Day 9
I rode north on highway 9 till I reached South Skagit Highway, part of AC's Washington to Minnesota route. Like highway 9, this is also a nice quite road, but it is too bumpy! I think I would have been better off riding on highway 20 on the other side of the river. My collar bone was hurting, and, as it turned out a little later, so were some spokes on my rear wheel. I stopped for a coke and a snack at the store midway and for dinner at a diner in Concrete. A nice snack and a good lunch, but more importantly, there were places to have a snack and to have lunch. Services are scarce on this part of the route!

Heading out from Concrete on highway 20, I was planning to go on to Newhalem and camp. This was despite the fact that lots of people suggested that I stop in the state campground at Rockport because it is one of the most beautiful camps in the state. Some of the same people also said that it was not good to be on highway 20 late on Friday afternoon because so many RVs from the Seattle area are on that road heading east. However, the road was smooth, the shoulder was good, the traffic was moderate, the view was nice, and the sun was shining. It was good bicycling.

About 2 miles before Rockport, while climbing a hill in my lowest gear, I heard a ping and my rear wheel started rubbing the chain stay. I stopped and discovered not one, but two broken spokes. One was on the drive side, so I needed to remove the cassette to replace it. I had a cassette removal tool, but I need a bench vise to use it. I worked for quite a while to simply get the wheel true enough to ride on, and then I rode on to Rockport State Park.

At the park I set up camp and then, on my unloaded bike, headed out to 'town' to find a garage with a bench vise. I met two park rangers working near the park entrance. When I told them I needed a bench vise, they told me that there was no garage nearer than Concrete. Rockport, despite the fact that the AC map shows it as having 'all services', really has only a grocery store with gas. Luckily, there was a good shop at the park and it had a bench vise. I decided that on future tours I will carry a hyper cracker! Bench vises are few and far between out here.

The rangers let me use the shop and I was able to replace both spokes and get the wheel into usable, but not good, true. My wheel repair skills are minimal and my spare spokes were a bit short for the non drive side, so I could only thread that one about half way in. The maps said that there was a bike shop in Winthrop, 100 miles away on the other side of Rainy and Washington passes. I hoped the wheel would hold up to the stresses going up and down those passes.

With the wheel patched I had some time to enjoy this incredible park. It is really something to hike through old growth forest. Earlier in this ride, I was struck by the beauty of young forests in Oregon. The young forests (tree farms) were elegantly simple; trees all the same size and shape and very little else. The old forest is the exact opposite; a highly complex ecosystem with hundreds of different component parts. There was a feeling of great peace in that old forest that was missing in the tree farm. Both Lewis and Clark and Rockport State parks have old forests as one of their big drawing cards because very little old forest is left in Oregon or Washington. Too bad.

After exploring the park and visiting with a motorcyclist from Vancouver Island who was camping near me, I biked into Rockport to buy some supplies for supper and for my next day's ride. I only rode about 50 miles today, but tomorrow will be a long hard day.

Previous Page Next Page