Niko’s Kantina Ride: Hold on for deer life!

I spent two days off the beaten path and had the best ride on this continent so far!

After I left that little town I set my sight on some dirt roads. But before that I had to get a local phone number for data, so I can write this blog  and keep in touch with friends without breaking the bank. It took an awful a lot of time to get the thing working, which resulted in sitting in a Taco bell (for free Wi-Fi) for about two hours! I sat opposite to a bicycle traveler, we exchanged a few nods and wonder why he’s riding that damn thing.

By the time I was leaving the big road towards Twisp I was feeling frustrated because of all the time I’ve lost sitting inside. It was a wonderful day, I fuel up and head on towards Cooper Mt.

As soon as I hit the dirt I notice a huge sign saying that the road is closed due to a landslide. There was nothing that could stop me at that point. I proceed and in a couple of miles I get to this closure. I look around, no one to be seen, so I snuck through.

Not a big deal passing the road slide, but after that the road got to a junction to a logging road. I had to take it in order to get to the top. Mud and ruts, not too much fun with bald tires. Soon the elevation brought the cold and the cold brought the snow. The hell, scenery was outstanding. Not a living soul in sight, just me, the dirt road and this beautiful place I could call home for the day!

Got on top, snow storm on its way, this was it. I knew it’s gonna be cool, but I felt stupid to push on just to find another warm, but boring place to stay.

After turning on the fire, beer and a dram of whiskey it was just perfect. A can of some pork bbq stuff for dinner and my little speaker to play me some happy tunes. It was a good day.

The day after was cold, but the sunniest day I had so far. Big blue sky and a prospect of some good riding ahead. I decided to follow the Pacific crest trail (on legal roads) and then turn west towards Seattle, to visit some dear friends.

Coffee, dry the tent, brush my teeth and ready to go!

I descend to lake Chelan, a town that was a complete contrast to the wooden shacks full of trash I’ve seen on the first day in Washington. This place was so tidy I felt out of place. However I was out of food and hungry, so I stop and get me what was later to become the best sandwich I ever had. More exactly, a sliced roast beef jalapino sandwich. Amazing!

Carry on, I start to evaluate the American drivers. Different, at least to what I’m used to. On my bike I can’t cruise at very high speed. 90km/h or 55mph would be the normal cruising speed without pushing the engine. Which is just enough to piss off the regular driver. You see them approaching in the mirror, steady, then they get alarmingly close, slow down, then hit the gas again. This would last anything from 3 to 10 minutes. You can see the driver is trying to keep it cool, but it’s exasperating so he goes for it. The overtaking. 3 to 5 kmph faster than me, take all the space necessary, like you’re driving a harvester. If I really want to be bad, I just keep the same speed and have a laugh. Step down the gas pedal Billy! I’m sure that V8 Titan can move a bit faster.

On a more positive note, I really love the signs before the semaphore intersections. Telling you if it’s going to turn red in the near future. With the breaks fitted on my Klr, this is quite handy.

After I finish with the dirt section I decide to stick to the pavement and proceed west. It was early in the day and I was kind of close, so I click on a random road on the gps. 250kms at 14 o’clock, I can do that.

First I go south to Ellensburg and then west south-west. The road turns into compact gravel, 35mph speed limit, I do more. Much more. No more cars, way more scenery, this seems like the best decision I took today! Slowly the gravel turns a bit rougher. The rocks are lose and round, so it gets a bit more bouncy. I stand on the footpegs and carry on. More dirt turns into uphill climbs, less and less civilization. I found myself at a fork. The gps telling me to go right on a rougher looking road and sure I take it. It gets pretty rough and the signal is lost. Too many trees. I turn back and take the other road, because clearly that’s not the right one. The other one gets steep and rougher really soon, but I’m determined to carry on. There must be something on the other side I say to myself. It was getting dark, but it was too close to just give up and camp. I’ll carry on. Made it to Issaquah right in time for dinner at Dan and Rebecca’s place.

Leave a Reply