Monday, June 9, 2014

DuPont and Nisqually (2014-06-07)

My original plan for this ride was to only go to DuPont, until I realized how it wasn't far enough.

More after the break…

Part 1: To Tacoma

I started a little before 05:00 this time.

I headed straight south on my normal route along East Marginal Way S.

A few years back, my parents sent me a newspaper article about this place, and I've been seeing it every time I go through the area.

It was pretty nice for a while, put I was a bit startled to see clouds to the south as I rode through the Green River/Puyallup River Valley.

And I eventually ended up under the clouds, but the weather held just fine.

Similar to previous rides, I took Freeman Road and 20th St E to downtown Tacoma. My route took me along a road that brought me to here (the route turned left).

I was curious about it, since such road closures don't seem so common, at least where I'm from.

I had to use the restroom, but the guy behind the counter at Tully's said he couldn't let me use it unless I bought something, so I did…for someone else.

Part 2: Lakewood, DuPont, and Nisqually

I headed straight up the normal climb to get out of lower downtown, then proceeded east over the hill for a while.

While I was riding along, a guy asked if I had a pump, so I stopped for him.

He was almost adamant about repaying me for my time, but I didn't need anything in return.

As you might notice, I missed my turn south after heading east for a while.

I was surprised to see such nice routes through Tacoma, with trees and fields on either side of the road.

The ride eventually turned into weaving between major thoroughfares and neighborhood streets. This eventually got me to a point where it wasn't possible to cross the street due to a median barrier.

After that, I ended up on some very narrow roads around Lake Steilacoom, which led me across a bridge.

After that, I was back on neighborhood streets for a while, until I started going along the public roads through JBLM. My route told me to cut through the private roads (how familiar!), but I knew better and used my GPS to check to make sure the road to the right would go through.

Once through there, I rolled through miles of area that looked just like the manicured, sterile corporate headquarters of Microsoft with some huge houses behind tall fences in places.

I stopped by for water in a "village" (strip mall) for water.

After there, I got onto I-5 (which is legal here), but left after the next exit to take the US 99 route down a huge hill to Nisqually.

This also brought me across the Nisqually River.

It was rather peaceful down there, so I rode a bit to see some more of the valley. I didn't go all the way to the effective "rest area," though.

It's was almost like a different world down there, without any of the influence of the Seattle-Everett-Tacoma sprawl.

From there, I just headed back the way I came, over the river again.

And back up the hill, back to I-5. My feet were starting to kill me as outlined in the diagram, likely due to fore-aft abrasion. I don't know why this didn't happen last time.

I started hearing an odd noise, as though some tape was stuck to my front tire. Upon inspection, it was a wad of chewing gum. There was another wad on my rear fender. I had the feeling that the folks from earlier did that.

I left I-5 just past DuPont and retraced my route around JBLM, then left it to head toward more of the old US 99 route.

In that area, I saw a bunch of buildings typical of older strip malls.

I followed "Pacific Highway SW" all the way through Lakewood, then ended up going through a dead quiet business park. This was followed by a fairly routine ride through some low-density areas mixed with thin forests and parks. The only thing of note I recall is how I crossed some old Tacoma Rail tracks.

After going up and down a few steep hills, I ended up on a high-speed downhill run down Canyon Road, then headed east toward Puyallup and Sumner. I came up with the idea to stuff my shoes to reduce fore-aft motion, and stopped by a small convenience store to pick up a roll of paper towels to experiment with.

I then proceeded straight toward Sumner, where I stopped for coffee.

Unlike some other times, I made it a point to consume a good deal of water with my coffee.

Part 3: Return Home

I took the East Valley Highway to leave Sumner, then took a new bicycle path beside C Street. (On an earlier ride, I really wondered why I was told to ride beside C Street. Since then, I was informed of the path.)

I was tailed by a big guy riding an e-bike illegally on the Interurban Trail for much of its length.

It was a fairly typical ride through Kent, Tukwila, and Renton to Seattle and Seward Park. My legs weren't bothering me as much as I would've expected at this point.

I was rather hungry by the time I got to Leschi, so I made sure to stop and eat for a bit.

Similar to last time, I took the Boyer detour around the construction at UW. There was a lot less traffic this time, though. Beyond that, not much happened the rest of the way home.


My ears were ringing loudly right before I got to bed, even though I was sure to consume a lot of water. It's almost impossible to get enough water on these rides.

And I dropped my touring bike off to get parts replaced the day after the ride.

The whole US 99 mess inspired me to consider just riding along the old right of way through Tacoma and Olympia, rather than snaking through slow neighborhood streets or diverting to the foothills.

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