Saturday, June 26, 2010
Today's bike adventure was the most ambitious so far. Not only did my two wheels take me all the way out to my old high school (Shoreline Spartans we're all for you), they trod the wilds of the Interurban overpasses as well.
Just short of 155th Street, about 43 blocks north of my apartment, there's a sharply inclined but short ramp leading to a north-south overpass over 155th, a major junction where several arterials meet. Then comes another ramp (above) leading to the main event, an enclosed east-west overpass above Aurora, or Highway 99, of which I got this shot looking north through one of the plastic windows. (above).
The ramp on the east side (right) is less elaborate than the one on the west, and leads to a section of trail which runs through a nondescript area in the unexciting suburb of Shoreline. I think it may have once been an alley running between 99 and the back yards of the houses fronting whatever street lies immediately east of the highway. It's not beautiful, but is strangely quiet because there are buildings interceding between the roar of highway traffic and the trail.
On the way home I stopped at Central Market, which lies almost athwart the trail at 155th for the daily grocery shopping, and took a breather beside lovely Bitter Lake where I shot this picture, just off the road at about 130th and Linden. The lake is nearly completely ringed by apartment buildings and condominia, but with its ducks and trees and lotus-bearing lily pads maintains an aura of sedate tranquility just the same.
I'm having more fun with this bike than I thought possible. It's mildly challenging, and a new rider will be amazed by the immediate awareness of how much of the landscape drivers miss completely, enclosed like larvae in their petroleum-powered pods with their eyes glued to the road ahead. it's also striking to realize how abrasive and numbing constant exposure to traffic and other urban noise is, and how completely the noise vanishes at a few yards remove, as happens on most parts of the Interurban.
As near as I can figure, I traveled about 170 blocks round trip today, or between 14 and 15 miles. It took about three hours, and I was at Shoreline probably a little over half an hour and paused several times on the homeward leg, to shop and so forth. I have to say it's easier than I thought it would be, It gives one a tremendous sense of empowerment to be able to park the car and get around on your own muscle power. I used to not know what that word meant -- women would tell me that my daughter's dancing made them feel "empowered" or "empowered women," and I nodded but didn't actually know what they were trying to communicate. Now I do.
Click on any photo for a larger view, then click again to embiggen even more.