Washington BDR 6/12-6/17 | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Washington BDR 6/12-6/17

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jdunk

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Traveler III

4,282
King County, Washington, United States
First Name
Josh
Last Name
Duncan
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0446

Intro

Photo Album: https://goo.gl/photos/ZWJnkHBuQogKrgHF7
YouTube Video:
  1. Day 1 - Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  2. Day 2 - Grfford Pinchot and Snoqualmie
  3. Day 3 - Wenatchee National Forest
  4. Day 4 - Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests
  5. Day 5 - Okanogan National Forest

This trip has been close to 9 months in planning. There were 3 adults, 2 Teenagers, and 3 Dogs on this adventure. It was originally scheduled to last for 6 days, but due to a bypass, and some easier and faster than expected drive times, we completed it in 5 days.

It's worth noting that that John's off-road driving experience was limited to nothing more than gravel roads before this trip. He had never been a spotter off-road, so I decided to use simple obstacles as early as possible to get him some experience. Little did I know this would pay off later on. I also decided the best place for him to be was in my Cherokee (KL). I think it should also be pointed out, that the KL is also my daily driver.

The vehicles for this trip:
  • 2006 Jeep Commander (XK), QD-II - This was the pack mule of the trip. 2 large dogs, 2 passengers, most of the food and gear. The HEMI was a nice thing to have.
  • 2014 Jeep Cherokee (KL), AD-Lock - This was a great little trail runner on the trip. It impressed me several times over with it's capabilities, ease of driving, and maneuverability. This carried 3 passengers, lunches, personal equipment, and 1 small dog.
The route as planned was a modified version of the Washington BDR as downloadable from backcountrydiscoveryroutes.com. We ended up having to bypass 3 sections. 2 small, and 1 fairly significant.

The larger of the 3 was known in advance. The route was updated prior to departure, and opted to bypass on local highways as it was only about a week from departure. That information can be found here: http://www.backcountrydiscoveryroutes.com/News/WABDR-Road-Closure-Road-4150

The other 2 bypasses were just part of the Overlanding experience. You run in to problems, you adapt, you figure out the solution, you execute the solution. Unfortunately in both these cases, re-route around the problem was the only solution for us. See the sections below for more information and pictures.

The route as planned...
The route as it was originally planned days 1 - 3 went pretty much as expected. 4 and 5 is where the improvising started to take place.
 
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jdunk

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Founder 500
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Traveler III

4,282
King County, Washington, United States
First Name
Josh
Last Name
Duncan
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Day 1

Day 1 was off to a pretty typical start... You know, you listen to Siri to get you to the town you're staring from. That always seems to go well...


We departed from Carson, Wa a little later than expected, and made our way into Gifford Pincho National Forest. The goal was always to get most of the way through it in a single day.




It didn't take long before we came to our first washout. It wasn't very bad. It was a fantastic first obstacle to get John used to following instructions from a spotter, as well as learning how to pick a line for another to follow. Little did we know, this was a small sample of what was to come.

The washout wasn't under cut at all, so there wasn't any risk of it collapsing under the weight of a vehicle, so we moved on through using the slogan, "as slow as possible, as fast as necessary."








After completing our first of many small obstacles, we made our way to the Ice Caves for a little stretching of the legs, and some lunch.




After lunch we continued on our journey.






Soon, we found ourselves at yet another washed out road. This one was quite a bit more challenging than the first.

I took a couple minutes to stop and assess the condition of the road and decided it was time to start airing down tires. As I started airing down, we came across our first group of people also doing the BDR. It was the first group but it wasn't the last.


This was our first attempt at an obstacle where communication was important, and the possibility of damage to the rigs was the highest hit had been.

This is also the point at which a Toyota Tundra decided that it wasn't worth the chance. Watched us all navigate the obstacles, turned around, and went back the way they came.



It felt like i was leaning over much further than I actually was. It was the first time I had the new suspension setup out on the trail, and I had a fair bit of weight on the roof.

Teenagers... Have to love the commentary :tearsofjoy:
This was the last bit of adventure for the day. We wrapped up the day by taking in the views, moving up the trail and finding our camp for the night.




 
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jdunk

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King County, Washington, United States
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Day 2

Our second day of travel was full of the amazing views and washed out roads that you expect in spring, in the Pacific Northwest.


As we got up on our first long ridge of the trip, I was in awe. I was in awe of the amazing views that surrounded me as I climbed up the mountains, the sights that never seemed to end once I made it to the top, and the wind. A special friend that followed us most of the trip. It kept us moving and on time, it also pushed the rain right behind us. The rain was never more than a few hours behind us, but we managed to keep ahead of it right up until the last day.












Once we made it to the trees, we found our selves seeing the trend of downed trees that would get in our way over the next few days.

Navigating some of the trees was tight in the XK, and I obviously wanted to take extra care with the KL so I could still use it to get to work the following week.













After our adventures in trees cut at the minimum width to get my XK through, we continued on to find more ridges, more epic views, and rocks. Lots and lots of sharp rocks.

The wildlife refuge was amazing, a heard of elk was right off the road as we drove by. It was worth the detour the next day... More on that later.

This is about the time I realized I wish I had more cameras running. It would have been pretty amazing to have at least 1 GoPro mounted inside the windshield of both Jeeps. There is so much that it would have caught that we didn't get on camera because we were that engrossed in our trip.






Camping was very limited in the Wildlife refuge, campfires were banned, and our good friend the wind was making itself known. It took a lot longer to get through this section of the trail than we were anticipating, so we opted for the simple solution of finding a campground in Ellensburg for the night.



 
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jdunk

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King County, Washington, United States
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Josh
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Day 3

Day three held the same amazing scenery, proof that the KL is a Jeep, and an unexpected stop.


The beginning of day 3 started with breakfast, loading the rigs, and a quick walk around inspection of the vehicles. That's when I found the previous day was more fun than I thought...


There were a few things that lined up to make this tire damage "not so bad". First, it was holding air. No cords or reinforcement was showing, so I decided to drive on it. Better to lose it, and use the spare, than to swap it out, and damage the spare just to have two damaged tires. Second, I wisely purchased hazard insurance when I bought the tires, and there happened to be a Discount Tire not far off the path in Wenatchee.

We got a good start on the morning and were quickly dropped in to the amazing scenery that is the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Over the last few years, this part of the state has had more than it's fair share of forest fires. A point that we will be reminded of for the rest of the trip.


















It was here that I would learn that the KL is a Jeep. I didn't realize how steep or high the ledge was, until I had the little Trailhawk drive up to it. It's hard to tell from the angle of the video, but where I'm standing, pondering the state of things, I am above the height of the hood.

After a little consideration, and the removal of a couple large rocks to smooth out the small cliff, I decided it was time to give it a go. The little Tailhawk doesn't miss a step!

After what ends up not being much of a big deal, we continue on down the trail...










We eventually made our way out of the forest and found Wenatchee, where I took a detour, paid my small tire replacement fee, and got a new tire.

I have to say, I was really impressed with the way the people at this Discount Tire location handled the situation. I was in and out about as fast as is possible.

They happily swapped in my spare (still new) so that I would have matching tread in the rear.


In not time at all, we were back on the trail.


We found our camp for the night. Unfortunately, this was probably one of the worst sites I've ever seen as far as trash, and general disrepair. I try to pack out whatever trash I find on the trail, but this one was just too much. We pulled out what we could, leaving it in better shape than we found it, even if I wish I could have done more...






 
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jdunk

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Day 4

Day four would have us starting out on a pretty cold morning. Though, by this time we had the routine down and had breakfast made, camp packed up, and dishes cleaned in record time! It's almost like we'd been doing this for a few days...


We got on the road, to the same stunning picturesque landscapes that we'd been enjoying for the last few days.

And then... Apparently I wasn't able to make a right turn and took a left when I should have taken a right. I just treated it as a nice break from the vibration of the trail (it was a paved road). Once I realized what I had done, I flipped around, and got back on track.






Along the way, the little KL hit a big milestone for any Jeep. The day it loses it's bumper to bumper...








It was about this time that the first of two obstacles that I couldn't get by. (and not the last time I wished I would have brought a chainsaw)

N47° 58.032' W120° 14.387'




Back tracking a little bit, we found ourselves back on the road that this little trail was going to drop us out on.

Back on the trail, we ended up passing the summit of Mt. Cooper.













After being wind blown on the top of the mountain, we climbed in and moved on. Eventually, we came across this washout. It's not so hard to stay out of during the day, but if you find yourself moving too quickly at night... This could hurt. A lot.








The second of the obstacles that I couldn't get by was a washed out road. The KL would have made it by easily enough, but the XK is big and heavy. What you can't see from the pictures is that the washout undercuts what's left of the road. Also not pictured is me deciding it was a good idea to walk down the road and find a tree that may have been a clearance issue for all the gear on the roof of the XK... I opted for better safe than sorry and found another way around.

N48° 07.732' W120° 09.970'




As we moved down the mountain, it was getting late, our schedule was completely blown, and there weren't any real prospects for finding a camp spot as it appeared to be an active logging area, surrounded by private property.

We broke down, and found a Motel for the night.
 
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jdunk

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Day 5

Day five would be the final day of our journey. We didn't realize at the time, just how short it was to be.


We gobbled up some breakfast that wasn't near as good as we were used to eating on the trail, and hit the road, backtracking a little bit to find our way back to where we needed to be to pick up the last leg of our adventure.

Once again, we were being chased by the rain.




Back down through the mountains and the valley's we came across a long abandoned ghost town. The location where the City of Ruby once stood.










As we starting working our way through our last burned out forest, we losing the race against the rain and snow. It would be sporadically on top of us from now, until we found the main road to the boarder.













Our Journey ended as we arrived at the border. It felt good to finally be at the end of the trip, but I was a little sad that it was over.








From the border station, we made our way back to Oroville where we would find a nice little Motel, a local place to grab some dinner and a beer.

This journey was over, but it seems to have a lasting affect on everyone that went. We're already talking about what we're going to do next year.

 
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jdunk

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Day 6

Day six. It was originally planned to be our last day on the trail. However since we got done early, I bring you a my own little reminder from breakfast the morning we were to head home.




 
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jdunk

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Looking Back...

Looking back, there are a few things that I would do differently.

From an equipment point of view, all the gear that I toted along worked as expected. The only gear that didn't get used regularly was safety and recovery, as well as the extra gear brought for inclement weather.

All in all, with the exception of the early morning temperatures, and the wind, the weather was pretty amazing. It wasn't too hot, I'm not sure that even the red head got too much sun. The vehicles didn't need to run the AC to keep the dust out.

The two things I would probably do differently.

First, I would bring a damn chainsaw.

Second, I think I would change the route a little so that lunch was spent in civilization. This would allow for a nice break in the middle of the day, a need to bring less food along, and would put us deeper in the mountains when it's time to find a camp.

A side learning experience... Upload all your media BEFORE you start writing your trip report!
 
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Gunnermoose

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Looks like a fun trip. Nice pictures!

I want to do OR/WABDR next summer. I plan to do the NMBDR this September. So far I have completed the AZ and UT BDR.
 
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jdunk

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Looks like a fun trip. Nice pictures!

I want to do OR/WABDR next summer. I plan to do the NMBDR this September. So far I have completed the AZ and UT BDR.
It looks like the OR BDR is at the top of the list for next year. Looking at going north to south cutting to the western trail to end at the coast.
 
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Steve

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Josh,

I've watched all of your videos, and have subscribed to your YouTube Channel (Steve& Deb Exploring the USA)

I know you haven't got much feed back, but I was thoroughly entertained! The music is apropos, and your narration is clear and descriptive while still sounding like you're just talking to me rather than reading a dialog. The editing is good, and the scenes usually long enough without me waiting for the next shot to appear. Some of the grander views I'd have liked to last a bit longer, but that's what "pause" is for.

I felt like I was there, and want to go again!

Thanks,
Steve
 
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jdunk

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Thanks!

I enjoyed putting it together. I hope to do more of them as time allows.

I did try to slow some of the more epic shots down, but I agree, if I were to do it again, I would slow some of them down.

Now I just need my rig back so I can get out! (It's getting a new rack)
 
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