Wednesday August 5, 2009, 60 miles (97 km) – Total so far: 4,356 miles (7,010 km)
Weird name, I liked Twisp better!
It was overcast when we crawled out of bed this morning at 60 degrees. We ate the last of the oatmeal, packed up, and started riding. 60° is right on the borderline — do you bundle up or not? We didn’t, but it was chilly between the gradual downhill, the continued headwind (probably 5-10 mph, compared to 10-15 yesterday), and the humidity.
Started down Rte. 20, and it was all National Recreation Area for a while. Several miles after we left, the NRA, we started seeing houses. 14 miles brought us to Marblemount, where we arrived before the tourist service spots were open. There was a gas station with a hefty business from the locals (the cashier knew 2/3 of the people passing through while we were there). Rode on down through Rockport – are you surprised to learn there’s a quarry there? and into Concrete. By then, after 30 miles, it was 11:30, and time for something a bit more substantial. Another gas station had munchies, so we grabbed some and rode on.
We made the mistake of following the ACA route down South Skagit Highway, a lousy, poorly paved, and surprisingly heavily trafficed road. I haven’t been impressed with ACA’s route through Washington. Every time we’ve diverted from Washington Route 20, we’ve regretted it. There were a few narrow rough spots on 20 today, but these spots were places with no alternates, and on the trail. 20 has good shoulders most of the way, and particularly where the traffic is heaviest; I’d recommend bicyclists just stay on it, at least so far.
There were a few views of the Skagit River, and some farming on the south side. Although you can’t tell from the picture, the river was still green, but not as deep a green as the lakes above (particularly Diablo). You could feel the cold rolling down the river when we crossed the bridge, probably 40-50 feet up. Glacier melt, they say. It stayed overcast throughout the day, as you can see from the bottom of the cloud obscuring the ridge.
The highlights of the day were finding Gilligan Creek (and East and West Gilligan Roads). Right, Cap’n? The other highlight was a pair of suspension bridges across the road and the river. One was carrying two pipelines, the other was carrying one. I have no idea what’s in the pipes. Maybe it’s Canada’s internet…
After 25 miles of that rough road, we crossed the Skagit again on a heavily trafficed, narrow bridge, with a pair of narrow bridges between the river and town. I think I’d prefer 20 miles of Rt. 20, myself.