Permanent Route Updates

In Sammamish 3515 was rerouted to avoid private roads. A couple of No Trespassing signs have gone up since this route was created.

Catching up with changes that everyone probably knows about already

In Factoria 3227 and 541 were rerouted onto the new bike flyover. On routes that go eastbound here I recommend climbing Eastgate Way to avoid the construction zone:

The construction zone on West Lake Sammamish Parkway is passable to bikes. 3227, 541, 3502, 517, 2173, and 2292 were put back on the Parkway.

1015 was restored to the 520 trail at the Microsoft campus.

In Issaquah a number of routes were updated for the new connection of the East Lake Sammamish Trail to Gilman Blvd.

As always, you should update the routes on your gps unit to ensure you have the current version.

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Permanent Route Updates

Two routes were added this week:

In Factoria, 02795 Leschi-Hobart-Redmond Loop was rerouted for the new bike flyover across Factoria Blvd.

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New Surface Type feature in Ride with GPS

If you have used Ride with GPS recently you may have noticed the newly added Surface Type feature which attempts to depict unpaved vs paved roads. For example:

The dashed portions of the route trace and elevation profile are unpaved road or trail.

Surface Type is encoded in the route file when the route is created or edited. So older routes may not contain Surface Type data, or only portions that were more recently updated will have this data.

Unfortunately this feature relies on, frankly stated, flaky data. From RwGPS:

We’re using imperfect data to infer the actual surface type of a route, but are striving to improve the quality of this data as folks like you submit inconsistencies. We’re excited about this new tool and will be constantly improving it so that we can provide a robust and reliable source of surface types.

We are utilizing surface data from Graphhopper (our routing engine from OSM and also the same one that all of our competitors use) that identifies surface types based on a number of variables (residential vs. highway, lane count, speed limits, rural vs urban as well as a few other factors) to provide any type of hint as what the surface of a path is. Truth be told, only ~10% of the world has actual surface-type data that is recorded on this source, so it’s a bit of a guessing game to get all results 100% right. 

Right now, we’re inferring the surface type from the road classification. “Unclassified” roads are currently listed as paved in our Route Planner, this is likely why you are seeing some inconsistencies. In some cases we’ve found this to be the best option, in other cases, this is the wrong inference, so we’re trying to work through all those surface-type assumptions we are making to come up with the best solution.

At present it is very common to see improperly classified roads and trails.

If you are inclined to help improve surface classification, here is how:

1. You can update Surface Type information on OSM, which is the main source we pull from. Once Surface Type information is entered in OSM, it will be updated on our system within a few weeks. For more information on OSM Routing data as well as information on how to submit edits to OSM, check out the following link:

2. You can edit Surface Type data on any route – This only updates surface-type information on your specific route.

I’ll emphasize the second option only changes the surface type in the route you are working on. Like other custom-edited items like manually added cues, it is lost if that portion of the route is resnapped.

From my perspective as a route developer and maintainer, this feature’s frequent glitches just add more work. You can turn it off in your personal account like so:

1. Log into your account on the website> Click More> Edit Profile (see image:

2. Click RWGPS Labs> Toggle on or off to enable or disable (see image: 

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Chehalis Western Trail Construction

Contributed by Josh Morse

Thurston County is improving a section of the Chehalis Western Trail (CWT) between Lacey and Rainier. The CWT is closed now between 89th Ave SE and 103rd Ave SE with a scheduled reopening on September 15, 2021.

Thurston County Project Site

There was not an obvious detour instruction on the trail.  When riding from the north (away from Olympia/Lacey) the following route will bypass the construction and rejoin the trail:

  • Ride east 1 mile on 89th AVE SE to right turn on Rainier Rd
  • Go 0.9 miles to Right/south on Stedman Rd
  • Ride 2.8 miles on Stedman Rd to left turn to rejoin CWT. 

The reverse works for the return. The detour adds about 2 miles each direction. 
There is a good size shoulder on Rainier Rd, less so on Stedman Rd but traffic is lighter than on Rainier Rd. 
Olympia/Lacey Area Trails Update- Impact on:

  • 100k Permanents 2985 and 3056
  • 200k Permanent 749

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Summer 400 km Pacific Beach Brevet Pre-Ride Report

Pre-drive by Bill Gobie

This ride starts and ends in Bremerton. If you have not been to the Seattle ferry terminal recently give yourself plenty of time to find the entrance. You can buy your ferry ticket online. The “mobile delivery” option will give you a bar code that can be scanned from your phone. If you are riding onto the ferry you can use the bike scanner to the right of the vehicle lanes at the fare booths.

The route is final pending a final review. The link (same as on the SIR ride page):

The biggest changes from the previous running of this route are:

  • Massive rerouting of the southwest corner of the route due to horrible construction on WA-109. I think the inland route from Copalis Beach is nicer anyway.
  • Slight rerouting in Hoquiam and Aberdeen.
  • The grill at You & I Market in Pacific Beach is not operating. The store has the usual convenience store items, but fresh teriyaki or burgers are not available.
  • All intermediate controls are info controls.

Other points:

  • The gravel portion of Cougar-Smith Rd is in very good condition. There are no large holes. Stretches are extremely rough, however.
  • Slower riders will have to cover the final 125 km from Montesano without resupplying.

Full disclosure: The picture was taken about 5pm near Union. Only very fast riders will get to view this scene… perhaps make this a stretch goal!

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Permanent Route Updates

Robert Hendry designed a new route, 04176 PTQ-Pretty Flat for this Side, 100 km. Flat Earth Randonneurs will be disappointed to learn the route is in Jefferson County, which is mostly unflat.

By popular demand (well actually one person asked for it), the canceled Summer 400 km brevet from Issaquah to Yakima Valley & back was turned into a permanent, 04180 Wet Side-Dry Side, 403 km. About half of this route is on the gravel Snoqualmie Valley and Palouse to Cascades Trails. Intermediate controls on the brevet were removed to allow one to free-route on even more gravel on the PTC east of Cle Elum.

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Permanent Route Updates

Route 00342 Bainbridge-Port Townsend, 205 km, has been added. The updated route is a synthesis and reworking of the original 342 and 2360 routes.

The new gravel route 04162 Hyak-Stampede & Tacoma Passes-Lake Easton, 103 km, is a trimmed-down variation of the 171-km 3907 Stampede Tacoma Gravel Lollipop.

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Summer 300k Brevet Pre-ride Report

Mysterious Mountain

310 km, 9000 ft climbing

Pre-riders: Adam Glass, Bill Gobie

The camera doesn’t do justice to my sunscreen

The ride begins and ends in the Renton Village shopping center, 601 S Grady Way, Renton. The start is at the Starbucks. Recommended parking is north across Grady Way at the South Renton Park & Ride. The finish will be at the Applebee’s until it closes at midnight, then at the volunteers’ cars in the parking lot. Fast riders (you know who you are) please text the organizers from Enumclaw so we know when to staff the finish.

This ride will have no on-course support. Carrying adequate water for the climb to Cayuse Pass is essential. Devise a way to carry more water than you normally do.

The forecast is for warm and clear conditions. Be prepared with plenty of sunscreen and perhaps protective clothing.

The descent from Cayuse Pass may be cold, particularly for tired and dehydrated riders. Bring a wind jacket and some warm clothing.

The preride started in early morning sunshine. Clouds soon moved in and conditions remained unexpectedly cool, verging on cold, all the way to Elbe. This was the first time I have been in Eatonville when it was not stinking hot. It’s not all that bad a place.

No rabbits in sight – full speed ahead! Four water bottles!

The route begins with a long roll on the Interurban Trail with its numerous railroad crossings. Many of the rubber tiles at the crossings were recently renewed. Not all, however! Most of the crossings are oblique to some degree, so exercise caution at the crossings.

Stay alert for suicide rabbits. The rabbits look well-fed this year. Hitting one could take you down.

If the weather is clear you should get the first views of Mt Rainier, awakening from its overnight slumber, unaware yet of your approach.

After taking surface streets in Pacific the route transitions to the Sumner Link trail with pleasant views of the White River. The trail has some surprisingly sharp turns so heed the warnings in the route file.

In Sumner you ride the aptly named Traffic Ave, then turn onto Shaw Rd. Shaw begins with a bridge that is steeper than it looks. The extra-wide sidewalk is recommended for the climb.

The next long segment is on the Foothills Trail to Orting. A public restroom with water is located close to the start of the trail. Like the Sumner Link, this trail has surprisingly sharp turns, generally when approaching rail crossings. Expect pedestrian and casual bike traffic to increase as you approach Orting, although it may be relatively light due to the early hour riders should reach Orting. Keep in mind the local drivers expect to have their right of way at intersections.

The route does not follow our traditional way through Orting! The aim is to avoid the busy intersections and pedestrian traffic on the trail in central Orting. Be alert for the right turn onto Whitehawk Blvd. A “landmark” instruction at the school track is intended to wake you up. If you need supplies there is a cue to head off-route at Whitsell.

Next we head south past Lake Kapowsin and Ohop Lake to Eatonville. These roads were unexpectedly quiet on the pre-ride, possibly because we were on them several hours earlier than has been the case with routes that start in Seattle. Turning onto WA-161 expect impatient loud traffic on the climb into Eatonville.

From Eatonville the route follows the less busy option to Alder Lake, highways 161 and 7. Shoulders were good except for a few tight spots. Pretty forest appears. Be alert for deer (and elk) (on the entire route).

Oh deer!

Turning alongside Alder lake on WA-7, Mt Rainier suddenly looms, challenging, “Who approaches?”

“Who enters my domain?”

Running toward Elbe at up to 25 mph we enjoyed a great tailwind. The temperature rose abruptly into the 70s. We walked the evil track crossing just before town.

This crossing is not a peach

In Elbe we found packaged sandwiches (expiration date in August!) at the Elbe Junction, opposite the decaying Heisler logging locomotive. There are several other options for food.

Steel is real

Leaving Elbe we walked the second abominable track crossing. The run to Ashford is generally a false flat. Don’t knock yourself out trying to make speed here. Ashford offers a couple of stores for final supplies before climbing to Skate Creek.

The climb to Skate Creek was well shaded and quiet with good road surfaces. At one point you may feel you are being watched – what, is it Sasquatch? No, the Mountain is surveilling you through the trees. The trees part and the stern, silent Mountain assesses you, then slips back behind the trees. What does the Mountain plan for you?

You persist, mortal?”

The Skate Creek summit transitions gradually to downhill, and then becomes seriously downhill. The road is in much better condition than I have seen it at times, but hazards still abound. Most potholes have been circled with paint, but not all. The dappled light under the trees demands full attention. Be satisfied with listening to the cascading waterfalls. Don’t look at them! Finally the right-hand hairpin turn heralds arrival in Packwood.

Skate Creek

In Packwood we ate at the convenience store at the intersection with US-12. It is now a 76 gas station. The outdoor portable toilets were out of paper; you might want to bring your own supply. There are other food options in Packwood if you go off-route right on US-12. Leave with a full load of water and food.

Heading east on US-12 the climb to Cayuse Pass begins with ascending rollers. They seem fun despite the lack of shade. The temperature rapidly rose into the 90s. Then the Mountain flicks the grade up to 5% and enlists the sun to torment the unworthy. My gps recorded 102 degrees alongside a basalt wall. When you find the rare spot where a tree’s shadow stretches across the road, stop in it and cool down.

Pass the gantlet, and the Mountain grants reprieve on shady WA-123. As a National Park road, commercial truck traffic is banned and most of the car drivers seemed mellow. After about three miles you pass Ohanapecosh Campground. I had drunk so much water in the ten miles from Packwood that I opted to get more water here. It was a good idea. Notes for finding water here and later at Silver Springs Campground have been added to the RwGPS file’s description. These are not in the cue sheet!

Shade on hwy 123

I cannot overemphasize how important hydration on this climb is, and how necessary to carry a great deal of water particularly if you are slow climber. I drank five bottles on this climb plus most of a bottle of liquid food. Don’t be tempted to pour water over your head. With a limited supply it is much wiser to drink your water.

Eventually the tree cover becomes sparse and you are again exposed to the sun. Fortunately the air becomes cooler at higher altitudes. Unfortunately, the air becomes thinner while the grade increases to 4-6%. If you’ve had as little altitude exposure this year as me, you will notice.

Getting high

The only truly unpleasant part of WA-123 is the tunnel at 190 miles. Be absolutely certain to turn your lights on!

Keep plugging along and eventually the Mountain will acknowledge your spirit, permitting your arrival at Cayuse Pass. Don’t fret if you are behind the clock, you’re about to become a gravity bomb. The upper five miles of 410 descend at 7%. Some braking is needed to hang on to the corners and the road surface is a bit rough in places. Drivers may be afflicted with must pass bicycle syndrome despite you perhaps reaching 45 mph or more. I confess it was gratifying seeing how desperately the drivers braked when they realized how hot they were coming into the next curve.

After an info control at Crystal Mountain Blvd you may want to stop at Silver Springs Campground to fill a bottle. Instructions for finding the water are in the RwGPS description.

In Greenwater only Naches Tavern was open when we arrived. Being Sunday night, and being Naches Tavern, they were out of food. Perhaps they will be better stocked on Saturday. The water we got from the bar was vaguely tainted with cherry soda.

We finished the descent to Enumclaw in the dark. This was not fun. I recommend trying to get to Enumclaw in daylight. Enumclaw has numerous food options. We opted for the traditional randonneur repas en plein air, namely chips and soda on a convenience store sidewalk.

From Enumclaw the route courses north across the plain toward Green Valley. We hit surprising pockets of cold air. After dropping into Green Valley the route hits you with a final steep test heading toward Lake Sawyer.

The last fifteen miles are an easy roll down the Maple Valley trail. In the dark don’t miss the turn to the trail from Maxwell Rd. Maxwell becomes steeper downhill just after, so be mindful here. On the trail be careful of the posts at road crossings. At the Renton end of the trail ride slowly and be respectful of pedestrians.

Renton’s one-way streets send us on the usual indirect wander through downtown. There is extensive road construction. Skinny-tire folks should be wary of pinch flatting.

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Permanent Route Updates

Mark Thomas created a new route, 04143 Table Mountain, 103 km, based in Ellensburg. This route climbs to an awesome vantage point north of Ellensburg.

01555 Olympic Peninsula Spin, 604 km, was reinstated. Due to the continuing Covid-19 closure of the Quileute Nation, the out and back to First Beach was replaced with an out and back leg to the Olympic National Park Hoh Entrance station. The route does not enter the park so no entrance fee is required.

In housekeeping notes, a few routes were not showing up on the overview maps. This oversight has been fixed and the routes should show up with the next autoupdate of the maps. Affected routes: 1017, 1234, 1306, 2300. (The maps are linked on the SIR RwGPS home page.)

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Summer Solstice 1000K Pre-ride Report

Ray Whitlock pre-rode the 1000K route, and provided this report. Registration closes next Wednesday, and you can register here.

I have 2 confessions to make. The first, I DNF’d this ride, not necessarily because of ride difficulty or because of medical or mechanical issues, but simply because the rain on Day 1 and for the last 5 hours of Day 2 was non-stop. The second is that I rode the days out of order. With the weather forecasting ½ inch of rain and temperatures in the low 40’s near Lake Quinault, there was no way I was going to ride a route with 30 miles of gravel and going through many areas with no cell coverage. They say that bad decisions make for good stories, but I wanted to survive to tell mine. The good news is that it appears I got the bad weather out of the way for you all and the forecast looks great for June 25 – June 28!

What follows is a daily account of what I found on the ride as if I had ridden it in the proper order. Since I couldn’t convince myself to ride an entire 300K in a downpour, I didn’t ride Day 3 but did drive most of the route and have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Well, except for the pit bulls. I also was able to ride the section of the Willapa Hills Trail that’s on Day 3’s route a couple weeks ago, so have first-hand knowledge of that section.

Day1 :

Heading out of town early in the morning, the route travels some normally busy roads. However, at 5:30 am, it will be no problem. Before you know it, you’re out of town and almost feel like you’re in the wilderness already. On a calm, misty morning, the sights along Mud Bay and Madrona Beach are gorgeous.

Highway 101 is a busy road but there’s a wide shoulder so no issues there. At approximately 8 miles from the Matlock Store, I was shocked out of my zone by a pit bull that came running out of his driveway unimpeded and headed straight for my left foot! It was all I could do to get unclipped and off my bike while nearly falling over to get my bike between me and the dog. I yelled at him to go home several times before he finally started doing so. As I started pedaling again, he once again gave chase. I yelled again and walked my bike for a while until I was certain he was back home, and I could outrun him if need be.

Your first opportunity for food and water comes at the Matlock Store ~37 miles from the start of the ride. The store doesn’t open until 8 am so if you’re fast, you may get there before they open. It may be worthwhile though as the next opportunity for water isn’t for another ~30 miles at Wynoochee Lake and your next opportunity for food isn’t for another ~70 miles at Lake Quinault.

The section from Matlock to Wynoochee is straightforward. There’s a slow 2.5-mile section of gravel at mile 49, but I rode it on tubeless 28’s and didn’t have any issues. Turn right at mile 66.5 and you’ll have a nice descent on a beautiful paved road down to the Wynoochee Lake dam. Keep riding until you get to the signs indicating the campground and boat launch. I had some difficulty finding the boat launch, but if you veer right past the sign that says “Welcome to Coho Campground” and don’t enter Loop B of the campground, you will find a parking lot for boats, bathrooms and a steep, short downhill to the lake. The views are definitely worth it! Enjoy some lunch in the sunshine, fill up your water bottles and enjoy the spotless restrooms with running water.

Retrace your steps to get out of Wynoochee and turn right onto Forest Service Road 22/Donkey Creek Road. The gravel begins almost immediately and doesn’t stop completely for 14 miles. There’s a long stretch of gravel followed by a long stretch of pavement and then gravel and pavement interspersed with each other frequently. The gravel is in pretty good shape, but I did find myself riding on the wrong side of the road to find a good line. If you do this, beware that people camp along this road and you should expect vehicles. Stay alert, keep your headlight on and try not to do this on blind corners. I rode on 28’s but you may be able to go faster and be happier if you ride on 32’s or larger. Also, I had no Verizon cell service from Wynoochee all the way to Highway 101 so it may be a good idea to have a Spot or InReach GPS tracker with you on this ride in case you need help in this area.

Once you turn onto Highway 101, it’s 13 miles along this busy, but well-shouldered road to your next turn. The Lake Quinault area has 2 choices for food and beverages along the South Shore Road and 1 on the North Shore Road. It’s probably best to stock up as soon as you can as by now, as it’s been a long haul since Matlock. The Quinault Mercantile is open every day 8 AM – 8 PM. The road along the south side of the road is nice pavement for about 8 miles until you hit gravel. The gravel along the south side is buttery smooth, but the north side offers some bigger stuff along with some potholes.

I found that once I turned east onto the North Shore Road, both of my GPS devices were constantly alerting me that I was off route. Ignore the noise and keep riding. There’s only 1 road on this side of the lake so it would be difficult to be off route. Stop at the North Grocery (open 5 AM – 10 PM) and restock your supplies as it’s another 20 miles down to the Humptulips Grocery store for the next opportunity.

There’s nothing very exciting between here and the end of the ride, except for the fact that when I was entering the small town of Montesano, I had flashbacks of PBP 2019 as the entrance into town was slightly uphill with a church at the top! It was about then that I looked down at the road conditions and realized, nope, I’m not in France!

Day 2: Whereas Day 1 headed west to the Olympics, Day 2 takes us east to the Cascades and near Mt. Rainier. The day starts off heading south on less busier roads than days 1 or 3. You’re out of town before you know it with plenty of services along the way as you’re generally paralleling the west side of I-5 all the way down to Chehalis. Don’t miss the turn at mile 22.7 like I did! You really do take the I-5 South on ramp, but you don’t get onto I-5 as the road splits beforehand.

There is a nice couple mile long stretch of trail that parallels the road between Centralia and Chehalis which is a nice relief from riding on the road. Make sure you stock up in food and water once you get to Chehalis as the next opportunity to do isn’t for another 40 miles in Morton. Once you turn east out of Chehalis, it’s a long gradual climb out through Alpha and Cinebar with little traffic. Eventually, you parallel the Tilton River for several miles of beautiful riding through big forests.

In Morton, you’ll have to go off route south for about ½ mile to get to services at the Morton Country Market. However, I felt it was well worth it as they have everything you need including a hot food bar and a nice wood shed located right next to the entrance where I was able to sit and get out of the rain. For the rest of you, maybe you’ll need relief from the sun.

From Morton, you’ll continue on a nice stretch of road until you eventually hit Highway 12 which is a busy road but has a nice wide shoulder. The next opportunity for food and water is in Randle where you turn south to get off the highway. Now you’re back on pleasant and peaceful country roads with little traffic. That is, until you encounter the Pit Bull Challenge #2 along Cline Road at approximately 3.5 miles before you hit Bennett Road. I spotted this guy barking at me and running along the other side of the fence and didn’t think much of it as randonneurs encounter this all the time. You see the dog running but you know you’re safe because there’s a fence between you and him, so you blow him kisses or say sweet things like, “You’re such a good doggie”. Well, on this occasion, as I watched the good doggie running on the opposite side of the fence, I saw him disappear behind some trees and bushes temporarily until he got to the corner of his property where I thought the chase would end. To my shock and horror, he continued running as fast as ever but there didn’t appear to be a fence any longer! Next thing I knew, he was out on the road making a beeline toward my foot and it was déjà vu all over again trying not to fall over while fighting off this beast. He did eventually give up after a lot of yelling and walking of my bike and using it as a shield between him and I. On neither of these encounters did anyone at the homes of these good doggies appear or voice any kind of commands to their pets, so exercise caution as it may be a regular thing with all cyclists.

With my blood pumping, the next 6 or 7 miles along Bennett Road and Highway 12 into Packwood were a piece of cake. There are plenty of choices in Packwood for food and drink, but I chose the 76 station at Skate Creek Road as they have plenty of choices and there’s an info control there anyway. Stock up here because the next opportunity isn’t for another 25 miles in Ashford at the always friendly Suver’s General Store.

From there, it’s a beautiful ride up Skate Creek which is a 10- or 12-mile climb but it’s a nice, gradual incline coming from this side. The early Summer we had in May, followed by our most recent monsoons in June-uary have the greens of the forests and the whites of the gurgling creeks popping in a stunning array of colors. At the next stop of Ashford it’s a cruise along Highway 706 to Elbe where you join Highway 7. Beware of the railroad tracks both on your way into and out of Elbe as both sets are at treacherous angles to the road.

The next 10 miles of road are pretty busy with little to no shoulders in places. However, with it being a Saturday (instead of a Sunday when a lot of folks would be leaving Mt. Rainier) and the slow speed limits posted at some of the narrow, tight turns I think the traffic won’t be too much of a stress factor.

I must admit I really did not enjoy the 10 miles from Eatonville up to where you make the turn onto Kinsman Road. There’s a lot of traffic and once again, little to no shoulder in places. I did however find that most vehicles were courteous, and I don’t think I got honked at a single time. Make sure you have all your lights flashing and ride single file if you’re in a group.

You get to enjoy some peaceful forested roads once again when you turn left at mile 168. Who knew that a military base could be so beautiful and tranquil? Highway 507 all the way down through Roy and McKenna will snap you out of your bliss as there’s a lot of traffic but good shoulders.

You pick up the bike path in Yelm for the next 13 miles. Enjoy being off the road for a while – you earned it! If you’re making good time and it’s still light outside, stop and enjoy the very funky and cool Monarch Sculpture Park. By now, you’re practically home, but don’t miss the turn on to Bonniewood Drive out near the airport as I did!

Once again, we’re heading west, but this time out to the Pacific Ocean instead of the Olympic Mountains. The road out of town takes a slightly different route than Day 1 due to RUSA rules. Early on a Sunday morning, it should be no problem. On this day, you take Highway 8 to go west. Again, a busy road with a wide shoulder. The first opportunity to restock your food and drinks is at McCleary, approximately 22 miles from the La Quinta. You’ll soon be following familiar roads, except that things look all turned around because on Day 1 you were traveling some of these roads in the opposite direction.

Stock up in Montesano because it may be a while longer for any other opportunities depending upon what you’re able to find in Cosmopolis and along the highway to Twin Harbors. Heading out of Montesano there are some narrow bridges and hills along Highway 7 but a good shoulder to ride on otherwise.

As you pull in to Cosmopolis up Blue Slough Road, make sure you take an immediate left onto 2nd to the left of the Cosmopolis sign as soon as you take a right on 1st. It comes up fast! Make your way to the trail adjacent to the yellow Lions Club building. There’s fountain water and honey buckets available.

You may get lucky and find some services open along Highway 105 on a tourist-filled Sunday afternoon. If not, enjoy the views of these lush forest and tidal landscapes. Just past the first Twin Harbors entrance, you’ll find a Shell station with a Subway sandwich shop on the right. Otherwise, the next entrance to Twin Harbors offers flush toilets and running water.

Once you enter Grayland (I’m starting to understand how it got its name), you get a nice reprieve from Highway 105 by turning onto some flat side roads through some very scenic cranberry bogs. Thank you, Ocean Spray! The next stop on this route offers some nice views of the ever-wild Pacific Ocean. If you hauled your surfboard with you, you may be able to curve some nice turns down there.

Further on up the road, Tokeland may offer some services at the casino or the 76 station. Otherwise, make your way down the coast to Raymond where there is a 76 station, a coffee shop, and a Dairy Queen. All are just a bit off route but probably worth it. The next opportunity isn’t for another 28 miles in Pe Ell.

In Raymond, I was hoping the route could turn onto a short section of the Willapa Hills Trail to avoid some traffic on Highway 6. However, after checking it out in the pouring rain, I’m not certain the chunky gravel is very ridable once the pavement ends. Thus, up Highway 6 it goes with some tight turns and a narrow bridge right outside of Raymond, followed by a couple narrow bridges further on up the road.

There are sections along this road that have little or no shoulder; however, on a Sunday night with your bike lights flashing, I don’t think it will be an issue.

The Pe Ell Texaco station, 28 miles from Raymond, should be open until 10 pm on a Sunday night. Shortly thereafter, you finally get to turn onto the packed gravel and very dark by this point, Willapa Hills Trail. Over the Memorial Day weekend, I rode this section of mostly packed gravel at almost road speeds on tubeless 28’s. The only difference is that then it was broad daylight whereas by now, it will probably be completely dark. Have your headlights blazing and it will probably go just as smoothly for you.

Approximately 19 miles later, as you’re preparing to turn left onto Highway 6, please exercise caution as the gravel here is very large and loose and the left-hand turn onto Highway 6 is a bit of a blind corner with vehicles approaching at high speeds from the left. There’s a 76 station not too far up the road from here.

As you enter Centralia on the sidewalk under I-5, the Chevron straight ahead of you may be the last chance for supplies so you should probably stock up now if you need it. The last 30 miles into Tumwater is nothing exciting but fairly straightforward in getting the horses back to the barn.

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