Thursday 08.25.11: Windy Point Campground to Mount Rainier National Park
I again set off early in an attempt to beat the heat across the pass. Also there was the wildcard of the roadwork to contend with. It was overcast and cool and a headwind greeted me as I hit the road. The riding was fairly easy apart From the headwind with only a gentle incline for the most part. I passed several more basically empty campgrounds, so it looks like i would have had options if Windy Point had been full.
Everything flattened out at Rimrock Lake and there was also several stores that I utilized to stock up for the climb and potential delays. I also replaced the horribly rusty water from the campground with store bought (which is an expense I usually try to avoid.
It was a good long flat section along the lake and as the clouds broke up stunning reflections were revealed in it. Eventually the road turned upwards and the level of hysteria w/r/t the roadwork reached a fever pitch. After climb for s couple of miles I reached a a short back up if cars and the flagger just as the pilot car arrived. They insisted I load my bicycle into their pickup and ride with them through the construction. I demurred but they said it went safe so I went along. Only about 1.5 miles and then I was back climbing again for another 5 or so.
Post the roadwork the pavement was in great shape and there was little traffic (there had been trucks for the construction about every 5 minutes going up). I took it easy stopping to view waterfalls and lakes as I went. The road was always uphill but never much of a grade. And then I reached the summit. Really the easiest of the passes even without the short ride in the pilot car.
White Pass 4500′
The Pacific Crest Trail crossed the pass as well and there was a store up there where thru-hikers could get packages sent. I ate my lunch outside the store and talked to a south to north hiker for a bit. His package was filled with Baby Ruths and sports pages. He was in the last section of his three month hike, quite impressive and puts it all into perspective.
It was all downhill from here and St first it was a blast, but then I hit grooved pavement as they prepped the road for paving. Thus slowed me down but was still easy enough. Then another lime if cars and a flagger. Again I had to ride in the pilot car this time about 6 miles. This was downhill but grooved rhe rule way do not much if a loss. The lady driving really whipped through it leaving the RVs and trucks following far behind. It was about quitting time and it showed.
Back on the bicycle it was a short downhill ride to the turnoff to Mount Rainier National Park. It was early enough that I decided to go for it (there is another NP just down the road I was heading got if the park was full). It was uphill in the sun for 4 miles into the park but at last I was there.
At the entrance to the Campground a ranger there informed me it was closed due to a water main failure. I talked to him a bit and eventually talked him into letting me stay (they were letting people with reservations in do it was far from empty). Water would be a problem though but he told me there was a drinking fountain a mile away. So again things worked out. But I really needed to stay here for a few days as camping within riding range will be tough over the weekend. Will it all work out? Stay tuned!
Miles ridden today: 37.8
Miles ridden to-date: 645.6