Meandering…

When I first started riding, oh so many years ago, I didn’t have set places to ride. I had books that gave me routes (and I have done a lot of them) but that didn’t help around the house. Sometimes, you have a set amount of time and just don’t want to drive at all.

Back then, I would just go in a general direction and figure out where to go. If I ever got lost, I would just turn around and back track. (I didn’t have a smart phone or GPS back then) 

Sometimes I would discover a trail and follow it to the end. Others, I would see Dan Henry markings from an organized ride

Left turn ahead on the STP

and follow those assuming they would take me somewhere.

I will not lie, there was more than once when I had NO stinking clue where I was, so I used my amazing sense of direction (or lack there of) and trusted to the cycling gods. Many of these meanderings became my regular routes today.

Today though, I was thinking about the roamings and realized it had been a LONG time since I’d done it. With the chores done Friday and yesterday morning, Michelle was kicking me out to do go for a ride.

One of my standard runs is the Lake Washington loop. I can either go all the way around the lake via Renton Airport, or cut across the I-90 bridge on the trail. On the east side, I have seen a bike sign, going off to the right, that reads. “Factoria, 4 miles” I’d never gone that way. Today I decided would do so!

Not that I have a reason to go to Factoria, but I thought, “Huh, who knows, maybe I will find something cool!”

So off I went! The weather called for showers, so I stuffed rain gear in the trunk bag. At UW, the Montlake Cut, the weather didn’t look too bad.

And it was still dry when I got to the bridge.

Notice the lack of traffic on the bridge. It was closed this weekend for some work or another. As I rolled down the I90 trail, a construction guy drove next to me for a bit chatting about how nice a day it was for a ride! YES IT IS! Was my reply!

On the other side of Mercer Island, you are forced off the bridge onto surface streets. To get to the Factoria sign, you have to take one of the quirkiest bike paths in the Seattle area. The Mercer Island Slough trail. It takes you through a wetland under the freeway. Its narrow, bumpy, but just plain cool! I don’t ride it often, but I always enjoy it when I do.

I got to my trail and headed east and UP! It was a steady climb into Factoria and beyond, The trail was gone, but there was a designated bike lane. The good news was I would be going down the hill if I had to back track.

But an idea was forming. On the long slow climb, I was reviewing the map of the area in my head. If I could find my way down to the Lake Samamish, I could work my way to Redmond, and follow my Burke Gilman home. I LOVE loops much better than turn arounds. A plan was hatched.

I traveled along, and spotted a sign pointing me to the left (Sign read I90 trail) It took me over a bridge, and wrapped me around until it the path just died on a sidewalk at an intersection. Alas, I honestly wasn’t sure which way to go! (Cue dramatic music!)

I was looking at all 4 corners, and had ruled out one, when the cycling gods intervened. There was another cyclist next to me. We nodded, and he just pointed to the East as he took off. “Well!” thought I, “Wasn’t that convenient?” And off I went.

Soon I was on another trail, one I had never seen before! Holy crap it was gorgeous! The walls were covered with moss and ferns.

And I had to VERY careful as there were a ton of switchbacks!

But I could hear running water, and no other people. If it had not started raining, I might have stopped for lunch! As you can see, with the switchbacks I had to go slow and easy!

When I got to the bottom I found the lake I was looking for! Sadly, my sense of direction had taken a holiday. I wasn’t sure which way to turn, left or right! Again, if not for the rain, I might have just flipped a coin, but I decided to hit up Siri, and asked, “Where the hell am I??”

The map she showed me let me know I needed to go left! Sure enough, about 8 miles later I found the park I was looking for and I was back on the trail heading home. The rest of the ride was uneventful, well except for a flock of chickens! (Do you call a bunch of chickens a flock? A gaggle? A herd?)

All in all it was 54 miles and I enjoyed it very much! I saw new territory, got some fresh air, and spent the morning in the saddle. As I sit here blogging, the skies have opened up and it is pouring, but I am warm and toasty! I will do this route again, and I am already thinking how I can add it to others. PLUS this might get me to Snoqaulmie falls!

I saw a tshirt once that said, “All who wander are not lost!” It had a picture of a hiker, but I think it applies to us cyclists as well! I encourage you all to do it sometime!

Here is the map of the route,

 

 

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6 Responses to Meandering…

  1. Wow, Tony, you are brave! And thank goodness for Siri to give directions, don’t ever leave home without her! I very much enjoyed your videos of the route. Looks like a good one, as long as you are careful — the trails were narrow! Yikes, that Mercer Slough Trail, who knew??? It is good that you got the ride in before the work week plus the fact that it is going to rain all week, again.

  2. sarburch says:

    Sweet! I just LOVE that trail with all the switchbacks and moss! It’s always wonderful to find undiscovered places near to where you live. And… “Not all who wander are lost” is written on a pendant I’ve been wearing for years. I, too, love that quote. You have such great taste!

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