Saturday, January 10, 2009

All Clear? Not!

Riding around here has been a bit of a challenge recently. Snow and cold in December, rain and floods in January. Watching the city, county, and state transportation web sites to keep track of road closures and subsequent reopenings to find a clear route was a bit of a task. With a Saturday permanent in mind, Don Boothby was optimistic that the roads would be clear ... above water. When we last did this ride a few weeks ago, we had several detours due to snow. By Friday though, the all clear sounded ... no road closures on 531 Mercer Island - Redmond - Orting - Mercer Island.

A huge crew ... sixteen riders ... headed off at 7:00 AM. While we all rode together for a while, we soon broke up into smaller groups riding at our own natural paces. Ward Beebe, Vincent Muoneke, and I took the front by the time we hit Renton. Around Kent we were swallowed up by a club ride that was going our pace
... not especially fast (no drafting, honest!)... for a few miles before they turned off. A few miles after that we hit our first obstacle ... a road closed sign. Not water, but a slide had closed the road. It was a small slide and we easily rode past ... just a moment of consternation about whether to believe the sign or not.

Refueling at Orting, then on our way back home ... at the next info control (on McCutcheon) there was another road closed sign. Now this was at the top of a hill (sort of). If we went on and the road really was closed, we'd have to back-track up a hill. Decisions, decisions. Several Pierce County dump trucks drove by and then one stopped, the driver rolled down his window, and told us that the road really was closed and they had all sorts of equipment down there. So we backtracked. We ran into Greg Cox and filled him in, that the control was open and he'd have to backtrack and rejoin the route in Sumner. I thought we'd see a few more riders on the 4-5 mile stretch of 162 that we rode north on, but didn't see anyone. I gather that Don and crew rode through, braving the "hostile looks" from the bulldozer operator.

Our next challenge - a little one - was a short stretch (10-20 yards) of the Interurban Trail that was under water. Don Boothby said it was "almost knee deep", but I guess I'm taller than Don, as it was only just above my ankles !

Someday I'll get to ride this Permanent without any detours.

Unlike my last attempt, with detours due to snow, we were able to ride the Duwamish and West Seattle Trail sections ... not that I particularly want to ride them again, but at least now I can say I've ridden them.

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