Jacinto and I agreed that we had ridden many roads in Colorado with road surfaces equal to this abandoned (?) road.
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I hadn't gotten very far in distance, but spent plenty of time. It had been a fine day. I felt good - it's a big climbing day today but the scenery was top notch and my legs were strong. Better yet, my honey was riding with me. Sort of. I made a pit stop and told him to go on ahead. But I caught him at the bottom, flat tire with a giant nail. That was worth a photo!

Irony is, Jacinto had a slow leak on the front the other day. He favors the very heavy Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires which never get a flat. So he had only one tube. Which he used on the slow leak. Did Jacinto fix that flat? No, of course not. I was waiting for him to ask me for one of my tubes. He didn't, his plan was to put the leaky tube back in. I offered one of my new tubes. I also put a regular bicycle patch on the inside of the tire, it had a hole about the size of a pencil eraser. I did offer a piece of plastic bag as a boot (one of the strong shipping bag type plastics). But Jacinto didn't want that. He just put in the tube and decided to go to the bike shop in Ellensburg. He needed two new tubes, I needed one. Plus Jacinto wanted to buy official Park boots instead of mine.

I kept him in sight for awhile. Was that on purpose or by accident? We had a headwind until we got off of 2 onto 97. Thank goodness it turned into a fantastic tailwind. I didn't notice my speed, but Oren said he was going over 20 mph here without turning the pedals.

We had hardly entered Highway 97 again before this nail stopped Jacinto flat. (ha, ha). He wasn't very happy with his flat proof Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire. I told him maybe he had to give Schwalbe a pass with this giant nail.
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This barn is on the big climb past Liberty.
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More scenery on the big climb. There were a total of 9 (?) wind turbines. Luckily they weren't moving much.
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While I was busy taking photos, Jacinto was waiting for me at the top of the last climb.
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View from the top where Jacinto was waiting.
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After the top of the last hill, Jacinto took off for the bike shop. I was on my own for navigation into town. Oren had left me a voice mail warning me how to get in. I checked google maps a couple of times. I remember Wayne had gotten lost entering Ellensburg. Even with the tailwind, it was hot and I was ready to be done. I didn't want to make a wrong turn. I made it through town and to the motel with no issues. I even followed Jacinto, by several blocks. I could see his Dinotte light from that far away.

Ellensburg is down in the valley. It's pretty warm here. This sign tickled my funny bone.
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While we were wandering the hallway looking for our room, Oren poked his head out, he could hear our voices. He said he had been to town for hours (do you see a common theme here?) and he was worried about us.

We agreed we were all hungry and we'd go to dinner early. I took too long to get going. Oren and Jacinto went next door to Wendy's for a Frosty appetizer. Then we went next door the other side and had an excellent Chinese dinner. Mine was good anyway. Oren had a giant IPA beer with his, brewed right here in Ellensburg.

Oren and I went over maps. It looks like an easy day tomorrow. I'm going to follow the ACA route and he's following ridewithgps and also Mike and Sharon's suggestion to take the Old Naches Highway. I find it a great resource to check other journal. Mike and Sharon's '09 Washington Cascade journal is the one.

Now I have this all typed up and it's bedtime.

Ha, we thought we were going to bed. Jacinto just noticed his rear tire is flat again. He has it all taken apart and has found a wire in the rear tire. Completely unrelated to the nail. Now he has two tubes to fix. The tubes he bought here in Ellensburg were $9.99 each. That's quite a bit more than we usually pay. But it is a captive audience and we were very happy to be able to purchase them.

Today's ride: 59 miles (95 km)
Total: 364 miles (586 km)

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