I was trying to get to the place called "Galena" on the North Fork Skykomish River, the highway was completely washed out only a few miles below it. It was so bad that the entire ROW was turned into a river!
More after the break…
Part 1: To Bus
Like last weekend, I started at around 05:00 and rode to the bus, which I took to Everett.
People who complain after not receiving special treatment are some of the worst.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
The bus driver told me some horror stories about back when he used to drive night runs.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
Part 2: Outbound
More of that stupid fog.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
Once there, I didn't stick around long and headed out along the US 2 Trail to one of my normal routes along the northern edge of the Snohomish River, and then got onto US 2 just east of Snohomish.
When I got to Monroe, I started looking for a restroom, eventually setting on using the one in the park on the south side of town, which was a mile or so out of the way.
When I stopped to use a park restroom in Monroe, a twitchy, scruffy guy was obsessively washing his hands over and over.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
At the same park, I chatted with some cyclists who were familiar with the local Seattle builders.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
The group was on a loop ride through the Snoqualmie Valley.
Leaving Monroe, I took US 2 through Sultan, Startup, and Gold Bar.
I still see fog back where I was, but it's bright and sunny here!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
At Gold Bar, I left the highway in favor May Creek Road for a quieter ride, just like my previous time out here.
I then hung a left onto Reiter Road to head toward Index. Along the way, I found an emergency response going on, with a woman sitting in the back of an SUV and ropes going down the side of the slope to the right.
Reiter Road is never easy. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
I eventually made it to Index, and even saw some folks leisurely cycling along the road.
When I stopped at the general store/post office, there was a guy sitting out front at a picnic table talking about stuff being done to the environment by the government to cause people to become more angry and reckless. I didn't really have time to chat, though, so I went into the store after a while to get a sports drink, then left for the park to eat and use the restroom.
A long-haired guy here was talking about a 'trauma grid.'— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
While on the way to the park, I chatted with a guy from Outdoor Adventures beside one of their vans about the washout, and they said I'd be able to get around it by walking along a trail for a half-mile.
A guy from Outdoor Adventures told me that there's a foot trail around the washout here. Cool!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
Apparently, the group owns a patch of land that was turned into an island by the river.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
Done in Index, I started out along Index–Galena Road to see if I could actually get to Galena.
When I did eventually get to where the road gets close to the river, I noticed a stretch of gravel surface atop a manmade riverbank, an obvious sign of a washout. I knew this wasn't the one that kept this road close before Galena, of course.
I had zero trouble with the gravel, as it was more hardpack than the "Loose Gravel" sign advertised.
Heading along the river, I did eventually make it to the big washout.
It was pretty bad! The road's right of way was completely taken over by the river, and a new channel turned the land that used to be between the road and river into an island.
I saw what I thought was a trail or something that led up the hill…
…but it turned out to be nothing.
Rather than getting lost in the woods again, I just went back down and ate a snack before heading back.
I was unable to locate any signs of a trail around the washout.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
Part 3: Inbound
Since I couldn't keep going toward Galena, I simply turned back and followed the road back to Index.
It wasn't easy, though, as I could only get the granny ring if I was careful.
The shop that put together this bike didn't put any form of quick adjustment on the front derailleur cable.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
I've been fighting it the whole time, as I don't want to risk anything on a day trip into the middle of nowhere.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
Once I got to Index, I continued on Index–Galena Road to US 2, which I'd never done before. It was a lot easier than Reiter Road.
Once I got to US 2, I noticed a familiar sight seen when I was last out on this section of US 2.
Once on US 2, I buckled down and rode alongside traffic, with the shoulder vanishing at bridges and other random places along the highway. I was hoping to see the Harry and the Hendersons tourist trap, but that was further up the highway.
When riding along the highway, the wind vortices formed by the cars create a sort of prevailing current.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
Beyond that, the prevailing wind has been right in my face.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
After a climb up a steep shoulder-less road, I made it to Gold Bar, where I stopped to eat and drink a refreshing beverage.
I'm at Prospectors Steak And Ale House in Gold Bar, WA https://t.co/qxCxvFked7— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 9, 2016
And then I just continued into the wind.
When I got to Sultan, I decided to take some photos of the downtown and surrounding areas, as I had time to kill.
I then continued down US 2 past the Reptile Zoo, through Monroe, to Snohomish, where I made one last stop.
Last stop before Everett. (@ Piccadilly Circus in Snohomish, WA) https://t.co/SIjvjD0x9j— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
And then I took the south side of the Snohomish River to Everett. Rather than using the scary restrooms of Everett Station and dealing with druggies and other questionable people, I used a park restroom as it was early enough for them to still be open. Unfortunately, this also meant that I missed the bus.
During my wait for the next one, a woman asked me to send a text message to one of her friends, as she was lost and had no phone to contact them with. I didn't get a reply, and I have no idea how it turned out.
On the bus, I chatted with someone who was starting to get into cycling who boarded at South Everett. She told me about some of her trail riding and I gave her some helpful advice on clothing.
Part 4: Return Home
I got off the bus at NE 45th Street just like last weekend, then rode home along the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Despite their vulnerability, I've learned to really like downtube shifters mounted on bar-end pods. The longer levers are nice. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
Bike wheels sure are complicated.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
Even though I wasn't able to find a route to Galena, that was a pretty fun ride!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
I managed to get my chain riding on my front derailleur's inner cage on today's ride. I had to stop to fix it. #cycling— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
It was warm enough to not need a sweater after I got back to Seattle!— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
My watch's band broke today, though it didn't fall off until after I had stopped to eat.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
I ended up with a bit of tan after yesterday's ride. #seabikes— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) April 10, 2016
Something I noticed on my ride back down US 2 was how I was bouncing off the saddle. This gave me some insight into bike fit, and made me realize that I've been riding with my saddle far too low all this time! I kept raising it along the ride, and ended up finding what felt best, which was far higher than I thought I was right. After all, hot feet and bouncing definitely aren't ideal.