Monday, March 22, 2010

Making Wrong Turns (even with a map!)

After last week's ride where I didn't know where I was, I opted to take a map with me today. Fat lotta good it did! I rode up to Steilacoom, but instead of going all the way down to the last road before the ferry dock, I turned on Sequalish (it was on the Pierce Co. Bicycle map). After I got up to the top of the hill, I pulled out the map to see what street I would turn on to get to Military Rd. Funny thing about this bicycle map. It doesn't label all the streets! So, I didn't know what street to turn on to get to Military. It only showed a turn. Well, apparently, I didn't pick the right one. Oh, I got to Military Rd...eventually. But, not the way I wanted to go! After riding Military until it becomes Washington Blvd. then following Gravelly Lake Rd. back to the freeway, I got on I-5 then got off at the next exit which is Thorn Lane. My plan was to ride Perimeter Rd. between McChord and Ft. Lewis to Hwy 7 and make a nice big loop AND go on some roads I'd never been on (hence another reason to take the map). I crossed back over the freeway and ride for a mile or so and come to a Ft. Lewis gate. I stopped and, once again, pulled out the map. I was on Murry Rd. at 150th. I needed to turn onto 150th which would take me to Perimeter Rd. where I would turn right and eventually get to Hwy 7 (so I thought). 150th did take me to Perimeter, but turning right was wrong. After a couple of miles or so of going toward what I thought was Hwy 7, I came to yet another Ft. Lewis gate, the Rainier Gate, to be exact. I pull up where the MPs are doing 100% ID checks (waiting my turn in line). The nice young man asks if I have a decal on my bike (uh, no). Do I have one on my helmet? (again, no) Well, then I'll have to show my ID (no problem, I have my driver's license!). I pull off so I can get my license out of my trunk bag. I give him my license and he asks if I have a "gate pass" ( Well, he can't let me ride through then. I ask if this is Perimeter Rd. because I have a Pierce Co. bike map that shows Perimeter Rd. running all the way to Hwy 7. The MP says yes, but this is the Ft. Lewis Rainier Gate. I tell him I don't want to go to Ft. Lewis. I want to go to Spanaway and Hwy 7. I get out my map. The other young man, who was eating his lunch, looks at my map and comments about "the button-hook" (???). Then he shows me, on their map, where I am and where I need to go (clearly NOT through Ft. Lewis). As I said, turning right was wrong. I should have turned left off 150th. That being straightened out, I asked if I could use their potty shack. They, graciously, said, "Yes", but warned me of it's condition. Apparently, the OTHER gates have nice BUILDINGS with FLUSH toilets, but THEY get a SANI-CAN. I told them, as far as I was concerned, I didn't care. I'd been in some pretty bad potty shacks. I told them about my "Potty Shack Rating Scale" (1-10 10 being a brand new, in the shade, fully stocked potty shack--it's very hard to rate a 10). Well, this one wasn't bad at all. In fact, I gave it a 9! It even had a sink! Anyway, after abit more chatting, I turned Stella around (the MP couldn't give me back my license until I was turned around), put my license away and bid them farewell. The rest of the ride was uneventful. After I got to Hwy 7, I was on roads I've been on for the STP, so nothing new there. Today's total (with wrong turns and all): 76 miles.

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