An interactive version is available here. Obviously, the route doesn't cross all of Washington; it finishes up at Puget Sound. A tacked on ferry ride and a crossing of the Olympic Peninsula out to the Pacific is awesome to think about, but wasn't in the cards for this trip. Another time, maybe.
The other thing worth noting about the route is that the JWPT trail only goes as far west as Rattlesnake Lake, on the western slope of the Cascades. From there, the route follows four other public access trails to the Sound. I'll talk about that section in detail in my Day 6 post.
In the spirit of getting immersed into the trip, the Prologue was all about cheating a bit, by escaping and getting onto the trail a little early. To avoid wasting any part of the first actual tour day on logistics or acclimation. I worked until 2:00 on Prologue Friday and then bailed straight for home, where everything was packed and ready. I loaded up and then Patty and I swung by Eric's house and loaded him and his gear and bee-lined for the Idaho border. Our goal for the day was to get roughly 10 miles into the trip, which should place us right where we wanted to wake up on Saturday morning . . . smack in the middle of nowhere, WA.
We reached the border, loaded up and were ready to roll by about 5:30. Was I born to wear a cowboy hat or what? (As usual, click any pic in the post to supersize.)
Under sunny skies and amidst the greenest fields ever, we basked in the euphoria of a tour just begun.
Five or six miles in, we reached Tekoa, where we joined up with Scott and re-joined up with Patty. We dined at their rad Bar and Grill, as per the master plan.
A bit about the cast of characters is in order, at this point. You already know me (left) too well. Eric (center) is a bike-circle friend who also turns 50 this year and who you may remember from the next-to-latest series of rack building classes. He's a seasoned tourer and pretty exceptional endurance athlete - he just ran a 3:17 in the Windermere Marathon, thereby qualifying him for the Boston Marathon. He loves this kind of stuff and originally planned to go halfway with me, but then later threw down for the whole enchilada. Scott (right) and I knew each other from the interwebs, but were just meeting for the first time in person. I was aware that he had a thing for rail trails and so I tossed out some trail-bait and he took it. He's a strong cyclist who nerds out on all manner of bike and camping gear, so he fit right in.
After a swell dinner complete with a coupla microbrews, I bid my lovely bride farewell and headed out on the open road with my tour mates. The massive trestle that spans Tekoa is closed and so we were forced to endure the horror of this detour.
We were in no big hurry to get anywhere, really, so once back on the trail we backtracked to the trestle, just 'cause.
|Spiderman checks out the view from the deck. Neither of us particularly cared to join him.|
We were treated to some damn fine scenery on the way out to our (as yet unknown) destination.
The trail was at times a bit challenging, possibly a portend to the events of the coming days, but we were too damn giddy to pay much attention.
|Yes, it was in the middle of cow country and yes, it smelled as bad as it looks like it smelled.|
We encountered the first of what would be many "routine" trestle detours on the eastern portion of the trail. Most of these trestles spanned creeks or roads and the detours were a pretty minor inconvenience, although they did contribute in some way to slowing the overall pace. More on that later.
We found our spot for the night atop a nice vantage point next to a killer trestle and watched the sun go down and listened to packs of coyotes volley calls across the rolling hills. Life for the moment was very, very good.
Prologue Ride Stats
2:02 saddle time
8.7 mph avg
28.2 mph max