Exploring The North Cascades

The Sprint From Winthrop To Leavenworth

Winthrop is a nice little old western style town and I found it quite interesting. When you enter the town, you are greeted with a ‘To Winthrop’ sign. I assume the ‘Welcome’ part fell off at some point. The first thought I had in mind was that ‘Oh, a wild wild west style Leavenworth-y place’. And I believe this is exactly that kind of place. Now I’m in no ways an expert in the history of Winthrop, but Leavenworth is one of my favorite destinations around Seattle and I’m known among my friends for visiting Leavenworth every month of the year – but that is a story for another time.

And we are at Winthrop

When I entered Winthrop, I was already on reserve fuel, which was making me anxious. The nineT does not take to RON87 very well. So I wanted to avoid using anything below RON91 if at all possible. As I was nervously trotting along the the main roads of Winthrop, I saw one heritage looking gas station open. I had used one of these before and was relieved to know they have RON91 as well. If I remember right, they had 0% ethanol fuel.

An old style gas station

Fuel concerns turned out to be a needless worry though as I found quite a few more gas stations after this one. But it was a fun experience stopping at a heritage gas station on a heritage motorcycle. I didn’t stay long at Winthrop and made my way to exit the town. I had a little bit of regret that I did not stop here for brunch. Definitely next time.

The streets of Wintrop
May have been better to have brunch somewhere here. Maybe next time..

It was already 2:00PM by the time I got outside of Winthrop and I really wanted to reach Leavenworth by at least 5:00PM. Because on the route to home, I will have to cross Steven’s Pass which tend to get cold from the elevation and I wanted to avoid going through the morning situation again.The other option was to take the route by I-90, but I wanted to avoid taking an interstate at night on a motorcycle. (Also, I find interstates boring and prefer to take alternate routes). Leavenworth is around 160 miles (~260 Km) from Winthrop and I would have to cut through Lake Chelan to get there. There was a road up in Lake Chelan which I noticed the last time I was there by car and I really wanted to experience it on motorcycle.

With these thoughts, the 160 mile (~260 Km)sprint began. The plan was to take quick breaks to keep fresh and keep pushing. Lake Chelan is around 90 miles (~145 km) from Winthrop and the route is not as interesting as the valleys earlier. Not that it is not scenic, but not the kind that tickles my imagination as I prefer mountains and valleys over plain straight roads. The route cuts through lots of beautiful farm lands and there was not much traffic on the road. I maintained a the steady pace as I enjoyed the long awaited warmth and sun.

Sun was out and it was getting warmer. The morning cold felt imaginary

Lake Chelan – You know you reached Lake Chelan when you sense the sweet scent of fresh Apples. One of the things I love about motorcycle is that you get to experience the environment. The smell – good or bad, the roads etc. I will talk about this in a different post to not veer off course here. Now when I entered Lake Chelan – I had not noticed then – but I had done a mistake. The location that my GPS was taking me to was some random point. But this was not a bad mistake. By the time I noticed, I was in love with the road that I found myself in. It was a bit of a forest area, with the Lake on the right side and trees and shrubs on the other. This is also where I got one of the biggest scare in my motorcycle driving experience. I’m still not sure what – a Deer? a Stag maybe- jumped from my right to the left side of the road – right across and high. Before I even realized what was happening, it disappeared among the trees. With adrenaline high and heart pumping, I slowed down by the road side. Decided to take a U turn and go back to the proper road. Enough exploring the unknown. Time to set off for Leavenworth, and this time by the road I wanted to take

Some pictures from around Lake Chelan

Leavenworth is around 60 miles (~95 kms) from Lake Chelan via US route 2 and it was already 4:30 PM by the time I left the Lake Chelan area. The sun had started to set and it was time to pick up the pace again. There was now traffic on the road, however I managed to keep a steady pace all the way till Leavenworth (One of the perks of traveling by motorcycle). Around 5:30 PM I rolled into Leavenworth, with no breaks or stop in between. Next is the home stretch.

A quick stop at the Bavarian town of Leavenworth. The fall color trees lined the path

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