Guest post by Club member Jenny Anderson
The Ride Around Washington (RAW) has always been on my “bucket list” of rides to do. All of my friends thought I was crazy to want to ride all day, sleep in a tent, then wake up the next morning just to do it all over again. Needing to cross the ride off my bucket list, I signed up solo. This was the first time my family didn’t worry about me riding all by myself – I would be in good hands with the Cascade crew.
I boarded the bus with butterflies in my stomach and sat all the way in the back, saying a little prayer in hopes I could really do it. I stuck to my book for the first couple of hours, then decided I could be reading at home, and struck up a spirited conversation with my neighbors. All of whom had done the ride before. I asked for advice — most of which entailed not over-thinking it all and just have some fun.
The first night I made friends with a few of the “old-timers” who helped me out with a rock to pound in my stakes. I offered to carry the rock from site to site, if they reserved me a spot next to theirs. They agreed. From that point forward, we became fast friends. Finding new friends on RAW really is just as easy as that.
The ride advertises guaranteed warm showers. Traveling along on the first day in 100+ degree temperatures, I questioned why warm showers would be valuable. After the first one, I no longer questioned the pure happiness a warm shower could bring. Be sure to pack a towel that dries easily.
The ride is well supported with plenty of rest stops and support vehicles carrying cold water and supplies. You can even dress warmly for the cool mornings and leave your layers from one stop to the next. At the end of the day, your belongings are waiting at camp. The awesome support crew took care of all the planning needed each day to make sure all I had to do was enjoy my ride.
I get lost easily. Getting lost in the middle of Washington was a huge concern going into the ride. Between the Dan Henrys, cue sheets, and newly introduced Garmin GPS tracking – there was no concern about heading into the wrong direction. All I needed to do was keep the wheels turning and enjoy the scenery.
Oh, and the scenery. It was amazing! You can’t compare any travel to enjoying it via bike. Rolling through small towns, climbing through passes, and riding around lakes. It’s difficult to imagine a better day riding when enjoying the pure beauty of Washington state’s road less travelled.
Each day back at camp, I was welcomed by one of the fantastic volunteers or staff members. Cold beverages were on hand, and my buddies had my spot reserved (although they never set-up my tent). Every night groups were social – I never felt alone and without companionship.
Asked if I would do RAW again? Absolutely! The challenge, route and camaraderie made it one of the best experiences of my life.
What would I do differently? Bring a real fork, coffee mug and maybe a few less pairs of socks. OK, not less socks, but definitely a real fork and coffee mug.
The 15th anniversary edition of the Ride Around Washington “Pines to Vines” will take place Aug. 3 through 10. Limited spaces still available. Sign up online today!
Still not convinced? Learn more about RAW:
Ride Around Washington 2013: “Pines to Vines” Special Presentation
Tuesday, April 9 at 7 p.m.
REI Seattle, 222 Yale Ave N
Join us for a special Best of RAW slideshow and informational meeting about this year’s 15th anniversary edition of the Ride Around Washington. Find out what it’s like to do a six-day ride around the state at a unique presentation featuring the stunning photography of one of RAW’s regular riders, Dan Hershman. Plus hear from the route managers directly on what to expect on this year’s fun adventure.
Dan Hershman is a noted local photographer whose clients include the Washington State Department of Tourism, Getty Images and Oregon Public Television. He is also a contributing photographer to numerous books and publications on our region’s unique environment. Dan will share pictures taken on RAW 2006, (almost the same route as this year’s Pines to Vines ride), plus other memorable images of previous RAW events.
You’ll also hear inside information from route co-manager Roger Salstrom on this year’s fabulous cross state north- south route; details of the nuts and bolts of RAW, including how to prepare and train for multi day events and what to expect over six days of riding the back roads of Washington.
This talk will be hosted by Charles Ruthford (route manager and RAW emcee extraordinaire) and RAW Committee members will be on hand to answer all your questions. This is a great event to attend whether you are on the fence about signing up or have already signed up and want the full skinny on the ride!