Sometimes the bike trip comes in handy

There are times, when I have a big ride, that I go out of my way to drive the route with the car.  I did this with the High Pass Challenge, I drove it twice.  And I swear it saved my butt.  I was able to count down the miles on the longest hill, so when the legs were fried, I knew there was only a mile left.  I made it and enjoyed the first downhill in 2 hours!

This last summer, Michelle and I drove the Crater Lake Century route.  It gave me a better idea where the worst hills were and when I was close to being done.  It was very much appreciated during the long hard ride.

This weekend though, the opposite came true, having ridden the route made it a better drive!On the way back from Spokane on Sunday, we decided to take a different route home, and went over Stevens Pass. 



It’s a higher, more rustic road, and just seemed like a fun change of pace from I90. 

What was fun, was 2 years ago, in preparation for the High Pass Challenge, I road from Monroe to the top of the pass and back.  (Great ride!)  But of course, doing so, I traveled much slower and therefore I was able to see much more of the sites. 

This meant on the way down the pass, I could point out things as we went by.  (Sadly, we really didn’t have time to stop and see anything this time.  I had to get home, and back for an early flight Monday)

However, Michelle saw a Caboose on the side of the road, and wondered what it was.


It was a interpretive way side, with restrooms, with displays about the railroad that used to go over the pass.  It’s a pretty cool spot actually.  Without having ridden it, we’d still be wondering.

Further down as we passed Skykomish, I pointed out the giant bear chainsaw art!


Easy to miss at 60 mph, but when you are looking for it, very easy to see! 

Later, I was able to catch a glimpse of the Skykomish on the side of the road through the trees, but only because I was able to stop on the 18 inch shoulder 2 years ago to take this.


Again further down, a landmark all its own, The place wear Harry and Hendersons (A Sasquatch movie and TV series was filmed)

Harry from Harry and the Hendersons
Harry from Harry and the Hendersons

Most importantly though, due to too much coffee, water and sitting, I knew RIGHT where the least used honeybucket was!  (At the Reptile Zoo outside of Monroe!)

People ask me sometimes why I ride, especially to the top of passes in the Cascades, or along the Oregon coast, or anywhere else for that matter.  You go slower, it takes energy and the cars are dangerous!

Yep to all three, but the cars leave you be if you know how to ride with traffic, the energy is exercise and going slow lets you see so much more!  And take the pictures to help make it more memorable.

Somewhere on the coast
Somewhere on the coast

This was the first time though, that having biked it first made the drive better!  I can see the same thing happening next time we drive the coast.  I didn’t need a reason to keep cycling and exploring, but if I did, this would have been one!


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