Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Centennial Trail (2013-12-30)

While I've used the trail a number of times, I haven't really done a ride focusing on it before this one.

For a ride which may be more interesting to read about and one with a greater variety of photos, but lesser distance, you might want to check out Saturday's.

To Lake McMurray

I started at about 05:00 and headed straight north. It wasn't foggy when I started, but gradually became foggier.

I recently discovered an alternative to the Interurban Trail, and this would be my first ride of any real distance including it.

It's not very steep, has few stop signs, usually is lightly-traveled, and is fairly direct.

There wasn't much fog in Everett, but the "light rain" in the forecast made itself known. It really wasn't even a problem.

However, I hit more fog once I went down into the Snohomish River Valley.

A bit chilled, I grabbed a hot chocolate at my usual cafe in Snohomish.

From downtown Snohomish, I headed north. Rather than dealing with incomplete/detoured bits of the Centennial Trail, I stayed on the road until later.

  1. Centennial Trail: Snohomish — Arlington — Near Lake McMurray; former route of the Seattle & International Railway (successor of the Seattle, Lake Shore, and Eastern of Burke-Gilman Trail fame)
  2. Cedar River Trail: Renton — Landsburg/Maple Valley; former route of the Milwaukee Road
  3. Foothills Trail: Puyallup — Orting — South Prairie — Buckley — Enumclaw (disjoint and incomplete sections); former BNSF line (unable to find further details)

The Centennial Trail has some equestrian facilities, but I didn't notice how they had these crosswalk buttons mounted up high on the poles here.

It started going, then backed up, then started going a few times before it finally left the crossing. It was kind of fun watching the couplers' behavior between the locomotives and cars.

According to this page, both locomotives were originally from BN, 2088 is a GP38-2, and 2884 is a GP39-2R

I stopped at Legion Park, as I often do, to eat and use the facilities.

Inside the restroom, I found an abused can of nuts.

Just north of there, still within downtown, I went down:

From what I thought at the time, I was starting to put power through too soon and my rear wheel was stick on the slick bed of leaves on the ramp

I just kept going as though nothing had happened. I couldn't even tell that I was bleeding at the point as there was no pain.

The end of the Centennial Trail is kind of funny: the paved portion diverts to a trailhead at a restored barn:

But there's also an unmaintained trail that continues across the county line:

I had originally planned to turn back here, but along the way decided to continue to Lake McMurray.

The shop is so remote that the only restroom is a porta-potty.

I had met her on my way back from Deception Pass. As a lot of cyclists go through the area, she didn't remember me.

Return Home

I snapped some photos of the other end of the Centennial Trail on my way back.

And for the nature of it:

While I certainly had the option of taking SR-9 all the way home, I just went back to the trail at the barn trailhead.

Near the confluence of the two forks of the Stillaguamish River, there's an odd abandoned railbed that veers off to the east. A very short bit has been paved, but I don't know if anything will ever come of it. (According to the map, it ends in Darrington.)

I also got some photos at the confluence.

As it was slowly becoming darker outside and I wanted to get coffee before the cafe in Snohomish closed, I just kept going south along the trail at this point, and only stopped to eat.

I came across a couple of girls on horseback between Snohomish and Arlington. From what I can tell, they were headed to a lake next to the trail, but on its own path.

I made it to the cafe just fine, thankfully.

The cafe shares a restroom with a Mexican restaurant, and when I saw this sign, I was reminded of something folks who've been to Mexico would know.

(I know it's because the plumbing in that particular restroom is not in the best shape, but still.)

Next up: SR-9.

(The red line is the route I took on my return trip from Deception pass, which had a forced bicycle detour as the shoulders were closed at the time.)

It was quite the rush!

I stopped at an espresso stand to top off my water. The lady there was freaked out because a man and a women who had been in a car that had stopped there had been behaving strangely and erratically. She even asked me if the car was still in the lot, waiting to turn onto the highway.

It's a hard lesson, but strange people are everywhere: moving out into the boonies isn't a way to escape them. I told her about another person I'd met who had been delivering pizzas in the Kangley area, and how the people there were just plain scary. Oddly enough, the homeless folks in my area are usually harmless.

From there, I just hit the Burke-Gilman trail to head home. I left it in the University District to ride on Pacific and Northlake instead, though.

I really hammered on that ride, much more than I've ever been able to do in the past, and managed to stay on my bike's largest chainring almost the entire time. I wonder if it had anything to do with the protein powder drinks (Muscle Milk) I had been consuming before and after my two most recent rides. I noticed that I had been consistently slower on these longer rides and have often felt weaker, but these two most recent rides haven't had that problem. My knees weren't too happy, though.

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