Yes, it is December 24th and the first day of the Festive 500 Strava Challenge! My plan for this first day was to pound out as many miles as possible. You know, knock off a good chunk of those 500 km. I also wanted to avoid the crazy last minute Christmas shoppers heading to the nearest mall. Initially, my plan was simple. Ride the road to Yelm (going the opposite direction as the mall goers), get on the Yelm/Tenino Trail, ride to Tenino, go on Hwy 99 (a potential get-thee-to-the-mall road) to 183rd, 183rd to Sargeant Rd, Sargeant to Littlerock, Littlerock to Maytown, Maytown to Tilley, and so on, to home. I thought that would be around 75 miles. I knew this route because I had done it several years ago. Then I remembered that I had not done that route exactly. Instead of getting on the trail in Yelm, I had ridden to Bald Hills, then Vail Rd, and Vail Cut-Off back to the trail near Rainier. Okay, I thought, I'll extend it to include that section.
I did, indeed, ride out to Yelm on the road and on to Bald Hills Rd. But, at Vail Rd. I continued on out toward Smith Prairie (there is only the prairie and cows out there...no malls...besides, cows don't go shopping on Christmas Eve--they get their shopping done long before or they make all their Christmas gifts--usually milk and cheese). There were some headwinds and crosswinds, but not as bad as the last time Debbie and I went that way. More importantly, there were very few cars (my plan was working!).
I worked my way around Lawrence Lake and returned to Vail Rd. on 153rd. There seemed to be large amounts of traffic on Vail, so instead of going on Vail, I crossed it and stayed on 153rd. I hadn't been on this part of 153rd, but I had a pretty good idea where it would lead to (not a mall). Sure enough, it turned into Mattinson Rd. which came to 148th. I followed 148th back into Rainier. There I got on the Yelm/Tenino Trail as planned.
It was raining again (had been off and on for most of the ride--if it wasn't outright raining, it was misty). As I rode down the trail, I thought to myself, when I get to Tenino, I'm not going to want to continue on Hwy 99 to 183rd. There would likely be wind, rain, and lots of traffic. I don't normally mind traffic. There is a good shoulder on 99 and there would be very little debris as there aren't many trees on that section. But...it's Christmas Eve and that makes it all different...right? Anyway, as I came to where Johnson Creek Rd heads off from Hwy 507 (across the hwy from the trail), I decided I would do Johnson Creek/Skookumchuck/Crowder roads back to Tenino. Then I could head home from there up 99 to Rich Rd and back on the Chehalis Western Trail.
When I got to Tenino, I, once again, changed my plan. Not only did I decide to just completely avoid 99, but I also realized it wouldn't be quite as many miles as I had hoped for. Instead I got back on the Yelm/Tenino Trail and rode back to the trail junction with Chehalis Western and turned onto Chehalis Western. Then I just rode the last 12 miles home.
If you were to see the Strava map of the ride it kind of looks like a preschooler's attempt at the number 8--a little messy, but definitely a figure 8.
Total miles for Day 1--73.4 (118.13 km)
Total Kilometers remaining of the Festive 500--381.87 (237.28 miles)