by Ray Whitlock
The Summer Solstice 1000k is a brand new route and should entail some great adventuring. We have traveled most of these roads on other Brevets and Permanents, but there are a few twists and turns to keep you entertained. The route consists of 3 loops all starting and finishing at the La Quinta Inn in Tumwater, WA. While that will make it easy to clean up and grab some sleep after each loop, it will also provide an easy temptation to abandon. There are portions of the ride that will require more than the usual rando self-sufficiency. Make sure you check your yearning for sleep and civilization at the door so that you can successfully finish the entire adventure!
Day 1 has us heading out for the biggest challenge of the 3 days where we will ride out past Shelton and Matlock on mainly paved back roads. We make a visit to Wynoochee Lake for some incredible views of the Wynoochee River valley, refill our water bottles, visit some civilized restrooms and maybe even take a swim if it’s a warm day. From there, we will head southwest onto Donkey Creek Road (FS Development Road 22) and approximately 7 miles of gravel before the pavement begins again. At Highway 101, we turn north up to and around Lake Quinault, circumnavigating it in a counter-clockwise fashion. The south shore of the lake is a bit of a roller coaster, but nicely paved with a couple choices for services along the way. Stock up there and get ready for another approximately 11-mile stretch of well-packed gravel (rideable on 25’s/28’s) just beyond the east end of the lake and around to the north shore where we’ll head west and eventually rejoin 101 to head south. From there, it’s a 16-mile cruise down the wide-shouldered 101 where we will pick up some more back roads all the way down to Montesano. At Montesano, we head east to Elma along the Monte-Elma Road and then head south all the way down past Oakville on lightly trafficked back roads. The final stretch of the day has us heading north up through the Mima Mounds area and back to Tumwater for a well-deserved night of rest.
Day 2 will be a nice break from the hard work you put in the previous day and should give your legs somewhat of a break in preparation for the adventures of Day 3. We head west to Montesano, Cosmopolis and all the way out to Twin Harbors State Park for a view of the Pacific Ocean where we will head south along the water down to the northern portion of Willapa Bay. From there it’s a trip through Raymond for a restocking of food and water and then along the well-shouldered Highway 6 for a return trip towards the east. With any luck, we’ll be able to ride a 20-30 mile stretch of the Willapa Hills Trail on pavement and well-packed gravel starting at the town of Pe Ell or at Rainbow Falls State Park. How much of this trail is rideable will be determined during the pre-ride or maybe sooner. From there, we’ll make our way back north through Centralia, Bucoda and Tenino for our second overnight in Tumwater.
Day 3 has us going east into the foothills near Mt. Rainier. We head south along generally flat roads through Centralia and Chehalis until we turn east and climb steadily up through Alpha and Cinebar. We will travel along Highway 12 for approximately 20k until we get to Randle and head a bit south and cross the Cowlitz River. With some luck the Eastern Washington wind machine will give riders a nice push up Highway 12.
We travel along the south side of the river along Cline Road most of the way into Packwood. Packwood will be a good opportunity to stock up on food and water before heading up the largest climb of the day, Skate Creek Road. We’ll follow the scenic Johnson Creek all the way up and back down to near the Nisqually River where we will head back to the west and along the river into Ashford for a restocking of supplies. From there it’s east through Elbe and along Alder Lake and then north on Highway 7 to avoid some of the angry traffic along the Alder Cutoff Road. From Eatonville we head north and even further north to avoid the heavy traffic and lack of shoulder along Highway 702. We then head south and cruise through Roy and McKenna until we pick up the Chehalis Western Trail in Yelm. The trail will send us north and east along the north side of Offutt Lake and back to the finish line in Tumwater.
- Registration Opens May 25
- Hotel accommodations – Registered riders will be responsible for making their own hotel accommodations
- There are portions of the ride that will require more than the usual rando self-sufficiency
- RwGPS route and or information will be updated on the registration page as it becomes available