Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Finishing the Padden Parkway

Last year when I brought Tessa on the train to Vancouver, I did some riding out towards East Clark County and discovered the Padden Parkway Trail. At the time I didn't ride further east because I had already done quite a few miles. I just rode the short part from Andresen to the western end.

I'm currently back in Vancouver visiting my dad. This time I brought Betsy on the train. The weather is very nice here, so I decided I'd investigate the rest of the Padden Parkway Trail. I had no idea how far it went east. When I grew up here in Vancouver, the Padden Parkway didn't even exist--let alone a bike path. I think it was built as a major east/west thoroughfare because 78th St was not able to handle the amount of traffic in the growing East County area. None of the housing and services that are out there now, were there when I was a kid. It was all farmland. 

I got on the Trail at Andresen. It parallels the Parkway the entire distance.

As I rode along, I could catch glimpses of Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood. Here's a photo of Mt. Hood.

The trail (and the Parkway passed over I-205). Here's the trail bridge.

Coming down the other side was interesting as they have made it one of those sort of graduated descents. So, coming down it is kind of rollercoastery. The only other trail bridge I've been on that is like that is on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in Idaho. Although it makes for an interesting ride down, it is easier to go up.

The trail came to an unceremonious end. There was no sign or parking lot to signify I was at the end, but since I couldn't see anymore trail, I figured I had finished it. A bike lane continued on the road, so I decided to go a little further. I was only at about 8 1/2 miles. Less than a mile later, the bike lane ended. The road became Ward Rd. I thought I might have a vague recollection of a Ward Rd, but I wasn't sure. No problem--I just continued on. 

Finally it looked like the road was angling off to the left. Also, there was no shoulder, and the traffic was pretty heavy. I came to another road (Davis Rd) that looked quieter. Since I had no real plan beyond the trail, I decided to get off the busy road. I rode along this road until I came to 112th. By then I'd gone about 12 miles. Since I'd started around 4:00, I decided I would begin heading back. Having no real idea as to where I was, and not wanting to just turn around and go back the way I'd come, I pulled out my Garmin Edge Touring. I plugged in my dad's address, and followed the cues. Basically, I ended up back on Ward, then back to the Parkway Trail. That was okay. It did bring me home a slightly different way than I'd gone (after getting off the trail), but it was a route with bike lanes. 

Total miles was just under 24. It was a beautiful day, and now I can say I've done the entire Padden Parkway Trail.

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