Centennial Trail

Mukilteo to Centennial Trail

80 miles

Last Saturday was a cool but sunny spring day.  It was a great excuse to break the bike out and get some touring in.  There was still snow on the ground in many shaded spots around town but the temperatures were predicted to be close to 50 degrees by the day’s end.

I took Mukilteo Boulevard through Everett then traveled the Lowell Snohomish River Road S/E through the farming countryside.  It wasn’t long before I crossed the Snohomish river and entered the City of Snohomish.

Snohomish

Snohomish

 I stopped to take a photo of this huge mural that was near completion.

Mural

Veteran Memorial Mural

This town has a very cool vibe to it with the old buildings and many small shops to browse.

Shohomish Buildings

Old Buildings in Snohomish

Many people were out enjoying the day as they shopped, walked, and sat in the sun throughout town.

Old Clock

Snohomish Clock

I rode north through town where I picked up the Centennial Trail.  This paved path is on the old railroad track bed.  It is over 30 miles long and will take you north to the Skagit County border.  This was the first time I have been on the trail and I was impressed by how nice and clean it was.  Before long I was out of the city and surrounded by trees, birds, and the great outdoors.  Many others were also enjoying the trail.  I was entertained by the many dogs walking their owners, kids learning to ride their bikes, and couples strolling along.  It created a very welcoming atmosphere.   It was evident that there would not be a lot of hills to work out on other than those close to my apartment in Mukilteo.  With this type of terrain I hoped to be able to kick my mileage up a bit.

Centennial Trail

Centennial Trail

 I looked to my left at a tree ahead that appeared to be full of birds.   As I got closer I realized they were not birds but shoes.  I took this photo as I know that shoe tree are very rare.

Shoe Tree

Shoe Tree

I pedaled northward and stopped to enjoy the view at Lake Cassidy which is to the east side of Marysville.

Lake Cassidy Dock

Lake Cassidy Dock

Sunny Lake Cassidy

Sunny Day at Lake Cassidy

It was so tempting to lay back  in the sun on the dock and just take in the outdoor experience.  There were many ducks and geese near the dock.  I took a few minutes to enjoy watching them do their water ballet and feeding routines.  A couple of kids were at the dock end with fishing poles in hand.  They were trying their best to land the big one.  I headed back up the trail as my goal was to make it to the north trail end before turning back towards home.

As I neared Arlington,  I recognized a familiar face.  I was so pleased to see Lisa, a friend of mine, walking her dog.  We stopped for a short visit before continuing on in opposite directions.

I reached the north end of the trail  and thought to myself that maybe I had taken on too big of a challenge.  As enjoyable as this day was,  I was worn out and had many miles of pedaling before making it home.  I picked up the pace and soon was in North Marysville.  I took Smokey Point Boulevard to State Street.  After a short section of Highway 529 I was in the all too familiar turf of Everett.  The last stretch uphill from the Mukilteo Ferry area was a grind but I made it home.

This great day was finished off by a hot shower and a glass of homemade Bosman Gardens Barbera wine.

See you on the next ride.

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Posted in Bicycling, Centennial Trail, Mukilteo, Photography, Snohomish | 2 Comments

Salem, Oregon

Last week I prepared for my road trip to Salem, Oregon to celebrate the birth of my granddaughter Zulee.  I did a little research on biking in that area and found Salem to be very biker friendly.  Many of the city streets have biking lanes and there are a variety of paths and trails to ride.  I put my Specialized Crosstrail on the car rack and headed south.  The day after our St. Patrick’s Day baby Zulee introduced herself to the world, I took advantage of good weather and hit the road.

Salem Oregon Capital

Salem Oregon Capital

The sun was shining and the scent of cherry blossoms filled the air.  I spent the first hour of my ride taking in the sites and architecture of this State’s capital.

Oregon State Penitentiary

Oregon State Penitentiary

On my way to the government district I passed the Oregon State Penitentiary.   The prison has been here since 1866 and still has the original guardhouse next to the street.  As I snapped this photo one of the guards drove out to greet me.  Actually, he came out to make sure I was not on penitentiary property.

I continued on my slow trek around the capital building area.  The grounds were very clean and I found many places worthy of photos.

These columns were part of the original capital building.  The bricks of the inner core were build by prison inmates in 1876.

Old columns

1876 Capital Building Columns

The many paths that weave through the grounds are very inviting.  Several of them have streams and other water features which invite a variety of birds to play in them and an occasional child when parents are not looking.

Fountain

My bike resting near a fountain

Plaza

Plaza near capital building

1876 Church

1876 Church

This church was close to the government district.  It was first erected in 1854 but had to re-built in 1872 after suffering damage from a fire.

Fountain

Fountain near capital building

 I could have spent the day just taking in the sights of downtown but felt the need to hit the pedals and get a  workout.

I made my way towards the Willamette River which is on the west side of the downtown area.  I found well groomed paths and a park which separates the streets from the river.  I would imagine it to be filled with people during the summer months.  There was a steam wheeler river boat docked and waiting to take those wishing for a river tour.

River Boat

Steam Wheeler River Boat

There was an indoor carousel which was full of happy children riding the motorized animals.

I crossed the river over the Union Railroad bridge which has been turned into a paved pedestrian bridge.  I picked up speed as I entered West Salem and slowly left the stop lights behind.  The city scene turned to residential then to open countryside.   I found this to be a refreshing change of environment.   Many times when you get out into the county the roads get rougher and narrower.  This was not the case here.  The road was smooth and had a wide shoulder.  Traffic was very light with only the occasional car passing me.

Salem countryside

The Countryside NW or Salem

As you can see in the photo above the terrain was that of rolling hills which gave me that work out I wanted.  I found a quaint country church along the way.  The Spring Valley Church was built in 1859.  Its grounds have a graveyard on the north side.   The markers are evidence that many of the early pioneers had been laid to rest here.   Most of the markers were from the late 1800s.

Old Church

Spring Valley Church

Old Cemetary

Spring Valley Church Cemetery

 I made my way through the hills and back to West Salem.   I took a short play break at my fellow grandparents in-law Mike and Anita.  After spending some time with my grandkids Zayden and Ryker, I pedaled back to my hotel room.  I had only logged 25 miles on my bike this day but it was a very enjoyable one.

Today I was blessed with a sunny day, a great ride, and the love of family.

Thanks for riding with.

Posted in Bicycling, Oregon State, Photography, Salem | 3 Comments

Mukilteo – Seattle Island Loop

My Friday off of work started out foggy but the sun soon broke through.  By 8:30 I had my bike rolling southbound towards Seattle.  My plan was to hop a transit bus and start my riding on Seattle’s Bainbridge Island.  This island was recently the scene of the annual Chilly Hilly 33 mile ride.  I missed riding that event but planned to follow the same route as it was touted to have some pretty tough elevation gains.  I adjusted that plan when I realized I could almost pedal as fast as the bus.   I rode past the bus stops as I peddled on southbound.  The down side to this plan was that I was expending a lot of energy I would need for the Bainbridge Island hills.  I traveled the same Highway 99 route I have taken before.

Lake Union Bridge

George Washington Memorial Bridge

I adjusted that route at Lake Union and took the George Washington Memorial Bridge.  I added this photo I found on the web to give you an idea of how cool this bridge is.  This bridge was built in 1929 and was the final link in the Mexico to Canada, Highway 99 (Also known as the Pacific Highway Auto Trail).  It is almost 3,000 feet long and when looking down the waters of Lake Union are  approximately 200 feet below.  Unfortunately, since it was built there have been at least 230 suicidal people jump from its edge.  A few years ago millions of dollars were spent to add eight foot tall barred fencing in an effort to keep people from jumping.

I was able to get a different perspective of the Freemont Bridge to the west which I had traveled and wrote about weeks ago.

Freemont Bridge

Freemont Bridge

Before I reached the south end of the George Washington Memorial Bridge I heard the Freemont Bridge horns blow.  This sound is to give warning to all of the bridge is raising to allow a large ship through.  The funny part is, look at the size of the boats they had opened the bridge for.

Freemont Draw Bridge

Freemont Draw Bridge

Space Needle

Seattle Center Space Needle

I continued on my trek south and was soon in the Seattle Center area.  I was biking below the Space Needle which was built for the 1962 World Exposition.  Even though it is not the prime tourist season there were many out enjoying this cool but sunny day.  I rode around the center for a bit checking out the abstract “Art” and the Experience Music Project.  I headed west to the pier and took the path which runs through sculpture park.  I was able to take in the great views of the salt water and islands to the west.

Seattle Art?

Seattle Art?

Sculpture Park Fountain

Sculpture Park Fountain

Seattle Pier

Seattle Pier

I stopped at Ivar’s on the pier and bought some clam strip, chips, and clam chowder to go.  I took my calorie rich lunch with as I waited for the next Bainbridge Island ferry.  Once I was on board,  I enjoyed my lunch and view for the 35 minute boat ride.  By now I had decided to adjust my plan.  I mapped out a route that would take me north on Bainbridge Island to Kingston.

This was my first time exploring Bainbridge Island.  I recognized that it was a very bike friendly place as evidenced with the many bike rental shops and bike lanes in the street.  This island has become know as a bed and breakfast destination for many.  As I exited the downtown area I saw a lady walking three… no two dogs and one miniature horse.  Now that is something you don’t see every day.   I took a route that followed the east shore of the island.  The scenery soon turned to farmland and woods.

Suquamish Dock

Suquamish Tribe Dock

I took the Agate Pass Bridge which had Port Orchard Bay to my left and Madison Bay to the right.  This part of the ride was not family friendly as there was much traffic flying by and little room between the roadway and bridge edge.  Once off of the bridge,  I worked my way through the Suquamish Indian Reservation.  I took a short break for some water and a photo opportunity.

Kingston Ferry

Kingston Ferry Dock

I was soon in Kingston.  I had not been here since I took my Hurricane Ridge ride last summer.  Once again it was a short ferry ride to Edmonds.  I ground uphill from the ferry dock and had a great view of the Olympic Mountains as I traveled along familiar turf.

I was glad to see my apartment complex as I had logged 69 miles on the bike this day.  I feel that I’m getting closer to mountain climbing shape and long for the snow to melt from those roads.

Thanks for joining me on this ride.

Posted in Bainbridge Island, Bicycling, Bridges, Edmonds, Ferry, Freemont, Mukilteo, Photography, Seattle, Space Needle, Washington State | 2 Comments

Freeland to Mukilteo

My sister Susan picked me up on Saturday as we headed to Whidbey Island to for a little R&R at my brother Larry and his wife Brenda’s house.  I threw my bike on the car rack so I could ride back home the next day.  Based on the weather of late, this ride plan was a leap of faith.  It has been very windy out with much rain.

It was 39 degrees with some wind when I hopped on my bike Sunday morning.  I took the scenic route to the Clinton Ferry from Freeland.  I was happy to see that this route and the trees would protect me from the wind that was whipping the bay into whitecaps.  Thanks to a nice hill that I met shortly after starting,  I warmed up rapidly.  There was a feel of spring in the air and my thoughts drifted to the snow capped mountains I long to ride again.

Langley

Langley, WA

The route I took follows the southeast shore of Whidbey Island and allows for peek-a-boo views of Saratoga Passage and the southwest side of Camano Island.  It wasn’t long before I reached Langley.

I cut my pace down to tourist speed as I found a few photo opportunities.   There was very little traffic which made the ride even more enjoyable.

Langley is a fun place to check out and a tourist destination for many in the summer months.

Park

Langley Park

I took a short break at a park which looks east towards Camano Island.  I met a  few friendly locals going on their morning walks around town.

There were many indications of winter coming to an end.  I loved seeing daffodil flower stems popping up as a promise of warmer weather to come.

This year will be Langley’s centennial celebration.  Many of the town’s original buildings still stand and now make up the heart of the downtown tourist area.

 

Langley

Langley, WA

I found another little park and stopped to enjoy the view with a man and his dog.

Langley Park

Langley Park

There are many places to rest and enjoy the view as I made my way south through town.

Marina

Marina View

I pushed on and made my way to the Clinton ferry dock.  I didn’t have long to wait as the boat was coming in as I arrived.

Clinton ferry

Mukilteo / Clinton Ferry

I hitched my ride to the rail at the front of the boat and sat inside to enjoy the 20 minute ride across Possession Sound to Mukilteo.

Lighthouse

Mukilteo Lighthouse

Once I was off the boat I cruised the Mukilteo Lighthouse area to take a few more photos before the final four mile push up the hill to home.   Today’s ride was only twenty miles but a good warm up for the mountains summer will bring.

This was an enjoyable ride and a great finish to the weekend.

Lighthouse

Mukilteo Lighthouse

Posted in Bicycling, Camano Island, Ferry, Freeland, Langley, Mukilteo, Photography, Washington State, Whidbey Island | 2 Comments

Mukilteo to Seattle

Mukilteo to Seattle
48 miles

I was so pleased to see the sun come out today with hardly a cloud in the sky.  This was to be my upper body workout day in the gym but I elected to trade in barbells for my bike.  By 11:00 I had my domestic chores done and my bike ready to head south.  The temperature was at 42 degrees and a bit warmer that the weekend prior.

I started south on Hwy 99 but found alternative parallel routes whenever I could.  This less than direct route was much more enjoyable as I got to see new areas and found roads and paths where I could escape heavy vehicle traffic.

I found the Innerurban Trail south of Lynnwood and was happy to take it.  The paved surface without cars to beware of was a nice change of pace.  I hit the pedals hard to get a good workout until I took a detour in NW Seattle and headed towards Green Lake.

Green Lake

Feeding the birds at Green Lake

Green Lake, it seems, is a lunch time destination for many others.   The sound of music drew me to the SW edge of the lake where I found Gary the organ grinder entertaining many others.  There was a festive, carnival feel in the air and I took a short break on one of the nearby benches to soak it in.   Gary Harding, Aka “The Ginder”,  used to teach music, now he plays music in the park to benefit others.   I took the 2.8 mile path that circles the lake and found several photo opportunities.  I tried to get a photo of a guy riding his bike with a large parrot perched on his shoulder but they were gone before I could deploy my camera.  I completed my lake lap and headed south again.

Organ grinder

Gary Harding “The Grinder”

I think what made this trip even more enjoyable was that I had no agenda.  My plan was to explore south towards Seattle and go to the point where I knew I could make it back home before dark.  I explored the residential district as I took Freemont Avenue N.  I crossed the Ballard Shipping Canal on the Ballard Bridge.  It is just east of the locks that join Lake Union with the bay.

I stopped to enjoy the architecture of the Carnegie Free Public Library.  This building was built in 1904 in part with chain-gang labor compliments of those incarcerated.  I love these old buildings.  Built in a time when form was as important as function.

Freemont Library

Carnegie Free Public Library

Ballard Shipping Canal

Ballard Shipping Canal

I stopped at a courtyard Greek café in the Freemont District.  There is definitely a free spirit alive in this area which can be seen in the people and art.  I enjoyed a Gyro in the sun and spent a bit of time relaxing and people watching.  The edge of the courtyard has a very large bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin erected.  This statue was moved here from   Czechoslovakia.

Freemont statue

Valdimir Lenin Statue in Freemont

I explored the area of West Queen Anne before turning my bike back north.  I tried to take a different route home and found myself sidetracked again at the Freemont Bridge.  This draw bridge was built in 1916.  It has recently undergone some renovation work and it looks great.  I explored the maze of paved trails that are in this area and followed one of these along the ship canal.

Freemont Bridge

Freemont Bridge

Freemont Bridge in 1936

Freemont Bridge in 1936

I realized that all good things must come to an end and picked up the pace as I headed home.  After packing my bike and equipment away,  I enjoyed a nice hot shower and glass of red wine.  This was a great day.  I can’t wait until the mountain snows melt and I can continue on my Mountain Quest.  Thanks for joining me on this ride.

Posted in Bicycling, Freemont, Mukilteo, Photography, Seattle, Uncategorized, Washington State | 2 Comments

Mukilteo to Edmonds

Mukilteo to Edmonds
30 miles

I got up this morning and could hardly see the neighbor scraping ice off of her car through the thick fog.  This was about the same time that my brother Dennis wrote of his near 70 degree outside temperature where he lives.  I would have loved some of that California weather.  By 10:00 the fog was lifting and allowed the sun through.  I was psyched and started prepping my bike and gear.  I stepped outside and found it was much colder than it appeared.  My phone indicated it was 30 degrees out.  Needless to say I put an extra layer or two of clothes on before heading out.

Old Gas Station

Old Hwy 99 Gas Station

I had plotted a route that would minimize my time on Hwy 99 and the Mukilteo Speedway. Hwy 99 has seen better days in this area. Pawn and smoke shops line the roadside along with several dilapidated buildings.  I stopped to photograph the old Mobiloil gas station which was pretty cool looking.  It was the only worthy thing to photograph in this area.

The scene quickly changed as I took 168th west to Olympic View Drive.  The road wound through the residential area and made its way alongside Lynndale Park.  The tree canopy closed in overhead as the road took me down and through Southwest County Park.  I will have to return to this area in the fall as it will surely be very colorful with the falling leaves of the maple, alder, cottonwood, and birch trees.

Edmonds Beach

Edmonds Beach

I starting seeing peek-a-boo views of the bay to my right as I neared Edmonds.  The houses and properties were well maintained and very nice.  The temperature had rocketed up to a balmy 39 degrees.  This combined with the 15-18 mph bike induced wind chill factor was an incentive for me to pedal harder.

Edmonds in a great place to spend a sunny day.  The summer tourist pace had not picked up yet which made it even more enjoyable.  This is a very bike friendly town and a destination for many of my fellow two-wheeled travelers.

I hit all of the streets surrounding the downtown and ferry terminal area to get a feel for the place.  I was also on the hunt for a good place to get some lunch.  I found that even on a cold, non-tourist season Sunday there were many cafes and restaurants to choose from.  I stopped at a cafe that was packed with many people waiting to be seated.  As I was by myself,  I was offered a seat at the coffee bar that I gladly accepted.  I sat down next to two delightful local residents, Lori and Brady. Within 10 minutes I had some great hot food in front of me and enjoyed a conversation with Lori and Brady.  They played the role of tour guide and gave me several great tips on places to go and things to see.  Brady, Let me know when I can hear you blast out the rock and roll tunes with you band.

I took my tour guide’s advice and headed towards the ferry dock.  It was a short trek south to Marina Beach.  A foot bridge took me past the marina to my right.

Edmonds Marina

Edmonds Marina

The park is very well-kept and I found many people and dogs enjoying the place.  To the south was a very large dog park which had a field and beach access for the dogs.  To my right were picnic areas, grass, and beach access for the humans without a dog owner.   After being entertained by the many children and dogs at play I hit the road.

Edmonds has large painted murals that adorn many of the building exteriors.  I found several people walking around town that appeared to be on a mural sight-seeing tour.

Edmonds Mural

Edmonds Mural

After I had explored every side street in the area I headed back towards Mukilteo.  I took Sunset Avenue N which follows the shoreline.  If not for the clouds up against them,  I would have had a great view of the Olympic Mountain Range.  I stopped to take a few photos and made friends with a four-month old Bull Dog puppy who was out for a stroll with his human.

Edmonds Ferry

Edmonds to Kingston Ferry

With the temperature still hovering at 40 degrees I hit the pedals hard and quickly warmed up.  The ride back to my new home in Mukilteo was uneventful but enjoyable. Now it’s time for a hot shower and glass of red wine.

Marina Beach Park

Marina Beach Park

Thanks for riding with.

Posted in Bicycling, Edmonds, Mountains, Mukilteo, Photography, Washington State | 5 Comments

What a Biker Does in the Off Season

The NW Washington winter weather has been true to form over the last couple of months.  Wet, cold, and more with the wet.  I’m not complaining and still believe that there is no more beautiful place than this area when the sun shines.  I have to admit that for the most part I am a fair weather rider.  I have logged countless miles on the bike trainer in my living room to the point that I will be buying a new rear tire before I hit the mountains.

Mukilteo Lighthouse

Mukilteo Lighthouse

I have planned and plotted many rides around the state.  By mid summer I will have met my goal of ridding every major mountain in the state that has a paved road on it.   I hope to travel to Colorado and ride the infamous Pikes Peak.  For this ride I will need to be in very good shape as it may be one of the toughest rides this continent has to offer.

I spent a little time in the tattoo parlor this winter.  Jason of Good Vibes Tattoo in Mount Vernon, Washington did a great job.  He designed art that commemorated the Cascade Loop ride that kicked off my Mountain Quest last summer.

Mountain Quest Tattoo

Mountain Quest Tattoo

Last week I left the trainer behind and hit the roads again.  I explored the roads near my new home in Mukilteo.  I found that I live in a great area to help me train for mountain rides.  I traveled south to the Snohomish County limits hitting every road between the bay and the Mukilteo Speedway.  After two hours of riding I found it easy to relax at home.

Bring on the good weather as I’m ready for more.

Mukilteo, Washington

Mukilteo Beack

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