Great news for this year! All of the washouts and blockages from previous years have been repaired or cleared. And for customers who purchased the 2018 edition last year or early this year, the routes have remained the same and you'll be able to use it without any issues for another year. Users of previous editions (2017 and older) should upgrade to enjoy a hassle-free trip that includes several new Points of Interest that were added to the tour, a couple of new Side Routes to interesting places, and an updated list of camp sites, including several great new locations to set up for the night.
But, there is a some bad news for all users as well. The forest fire in the Hamma Hamma valley last summer was a doozie, and the Forest Service is keeping some roads closed that are part of the route until their survey work can be completed. They are making sure there are no dangerous trees or boulders on the hillsides that could come tumbling down onto the roads before opening them back up. While they aren't scheduled to open officially until October 31st, if they get their work done sooner they will open them up sooner, possibly during the summer. Unfortunately, this means that the first portion of Route A from Hoodsport to the junction of Hamma Hamma road and Highway 101 needs to be either bypassed or modified until it reopens. See below for instructions.
So let's get on with the special notes and updates to the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour!
All waypoints in our tour have names with only 6 characters, so if you notice the aforementioned problem, there are two reasons this may have happened to you. The first possibility is that you did not delete all of the waypoints from a previous version of this tour (or our Baja GPS tour) that you had on your GPS. You cannot have two GripTwister GPS tours loaded onto a GPS at the same time. In fact, it's best to backup your GPS and then delete all of your waypoints before loading the tour. Then you can add back your essential waypoints like HOME and such if you still have room.
The second reason that can cause this to happen, is that you have waypoints from a previous version of this tour (or our Baja GPS tour) in your "Library" within BaseCamp. It's necessary to make sure that if you have other GripTwister GPS waypoints in any folder within the "My Collection" folder of the "Library" in BaseCamp, that you first delete those before importing or opening the GPX files from the CD into BaseCamp. If this is what happened, you will need to delete ALL the GripTwister waypoints from "My Library", including (and especially) the "Unlisted Data" folder near the bottom of "My Libray", and delete all the waypoints off of your GPS again and start clean. The proper method to delete the old files from BaseCamp is to right click on the "List" item in the "Library" that contains the other GripTwister GPS tour, and select "Remove and Delete Unique Content". Once that is done, you can import/open the GPX file for the tour in BaseCamp and download it to your GPS.
The reason is that the default setting for some GPS receivers and/or software is
to not have individual tracks automatically "Show on Map". It is a good idea to
check to see if they (the tracks) are all set to "Show on Map" after you download the
tour, and to manually change them if necessary. Different models do this
differently so check your instructions, but here's how to do it on the Garmin
Montana (and may be the same or similar on your model):
Select "Track Manager" from the menu screen.
Scroll down to the track that you would like to be displayed and select it.
Press "Show On Map". If "Hide on Map" is displayed, it is already set to show, so do nothing more.
Press the back button (curved line with arrow).
Repeat for the other tracks
Because of the forest fire last year, there are still road closures in the Hamma Hamma watershed that affect Route A. I will present two options for you:
The first, and easiest (but most boring), is to just continue north on Highway 101 at Hoodsport (instead of turning towards Lake Cushman) and go approximately 18.5 miles to waypoint RA12TL, at which point you just turn left to start (or rejoin) the route. While it's all pavement, it is at least a scenic drive along the edge of Hood Canal.
The second option is to start and follow Route A from Hoodsport until you reach waypoint RA06TL, at which point you should note (or reset) your odometer reading and turn right instead. Travel downhill approximately 2.6 miles and turn left at the T at the bottom of the hill. Go 3.1 more miles to a fork in the road and stay right. Follow this road for approximately 2.2 more miles to Highway 101. From here, turn left and travel approximately 8.2 more miles to rejoin the route by turning left at waypoint RA12TL. With this option, you get as much dirt time as if there were no detour at all.
Well, something had to give, and the result is better than the other alternative, which was full decommissioning of this road. The FS sent a contractor up this road a year or two ago with heavy equipment and pretty much restored it to a condition such that it's not much of a "challenge" any longer. While that's bad news for those looking for a challenge, it's good news for the general public and everyone else, as anyone can now ride or drive up to the top and indulge in the views. Once again, we will be seeking a replacement for Route W in the future for those die-hard riders looking for something intense to ride. For now, if you've got the fuel for it, head on up and check out the views. And there is still a short section at the very top that hasn't been opened back up, so there's still a little "challenge" left up there if you're up for it.
It seems that the Forest Service has decided to close the river ford found at the end of Route G to vehicular traffic for the time being. This has made the approach a little steeper and the crossing a little rougher, due to the lack of four wheeled traffic wearing it in any longer, but it's still quite doable on a bike. You will need to look downstream a little ways from where the road meets the river for the best spot to ford now. Recent rain can make it more difficult at certain times, and on the big bikes it's not easy to do at any time. If it looks like too much for you or you don't wish to risk getting your feet (or worse) wet, just take the bypass, which you'll find in your tour package. There are often people camped here on the river's edge where you'll be crossing, so be considerate and check it out on foot first and let them know of your desired intentions before riding through their camp.
Here's what to do to enjoy the trip in the off-season:
Follow the instructions in the tour booklet for avoiding the water crossing on Route G, which you will find on the "Route G--Quinault to Wynoochee" page.
When you arrive at the closed gate, turn around and activate Route H and
continue on. That's it! Now enjoy the tour any time of year,
weather conditions permitting.