Description of 1000K minus the first 200K.
Roosevelt,WA to Connell, WA (201K)- Started at the Roosevelt store which will be an early control on the 1000K route. Tailwinds pushed Duane and I up Hwy 14 to Plymouth Road. Hwy 14 had a rough shoulder and whenever possible I would move into the road which was a lot smoother. From Hwy 14 we turned left and encountered about 10 miles of steep rollers to Clodfelter Road where we turned right and climbed a couple more hills before enjoying the descent into Kennewick. The descent involved some curves with just a bit of random gravel on the road to make it interesting. The road conditions on the descent was a bit rough as well as some of the pavement was a bit chopped up but nothing serious. After the control in Kennewick, we crossed the Columbia River over a very beautiful bridge. We took the sidewalk alongside the bridge decking but I would recommend staying on the shoulder as I picked up the first of my two front flats due to the infamous Goathead thorns. There was less debris on the shoulder and plenty of room even as we were entering Pasco during rush hour. We were also riding now in the heat of the day as we had gotten a late start in Roosevelt. Temps were only in the 70's but it felt quite a bit hotter on the pavement. After leaving Pasco we were back out into the rural areas with minimal traffic. Susan came by to tell us where the control was in Basin City and to let us know that English was a second language in this town. We stopped at the store to refuel and headed out to Connell. It was dark at this point but the roads were in good condition and there were a few climbs out to the overnight control in Connell.
Connell, WA to Plummer, Idaho (204K)-Started the day a bit earlier than yesterday as I was trying to avoid the heat of the previous day. Rode on a mostly deserted Hwy 260 thru the towns of Kahlotus and Washtucna. Fairly flat roads with a nice tailwind and minimal traffic. Turned right on US 195 so traffic picked up but plenty of room on the shoulder which was a little rough so rode close to the white line. Spent 50 miles on this road and although the Palouse was gorgeous it was also somewhat monotonous after a while. Susan and Duane were in the Suburban checking out services and alternate roads to Colfax just to have some variety and it appeared they did find an alternate road which will take some of the miles off of 195 during the 1000K. After Colfax headed to Hume road and SR 27 which was even more rural thru the towns of Oakdale and Tekoa. Turned right on 274 which took me across the Idaho border. Found out that I took an alternate route and added more distance to the day as Duane and Susan were waiting on another road for me to come by. Never saw the other road but they described it as a mile and a half of gravel which appeared to lead nowhere so that's why I probaly never saw it. Since this gravel road which turns into pavement reduces the time off of the main road (US 95) this will be the road we will be taking during the 1000K. Turned left on US 95 and rode into the town of Plummer, Idaho which will be where we pick up on the Coeur d' Alene bike path.
Plummer, Idaho to Plains,MT (237K)- Duane and I got an even earlier start this morning as it was going to be our longest day with the most amount of climbing. We spent the first 65 miles on the bike path which started off with several miles of downhill and then towards Kellog began slightly ascending but was not noticeable until Susan mentioned that we were going uphill. Went thru the town of Wallace and began the climb up Dobson Pass. From the Topo map it appears that Dobson begins around 800 meters and climbs up to 1300 meters which would be about 15-1600 feet of climbing in 6 miles. This climb seemed to pass by quickly as we reached the top before we knew it. The road is a bit rough in spots especially on the half mile warmup before the climbing begins and on the descent there are steep curves with mud, rain and sporadic gravel so took it very easy coming down on the other side. More rough road with potholes as the road gets flatter on the other side. We biked about 12 miles on descending and flat road until we turned up the road towards Thompson Pass. This pass is very gradual and the climb is non existant until the road takes a definite turn upwards around Milepost 10 and the climbing is a bit more strenous during the last 5 miles or so with a 6-7% grade. Sorry, unable to give you specific details as neither one of us has a GPS system, but it felt like similiar mountain pass climbs in Washington. The last 5 miles reminded me of Washington Pass without the switchbacks. Topo indicates Thompson Pass starts around 700 meters and goes up to 1500 meters which would be about 24-2500 feet of climbing, most of which is in the last 5 miles. The elevation sign at the top indicates 4,852 feet. Once you reach the summit you are officially in Montana although there is no welcome sign or indication that you have crossed the border. The descent is 14 miles of not having to peddle if you don't want to then another 4 miles of flat and the last 3-4 of rollers into the town of Thompson Falls. Fairly flat roads with a couple of rollers into the town of Plains which was our last control of the day.
Plains,MT to Whitefish MT (157K)-This was supposed to be my easiest and shortest day in the saddle but the favorable winds which I had enjoyed the previous three days deserted me and the wide open spaces in Montana helped to accelerate the effects of a massive crosswind with occasional headwinds along the road from Plains to the Lone Pine store and beyond. I started the day with a 5 mile climb up from the valley of Plains to the plateau before the road flattened out and I enjoyed the downhill on the other side. However, once I reached the other side the winds greeted me and stayed with me through the stop at the Lone Pine store. The winds finally began to change after 30 miles on SR 28 and I was able to raise my head up and cruise into the intersection at US 93. This was probaly the busiest highway on the route but the shoulder is wide and in fairly good condition. Steep rollers on 93 for about 14 miles to the town of Lakeside. Followed a bike path which ended in a gravel parking lot after a block. Followed it again but it ended after another couple of blocks. On our way back thru this stretch in the car Susan and I discovered the Rails to Trails bike path which begins in the small town of Somers a couple of blocks off of Hwy 93. This path leads to the outskirts of Kalispell where they were paving it and it may be finished in time for the 1000K. This would be great as bicycling on Hwy 93 was a bit tedious with lots of traffic. Rode into Kalispell got lost for a while due to a change in the name of the road, found the right road which was very busy at this time of day around 5PM. Finished without further drama in Whitefish.
Summary: This was a very scenic and rural route with minimal traffic as I may have had to stop at two redlights along the way, one in Pasco WA and the other in Kalispell MT. The first 700K of this route is fairly flat and will most likely have tailwinds especially along the Columbia Gorge. The third and final day will present most of the climbing with the two mountain passes but there will also be almost 80 miles on bike paths with the combination of the Coeur d' Alene path and the one we discovered in Montana. The only obstacles I forsee is the potential heat conditions during late June and early July and the annoying Goathead thorns in Eastern WA. Susan scouted the route in her Suburban and found several places in the small towns to find water along the way which eliminated that potential obstacle. It was nice to ride 800K of it over the course of 4 days but looking forward to the condensed version.