Sunday, July 3, 2016

Camping across Washington




On the first weekend of June we loaded up our bikes and headed out to explore the Mountain Loop Highway.

We had heard it was a great ride, and it did not disappoint. A short ride North-East of Seattle had us entering the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. We had figured we would find a place with some open camping spots and snag one. But as we rode onward, all the campsites had signs out that they were full. This was a little disconcerting, but we were in it for the ride as much as the camping. And the roads up here were fantastic. We practically had the road to ourselves, and it was well paved. Until it wasn't.









People who told us about this road had neglected to mention that about 20 miles of the loop becomes suddenly unpaved. It was no problem though, as we had bought these bikes to go off-roading, and this was a great first test for them. They flew off the pavement and the difference was indiscernible. They handled as smoothly as ever and after riding exactly 100 miles from our house we came across Clear Creek Campground. We pulled in and found the last available campsite, paid our $14, and quickly set up camp.








Once our campsite was set, we drove 3 miles further into the tiny town of Darrington and had a great dinner at the Burger Barn.



After dinner we headed back to camp and enjoyed some beers by the fire while the daughter of a nearby family watched Johanna intently, fascinated to see a woman riding her own motorcycle.







We slept great under the stars and got an early start home the next morning. After a quick stop to the microscopic town of Bryant (how could we skip that?), we headed home.


The other side of the loop was another well paved and nearly empty road, and we were home before we knew it.



A few weeks later we loaded up the bikes with our friends TJ and Rachel and headed down I-90 to the Tinkham campground.

Guest appearance by The Great Destroyer!

We quickly set up our camp and decided to ride some of the local trails before TJ and Rachel had to head back to the city. The ride got pretty muddy, and with no tail fender, so did TJ's back and helmet. After riding for a bit, we returned to camp and had a great time enjoying some beers by the fire.


"Blue Monster"




The next morning we were up at 6 am, and within an hour we had fully packed up our campsite and loaded it on the bikes. Yay minimalist camping! We hit the road at 7 am and drove further into the forest, headed towards Chester Morse lake. The road got pretty steep, and quickly devolved into a mix of gravel, large rocks, and slick mud.
 
But the views were amazing.
 After a while we came to a gate that closed the road. We were bummed out, but seeing no other choice, made our way back down the mountain and rode to North Bend for some breakfast.


We didn't want to go mad, so we turned back.




We've had a great time exploring Washington, and can't wait to do more camping trips across the state. We're heading to Costa Rica tomorrow, so look for a post about that in a few weeks.

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