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Thread: Spokane to Winthrop - what is the best route

  1. #1
    Registered User Mark H's Avatar
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    Spokane to Winthrop - what is the best route

    Hi,

    One stage of our trip next year is going to take us from Spokane to Winthrop in Washington.
    I have a route mapped out but I'm less than convinced that it provides the best riding. This is the link in google Maps - Link

    It's just under 300 miles and possibly a nice days ride, but the street view and terrain don't look that exciting. Also, there seems to be a lack of interesting pitstops along the way (cafes, photo opportunities etc.).

    We were on the western edge of this ride a couple of years back. Omak through Winthrop on our way to Anacortes and fell in love with the section of Hwy 20/North Cascades Highway after Winthrop which winds its way over Washington Pass. So we just had to revisit this road on our return but coming from Spokane seems to be a little less exhilarating.

    Is anyone a local in this area or has ridden this part of Washington (Spokane to Winthrop) and could provide some local knowledge.
    I should add that we selected this route because it will take us over Sherman Pass on the approach to Republic. Perhaps this is the jewel in this ride.
    Last edited by Mark H; 11-25-2015 at 07:52 AM.
    Mark Hubble
    2015 - R1200GS Black Storm Metallic
    Sydney, AUSTRALIA

  2. #2
    I live in Texas but that looks good to me.

    p.s. I ride in the Northwest U.S. and Southwest Canada almost every year.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  3. #3
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    There are a number of good routes you could do. I've ridden them all at one time or another. The farther north you go the more hills and woods there are which really make it scenic. I looked at your route and I think it's pretty good and I've ridden portions of it within the past couple of years.
    a. Spokane to Newport - busy and boring.
    b. Newport to Chewelah - Boring to start, then Flowery Trail Road to Chewelah is one of my favorites. It is beautiful and great ride.
    c. Chewelah to Colville - busy 2 lane highway, ugh.
    d. Colville to Republic - sure Sherman Pass is fun but again the road is busy. Some great curves on either side of the pass. Not too many scenic views.
    e. Republic & SR 21 - great scenery and really nice ride. One of the best in the state.
    f. Crossing Colville Reservation - remote road, nice and twisty. Some gravel in the corners so be careful. Open range area so watch out for cattle. A severe and devastating fire this past summer raged through the area. But I think it's still pretty scenic.

    Sometimes I'm kind of wary traveling on various reservation roads, e.g., Colville, Spokane Reservations. I used to work in the Spokane Reservation and they posted that roads were for tribal members only. Same with the Colvilles. I was never hassled, but did get some long looks. Be careful because they pull out of driveways/side-roads onto the road without looking.

    Might I suggest some alternate routes:
    (1) Backroads and great scenery - Drive SR 291 along the Spokane River to SR 231 then go to Springdale and take the county road to Hunters. Then go up SR 25 to take the ferry (small and fun) across Lake Roosevelt to Inchelium over to SR 21 to Republic then turn onto SR 20. This route takes you through a lot of backroads, some remote country but some great scenery.
    (2) Somewhat boring but then great scenery: US Hwy 2 to Wilbur (pretty boring) then SR 21 to Republic (one of my most favorite road rides in Washington state) and then turn onto SR 20. You'll have to cross the free ferry (small & fun, not a long wait) across Lake Roosevelt. Some great twisties and scenery coming down into the Columbia River/Lake Roosevelt area. Nice remote road ride into Republic on SR 21. A long-way variation but great ride and scenic is at Wauconda (on SR 20) take county roads N to Chesaw and then to Oroville. then drop down (south) on US 97 to Okanagan and SR 20.
    (3) Long way but great scenic ride variation - US 395 to near Orient, WA then take county roads to Curlew, Chesaw and Oroville. Little traffic, great scenery, and lots of nice curves. Then S on US 97 to Okanogan to SR 20. The ride from Curlew to Oroville via Chesaw is another one of my most favorite Washington state rides.
    (4) Scenic and remote variation - From Chewelah, go south to Addy and take county roads to either Rice or Gifford then take SR 25 N to SR 20 and Sherman Pass. Way better than US 395.

    Republic has some great eateries. And there are others. I'd have to look in my log book to get the names of them. PM me and I'll dig them up for you if interested.

    Have fun.
    Last edited by nakwakto00; 11-25-2015 at 05:19 PM.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  4. #4
    Registered User Mark H's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the detailed feedback. Local knowledge is invaluable when we are planning from our side of the Pacific.

    I've tried to balance the high points with the minimum of more boring sections based on the recommendations and have come up with this route - LINK

    It doesn't capture everything but no route ever does when you are limited with time. We want to avoid Omak and the section between Oroville and Okanogan as we have taken this road previously.

    The route does include a section through the Colville Reservation and I appreciate your input on riding in these areas. We feel somewhat honoured to be permitted to ride in these reservation areas but I am uncertain if this is the correct thing to do when travelling. Is this a little like riding in someone's back yard - a little rude or presumptuous? Should we avoid this area out of respect for those peoples who call this land home and who may hold this region to be sacred?

    If travellers are welcome to pass through, then we would love the opportunity to visit this land and hopefully chat with locals.
    I'm not certain if if the section we chose around Omak Lake on Columbia River Road is better than taking 155 through Nespelem and Disautel - perhaps someone could advise?

    Anyway - thanks again for the input.
    Mark Hubble
    2015 - R1200GS Black Storm Metallic
    Sydney, AUSTRALIA

  5. #5
    Registered User Mark H's Avatar
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    ........ and alternative may be to keep heading south from Nespelem on 21 to Coulee Dam (looks interesting) and then head west on 174 and 153 via Methow to Winthrop.
    Mark Hubble
    2015 - R1200GS Black Storm Metallic
    Sydney, AUSTRALIA

  6. #6
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark H View Post
    The route does include a section through the Colville Reservation and I appreciate your input on riding in these areas. We feel somewhat honoured to be permitted to ride in these reservation areas but I am uncertain if this is the correct thing to do when travelling. Is this a little like riding in someone's back yard - a little rude or presumptuous? Should we avoid this area out of respect for those peoples who call this land home and who may hold this region to be sacred?
    I don't think it's sacred, or a back yard (but then again I'm not a member of either tribe, or Native American) but it is tribal land. Just treat them and the land with respect and I believe you'll be fine. I'd stick with your route. I've traveled all of your route - in portions - and it's great. Have fun!
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  7. #7
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
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    There isn't much to see or do in that neck of the woods.....You may find Bridge Creek Rd between Inchelium and Hwy 21 more fun than heading up to Hwy 2.

    Another option is when you get to Hwy 21, is head south to the Keller Ferry, the road up from the ferry is kinda cool, then to Wilber. Co-worker says Doxies is a decent place to have lunch. Then head up 174 to see the Grand Coulee Dam, the north on 155 back to 13.
    Last edited by flymymbz; 11-27-2015 at 06:59 PM.
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