It has been a busy few days…let’s catch up! Sunday morning I left Leavenworth and continued on the Cascade Loop towards the Methow Valley. The scenery changes quite dramatically as you go from mountains, to more dessert terrain with orchards and wineries everywhere as you continue east. I went as far east as Wenatchee, then headed north from there.
I had a few ideas for places to stop, but one place that caught my eye as i was driving past was the Rocky Reach Dam. Being a civil engineer (by degree anyway) I find dams to be pretty fascinating things. Rocky Reach has some terrific exhibits open to the public. You can stand by viewing windows and watch for different fish to make their way along the fish ladder for the dam. You can see the turbines where all the magic happens. (Although ultimately you can’t see a lot since all the action happens below the concrete surface)It was actually a beautiful spot, and everything was free to the public.
From there I drove past Lake Chelan to Manson. Wineries and orchards are in abundance here, plus it is a popular spot for all kinds of water sport related things. Can you believe it, I actually didn’t stop at any wineries? Where I did go was to Blueberry Hills Farm in Manson. They have a great spot for lunch and the pies are fantastic. Since people will apparently drive 400 miles for the beef dip sandwich I decided to give it a try…and it was mighty tasty!After I left Manson I drove through the Methow Valley to my next destination for the evening, the Mt. Gardner Inn in Winthrop. Winthrop is a pretty cute little town – it looks like you have stepped into the wild old west. I arrived in town around 5 pm…so unfortunately a lot of the shops along the main drag were closing, but it was still neat to wander around.For dinner I drove a short distance to Twisp as I had heard good things about the Twisp River Pub. I decided to throw caution to the wind and order their bacon cheddar burger since apparently all of their ground beef is sourced within 100 miles of Twisp. I have to say…the burger was a heavenly experience! Their ESB (extra special bitter) was pretty darn tasty too!
On Monday I had planned to laze about in the morning, check out of my hotel, go for a bike ride, then hit the road for my next destination. As there wasn’t a whole lot of distance between my two stopping points this seemed like a pretty good idea. Unfortunately I woke up before 6 am as the person upstairs was stomping about. There was no going back to bed, so I decided to hurry up and get ready, ride, then be back in time to shower before checking out.
I had planned a nice route from Winthrop, south to Twisp, on to Carlton and back. There are some roads that parallel the main highway with minimal traffic, and even better scenery. Plus the route is essentially pretty flat. Starting this early in the morning meant that it was still pretty brisk out – thank goodness I had brought my arm warmers along! As I rode along I started thinking that I might change my plans since I was now riding a fair bit earlier than expected… I got a fantastic ride in though, just over 36 miles.