Sunday, January 19, 2014

Eatonville (2014-01-18)

Did you know that Eatonville is difficult to access?

Part 1: To Puyallup

I started a little after 05:00 and started heading south. When I got to the Fremont Bridge, my bike's chain wrapped completely around the largest chainring and got stuck in the wrong side of the front derailleur. This causes the drivetrain to lock up, so I had to coast to a stop and work the thing out of there.

After going over Dexter Avenue, I took a look and saw that my front derailleur wasn't mounted straight: it was pointing inward. Fixing that was fairly easy, as I had the proper tools.

I saw a lot more cars than I've seen at that hour on my earlier rides.

I wanted to use the Green River Trail on this ride, but wanted to avoid the Duwamish Route. The latter involves highly uneven sidewalks and riding on roads right next to a freeway. While I would normally use the West Seattle Bridge or the First Avenue Bridge to access the Duwamish Route, I had to find another way to access the Green River Trail, which means taking East Marginal Way South for a while. Unfortunately, Google Maps's route, as I would find out, would've sent me across a bridge marked "authorized vehicles only."

I just kept an eye out for another access point, and found one shortly thereafter.

The fog gradually became worse before sunrise, which started to seriously chill me after a while.

While I certainly had the option of cutting over to the Interurban Trail in Tukwila, I just stuck to the Green River Trail for a change of pace.

I stopped at a Starbucks for some black tea in order to warm myself up. Rather than trying to use some app or something to locate the place, I just left the trail where I saw suburban strip mall development in hopes that one would pop up. I asked a cleaning lady who was cleaning on the sidewalk of SouthCenter Mall who had no idea, but she wasn't able to help. I saw some lower-level strip mall development across Strander Boulevard, then headed that way and quickly found a Starbucks.

On previous rides along the Green River Trail, I found narrow, bumpy strips of pavement which look like they've seen little attention both before and after construction. However, there's been a transformation since then: the worse parts of the pavement have been redone with fresh asphault and widened, and a line has been painted down the center.

The pavement past Tukwila was the same as always, though.

The trail joins and leaves narrow, low-traffic roads from time to time.

And later on, it uses an old road which is not open to cars.

The trail became a bit confusing around what would be South 224th Street, with stuff jutting off in either direction.

I did notice that Kent had recently divided the trail from a road, which was a change of pace.

Due to the cold wind, I had to stand inside of a porta-potty while I ate something to preserve my hands' minimal warmth. It didn't smell too bad, thankfully.

I did hook up with Interurban Trail until 15th Street Southwest, as the pavement degrates steadily after that. The old West Valley Highway is a much better ride.

After dealing with cold similar to up until this time on this ride, I ordered a fleece vest. Even though it had arrived in time for this ride, I thought it wouldn't be necessary. Big mistake.

At Sumner, I changed to Valley Avenue East, then Milwaukee Avenue East in order to get to Puyallup. When later turning from East Pioneer Avenue onto South Meridian, I was interrupted by a person who seemed to be ignorant of their surroundings:

Nothing happened though, as I had a green arrow and was able to pause in the intersection.

The ride would become a lot more difficult after exiting downtown Puyallup.

Part 2: The Foothills

When you see a road that's as straight as an arrow through an area known for hills, you might be a bit suspicious. It's warranted.

It started with climbing South Hill.

And continued with riding through what must've been less than two feet of a shoulder through heavy traffic around strip malls.

I eventually stopped at a major park to use the restrooms, as the 7 Eleven at which I had obtained water had none.

I was thankful when the sidewalks vanished, as the shoulders finally became wider. The road eventually dropped to three lanes on a steep hill, then two. On the hill, someone honked at me, but it seemed more encouraging rather than malicious.

The hills kept coming. I was taken past Northwest Trek in the last miles before my destination.

And finally, my destination: Eatonville. While planning, I was under the misconception that Eatonville was in a valley, when in reality it is at the top of a big hill.

I stopped at a little sporting goods store to acquire a tube, as I had come across one the previous night while at home. He was certainly interested in cycling to some degree, and warned me about the narrow, windy route I had back north from Eatonville.

I stopped at a small grocery store to get more water, as I would be spending much time away from any towns for a while soon.

Rather than taking SR-161 back, I used Orville Road. When I saw the name, I though it was a shortening of "Oring—Eatonville." It took me past a couple of significant lakes.

And through rural, forested areas. (I'm much more motivated to photograph things when there aren't cars zooming by constantly. There wasn't much traffic out here.)

(The porta-potties are likely modern outhouses, suggesting that these houses don't have indoor restrooms.)

From what I can tell, the railroad isn't abandoned, but is the eastern end of Tacoma Rail's Mountain Division. Further south, it becomes the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad.

The next notable thing I hit, after climbing out of the valley a ways, was a small intersection at Kapowsin.

I then went back down into the valley to continue on my way north.

I rode past the access roads to Electron before coming across the upper reaches of the Puyallup River.

The road immediately after crossing the river was rather steep, and I was able to keep a decent pace all the way down into the valley.

In the valley, the highway passed farm after farm. One farmer who was carrying logs for firewood asked, "How goes it?"

I responded, "Sore."

With the mutual understanding that I was working pretty hard moving along, he replied, "Good!"

I turned left on SR-162 to eventually reach the Foothills Trail at Orting.

Part 3: Oorting to Home

I took the Foothills Trail much of the way to Puyallup. This involved riding past a bunch of exurban housing developments full of ugly, wood-sided houses.

Rather than keeping on the trail, I left just south of downtown Sumner so I could ride along the eastern edge of the big valley. When I got to Sumner, I finally consumed my normal coffee:

I rode along the road, which was largely unlit despite it being fully dark at this point. The rail line on this side of the valley was quite busy. I also came across a car being jumpstarted by another one on the shoulder. Something else which caught my eye was the number of bridges starting from a ways to the west of this road to reach the top of the hill to the east at a reasonable grade. I came across the old Lake Tapps powerhouse along the way.

Unlike before, I kept warm, even to my hands!

I left the East Valley Highway at 41st Street Southeast in order to get to the other side of the railroad. I then got onto 15th Street Southwest to connect to the Interurban Trail again. Looking at the map again, I could've stayed on A Street Southeast until Main Street, then gotten on the trail that way. No nasty left turns on busy highways that way.

It was a fairly typical ride from there to Renton. I kept a good pace the whole way, helped by the fact that most of my food had already been consumed at that point.

As it was getting late, I was worried about my water supply. Thankfully, the Seattle's Best Coffee at the Renton Fred Meyer was still open (albeit closing in a few minutes), so I didn't have to go wander around the Fred Meyer itself.

From there, I hit Rainier Avenue and took the Lake Washington Loop route. I came across another car getting jumpstarted, though on the opposing direction's shoulder.

I stopped at Seward Park to eat. Surprisingly, although it was very dark out at that point, the gates were still open and people were about. A large group was led by someone mentioning something about barn or barred owls (I couldn't hear it too well).

The Burke-Gilman Trail was my final leg, though I didn't stick to it past Latona Avenue and dropped to Northlake until Stone Way. After that, I just took a fairly normal route all the way home.

Post a Comment