Monday, November 7, 2016

Darrington II (2016-10-29)

My first time out this way started the whole bike fit problem that I've been having for the past couple years, but this time finally brought me solutions.

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More after the break…

Part 1: To Bus

I started at about 05:00 and headed out to the freeway station in the University District.

Part 2: Outbound

Before leaving Everett, I got some food and mostly-decaf coffee.

I then headed out along my typical route through Marysville.

However, rather than using SR-531 to get to Arlington, I used a much more southerly route. It featured no traffic and involved me entering the trail via a trailhead with a short climb. I think this'll be my choice from here on out.

Because the rain got pretty bad for a bit, I stopped for some liquid motivation at a coffee shop in Arlington. A lot of folks showed up after the local Seventh-day Adventist church's service, largely families in nice attire.

I then headed out along SR-530 toward Darrington. Along the way, I noticed that one of the bridges had received a proper (albeit slippery in the rain) wooden deck since last time!

However, the trail at both ends wasn't really good for riding.

So I stuck to the highway all the way to Darrington.

I did stop at the memorial of the Oso mudslide, which didn't have the tourist draw it had last time.

After a few more highway miles, I finally made it to Darrington, and stopped at the same place as last time for food.

When I got there my kickstand was really hard to deploy.

When I entered, there was nobody there even though the sign said "OPEN". I said "hello?" a number of times and waited, and eventually someone showed up. I ordered some coffee, some hot soup, and a small sandwich, as well as a towel to sit on since I was drenched at that point.

When I asked her about a local landmark I could get a 'trophy photo' at, she thought for a while and told me of a historical marker that represents the history of the founding and growth of Darrington. She also gave me a book to read while I ate and warmed up.

Before leaving Darrington, I went to look for the marker. I didn't see it the first time, but when folks at another cafe told me that it was next to a fuel station, it was pretty easy to find.

Part 3: Inbound

Heading back was a bit easier, as it was downhill.

I did learn that Snohomish County had been spreading glyphosate in the forest to prevent root rot, which struck me as a mixed bag.

Eventually, the rain subsided and the Sun came out, which made the last part of the ride in daylight much nicer.

Right before getting to Arlington, I saw a car drive by with a huge Confederate Flag and shouting something about the election.

I had to wait a long time in Arlington to get my final coffee. After all, it's obvious that people still want people after 18:00!

The barista remembered me from my last visit, which is always nice.

It was getting dark as I left Arlington, and was completely dark by the time I got to Lake Stevens.

It definitely felt like a great night for Halloween mischief, but I didn't see anything.

When I got to Snohomish, I checked the bus schedule. Seeing that I barely had enough time to get to Everett, I didn't dawdle anymore.

Thankfully, I got to the station with less than ten minutes to spare, even though my left knee was really unhappy like last time.

Part 3: Return Home

My left knee seriously hampered my return home, but I made it. Completely soaked, I immediately took a hot shower to warm up, then went to bed.

The last finding above list gave me the hint I needed to get both of my legs happy. It also explains why I killed some of the nerves in my right big toe a while back, which means that my right leg is shorter than my left!

I ended up putting a lot of grease into my kickstand to free it up the next day. I also found the lower jockey wheel on my rear derailleur to be really gritty, but a shop took it apart, cleaned it, and regreased it. The upside of no complex bearings is that such rebuilding is easy to do, but the downside is that it needs to be done more frequently.

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