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35th Annual John Wayne Trail Cross State Ride 2016

The John Wayne Pioneer Trail follows the route of the old Milwaukee Railroad.  It runs East/West across the State of Washington.  Most of the route is administered by Washington State Parks.  

The Milwaukee railroad built the Chicago to Seattle line between 1906 and 1909.  In 1915 it was electrified.  The last train ran in 1972 and the route was abandoned in 1980.  There was immediate controversy on how to use the right of way.  Chic Hollenbeck, founder of the original JWPWR group, spearheaded the effort to convert the right of way to a trail.  

Heading east from Rattlesnake Lake near Seattle, the trail edges its way up the Cascade mountains, traverses the range through a 2.3 mile long tunnel, winds along the edge of Lake Keechelus, passes through irrigated farmland and descends down a series of nine switchbacks to the Columbia River.  The Trail continues east through wetlands, cattle ranches and scablands, ending in the Palouse wheat fields in the small town of Tekoa.

The western segment of the Trail is in Iron Horse State Park.  There are marked trailheads, a well maintained surface, controlled access and good signage.  It is characterized by mountains, high trestles, irrigated farm land and high desert.  The eastern segment is more primitive.  The trail crosses large pastures and open rangelands and bisects small ranching communities.  The Columbia River divides the two segments.

The trail is open to all non-motorized uses.  Its gentle gravel surface is popular with cyclists, hikers, birders, horseback riders, teamsters and cross country skiers.  The western segment, which is closer to Seattle and more accessible, is more heavily used than the eastern segment.


Cross State Ride
Frequently Asked Questions

Who can Participate?
The ride is open to everyone. Most participants are either horseback riders or teamsters. We usually have one or two bike riders and hikers. It is an excellent wagon trail, with gentle grades and a firm roadbed.

What do I need?
You must care for yourself and your animals. You will need a truck, trailer and camping equipment. You must provide your own feed but there will be places where you can purchase supplies.  Most camp sites have water for your animals, but not all.  You should be able to carry a two day supply of water for your animals.  You should bring water for yourself.

How does it work?
Each morning you will saddle (or harness) up and tie your horse or leave it in the care of a friend. Following our bus, you will drive your truck and trailer ahead to the next campsite. Our bus will bring you back to your horse.  You then ride forward to the next campsite.  You do not have to ride with one big group.  You can go at your own pace.

What about food?
Meals are “on your own”, but many nights there are either potlucks or dinners put on by localgroups.  All potlucks and community sponsored dinners are strictly optional.  You do not have to participate.

What if I need a vet or farrier?
A list of local services will be included with registration materials.  

When do I get water, dump my holding tanks and buy groceries?
Some days the ride is short and you will have time to shop. There are also two days when there is no ride planned.  We can supply you with the locations of dump stations and shopping locations.

Do I have to ride every day?
No. Most participants don’t ride every day. You can trailer your horse ahead and ride the Trail backward a few miles, or ride around the camp.

Can I come for a few days or split the ride into two parts?
Yes.  The best experience is to make the whole two week trek but,  if you cannot, you are welcome to come for a day, a weekend or any amount of time you can allow.  Some participants will ride the first half or last half or just come on weekends.

Who drives the bus?
A CDL licensed driver drives the bus.

What are the parades like? Do I have to participate?
We usually participate in the Rosalia Battle Days parade and, depending on the year, there may be others. You do not need to participate, but it is appreciated. Wear blue jeans, a white shirt and a red scarf. If you wish, you may volunteer to carry a flag. Riders pair up and ride two by two.

Whats the White Scarf Award?
Participants who ride or drive every day are awarded a white scarf at the end of the trip.  You will need to keep track of your progress each day.

Later Event: November 1
November 2016 Club Meeting