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  1. #1
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    Leavenworth to Wenatchee Bikeway

    Cyclists and road riders weigh-in. What do you think about the route shown on the maps below as a signed Leavenworth to Wenatchee Bike Route??

    A little background to add context to this:

    The Complete the Loop Coalition (the group that got The Loop Trail built, the Hydro Park extension built, and is now constructing the Rocky Reach Trail) has conceptualize a signed Leavenworth-to-Wenatchee bike route that, for starters, will use the county roads between these towns. The idea is to sign the best route and then work on improving that route over time. The group is going to meet with the County Commissioners next week to discuss a route and to ask permission to sign a route using the county roads. The Complete the Loop Coalition (CTLC) would raise funds for the signage but needs the commissioners to approve the concept and place the signs on the route chosen.

    Recently a group familiar with many of these roads (Dolly Buckingham, Mike Sorenson, Marilynn Hedges, Peter Burgoon, Bill Frazier (with State Parks), Bob Parlette and myself) spent several hours identifying what, as a group, we thought made the best route. There were lots of options and each option had some definite pros and cons. We tried to balance safety, scenery, ridability by different skill and fitness levels, and tourism potential. A big criteria on our list was also identifying which problems along different routes could be easily solved by the DOT or a municipality, and which problems were likely to be too expensive to solve.

    Getting consensus by our small group was hard. I, for example, much prefer riding Kelly Road into Cashmere but this steeper route has about a mile of unpaved road which makes it less appealing to tourists and families and is unlikely to get fixed. We tried to balance many factors and think this route is the best compromise. Also, in thorny areas, this route has workable solutions that might fix the problem. Before we meet with the commissioners, I’m trying to get more feedback from people who know these roads.

    So... In your opinion is the route we chose (see maps below) 1) The best route 2) a route that's as good as any (and therefore a draw) 3) an inferior route (tell us what would be better and why) 4) a route so heinous we should be flogged for considering it.

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ID:	1071 Leavenworth to Cashmere (click on map to magnify)

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ID:	1072Cashmere to Wenatchee (click on map to magnify)

  2. #2
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
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    The Wenatchee to Cashmere route seems the most straightforward and easiest. I like Kelly Road too just to stay off the highway so I'll gladly take some dirt road to avoid being plowed over by Little Andy Texts While Drives, but if I had to get on Highway 2 then that short stretch is okay. There's almost a trail on the south side of the highway that helps you avoid it but it sorta peters out. I would also think avoiding Easy St. would be better because Sleepy Hollow seems less travelled. I don't ride Cashmere to Leavenworth enough to comment.

  3. #3
    I concur with both routes as shown, when I ride to Leavenworth or simply "Up River" as I call it those are the routes I take to avoid traffic.

  4. #4
    Is riding a bit of gravel road going to discourage the sort of folks that would really be riding this route?

  5. #5
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
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    Leavenworth to Wenatchee Bikeway

    Kelly Road is pretty steep for a novice rider or a road bike.

  6. #6
    You can cross 2 by Anjou on Hughes Rd and continue into Cashmere via Eels and Nahahum avoiding riding on 2.
    Also I don't like riding through the high traffic area on Easy Street, if I take Easy St. up valley I like to ride out Olds Station Rd to the roundabout and take Ohme to Easy St.

  7. #7
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    Ray : <<plowed over by Little Andy Texts While Drive??>> ouch... such a harsh verbal thrashing. My reputation is destroyed.

    Aaron: We discussed the cross over to Hughes Road from the Anjou Bakery quite extensively. It entails crossing 4 lanes of traffic with no light (fine for experienced individuals but not that great for a nervous parent with kids). It also entails another cross over at the first Cashmere light onto Cottage which makes for two breaks in continuity for experienced riders (tedious). We decided doing the 0.25 miles on the south shoulder of the Highway into Cashmere was preferred and that getting a barrier placed along the south shoulder of the highway to separate both westbound and eastbound bicyclists from traffic is an easy, realistic, and affordable way to make that short stretch of highway safe and more palatable.

  8. #8
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
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    The barrier is a great idea. A jersey barrier would keep Andy's careening Prius safely off the shoulder!

  9. #9
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    Unlike Ray who has damaged me to the core, Freeman stayed on topic and emailed this:

    " I have been riding those basic routes for 30 years. Usually going up the north side of the highway via Easy Street and the Pinnacles to the big Y, then coming back on the south side over Deadman Hill and Sleepy Hollow for a nice short loop. It has a little more mileage on the highway but you only have to cross it once and the shoulders are nice and wide."

    And Larry Glickfeld sent this:

    "I think you've got the basic Wenatchee- Lv route there -- I'll sometimes stay on highway 2 from Lv for return to Dryden before getting off on Stine Hill Rd., avoiding Deadman climb but mostly because I'm always in a hurry -- always gotta get back home to do other stuff-- hoping to get over that soon. One other thing-- after all my years in Cashmere, not sure what Kelly Rd is, altho from descriptions I suspect it's the dirt road that goes off the south end of Riverfront, past the treatment plant, and then climbs to join the asphalt that takes you into Monitor, more or less. I've ridden it a few times but never on a road bike.

    On the outbound trip, I generally prefer to cross Highway at Anjou Bakery and up to Eels Road, avoiding that mile or so stretch of Highway 2. Either way you've got to cross highway twice--once with signal.

    Re. riding short stretches of Highway here and there, as long as there's wide shoulders, I'm OK with that. Generally safe, but certainly not pleasant, but for, say 3-4 miles out of 45 or so, not bad. (On 1000 mile SuperTour '05, we had to climb about 6 miles to Siskiyou Summit on I-5, with steady stream of semi's going by. Certainly not pleasant, but with 8'; wide shoulder, never felt threatened-- actually much safer than many of the 900+ miles of back roads we did).

    I TOTALLY agree with the concept of signing this bike route. I've often noted out-of-town tourers with their loaded-down bikes riding the highway instead of the wonderful side roads we've got Wen-Lv. On occasions I've talked with some off them, they generally don't seem to know any better, altho there are those who, for whatever reason, prefer the highways (maybe cause they're easier to follow, but seems to defeat the purpose of bike touring from my perspective). Also it's often a matter of poor planning on their part -- with the plethora of info we've got out there these days, the only excuse for not taking the scenic narrow side roads vs. the highway is laziness. But having the Bike Route signs there would make things easy even for the lazy.

    Also think that signing is the simple, inexpensive way to start, and then we can push for the necessary added trail sections like east along Highway 2 out of Cashmere to Old Monitor Road. Once that's accomplished, we can push for the likes of bike trails from the "Y" up to Old Blewett Rd., through Tumwater Canyon, etc.

  10. #10
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    Karen Haire sent this message by email:

    "I agree with Freeman. I've been riding these roads for 30 years as well and I almost always ride Leavenworth to Wenatchee on the north side of the highway and then Wenatchee-Leavenworth on the south. It's a shame to leave out North Dryden Road.
    With that in mind, one of the biggest problems is crossing the Wenatchee River between Alice and Hotel Road. If the sidewalk could be smooth (so we could ride it) or taken out alltogether (so we'd have more room) the route would be greatly improved."



    Karen, we debated the pros and cons of this area and vacillated between different options for 90 minutes. In the end it may be a case of 6 of one and half dozen of another. However, we thought omitting Dryden Road as the main route on a map and suggesting it as a possible alternative on the finalized map was the better safety option and, arguably, the better experience for visitors riding the route. Here's why: To do Dryden Road means contending with two more lengths of Highway 2 that just can't be avoided -- the eastern mile or so from the light at Goodman/Hay Cny Rd to N Dryden Rd and then the western 0.75 mile that takes you across the bridge you mention. The eastern portion of highway for those of us who don't like cars passing with a 50 mph speed differential is scary and unpleasant, even though the shoulder here is quite good. The western portion is dangerous across the bridge you mention and mitigating that danger struck us as troublesome problem that would be hard to fix. We suspect with the diversity of riders a route like this would attract (some families, some lower skilled riders, some riders lacking good road etiquette) that bookies could bank on having accidents (nasty ones) along this 75 yards of the route.

    Using Stines Hill and Deadman Hill give you one more climb (a steep one at that and one that less skilled/fit riders may need to push). This risks heart attacks from out-of-shape riders rather than the Russian Roulette along the highway. We can warn people better of the fitness issue and attacking ‘Deadman Hill’ which we might also nickname Heart Attack Hill will be a choice made after looking at a map of the route. Dealing with the bridge is a roll of the dice and one, after a few accidents that will have people asking, ‘Why did they ever think taking a bike route across that bridge was a good idea?’

    The Deadman Hill option does have one nasty problem -- getting across 4 lanes of traffic without a light to Saunders Road. Again we thought the crossing was safer than the bridge and it leaves the responsibility of when to cross in the hands of the cyclists. Over time, we also thought this problem was fixable because creating a dedicated bike path on the south side of the highway leading to the Peshastin light is a realistic solution (most of this is on DOT property, costs would be reasonable as bike paths go, and we think grant money would be available for such a project).

    All that being said, we're not married to this route -- it just struck us as the best solution when we looked at it from as many angles as we could think of. We may be wrong so hearing different points of view and considering ideas or nuances that might have escaped us is what this discussion is all about.

    Karen (or others), having heard our thought process what do you think now? Do you agree, disagree, think it’s a draw, have any new wrinkles to add to the mix that will help us iron down the best route through here?

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