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August 2008 Archives

August 24, 2008

a weekend bike ride

Summer this year has been pretty lame. The snow melted late and we didn't have real summer weather until pretty late in July, and here we are in mid-August with the rain starting up again. It rained most of the week last week and is predicted to rain a good amount of the week next week, but yesterday (Saturday) was the one sunny day in the forecast, so I had to take advantage of it. I couldn't get a group together for kayaking, so I decided to hop on my bike. I think it was my first ride on the Sammamish River Trail this summer -- I haven't really been riding because my bike has been sitting around with a flat tire that I finally begged Mike to fix. So here's a day in the hippie Seattle life, complete with a few random pictures...

Part One: Google vs. Microsoft
It's not Seattle life unless technology is involved. I'm still too cheap to get a GPS device to track my speed, location, and altitude, and I don't have one of the fancy phones, so to fulfill this requirement, I had to use my computer before the ride. I knew I wanted to be on the Sammamish River Trail, and I didn't want to put my bike in my car and drive to Redmond to get on it, so the mission was to find a way to get from my place to the trail without being run over by a car.

I found a bike map online and drew out the most reasonable route. Red star is my place, red dotted trail is the destination, and black dotted path is my intended route. Outside of that, my choices would be Redmond Way (heavy car traffic, really rough sidewalk, and Costco Saturday traffic = death) or NE 124th St (unsure about sidewalk, fast, heavy car traffic... probably also death). So that's cool and all, but I decided to plot it on a real map with street names so I could figure out how to actually follow that route. So, as a typical Evil Empire employee, I pull up maps.google.com. Hmmmm...

Well, that's interesting. There didn't seem to be a way through, at least for cars. But maybe for bikes? So I switched to the satellite view, which showed a tiny gap in between the trees.

That looked promising, but I wanted something more definite. Evil Empire mentality sets in again, and I type in www.live.com, eyeing the monitor dubiously. I pull up the aerial view of the same location... aha! There IS a trail!

Part Two: I wish I had a mountain bike

After making some tweaks to my bike computer, which had somehow reset the settings and was telling me that I was averaging 5mph, I set off on my adventure. Rode up 124th Ave, turned on NE 100th St, and as I was crossing 132nd Ave, I recognized the intersection as one that I crossed every week to pick up my CSA box (yay for another hippie reference). Why so recognizable? A sign with an arrow, happily pointing in the direction I was heading, labeled "Gun Club." Excellent.

So I go to the gun club and find, as the map indicates, a dead end with a trail. And there's no way I'm riding my bike down this trail because it's freaking steep downhill, narrow, and really rough. So I get off my bike and push it down the hill, hoping that the gun club isn't having a practice session today. The trail wasn't too long, and it ended up in a parking lot, just as my online research had predicted, and it happened to be the new Pro Club Performance Center (the Pro Club is the Evil Empire gym). Crossed Willows Road into the next parking lot (Overlake Megachurch) and found myself on the trail on the other side of the Sammamish River.

There was supposed to be a bridge somewhere around NE 95th St, but I saw huge construction signs marking that direction as closed, so I went the other way, hoping to find another bridge. Ever ridden a road bike on loose gravel? Not much to absorb the shock so it's a bumpy ride, and there's always the fear that the wheel will go too deep in the gravel and you'll end up on the ground. I passed a couple walking their dogs (and probably thinking, "I'm on this side of the river to get away from bikers like you") and they told me that the bridge I was supposed to take WAS actually open and the trail was blocked afterwards. Great. Well, I'd gone this far, so I kept going to the next bridge and finally made it onto the trail.

Part Three: I'm glad I have a road bike

It was fun riding once I got on the right trail. The scenery is pretty, and it's a flat, pleasant ride, except for when you're avoiding children or beginning rollerbladers or being passed by herds of Spandex Men. (Fortunately the annual STP ride already passed, so there weren't as many of them out training) Passed Sixty Acres Park (where some sort of kids soccer tournament was being held), the Alcohol Stop (one block: Chateau Ste Michelle Winery, Columbia Winery, and Red Hook Brewery), and the Wilmot Gateway Park in Woodinville (water and bathroom stop).

Took a break at the big Bothell Park. Redmond to Bothell and back is a typical, laid-back ride for me. I call it "riding to the roosters" because there are all these wild chickens wandering around making rooster noises. Seriously. And there are a bunch of ducks, too.

Got through that area, and the trail turns into the Burke-Gilman Trail, which will take you into Seattle. I noticed a guy with a pail along the side of the road and realized that he was picking blackberries! Sure enough, the berries were ripe, tasty, and all over the place. So I made several stops along the trail for some quality snacking.

Rode some more and reached Log Boom Park in Kenmore, at the top of Lake Washington. Stopped to look at the view and drink some water and decided to turn back there. I do want to make it to Fremont and back sometime, but that would take all day and require me to be in better riding shape than I'm in now.

On the way back, I took a picture of the waterfront trailer park. If you're gonna live in a trailer, this is the place to be. These guys might not own their land, but they've got waterfront decks and quite a few of them have boats.

Heading back down through Woodinville, there's a sign on the trail that says "Armadillo BBQ" that I'd previously ignored, imagining a meal of actual barbequed armadillo, but this time I smelled smoke meat, so I had to go and investigate. I ended up eating a BBQ pork sandwich that was pretty good. In the pictures, my bike is the silver one on the left.

Finally, I found myself back at the Alcohol Stop. I'd originally planned to drop by the Woodinville Farmers Market (also on that road, more hippie points), but I realized that I'd left all my cash at home, so that would be pointless. So I met Mike and his kids, who had biked from Marymoor, at the Red Hook Brewery. It's a popular spot on sunny days and there was a 1 hour wait for a table, but we were able to catch the brewery tour, which costs $1 for 5 small glasses of beer and you get to keep the glass. No one cares about the actual tour... it's the best alcohol deal in town.

That was the last stop. Once again, I took the wrong bridge over the Sammamish River -- this time it was one too far north -- but the ride along Willows Road ended up being more pleasant because there were no people there. Found the entry to the shady gun trail from the Pro Club parking lot, and once I started up the hill, I wanted to kill myself. It was a steep hill and I had to try to keep my feet from slipping downhill while pushing a bike up. I had to take a few breaks, where I realized that I was a single female in the middle of the woods and started to recall the news stories last year or so when two women were murdered while they were hiking.

Anyway, I made it home. Fun Pacific Northwest experience. Today it's raining again and my butt hurts from the 30-ish miles of riding. (Turns out I didn't get my wheel size exactly right so my odometer was still off) If you read this whole thing, that's amazing. =)

About August 2008

This page contains all entries posted to adventures of a tired coder in August 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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