Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not Quite What I Planned (or Check Another Subway Off the List)

The weather was supposed to be fabulous today--all summerlike. So, I thought a nice long ride was in order. I ended up not leaving until 10:45. My plan was to ride north following the RAPSODY route (2nd day). I figured I'd ride to Steilacoom then along the water and up Chamber's Canyon Rd. From there I would depart from the RAPSODY route and pick up two short bike paths (Grandview and Soundview Trails) then ride home. I didn't really know how many miles it would be, but it was supposed to be nice so, no matter.

My first change of plans came when the RAPSODY route turned right onto Washington Blvd. Instead of left as it had the year I did it. I thought, oh well, I'll see where it went this year. I remained on Washington Blvd. until a left onto, I think, Interlaken. I followed Interlaken as it wound around and went over the Interlaken Bridge (kinda cool actually). It finally spit me out onto Mt. Tacoma Dr. Which took me toward Bridgeport Way and Gravelly Lake Dr. At this point, the route took another left. Since I was hungry and I'd already ridden 25 miles, I decided lunch would be good. I used a new app on my phone to find a Subway ( .36 miles away on Gravelly Lake Dr.) and rode there. After lunch I decided to head home. Besides, it was stil overcast and only about 55 degrees. So much for the nice weather!

I rode Gravelly Lake Dr. to 112th then cut over to Bridgeport Way (don't ask me why I got off Gravelly Lake. I knew it would take me to the exact same place. There was no bike lane on Bridgeport (cyclists are allowed the full lane on Gravelly Lake). There was, however, a newly paved bike lane on Pacific (which I turned onto from Bridgeport). Anyway, I got on I-5 at Gravelly Lake. Got off at Thorne and rode Union Ave. to Berkeley and got back on I-5. I rode past Ft. Lewis (now the JBLM) and got off at the Dupont/Steilacoom exit. After eating an ice cream cone (chocolate dipped, of course) in Dupont (or is it called Northwest Landing) the sun finally came out and I was able to switch to the sunglass lens and take off my jacket. I rode all the way in on Pacific to the trailhead at Woodland Park. Then I took the Woodland Trail to Chehalis Western and rode home for a total of 54.4 miles. I didn't quite make it to the two trails. Guess I'll save that for another day (perhaps one where I start a little earlier and the weather is a little nicer).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why I Love Riding

I was going to call today's post "I Wore My Sunglasses Today" to the tune of that song that starts with "I wear my sunglasses at night". I think it's by Corey Hart (a One-Hit Wonder). Anyway, I changed it because of lunch. It had nothing to do with the food (although, pretty much eating whatever you want on a bike tour is definately a plus). No, it had to do with a couple I met. Their names were Florence and Jim. Florence is 91 and Jim can't be too far behind.
I pulled into the Subway in Tenino. When I walked in this older couple was standing at the cash register end of the counter. Of course, at Subway, you start at the other end, order your sandwich and work your way to the register. Once the couple understood this they came down to the other end where I was standing waiting to order. I told them they could go in front of me as they were there first. They said no, they were in no hurry. Then they were trying to decide what to have. They mentioned the ham. I told them they could get a footlong ham for $5. They said that would be too much to eat. They just wanted a 6". I ordered my footlong Veggie Delight. Jim (although, at this time I did not know his name) says to me, "You going to eat all of that?". I told him I was and he said that would feed him for a week. In my defense, I told him I had already ridden 30 miles on my bike to get there. When they were trying to order, the sandwich gal was having a hard time understanding what they wanted. I told her they just wanted a 6" sandwich cut in half (you know, Subway is not a good restaurant for the indecisive--6" or footlong? Kind of bread? What kind of cheese? Toasted? Veggies? Sauce? Wanna make that a meal?). Anyway, they got their order and were looking for a place to sit. As I was sitting alone, I asked if they would like to join me. They did and we had a very nice conversation. Turns out Florence and Jim are just friends. They used to be neighbors until Florence's kids put her in a "nursing home" (really an Assisted Living facility). She is still not happy about that. Jim has 6 kids and, he thinks, at least a couple of grandkids. So now that they are no longer neighbors, Jim periodically picks up Florence and they go for a drive and lunch.
So, I titled this blog "Why I Love Riding". It is meeting people like Jim and Florence that make riding so enjoyable. It is also the advantage of riding alone. If I had been with someone, I would probably not have engaged them in conversation let alone invite them to eat with me. It is something I noticed while solo touring this summer. People were much more likely to approach me and ask me questions then when I was with someone. Plus, as a solo tourist, I am more inclined to seek people out.
Anyway, the weather was perfect as was my lunch company!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wet Day 2 of MS Ride and Pics

Day 2 of the MS ride started and ended with rain. Oh, and with rain in the middle too! There were only about 5 miles in the last 10 miles where it had stopped raining for a short time. I, however, was prepared for the rain with full raingear so I was just fine. Others were not so outfitted. Amy was riding in shorts. Brrrrr!! Jill sagged with Tony's wife Dawn after the second rest stop. She was freezing.
After the lunch stop at Larrabe State Park, Tony commented that Chuckanut Dr. should really be called...well, substitute another letter for the "Ch" get the picture. Still, I could see how the scenic the road would be if it weren't for the rain. Guess I'll just have to do it again on a nicer day.
At the last rest stop Jill rejoined us for the last 10 miles. I finished before everyone else (just ready to be done and I guess not that much of a team player).
Weather aside, it was a good two days on a VERY well supported ride.
Here's some pictures. Most from the first day since my camera doesn't like to get wet.

Just a few people at the start of Day 1
Tony and I before the Deception Pass Bridge
One of the "Biking Vikings"

Guy on the ElliptiGo--a stand up, 8 speed bike.

The view from Chuckanut Dr.

The Day 2 Finishers Amy, Anne, Jill and Tony

Saturday, September 11, 2010

MS 150 Day 1--The Long One

Day 1 of the MS 150 is complete. It was 92 miles of reasonably decent weather. There was even some sunshine. The rain jacket came off at the second stop (we didn't stop at the first rest stop--it had only been 10 miles). The leg warmers came off at the lunch stop and the arm warmers were off at the second to last stop.
The ride started in Mount Vernon and went over the Deception Pass Bridge...twice! Many of the roads I had been on with Kyle last summer. However, the hills were much faster this time without all the panniers! There were all kinds of team costumes and jerseys. The Biking Vikings all had Viking horns on their helmets. The Garden Gnome team had fake beards (even the women) and little red pointy hats on top of their helmets. Favorite jersey has to be the Free Beer team. They are a drinking club with a
cycling problem. Also saw a new form of bicycle called an Elliptigo. Basically, the rider stands up on a sort of Elliptical machine with wheels. It looks like running.
As I am writing this, I am sitting in my van (note to self: next time bring a chair). Soon I will retire to my tent and promptly fall asleep. Except for the large number of trains that go by, the tent "city" is pretty good. The gal next to me has an even bigger tent than mine and she is the only one in it.
Today, Tony and I pretty much stuck together. Amy and Jill did the 74 mile route and Anne did 59. Tomorrow we are all supposed to be doing the 70 mile route which will take us along Chuckanut Drive near Bellingham. Could be pretty if it doesn't rain. Weather forecast says 50% chance of rain (that's a failing grade if you ask me). It is starting to rain now. 70 miles in raingear--what a treat!