I've been wanting to do a ride to and from Olympia for a while now, and upon discovering the route of the former US Route 99, I found a better way of doing so.
With yesterday's ride, I got in about 234 unsupported miles on this weekend.
More after the break…
For some reason, I felt like I couldn't go as fast this time. I was consistently a gear lower than expected on the flat, which I chalk up to my less-active time during that fishing trip.
Part 1: To South Tacoma
I started at the usual time of about 05:00 and headed southeast.
I was the 148th cyclist to cross the Fremont Bridge this morning.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
I then took the usual route along 1st Ave S and East Marginal Way.
There was a lot of smoke and garbage around from last night's festivities. #pollution— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
A lot of emergency vehicles still going around, too.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
Even though the South Park Bridge was open and there are temporary bike lanes on it, I didn't even bother to photograph it this time since I couldn't stop as often on this longer ride due to time constraints.
Rather than my odd deviation just after getting on Interurban Ave, I stayed on it until after it passed under I-5, and hit the Green River Trail and Interurban Trail. The winds were starting to become a bit annoying at this point, which probably had something to do with my lower speed.
I made a deviation in Kent to find water, and came across the farmers' market.
Water, please. (@ Town Square Plaza) http://t.co/g8DYIXKwbk— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
I was feeling a bit sick and kept downing water to try to help my stomach.
My stomach and metabolism were pretty screwed up after riding for a few hours this morning, but I forced them back into line.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
I just realized that I left my rain jacket at home. Oops.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
Some guy was camping in a tent beside the Interurban Trail.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
Been fighting a nasty headwind all morning.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
It was a fairly routine ride along the Interurban Trail and the bypass, though it wouldn't have been so easy if I had stuck to the trail.
When I was riding along my normal bypass of the Interurban Trail in Algona/Pacific, I noticed that the trail itself was blocked by police.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
I also noticed that the detour from earlier was gone and the highway was open there, even though I didn't make use of it.
Once I got through Sumner, Puyallup, and Fife, I didn't bother with downtown Tacoma and used the old US 99 bypass instead. It started with a bit of a slog, but was rather easy after that.
This sent me through things I would've expected to see from the pre-Interstate era of on-highway development.
I eventually got to a town area where I stopped to get a cold drink and some water.
I'm at Starbucks (Tacoma, WA) http://t.co/DDEck8j8YR— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
Part 2: Lakewood, DuPont, and Olympia
I then passed through the sprawl that is Lakewood, noting Lakewood Station and the old railroad ROW that was upgraded for Sounder service to it..
I eventually met up with my route from last time, though heading south rather than north. Instead of messing around with the stuff around JBLM, however, I went straight on I-5 once I got to the first exit where I could do so.
While on the shoulder I ran into something I had to walk around.
A tow truck was rescuing some trashy-looking young man's SUV from a ditch beside I-5.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
Aside from that, I-5 was very smooth and relative fast, despite the westerly winds still hindering me. It also drizzled a bit, but it didn't really matter.
Rain is being threatened, but it's so warm that I doubt I'd care.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
The same as last time, I headed down the Old Pacific Highway route to Nisqually. Of course, I didn't turn around there and just kept going.
I started seeing some familiar sights from the return trip from Aberdeen a while back after riding along the highway for a bit. The map below goes into detail on how the routes are related.
Somehow, it felt like it took less time this time and was easier, even though I was carrying more weight on this ride, and the winds were more of a hindrance.
I hate these winds.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
After barreling down the hill to downtown Olympia, I wandered around on foot for a bit to find a place where I could get some refreshments.
Not yet dead. (@ Downtown Olympia w/ 2 others) http://t.co/UYGv7HD3y1— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
I'm at Caffe Vita (Olympia, WA) http://t.co/SZYNdvhI6n— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
I had forgotten how strong the counterculture in Olympia is.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 5, 2014
For photos of downtown Olympia, see the album from my ride to Aberdeen. I didn't want to kill more time with taking photos when I already had plenty.
I exited Olympia via the same steep hill as last time, then, with the wind at my back, I sped off following my route thus far in reverse, through Nisqually.
I came across this 'historical marker' when I stopped to eat.
And up the big hill to I-5 I went, continuing along the freeway itself when I got to it.
It was pretty uneventful at this point. The only thing that kept popping up was some toe numbness, but it wasn't anywhere nearly as bad as one earlier ride.
Part 3: Return Home
Along the way, I saw a number of businesses offering steep discounts for the military.
Tacoma-area businesses are very supportive of the military.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
Using I-5 was a stroke of genius! #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
You know you're working hard when you keep drinking fluids yet still don't need to go to the bathroom for hours.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
As it was getting late, and I knew I wouldn't get to my target by 19:00 (when it closes), I looked around for coffee at just before 18:00. After finding one place closed, I asked someone in the parking lot and they directed me to another main drag in the area (separate from S Tacoma Way).
Getting coffee and a lemonade here because stuff is starting to close. http://t.co/LwnXFrUi7K— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
I made my way back to Tacoma Way S, then sped down the hill to downtown Tacoma, and continued on Puyallup Avenue. Then I took my normal route through Fife and Puyallup to Sumner, trying to find a toilet.
Is there a toilet here?— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
Next up was the West Valley Highway and the Interurban Trail.
Rather than using the caffeine to convince my body to push harder or spin faster, I'm just using it to increase endurance by cutting pain.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
The UP mainline here is silly because it doesn't connect with any other major UP lines.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
I left the trail in Kent in order to find water, similarly to earlier, and came across the shopping center on Ramsay Way.
I then returned to the trail and did my normal thing: crossed the railroad at S 196th St, headed north on Oaksdale, then meandered through Renton to get to Rainier Way. It was rather noisy on that road.
I've been hearing, smelling, and seeing fireworks going off tonight. I'm a bit worried.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
Motorcycle engines and loud hip-hop music combine to make a cacophony of bad times.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
The rest until the Arboretum was the typical Lake Washington Loop route. I appreciated the repaving SDOT did, which was done before an earlier ride.
Some people wall their bikes up steep hills, while others get lighter bikes that are easier to ride up them. I just gear down and deal.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014
And then I did my typical deviation using Northlake, which was no longer closed.
I knew I'd end up home really late since that was one of my longest one-day rides yet.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) July 6, 2014