Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Noisy Ride

What a spectacularly beautiful day for a ride. Makes me not even care about all the traffic and noise! I left this morning in full sunshine. Yes, it was a little chilly in the shade (particularly when going downhill), but no matter.
I headed out Pacific Ave. toward Nisqually. I figured I would head north to Dupont then decide from there where exactly I would go. Climbing up the long hill on Pacific past the Nisqually River was pretty easy since truck after truck (dump trucks mostly) kept passing me and effectively blowing me up the hill. Plus, there might have been a slight tail wind to begin with.

I got on I-5 for the 3/4 mile stretch to Center Dr. Between getting on and getting off I-5 there is a truck weigh station. I seem to recall reading somewhere where Tuesday is a big trucking day. Well, I'd say, based on today, that is true. Truck after truck (semi trucks this time) barreled off the freeway at the weigh station. I have to cross that exit ramp. I waited until there was a break then scooted across quickly. After that it's no problem because the next exit is Center Drive. Since, by then I needed a potty shack, I stopped at Starbucks at NW Landing. I also had a hot chocolate. There was another cyclist out for a ride who had also stopped at Starbucks. I sat with him outside and we chatted for a bit. He asked where I was headed. I told him I wasn't sure, but that maybe I would go down Center Dr. to Dupont/Steilacoom Rd. and follow that to Steilacoom then ride along the water and come up Chambers Creek Canyon. He said something about a bunch of trees having been removed on one side of the canyon. Now there was a pretty good view from the top. I thought that would be a good way to go. After I finished my hot chocolate, I headed off.

The view of the Sound and the Olympics from Steilacoom was very nice. I enjoyed the ride on Lafayette St. (although I'm not sure it is called that the whole way to the canyon) along the water. When I got to where the road turns up the canyon, I noticed there seemed to be plenty of trees. I figured it must be farther up the hill. Got to the top and still no signs of any missing trees. Maybe the guy was thinking of someplace else? Anyway, I turned right onto Chambers Creek Rd. Hey, a road I've never been on (I've been left on a couple of organized rides--the Ride for Ultrasound and the RAPSODY). I really wasn't sure where this road would end up, but I still had lots of hours of daylight so I didn't care...much.

Turns out this is the road (or it becomes the road) that Charles Wright Academy is on. I never knew exactly where Charles Wright was. Hmmm...now I know! After a little bit, the road came to an end at Bridgeport Way. I got in the left hand lane to turn, but then decided I should have a look at the GPS on my phone to make sure that was the correct way. Good thing I did! If I had gone left, I would have ended up at the Narrows Bridge! I had alot of daylight left, but not THAT much! Whew! I turned right and after about a quarter of a mile, knew exactly where I was. I stayed on Bridgeport until Gravelly Lake Dr. where I turned right. I like riding on Gravelly Lake Dr. even though it is a very busy road. There is no bike lane, but there are many signs that say "Bikes may use full lane". So, I do. Cars have to change lanes to pass and no one honks or seems to be impatient. Awesome!

Where Gravelly Lake meets I-5, I had no choice but to get on the freeway. I was on until the next exit (Thorne Lane) where I could get off and ride parallel on Union Ave. (I've done this before). Then its back on I-5 until Dupont/Steilacoom exit to get past the JBLM. I got off and headed to Subway. I thought I had eaten at this one before, but I think it was Starbucks. This Subway was not familiar. So, check another one off the list! Instead of riding the road parallel to I-5 to NW Landing, I rode Dupont/Steilacoom to Center Dr. I stopped at the intersection of McNeil and Center Dr. and once again looked at Mapquest on my phone. This time I wanted to see if there was a way to avoid the freeway (I thought maybe they would have punched a road through to Mounts Rd.). Nope. Back on the freeway.

Since I didn't want to come back exactly the same way on Pacific, I turned up Reservation Rd. Now, that's a bit of a steep hill! I rode that to 510 and then hopped over to Yelm Hwy. I thought I would scope out the can situation from that end. I've already picked up the cans from about 5 miles from my house along Yelm Hwy. I counted 75 cans in the 8 miles (that's including the 5 miles that I already did and that was only one side of the road) down Yelm Hwy to where I turn off to come home (Horizon Point). Guess I'll have to load the panniers on and go pick those up...maybe tomorrow.

Total miles: 57.7
Total miles in noisy traffic: most of the 57.7

A barn of my favorite color in the Nisqually Valley.

Olympics and the Nisqually Delta.

Sunglasses required today!

The Olympics from Lafayette Rd. in Steilacoom.

I see plenty of trees.

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