Washington Backcountry Discovery Route Part One

This was such an amazing journey! Eleven of us traveled the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route from Canada to Stevenson, WA during the first week of August. Don't try this unless you are driving an all terrain vehicle. Also, we all did this discovery route backwards so we ended our journey near home instead of more than 500 miles away.

Our journey began on July 29, 2017. We left our home in Oregon and traveled in our little blue Dune Buggy to Oroville, WA near the Canadian border. It was a fast drive up the freeway through some beautiful country. This is a journey through small towns, rural America and true back country across the beautiful Cascade Mountains of Washington State.

The rest of our friends were a little behind us and then we found they had decided to take a longer route to Oroville so we stopped for lunch in Ephrata, Wa at this little place that seems to do some pretty big business!

Check out DK's Drive In Restaurant if you are visiting Ephrata!

Eventually we all met up in Oroville at this cute little place called the Camaray Motel that seems to be really popular with the people who are hiking the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. You can have things mailed to you there so that when you arrive, you can refresh your supplies as you continue on one of the longest hikes in the United States. It's something like the Pacific Crest Trail but going East to West.

Across the street and a block away from our motel we visited a great restaurant and bar called Pastime Bar & Grill where we had a psuedo class reunion in honor of the actual reunion that was taking place that night in North Bend, OR where several of us graduated high school! It was great fun posting to facebook etc. Needless to say, we got the party started!

The next day we took off for Nighthawk, our Canadian Border Crossing starting point for the WABDR. No one actually went across the border because crossing is pretty strict and a real time eater. We did get some pictures though!

And so we headed on for our first real ascent!

We traveled on through the day learning to make our GPS tracks work on our phones and follow the route through unmarked forest service roads across the top of the cascade range! So much fun!

It was slow going at first as we kept trying to figure out how to keep from losing anyone out there. We were eating each other's dust so of course we didn't want to follow anyone too closely and some vehicles are just made to go faster than others. Also, all GPS are not created equal. So Mike and I and the two men in the Montero had an undisputed advantage. Our drivers had co-pilots! I could read the map and signal to Mike where to go while he drove the Buggy.

Our little Bug is also pretty fast. It's geared so that it was difficult to go anywhere in 2nd but in 3rd we were almost flying! It was light and nimble up there in the mountains and soon we were in the lead! The Montero was a bit overloaded and slower but that's another story.

I became one of the navigators and we would stop whenever there was a divide in the road. The next rider would pull up behind us and wait for the next rider and then they would point the way follow us and leave that rider to point the way for the next and so on. It was like playing tag across the mountain tops! Eventually the guys on the motorcycles found it easier to point several people through and wait so they could eat something. During the days on the trail we ate a lot of beef jerky and trail mix. Be forewarned, there are no restaurants on the backroads.

Next stop Conconully, WA. What a nice little town! It was really hot and we were so glad to find this great General Store and stopped for refreshments before heading to our Cabin on the lake.

We rented "The Lake House" at Liar's Cove Resort and the other guys were lucky enough to get a cabin to share too! It was a very special place.

Our little blue Dune Buggy got a well deserved rest for the night. After dinner of course.

Sit N Bull Saloon and Cafe, Conconully, WA Check them out on Facebook!

Nice people and good food.

For more about this adventure visit the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route Part Two.

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Copywrite © 2019 by Melisa Smith