Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bellingham (August 2014)

A two-day ride to Whatcom County.

NOTE: Since this ride is two days, the maps will be below the break.

Some other albums that cover areas through which I rode:

More after the break…

Day 1

I started at about the usual time of 05:00 and headed north along my typical route.

When I got to Lynnwood, I saw that they had made significant progress on the Interurban Trail upgrade since my last time through the area.

On some previous ride, I recall also seeing a road closure on Manor Way/Admiralty Way, but it wasn't in effect when I passed through this time.

I stopped at the Safeway in Everett for water, then continued north along SR-529.

Rather than dealing with an annoying diagonal railroad crossing, I took a parallel route that allowed me to cross at a more forgiving angle.

My next stop was in Smokey Point.

It was a humid, little drizzly, and grey. All of the qualities of a rainy day without actual rain.

From there, I made a left onto the Pioneer Highway and took that through Stanwood to Conway like my last time through the area.

I then stopped in Conway for water, chatting a bit with a motorcycle rider while there. For the rest of the ride, I could see storm clouds to the west.

Next, I went along an I-5 frontage road for a bit to enter southern Mount Vernon.

And then I passed through downtown proper, only to have to cross I-5 via steep bridge. (Decaying downtowns are much more obvious in rural areas than in urban areas.)

I stopped at the Safeway in Mount Vernon for water.

And then I crossed the Skagit River just upstream of the bridge collapse.

And then I had to deal with Burlington, the start of which is shown below:

From there, I went through a few more roundabouts before hitting SR-11 (Chuckanut Drive).

While riding along the highway, I came across this little candy shop and stopped for some.

I wasn't the only cyclist out there, even on the diagonal part of the highway.

I then stopped at Bow as the rain was getting bad enough to force me to put on the according gear.

From there, I headed up into the mountains.

Which is apparently a fairly common thing to do.

It certainly wasn't the easiest riding I've ever done, but I'd do it again. There were a number of pullover areas along the water side of the highway.

I thought I was done when I reached the lesser slopes around Larrabee State Park, but there was still a bit more left until I finally reached civilization in Fairhaven, where I stopped to pick up food for the following day.

It was a fairly easy ride from there to where I was staying. Most of it was through developed areas, but there was a stretch where there was only housing.

I also passed through downtown Bellingham.

I saw a number of bike lanes along my ride. If Seattle had wider streets and fewer steep hills, it'd probably be like that.

And finally, the motel. There were a number of interesting characters there which made it feel much more rural than it actually was.

I also stopped by the Bellingham branch of my local bike shop as it was only a few blocks away.

And then I went to the Italian place across the street.

I overate there. I probably shouldn't have ordered such a big meal, but the extra food can only help the next day.

After I got back to the motel, I drank the beer and went to bed.

Day 2

I started at a little 05:00 the second morning. I didn't know what to do with my key since the front desk was closed, but another guest told me to leave it in the room with the door unlocked, which I did.

It was an uphill climb out along SR-542, and once that stopped I was held back by the wind instead.

It then started to pour when I got to Rome (Washington).

I was having trouble staying warm, so I stopped at a gas station in Deming for some hot chocolate. Around there, I joined up with the route I used for Vancouver, but in reverse.

I was still having a pretty hard time. I could feel myself being slowed by the pavement, and wasn't able to stay warm at all. I stopped for some coffee at a diner in Acme, and added another layer to my clothing.

With that, I felt a bit better and was somewhat faster. The rain eventually let up.

My next stop was for water in Sedro-Woolley.

Which included crossing the Skagit River again.

I then started to overheat as the clouds had parted enough to allow the Sun to warm everything up a bit. I stopped to drink some coconut water and remove the extra layer at Big Lake.

And then I stopped by the little store at Lake McMurray and ate.

And finally, I got onto the Centennial Trail at the northernmost trailhead.

Every time I ride past the junction of the Centennial Trail and Whitehorse Trail, I'm reminded of how much a lie the latter is.

Through Arlington, I took to the road in order to avoid the bollard-ridden and crosswalk-heavy section of the trail. Even after a wrong turn, I beat a group of cyclists through the city.

Once I left Arlington, things turned interesting.

The guy who was mainly riding beside me at the beginning (Randy) knew a lot about bikes themselves. The most experienced rider (Bill) left the pack at 84th St NE. The least experienced (Kim) and Randy eventually ended up pulling away from me as I was starting to run out of energy. At that point, I knew to stop and eat.

The half sandwich I ate was too light and I ended up eating the other half before even reaching Snohomish.

And, of course, Snohomish means coffee for me!

As for SR-9, I made sure to pace myself unlike my last time over it. It wasn't very hard at all.

I really got the hang of not mashing at all on my pedals and smoothing out my cadence here.

Once I got on the BGT, I was spinning like crazy and zipping by everybody without being in a very high gear. I also passed by some people twice, as I stopped to eat on the trail in Lake City.

I stuck to the posted detour though UW since I didn't think I'd be that fast. Since I still was fast enough, I used Northlake Way through Fremont as usual.

And then I was home.

Post a Comment