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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be our first cycling tour and we're self supported.The plan is to do the trip with 2 other couples,start in the san juans and finish a week later in astoria. We plan on camping and a hotel every 3 days. Plan on using a BOB trailer to pull our gear. We are desert creatures from Az, this will obviously be a different ride than we are used to. So...how much rain can we expect at the end of april.Will this reek havoc on our bikes? What kinda temps should we plan for? Any routes in particular we should take or avoid? Any tips would be grateful...
Dodi
 

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How much rain at the end of April? Wouldn't you prefer July? You're almost certain to have at least some rain in April. There's a chance it could rain most of the week. We just had a moderately dry Feb, and April could be the same, but snowpacks are high throughout the region and there's been much more coastal flooding than usual this year.

Your bikes will be fine even if it rains constantly. I'd have fenders along, as much for your companions as for yourselves or your bikes. Road spry from a bike in front of you can get really tiresome.

You don't mention which route you're interested in - Olympic Penninsula or mainland. The San Juans are a tough starting point if you're flying in from out of state. It will add a day of travel to get there from almost anywhere you fly to, unless you fly there "directly," which usually means a float plane.

The upper Olympic Pennisula can be tough, particularly in April. The wild west (coastal) side would have lower traffic and some nice riding and a few glimpses of the ocean, but it catches almost any rain passing over from the Pacific. For example, the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park is over there. The east side, along the Sound, is the main road and can have pretty heavy traffic. Plus, it would take much of another day, with two ferry trips, to get from the San Juans to the Olympic Penninsula.

I'd opt for a mainland route that went east of the Seattle metro area. The Seattle brevet group has routes that go that way on their website www.seattlerandonneur.org. You'll be in lush farmland, pass along foothills of the Cascade Mtns. You can come into Oregon at any of several spots.

Let me know if you need more info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanx

Thanks for the tips. I was asked to come along on the trip so date planning wasnt an option for us. We are planning to take the mainland route, that much I know. Good camping/roads/towns? Ultimately we are flying home thru portland.I was told we might go to astoria and catch a shuttle from there to portland. Just trying to get an idea of what we're in for. Hows the terrain...hills or big climbs? I'm also thinking of switching to a triple up front to assist since I'll be towing our gear, any thoughts?
Thanx again Dodi
 

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There are tons of route options on the mainland. There are big hills, if you want them, or not. If you go to Mapquest and enter monroe, wa, you'll see a hwy 203 that runs north/south along the foothills. That route avoids mountain passes. That would be a good start. We can talk more about route options further south, if you like this option.

If you want some climbing fun, you can cross the Cascades at either of a couple places to get to eastern WA where the weather will almost certainly be drier/warmer than on the west side. The northern crossing, through the region of North Cascades National Park, is beautiful. These passes might have 2000-3000 feet of climbing, or more, but the grades are pretty moderate, so the climbs are do-able even with a loaded touring bike. There are other passes to choose from, too. The eastern route could also take you through the Columbia River Gorge (highly recommended) on the Oregon side, as an alternative to going to Astoria (nice, but not as nice as the Gorge), so you ride into Portland rather than sit on a shuttle bus to get there.

OK - here's the route I'd do from the San Juans... (why start there, by the way??)

On the mainland, go east on hwy 20 thru N. Cascades NP to Winthrop (lodging, maybe camping), at Twisp go south on 153 to Pateros, take 97 south, with its zig-zag toward Leavenworth (faux Bavaria, if you want to go out of your way a bit) to Goldendale (you might want to use 821 & 22 to get to Granger, but I've not ridden those roads). From here you could take 142 to Lyle, which is a very nice road (look back over your should on occaision here for a great view), and backtrack east to cross the Colubia at The Dalles. This road is worht the backtrack. For a more direct route, stay on 97 south of Goldendaleto cross the Columbia.

The Dalles is a nice spot, and now you're on your way through the Columbia River Scenic Hwy. There are a couple missing sections of the old highway, so you'll be on freeway for one or two short sections, but for the other time you will be on a very, very beautiful road, some of it car-free, reclaimed highway, some amazing headlands, an old 1920's tunnel (car-free) with windows blasted in the rock, and about 1/2 dozen very nice waterfalls (including the 4th tallest(?) in the US). You can spend your last night in Troutdale (eastern edge of Portland) at Edgefield, which is run by the local McMenamin Brothers micro-brew magnates... a 1900s poor farm converted to a nice casual hotel/BB/brewpub/winery. The airport is an easy 15 mile ride away.

Ok, I got carried away...but this is what I would do... or might do, now that I think of it...
 

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Ooops

The Northern route might not be open in April, because of snow. Here's the link to Washington DOT roads info:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/

And here's the current report on the North Cascades Highway and a link to historic pass opening/closing dates. Well, there are other passes to chose from...

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/PassDates.htm

NORTH CASCADE HWY
Elevation: 5477ft / 1669M

Temperature:N/A

Conditions & Weather:
The North Cascades Highway is closed for the season due to heavy snow volume and avalanche danger. // N/A

Updated: 12:28 PM, Feb 28, 2006

If North Cascades is closed, I'd take 203 to Stevens Pass and cross there... It'll look better in April than it does today:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/stevens/
 

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For starters you can go to this site and play around with what it offers:
http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?centerX=-95.677068&centerY=37.0625&zl=13&fl=m-e-h-0&polyline=

It will let you see the routes available and let you see mileage and elevation changes and grades for the segments as you enter them.

The west side of the Olympics can be very damp. It grows a rainforest for a reason and April is indeed spring around here. If you just decide that for one week moisture is a good thing, you will be fine. When things are clear you will see some gorgeous views.

Take pics, file a report and most of all enjoy.
 

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Adventure Cycling route

You might consider looking at the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route. You can buy just Section 1, which takes you from Vancouver to Astoria. The map has campground and motel/B&B references, bike shops, points of interest, geography, history, etc. www.adventurecycling.org
 
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