Crossing the Cascades

We were back on I-90 soon after the gray dawn.

I-90 on-ramp

Horse droppings on the expressway? We took a closer look.

Lost tire chains! We steered around many of them.
This one looks like a squashed animal.

We dutifully watched for elk.

Crossing the roadway.

We didn’t see any.

Nor did we see the predicted rain or snow. Just a few drops. Less than a sprinkle.

The road gradually climbed, for miles and miles, into snow country.

At what looked like the top, we didn’t see a sign.

Eh. Maybe the sign was buried in snow.

Jeffrey checked his phone’s compass/altimeter.

Yup! Over 3,000 feet. Snoqualmie Pass.

What goes up, must come down. We began the descent.

The road dropped for at least 10 miles; Jeffrey lost count. The cold rush of air penetrated Jeffrey’s four layers of clothing: shirt, down jacket, travel vest, rain jacket. We rolled fast, me in the bag, Jeffrey hyper vigilant and steering with a steel grip.

After a long while, the road flattened.

Destination: Cle Elum.

Although we didn’t feel unsafe on I-90, Jeffrey was frazzled by the roar of traffic. He saw a gap in the barbed wire lining the highway. We decided to try the Iron Horse Trail for today’s last leg.

L to R: I-90, guardrail, barbed wire, Railroad Street. At the far end, we turned right, crossed active railroad tracks, and turned left onto the Iron Horse Trail.

The trail was built on the roadbed of the now-defunct Milwaukee Road (in operation 1847-1986).

“Rails to Trails”: flat and straight.

It was slow and unpleasant to pedal on gravel.

But what a relief to be away from noisy motor traffic, alone with birds and animals too quick to photograph.

Interesting swamp flowers.
We passed mileposts counting down the distance from Chicago via the old Milwaukee Road. This one reads 2,092 (3,367 km).

At South Cle Elum, we explored the remains of the historic railroad complex.

This building housed equipment that powered electric locomotives.
The station.
A caboose: a rolling office.

We stopped at a motel. Jeffrey chatted with the man at the desk. Raz, who prefers not to be photographed, is from Nepal. He won the diversity “green card” lottery and moved to the U.S. for the adventure. He came to Cle Elum because a friend offered him work. The scenery coincidentally reminds him of Nepal, although the Himalayas are higher.

Trace is from San Diego.

Trace asked for one of our Human Rights First Ambassador cards.

He flew up north to collect this van, which he’ll drive home and convert into a camper.

It’s part of his plan to bike the Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada. He’ll put a bed in the back of the van, with room underneath for bicycles.

What a nice guy! What a happy plan! We hope to see Trace on the road.

2 thoughts on “Crossing the Cascades

  1. Very glad to read you made it through this stretch of I-90 safely! What a surprise to meet a Nepalese diversity green card holder in Cle Elum. Happy trails tomorrow!


  2. Hi Jeffrey, thanks for sharing your adventures! I had to Google Cle Elum to see where you were. Your description & the photos of cycling the I-90 reminded me of a Backroads cycling trip I did years ago, from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. I don’t think I have your fortitude for cycling the interstates of North America anymore. Safe travels to you & Joey!


Comments are closed.