Monday, March 31, 2014

Covington and Lake Tapps (2014-03-29)

I'm really getting tired of rainy Saturday after rainy Saturday.

Before the Ride

In the last hour before starting off on my ride, a thunderstorm started to dump a lot of rain.

I kept a close eye on the hourly forecast, and it looked like it was going to be only rainy for a few hours later on in the day after this. That forecast had little to do with what actually happened.

More after the break…

Part 1: Out to Cedar River

I started at 05:00 and took the Arboretum—Lake Washington Loop route to get to Renton. The rain wasn't as bad as during the thunderstorm.

On all of my rides through Renton, I've passed by the below convenience store, yet hadn't photographed it until now.

I cut through downtown Renton and along my way found another one of those stores.

And a couple of former theaters.

I ate some food next to an asleep homeless guy underneath the I-405 bridge over the Cedar River and Trail since the rain was starting up again. A guy riding a road bike who obviously didn't know how to not always ride on the tops got out of his car and rode off while I ate.

Similarly to my previous time in the area, I only stayed on the trail for a while. However, I turned south instead of north this time. I also had to deal with going up a short gravel hill where the trail goes under SR-169 to get to the other side.

It was a nasty climb out of that valley, but the wide road was largely devoid of cars. Climbing up a hill like that is a lot less bad when it isn't raining, though.

Part 2: Covington, Flaming Geyser, and Lake Tapps

After riding along the road for a while, I left it for the Soos Creek Trail, which runs over a wetland for much of its length. I wasn't too thrilled about the trail entrance.

And concrete pavers aren't as much fun as asphalt.

You can really see the rain bouncing off the water here. However, the rain was a whole lot worse than this at times during the ride.

I wasn't as cold as before, thanks to this fact I've noticed.

As I went further south, the trail began to skirt the hillside and became hillier itself. I left it a short while after that and headed straight up the hill.

Without even noticing anything that seemed like an old downtown, I found myself in Covington. It became even more obvious when I entered a sea of strip malls.

I took shelter from the rain for a moment, then headed off. I wasn't having much fun.

As I was waiting for a green light to make a left, I noticed a very interesting-looking complex. As it turns out, it was part of the US Energy Department.

When I got to Auburn—Black Diamond Road, I stopped for some decaf coffee and shelter from the rain to warm up. I got there a few minutes before opening, but the barista forgot to turn on the open sign until a while later, while I was drinking coffee.

We chatted a bit, and I learned that her son was into mountain bike racing. I also learned of the West Valley Highway landslide detour.

My route took me down a fast hill and into Flaming Geyser State Park. I've gone past it a number of times (and got some photos of the Green River near it last time), but had never actually entered until this time.

According to a guy who was there for other recreational reasons, the geyser itself was off on some trail in the area, and we both knew it wasn't really much today, but was much bigger in the past. Thus, I didn't bother with it, but I did get a photo of the bridge over the river.

I also noticed that the Discover Pass is only for motor vehicle access, so I don't need to bother with it when on one of my tours!

Unlike last time, when I took the road up the northern side of the Green River Valley, I went south out of it instead. It was fine for a while, until I made a left onto a smaller road with a quite a climb that ended up putting me on the granny gear all the way up it.

I headed through the farms of western Enumclaw to get to Buckley. This involved a not-so-fun couple of narrow bridges across the White River and its split toward Lake Tapps (that's also a place where the Foothills Trail dead-ends at nothing). A droplet of water got onto my camera's sensor when I was swapping out the lens of my camera, so you'll see some smudging on a lot of the later photos.

From there, I started heading west toward Lake Tapps (I don't recall ever having been there before in my life), with the southeasterly wind I had been fighting all day providing a useful boost.

The snags in the lake really caught my eye. That sort of thing doesn't really seem like it'd be good for the recreational activities which often take place on the lake.

The rain finally let up as I rode along the eastern side of the lake.

I had hoped to visit Lake Tapps Park, but it was closed. According to the site, it's closed from October to March.

I then rounded the lake, the western side of it involving a lot of steep, short hills.

Once back to the road via which I reached the lake, I headed straight south, up a memorable hill, then down to South Prairie. Similar to the other routes from the hills to there, it was quite a descent.

Part 3: Return Home

I took to the Foothills Trail for my return trip.

When I stopped to eat, I came across what I believed to be a beaver dam.

I could see the rainclouds on the western horizon as I rode, but the nice weather still held up past Orting.

However, I could feeling it starting to fall between there and Sumner.

I reached the Starbucks feeling really worn out from the earlier rain.

And then I noticed that my right pedal was starting to fall apart. A few scrapes on past rides have caused bits of damage, and it looked like they have been taking their toll.

I was lucky enough to time it right to hide from the worst rain I had seen in quite a while that day, while I drank a triple mocha. One of the guys behind the counter asked me about a good bike to start out with, and I told him about the first bike I used for touring.

When I started off again, the winds weren't helping me as much as they had been earlier.

The landslide mentioned earlier did indeed have a detour.

Once I got past the nasty section of the Interurban Trail via my usual route around it, I got onto the trail and shoved through the pouring rain. Even coffee wasn't enough to lift my spirits.

It continued like this as I took Oakesdale Avenue and Rainier Avenue to get through Renton.

And as I got to Seward Park, where I had to take a break from it for a moment.

The partially broken part of my right pedal finally fell off as I left the Arboretum on Lake Washington Blvd. (photo is from after I got home).

However, it let up around the University District, so I got a break for the last several miles.

Despite that, the past several soaked rides left me in poor spirits. I also learned that forecasts and reports vary in accuracy, as many areas I was in were said to either be cloudy, or (in the case of Buckley) receiving snow. Pouring rain is what happened.

Epilog

In the middle of the night, I awoke with a charleyhorse and tried to stand to get it to go away. It persisted longer than I would've expected, and then I started to feel this nasty feeling that screamed "extreme dehydration." Suddenly, I collapsed and awoke with this weird hissing noise in my ears. I knew I had to get water, but I had to walk very hunched over to not cause the blood pressure in my head to drop too far. I drank over a quart of water, used the restroom, then headed back to bed for a few more hours.

I still didn't feel too well later that morning, but I had to get new pedals to replace the one that had broken and the other that was still damaged from earlier rides. The replacement pedals were actually used as the shop didn't have any new comparable pedals in stock.

And I also cleaned off my camera's sensor with a microfiber cloth.

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