Here is what I have planned. I will head west from Coeur d’Alene to Spokane, then make my way towards the Grand Coulee Dam. I’ll then head north through the Colville Reservation to Okanogan where I can meet up with the 20 and began heading West on this highway. I’ll follow the 20 until Marblemount where I will begin heading southwest towards Edmonds. Here I will catch a ferry to Kingston and be on the Olympic Peninsula which I’m quite familiar with. The last couple days I will head north towards home in Port Angeles.
Why I chose this route
When first planning this ride we knew we wanted to go across the state from East to West so that we could finish at home. We knew we had to start somewhere in Idaho and I’ve heard such good things about Coeur d’Alene that it was the logical starting spot. Also, there are some good breweries there! The next difficult decision was what pass would be the best for crossing the Cascades in a power wheelchair. Snoqualmie Pass is the lowest elevation, however there is a ton of construction there at the moment and I would be forced on to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. I really considered this for a while, however doing tens of miles on a bumpy, dirt trail sounded miserable. Also, there would’ve been limited access to me for the support vehicle. So I then started looking at Stevens Pass. This seemed like a great route, the second highest elevation pass of my three options and there were plenty of breweries along the route. However, as I started to investigate more I found that the section of highway between Everett and Stevens Pass is affectionately known as “Highway of Death”. Now I’m not one to be averse to risk, but the ominous name of that section made me start looking for an alternative. I started to really look at SR 20. This was by far the most elevation gain of any route and also probably the most isolated. But it goes through so much beautiful national forest land and is supposed to have spectacular vistas. I’ll have to cross Washington Pass which is 5477 feet and do a total of over 25,000 feet of elevation gain throughout the entire ride. Another big perk of taking the 20 is that it is part of US Bike Route 10. This really aligned with my desire for more connected bike routes throughout our nation and Washington state in particular. This seemed like a great adventure for my power wheelchair.
How you can help
I have never been to Eastern Washington or anywhere along SR 20. I threw this route together with some tips from friends and some bike maps I found online. I’m sure there are sections where there are better alternatives. I divided the route up into 13 segments and I’m hoping to get some feedback from people who have ridden any section that I’ve listed. I would love suggestions on any portion of the ride, however I would really love input on the best way to get from Getchell to Edmonds. I basically let the map suggest the best way for cyclists to get between those two points. Maybe it’s a good route, but I am betting there’s a better option.
Without further ado: The Route
Overall Route: Coeur d’Alene to Port Angeles
Note: to see the whole route on one map, click the link above, scroll down on the left side of the screen, and click “show all on map”.
Day One, August 12: Coeur d’Alene to Spokane
Day Two, August 13: Spokane to Davenport
Day Three, August 14: Davenport to Hesseltine
Day Four, August 15: Hesseltine to Whitmore Lookout
Day Five, August 16: Whitmore Lookout to Okanogan
Day Six, August 17: Okanogan to Winthrop
Note: day six may be overambitious. 40 miles with a 4000 foot climb is really pushing the limits of my chair. I may try to extend day five a bit to lighten the load for day six.
Day Seven, August 18: Winthrop to Bridge Creek
Day Eight, August 19: Bridge Creek to Newhalem
Day Nine, August 20: Newhalem to Darrington
Day Ten, August 21: Darrington to Getchell
Day Eleven, August 22: Getchell to Edmonds
Day Twelve, August 23: Edmonds to Discovery Bay
Day Thirteen, August 24: Discovery Bay to Home