Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saving the Hardest for Last

Ahhh...the last day...

I've climbed somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 Passes over the last 36 days. Some were quite challenging in their length, and some were challenging in their steepness. None of them were as cardio-thumping difficult as the last hills I climbed in Seattle today. Walls would be a more accurate term!

I was, once again, up at the butt-crack of dawn to get packed and out of the park where I was stealth camping. Actually, I wasn't entirely stealth camping. Last night at about 9:00, after I had set up my tent, I was walking to the potty shack as a gal was walking her two dogs (a Boston Terrier and a Great Dane--really, the Great Dane was walking her). We talked for a moment and she happened to mention that there was a King County Sheriff's Deputy sitting in his car just beyond where the potty shack was. I thought it might be wise to go over and declare my presence (and explain why I was camping in a park that clearly didn't allow camping). I don't think he would have ever seen me. I had moved even farther away (to be out of the sprinkler zone--which never did come on). From the road, I couldn't even see my campsite, and I knew where it was!

He did tell me there was no camping at the park, but he didn't seem overly concerned that I was there. I told him I'd be gone early. Turns out there actually was a campground just on down the road a very short distance. In fact, if I had gone down Preston/Fall City Rd. yesterday, instead of the road to Redmond, I would have seen the campground sign. Oh least it was a free night of camping!

Not far out of Fall City, I picked up the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail where it crossed Preston/Fall City road. First I had to go up a very very steep section to get up to the former railroad. Since I had very little weight in the front panniers, I had to walk, as I was doing little wheelies.
Why does a photo never do justice to the steepness of a hill?

This trail was paved, and had a steady, but gradual climb to the beginning at High Point Drive.

I got on High Point Dr, but realized there was more trail parallel to the road. Eventually, I did have to go on the road. I was on the outskirts of Issaquah when I passed the Bicycle Adventures Building (back at the top of McKenzie Pass, I had eaten lunch compliments of Bicycle Adventures).
I would have stopped in, but no one seemed to be around--it was pretty early.

As I continued on the road, I spotted a trail sign to the left. This trail, the Issaquah-Preston Trail, was gravel, and it wasn't very long.

At the end of the trail, I went from nice quiet trail riding to the noise and 70mph speed limit of I-90. Fortunately, it was downhill (so I was able to do the speed limit--just kidding!), and I got off at the next exit. From there I had to pull out my phone to see which way to go next. I went left on Sunset down into the old part of Issaquah. At Newport Way, I turned right and picked up the Newport Way Bike Route. It wasn't a path, just a bike lane. 

I came to another intersection and bike route option. Once again, I pulled out my phone. It looked like I should continue straight on Maple to 12th. I should have turned, but there was something overriding my innate sense of direction. 
This is what made me go straight! If I had turned, I would have missed this opportunity to publish yesterday's blog post...and have a doughnut...or two! Besides publishing the post, I also opened up the Bike There app and got directions to the King Street Station from where I was. I mostly needed the route to get to the I-90 Trail, and how to go once I got across Lake Washington. I took a screen shot of the directions, and placed my mini iPad into my map case.

Everything was pretty good getting to the I-90 Trail. 
Crossing Lake Washington on I-90.

There were tons of cyclists out for day rides, but only one touring cyclist (me). I saw lots of kits for teams I have raced against.

After crossing the lake, the Bike There directions got a little wonky. No, check that--a LOT wonky! First it gave a street name that did not appear to exist. Then it said to turn left on Dearborn, and stay on it all the way to downtown. I turned left and went up the two cardio-thumping-stand-on-the-pedals-in -super-granny-gear block-long hills, only to discover that Dearborn does not go through (unless I wanted to go up a staircase)! I cut over to the next cardio-thumping uphill street. It also ended, but at least it was a sidewalk instead of stairs. I got off and pushed Betsy up the steep sidewalk (one of those ones with little ridges so you don't slip). It was not easy! In fact, it reminded me of my first day where I had to push Betsy up the trail to Dairy Creek Campground. I've come full-circle.

Dearborn was still just a staircase, so I just continued to Jackson and gave up on Dearborn. I still had more hills, but none as bad. Tim had texted me (he was supposed to pick me up at the train station) saying there was a Mariners game and, therefore, no parking. I told him I was coming down Jackson. He met me as I was on my way down.
Puget Sound at last!

It was 28 miles from Fall City to where Tim picked me up. 

Another tour successfully completed! On the whole, it was a great trip! The variety of scenery from the Coast, the mountains, and the dryness of Eastern Washington made for a never-boring ride. The mix of challenging and easy days was perfect. Spending time with my boys in Eugene and my friends at the cabin provided great breaks, even though I still rode while I was there. I liked having route maps (Sierra Cascades), but I've gotten pretty good at on-the-fly navigation too. Now it's time to start planning Europe!

Here's some stats...

Total miles for the whole trip: 1217
Average mileage per biking day: about 48 (not totally accurate)
Highest maximum speed: 40mph (in Eugene without gear)
Highest daily average speed: 12.1mph (Money Creek to Fall City)
Lowest daily average speed: 7.9mph (Ellensburg to Blu-Shastin RV Park)
Total free nights of camping (not counting Eugene, Hood River, and the cabin): 7
Total number of Subway restaurants: 0 (planned it that way)
Sunset on the mountains from Fall City--my last night camping.

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