Thursday, February 5, 2015

Darrington (2015-01-31)

The word of the day is 'Stillaguamish.' Riding like this while sick is never a good idea.

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More after the break…

Part 1

I started at the usual time of 05:00 and headed towards the U District. While I felt a bit 'off' (sick) yesterday, I didn't feel much of it this morning.

This was my first ride with a Jtek ShiftMate Straight on my bike, allowing my 105 front shifter to correctly control the new SLX front derailleur, needed because the stock 105 front derailleur wasn't able to shift onto all three of my chainrings all the time.

My destination was the NE 45th St freeway station, so I could catch the ST 512 to Everett. I got there about 15 minutes before the first run, after trying to find a route up the hill on the west side of Roosevelt Way.

When I went to use the restroom at the Everett train station, I saw that no stalls had doors on them. The handicap stall had some guy doing some sort of drug, and one of the sinks was being used by a scruffy guy to brush his teeth.

After that, I ate inside the station as it was very cold and foggy outside.

Part 2: Outbound

In fact, it was so cold outside (or I was so cold as I wasn't 100% well) that I ended up stopping off for coffee at a small convenience store. Unlike a lot of such coffee I've had, it was actually pretty decent, and gave me the 'heat armor' to fight the cold.

From there, I took the typical route north out of Everett and through Marysville, but then left State Avenue to avoid a very sharp railroad crossing and kept going along this odd route. I crossed the railroad tracks at a much more reasonable angle, then took a back road for a while.

Once I got bast 172nd St NE, I skirted Arlington's airport along a divided two-lane road (with bike lanes outside of that count). The Airport Trail ran alongside the road, with pavement on at least part of it.

Once around the airport, I meandered between main roads and side streets until I hit the Centennial Trail's recent improvements. Unfortunately, I was in the right lane and had to use a cross walk to go where I needed to go (no chance for a left turn due to present car traffic).

At this point, I was very cold, and had already switched from my thick gloves to my lobster claw gloves. While I had hoped to put my leg warmers on in the park's restroom, it was arbitrarily locked again, so I had to use the diner downtown.

To exit Arlington, I took SR-530 and exited civilization. While stopping to take a drink, I accidentally dropped and broke a water bottle, which is never fun.

Accidentally dropped and broke a water bottle while trying to drink from it. Good thing I always bring three.

Sat Jan 31 10:10:36 2015@Trafton, United States

This also meant I needed to stop for water again immediately in Trafton, despite having acquired some in Arlington.

Ended up throwing on leg warmers at the diner due to the fog, but it's not foggy at all out here.

Sat Jan 31 11:33:24 2015@Rowan, United States

The road was relatively peaceful, and the weather was significantly less foreboding than the fog I had dealt with earlier.

While riding along, I stopped to take a look at the Whitehorse 'Trail.'

Pretty good for backwoods trekking, but not a 'trail' in the urban sense at all.

When I hit Oso, the shoulders vanished (a fact I knew well already), so I had to contend with traffic a bit. A large pickup played a fairly common (at least in rural) 'joke' on me.

A pickup truck 'blew coal' at me as it passed by.

Sat Jan 31 11:39:10 2015@Rowan, United States

I eventually made it to the site of the landslide, (which I didn't do last time due to construction complications). I found that they'd been working on developing the Whitehorse Trail and a park along it.

There were multiple groups of people doing various things, including some that were just checking out the site (like I was).

There are multiple groups of other people out here.

Sat Jan 31 11:38:39 2015@Rowan, United States

WSDOT did a solid good job on rebuilding the highway, incorporating wide shoulders.

From there, I continued east further into the valley.

Been chased by dogs on two separate occasions so far. Been barked at by dozens.

Sat Jan 31 16:40:25 2015@Trafton, United States

There was some snow here and there, on par with what I saw last Summer.

I eventually made it to Darrington.

Where I stopped to get a slice of pizza and a soda to help my stomach.

Stopped at the Hometown Bakery and Cafe in Darrington.

Sat Jan 31 13:12:47 2015@Cascade Kamloops Trout Farm Mobile Home Park, United States

I was feeling very beat at this point, so I got a caffeinated soda to try to take the edge off. I didn't feel particularly sick, but I'm guessing the illness was part of why I was so worn out already.

Part 3: Inbound

From there, I went around Darrington, photographing the city.

I had been at that bus stop before, several years ago, after riding that bus simply for fun.

You can tell that the older businesses here are hurting pretty badly.

At the eastern edge of the city, I came across the Mountain Loop Highway, which I'd ridden before for a bit, albeit from the other end. (I hope to someday ride the whole thing.)

I returned to my planned route for a tiny bit, then came across a nice bridge.

And then I found the ranger station, which apparently wasn't operating at the time.

That's where I turned back and started heading home, coming across the modern 'business strip.'

In this direction on SR-530, I noticed a sign that indicated that other cyclist seem to come up here at least somewhat often.

I came across this abandoned 'trading post' while riding the outbound, but finally stopped to capture it in this direction.

Then I eventually rejoined the North Fork Stillaguamish River.

And saw another bit of the Whitehorse 'Trail.'

The next stop while heading west was another view of the landslide location and park.

It was pretty uneventful west of there until I got back to Trafton, where there was a lot of wood smoke everywhere. It wasn't anywhere nearly as thick as the fog of that morning, but it did have a fairly strong presence.

Really smoky in the valley here.

Sat Jan 31 16:39:55 2015@Trafton, United States

I then hit the diner again, this time for a lot of coffee and a shake in order to keep myself going. I had to spin fast, as my legs just couldn't push as hard anymore.

The climb up Culpeper Hill was noticeably slower than usual, and I had to spin pretty fast in order to keep the pace up.

Once past that, the trail was really quiet…and dark. I passed one guy in Lake Stevens who shouted "Go Hawks!" in honor of the Super Bowl the next day.

When I got to Snohomish, most things were already closed. I ended up getting a bowl of brown rice and a small salad at a Thai restaurant so I could use their restroom. (The rice didn't really sit well with me as there was too much.)

From Snohomish, I took the road on the southern side of the Snohomish River. Some motorists tried to make things hard for me, but they weren't on my level.

I made it to the station without much issue. I had to push my bike up the steep incline starting at the railroad tracks at the end of the road, though.

It wasn't a long wait for the bus.

Part 4

Since I really didn't want to have to deal with the BGT detour, I found a way to the trail that didn't involve first going east of I-5. It was nearly all steep downhill streets.

As my bladder was full, I tried to find a restroom at Gasworks Park, but didn't have any luck. Instead, I stopped by PCC and used one there, seeing a lot of other excited Seahawks fans.

I eventually made my way home, feeling completely burned out.

In retrospect, I think this was because I was actually sick, but pushing my body hard to get through it. The next few days, I was much sicker, which I blame on this ride.

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