Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stealth Camping For Real

I'm not where I was planning to be, but I'll get to that in a moment.

After a relatively good night's sleep (the river was kind of loud, as was the whistle of the periodic trains passing by), I was up at 6:30, and on the road by 7:45. Hwy 2 was mostly downhill, with a few uphill sections.

Even though I have driven this many times (to get to/from the cabin), it was different biking it. I had the time to really see the mountains.
Notice the waterfall? I've never noticed it before when driving.
Wouldn't be able to stop and get this shot with the moon if I was in a car. There is no place to pull over.

I rolled into the outskirts of Sultan at 9:30. There is a McDonalds there so I stopped to publish yesterday's post. I also looked on the map to see how many more miles it was to Carnation (28 for a total of 49 for the day). In doing that, I discovered a way to get off Hwy 2 and bypass the high traffic area of Monroe. Since I had taken care of all my wifi needs at McDonalds, I had no reason to stop in Monroe. The "new" route was only a mile longer.

From "downtown" Sultan, I turned left on to Mann Rd. 
Mann Rd.--a nice alternative to Hwy 2.

Then it was a right turn onto Ben Howard Rd. The road wound through farms of mostly corn or cows. There wasn't much of a shoulder, but there also wasn't much traffic. Basically, a nice country road. I was still following the Skykomish River, only on the other side.
Here's the photo of crossing the river.

As I was riding along, thoroughly enjoying this peaceful road, I thought to myself, "This is so great, I don't even care if I have to climb any hills!" As I came around the next corner--seriously--not kidding here--the road went sharply up! HA! I just popped Betsy into Super Granny (the only time the whole day) and pedaled up the hill. It was about 1/3 of a mile. The equally steep downhill on the other side was nice.

All too soon, I was back to the main road, now Hwy 203 (or Monroe-Duvall Rd.). I was going to take a break in Duvall, but ended up just continuing to ride. 

Shortly after leaving Duvall, I could see a trail to my right as I was riding on the Hwy. At the next available access, I rode over to the trail. It was the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. 
As you can see, it's not a paved trail, but Betsy did just fine on the dirt and packed gravel. After a couple of miles, I met a family walking on the trail. I asked them if it went all the way to Carnation. They said it actually goes all the way to Preston. Then I asked if it went through Tolt-McDonald Park (my intended destination). Turns out it doesn't, but they told me where to get off in Carnation (there was even a sign on the trail pointing the way to the park).

I got off, and rolled into Carnation. The turn for the park was just a short distance on down 203. As I turned onto the park road, I could see there was something going on up ahead. When I pulled up, I was told I couldn't camp at the park unless I had a ticket to the Timber Music Festival (a two day affair costing $45 just for the festival part) going on at the park. Well that's just great! The whole reason I went this way was because this was the only place that had camping.

After trying, unsuccessfully, to get them to let me camp anyway, I asked where the next nearest place was that I could camp. The guy said I could camp at Fall City Community Park. He said it was 10 miles down the road (turned out it was 6). With a few parting words of how it is just plain wrong to turn away a cyclist, I headed for Fall City. 

I came upon the park and noticed it had picnic tables, sani-cans, and trash cans. It did not have an obvious water source (besides the Snoqualmie River). I rode on into Fall City and, since I'd had nothing since Sultan but a Clif Bar, I stopped at a place called Small Frye (where their specialty is grease, salt, sugar, and caffeine). I had a chicken sandwich, fries, and a coconut milkshake. I also filled my two 1-liter platypus containers, and my two water bottles. That should be enough water to get me through the night and into tomorrow. 

I returned to the park, and chose the furthest away picnic table in the shade of a big tree. There is a trail nearby that goes to the river. Several people have walked by on their way to the river. I won't set up my tent until near dark. My main concern is the sprinklers. I may even move to a spot that is nearer to the road, but not in the path of the sprinklers...we'll see.
I might move over there, near the sani-can (but not too close--although, on my potty shack rating scale, it merits an 8. It only gets docked 2 points for being smack dab in the sun, making it a sauna-can. Otherwise, it is well-stocked, and clean). To the left is a horse track. There have been a few horseback riders.

I walked on the trail to the river (locked Betsy to the picnic table) and went for a swim. It's better than nothing for the second night with no shower. Of course, I just went in with my bike clothes because I left my swimsuit for Lorraine to bring back, thinking I wouldn't need it. I just made myself a river rock flat spot to sit and dried off in the sun.
Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

Tomorrow I will ride on into Seattle. I'm hoping to take bike trails as much as possible.

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