– Day 2 of the Palouse to Cascade Bike for the Cure 2024

We woke up to 37 degree, damp weather, so took our time planning our next move. Mary Ann & Matt rode to Cle Elum & Sherri drove the camper van to the South Cle Elum trailhead. It is in the Ironhorse State Park, 11 miles from Easton (where we had camped last night.) Sherri rode back toward the bikers from Cle Elum, then the trio rode to the trailhead.

In 1909 the “Milwaukee Road” railroad chose Cle Elum as a division point between the Coast and Columbia divisions of its future transcontinental line. Cle Elum means “swift water” in the language of the Kittitas Indians. Homes, maintenance shops, workers’ bunks and a train station were built. The Depot now houses a museum of railroad artifacts and the Bunkhouse is now a B & B. Too bad the museum doesn’t open until June. There is an interpretive walk with informational signs about every 100 feet, each with detailed historical information about the railroad and the history/evolution of trains and the railway system.

Matt and Sherri continued riding on to Thorp, another 18 miles down the trail. Mary Ann refueled the camper van, and found the Thorp trailhead. We all went into the famous Pacific Northwest Thorp Fruit Stand and Antique Mall. Along with an abundance of fruit, they sell specialty foods, gourmet candies, wine, espresso, ice cream and the upper level is stocked full of antiques and vintage treasures. Browsing all that food made us hungry, so we had a quick snack.

Matt and Sherri rode the final seven miles of the day into Ellensburg where we found a spot at the KOA campground. Ellensburg is the biggest town on the Palouse to Cascades Trail. The campus of Central Washington University is located there. Dr. Jeff Carroll, one of the Doctors from the online website “HD Buzz”, used to have his lab there, but now he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle WA. We went into Ellensburg for pizza, a place called Brix, which was recommended on a rider’s blog. It was good and filling. We are doing a bit of laundry and will soon call it a day.

We covered another 39 miles today which doesn’t sound like much, but we fought strong winds and rough roads all the way. In spite of that it was a nice area to ride through, much of it was along the Yakima River.

The next portion is the East and West Army training grounds. Once you commit to those you have to go the entire all distance. None of us felt like we could do it today. We will let you know tomorrow how it goes.

All for now, Sherri, Mary Ann, and Matt

Total mileage so far -77.

Matt & Mary Ann leaving Cle Elum campground.
Riding from Lake Easton to Cle Elum along the Yakima River .
South Cle Elum Trailhead