Pacific Coast Sierra Cascades Bike Trip Day 51 – From the Wet Side to the Dry Side

Last night was cool even at an elevation of 1,500 feet. I got going at 6 heading east on US 12 toward White Pass (4,080 feet elevation). I hoped to eat breakfast #2 in Packwood after 16 miles of almost flat cycling. In Packwood, a local told me that there was not a sit-down breakfast cafe. Thus, I bought coffee and a freshly baked blueberry muffin and coffee. Former cycle racer Jim and I chatted while I dined in front the the store. As I rode out of town, I noticed a breakfast cafe. Oh, well. The 2,500 foot climb to the pass over 20 miles awaited. Onward and upward on US 12 to the turnoff to Mt. Rainier and continues on US 12 to the pass. On the climb, I had a fine view of Rainier from an overlook. I ate lunch at the Cracklebarrel Store at White Pass. While I ate, a woman arrived with a dozen food boxes mailed from PCT hikers. I sent one there in 2014 on my PCT hike. Almost immediately after I crossed the pass and entered the dry side of the Cascades, the air warmed and the humidity dropped. The descent ran all the way to Yakima, about 40 miles. I passed by 5-mile long Rimrock Lake and dropped into ponderosa pine forest. After passing the dam that formed the lake, I rode along the scenic Tieton River (see photo). Lower down, the forest gave way to tan grasslands on volcanic hillsides. The air heated (to about 95) and I got thirsty. Near Naches, a guy who waved a water bottle at me asking if I was interested. I drank the offered water in about 10 seconds. Onward on US 12 now 4 lanes. I rode on I-82 for a few miles then wisely exited to find a motel in Yakima. I bargained the Y Motel from $121 to $75. The joy of a cool room and no sun. The 82 miles of riding started cool and ended hot.

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