Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Highway 9 (2014-11-15)

The brass monkey ride: 130 miles in starting and ending in bitter cold.

Relevant albums:

More after the break…

Part 1: Too Cold to Continue

I started at the usual time of 05:00 with a cup of tea in my blood. It was pretty cold, but I was able to manage for at least a while.

After about 1.5 hours, my hands just hurt too much for me to continue, so I stopped at the Starbucks at the intersection SR-99 and 212th St S, not far north of the county line.

Part 2

I left the Starbucks at about 08:00 and continued along my usual route to Everett.

After I got to downtown Snohomish, I found that my planned route included a one-way street that was in the wrong direction. I wandered around a bit, using my sense of direction to find my way to the top of the hill that is Snohomish, and got onto SR-9.

The community of Lake Stevens involved some significant climbs and descents along SR-9, but that's pretty much expected when a road is so straight. I did see the lake itself, too.

Along the way, I passed through a couple major roundabouts, one of which I walked around and another of which I rode through. The latter one had a huge "Arlington" sign in the middle.

I passed through some commercial districts which I hadn't previously known about, a little south of downtown Arlington.

While using the restroom at the park in Arlington, a guy in the toilet stall was on a phone and I thought he was talking to me. He ended up striking up a conversation once off the phone, and was amazed about the ride I was doing. He also thought 40 pounds was light for a bike.

To head north out of Arlington, I stuck to the trail for a while.

I then cut over to the highway again, eventually coming across the new Pilchuck Creek Bridge.

I also saw the old one-lane bridge.

For completion's sake, I looped back across the old bridge.

I then continued up along the highway, continuing past the end of the Centennial Trail to Lake McMurray. The valley there had been in the shade all day, and was pretty chilly.

I turned back in the area among the houses along Big Lake, then went back through Lake McMurray.

And I found where I thought I saw a door in the root of a tree before. It was just trees growing out of tree stumps.

From there, I quickly got back on the trail.

There were a number of places where the frost was so thick that it looked like light snow.

I pushed myself pretty hard along the trail so I could make it to Snohomish before Rock City Cafe's normal closing time of 19:00. The Sun started to set at this time, and by the time I was at 84th St NE it was rather dark. I could see the wildlife doing their thing, and was spooked at some of the noises I heard. I also saw an interesting sight:

I made it there with a little time to spare, only to find that they were having a couple playing songs and were going to be open late. At least it gave me a reprieve.

I left Snohomish and followed my normal route. One guy shouted "What an idiot!" and was laughing and carrying on in a seemingly spiteful manner. I didn't say anything and just kept at it. A few cars going the other way honked at me as I made my way along the shoulder.

The hill climb up SR-9 kept me very warm and I didn't mind the cold weather at all. The heat stuck with me all the way until Woodinville.

I ate food in the park's bathroom to avoid the cold, then continued on my way.

I gave up after getting to downtown Bothell due to the cold and stopped at a sushi restaurant for some miso soup and green tea. The waitstaff there was very kind and nice, even bringing me a hot hand towel.

From there, I rode the few blocks to the park and ride and got on the 522 to downtown Seattle.

Part 3: Tail Between Legs

Once downtown, I just took a normal route back home.

All this mess gave gave me an idea to do something I've done before.

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