Monday, January 17, 2011

900th post, or Thinking about an April ride

I get a week in April all to my selfish self. I plan on riding. I kind of want to tour -- like, be out on the road exploring every day and sleeping away from home every night.

Option 1: Stay home and do day rides and maybe an over nighter.
This really isn't an option. But you always have to have the "do nothing" option and this is basically it.

Option 2: Go to Kettle River and base camp at our place there, and ride the Colville Nat'l Forest and maybe a Northport Loop that's been on my mind for about 5 years.
There's a ton of riding I want to do up in that area.  Being able to stay at our place on the Kettle River makes things nice, given the fact that in early April there can be snow in addition to the nearly-inevitable rain. However, one of the best features of that area is the mountain exploration. I'm thinking there will still be too much snow above 3500 feet or so to make it passable (in a non-epic way) by bike. So multi-day loops will need to be planned lower. Hence the Northport loop, which follows the Columbia River.
Another benefit: buddies can drive up for day rides and don't have to commit to the entire week, so there's potential for not being alone the entire time.
And another benefit: I can bring a couple bikes for different routes.

Option 3: Go to the west side and do something.
Not sure what. I'm not insanely crazily happy about driving over there, but I would if there was nearly guaranteed radness on the other end. Early April in the Seattle/Peninsula/Puget Sound neighborhood tends to be a tad wet. I'm ok with wet as long as I'm warm and dry at night. This would likely be an "inn to inn" type tour, which I've never done. I just need a good route that includes some dirt roads.

Option 4: Fly away and do something.
I can swing this too. I can't swing flying to Hawaii or something, because Liza and Maddie would kill me if I went somewhere that awesome without them. But a sub 5-hour flight... like Texas? Or New Mexico? Or some crazy place like that? Maybe there's something there? I've got a stinking bike that breaks in half for the love of Pete. I ought to use it. This would also be an inn to inn type ordeal. Where the hey would I go though and how do I find a rad mostly dirt/low traffic route with the right amount of townage along the way? I guess it starts with finding the best airports to fly into -- then building a loop around that... it's obsession time!

I'm leaning for Option 2.


patrick said...

I too vote for Option #2. I can drive up with you and ride my bike back into town. After some forest exploration.

Unknown said...

Pleasant dilemma, great options.

Another: tour south and plane/train/bus back (or vice versa).

It would be nice time of year to for riding the arid side of WA, OR, CA.

The corner of OR/CA/NV is a great place for desert biking. Miles and miles of gravel.

You could also drive South and break it up with rides.

FBC Spokane said...

Option 2 definitely has the most words. Seems like you've really thought that one through.

Tom V said...

hey john

i follow your blog and love reading about spokane cycling. i moved away and miss the (seasonal)riding in the old home town. i'm in tucson now. you can always stay here, the riding is outstanding. contact me if you are interested.

Alex Wetmore said...

Don't forget that you can fly to the west side too, you don't have to drive. You don't even have to bring a bike, I can loan you one. I might be able to join up for a few days. The San Juans are nice at that time of year, but might not offer the quantity of dirt that you'd like. However snow won't be an issue.

j Hawkins said...

Moab in April is perfect. I've been four times and haven't ridden it all.

Unknown said...

Arizona or southern Utah.

rory said...

I like option 2, but i'll add something else.

My first tour was from cle elum to waterville, then to vantage, then back to cle elum, which we did in mid april sometime. the area between waterville and vantage looks like it would be good to explore in the month of april, if you're into desert riding.

John Speare said...

Good stuff here.
Tom -- thanks for the offer. That's super nice.

Jonathon: Moab is a cool idea. I'd want a mountain bike for that right? is there tooling around/touring potential there?

Alex: I don't know why flying to Seattle didn't occur to me. Maybe I can have my cake and eat it too... a little surf and turf action: some time on the islands and some time up north.

Rory: funny you should mention Waterville. I've always wanted to do that climb up from Columbia on hiway 2. And the climb up the Vantage Hiway to Ellensburg. New camera rules btw - - thanks for the recommendation.

adventure! said...

I know I'm late to the party, but:
In regards to Option 3 (sort of), if you want to come over here to the West Side of the Cascades, you can do parts of the Oregon Coast. Yeah, it'll be rainy, but many of the parks have yurts for around $30 a night with heat, light, beds (byo bedding). You'd still want to reserve them, though.

And instead of flying to Seattle, you can take Amtrak there (as well as Portland.) It's a $5 fee for bringing your bike (plus $15 if you get their box.)