May 21, 2011 Ride: Even Trails Have Road Hazards…

Saturday found me ready for my third ride in three days, and after a good night’s sleep and a few hours without teenagers, less philosophical and more ready for frivolity. This would seem to be counterintuitive, but trust me: teenagers make me thoughtful. I keep pondering time… growth… the true nature of the universe. Adolescents inspire Big Questions: “How are they so f-ing profound, and yet so stupid, simultaneously?” “Why do certain teenagers think that wearing black prevents one from being a shallow, insipid bore?” “What is a fifteen year-old doing with a Marvin Gaye CD?” Things like that. It was good to get away.

The Viva and I decided to head out to Soos Creek. As usual, we were pressed for time. The Boy is deep into baseball season, and he had an early-afternoon game. I don’t recall my parents coming to anything I did at school, but then, my mother couldn’t drive and my dad was busy being artistic (and also, stoned), so I don’t remember being able to participate in many after-school activities anyway. Mostly I sat at home and did geeky, latchkey child pastimes that my children would rather die than practice daily. I created houses for my toy mice from folded construction paper and rubber cement. I drew elaborate cartoons of rainbows dissolving into hearts. I wrote poems about Pompei: “They were the people/They’d do it right./They died at Pompei,/Their home site.” I was a prodigy, as you can tell. No one, however, suggested I go to weekly poetry slams.

The Soos Creek trail begins, as I’ve noted previously, with a series of concrete pads running as a bridge over the marshy ground. From there, it twists past a subdivision, following the giant electric towers toward the Hill of Death.

The Viva was a bit worried, but I found it much less nerve-wracking to head down on this bike with its working rear brake and front disc brake than it was last time on The Raleigh.

Soos Creek has something for everyone, including a nice playground for the kids.

I think that’s the Temporary Horse.

Ha! That joke never gets old.

Though we had passed Official Yellow Stinky Skunk Cabbage Bloom Season, there was still a faint odor of angry animal in the air as we passed the now-enormous cabbages themselves.

They were positively luxuriant! In fact, the trail was saturated in color, after so much sunshine and a refreshing few showers. I was particularly taken with the small meadows of buttercups at drier spots along the trail. Doesn’t The Viva look fetching in yellow?

This trail is such a delight to ride: meadows filled with flowers alternate between dense marshes where red-wing blackbirds trill from cattails. The parks management folks have put up dozens of unobtrusive bird houses and a few bat houses. It would be a great trail to walk at dusk!

Once we exited the first portion of the trail, and entered the lovely valley that makes up the middle portion of the ride, I stopped to take these two shots. On the right side of the bike, I was photographing it against a sloping meadow and a mound of blackberries overtaking an old barn.

On the left side, I took this shot of the winding trail and lovely heathered fields to come.

Last time I rode this trail, I had to turn around at the end of the valley, several miles before the true end of the trail. This time, I was able to ride a bit further, though I have yet to make it all the way through the full six-odd miles that make up the trail. We cruised from open skies into a wooded glen, with less cabbage and more trees. It was also quite lovely, though in a different way.

It’s hard to resist this trail, I must admit. I kept waiting for a sunny day to do a second ride, but gave in and am glad I did. There just isn’t anything ugly here (except the electrical towers, but I suppose I should be grateful they exist, or else this would likely be subdivision, not trail). Any day on Soos Creek is a good one!

The Viva and I turned around at about five miles to head back for the ball game. Halfway up the Hill of Death, we had to stop and take a break.

You can see how out-of-breath The Viva was, so I did it a favor and just walked the rest of the way. Just for The Viva, you know. I was totally fine. We conquered the hill, and then prepped ourselves for the next one, as the sign indicated that if one didn’t fall off the edge of the world on the way down, it was absolutely going to happen on the way back.

Really, there are dangers to riding on the Soos Creek Trail, but they aren’t signed. Here, The Viva shies away in terror from one of them:

And here, lest my loyal readers believe that I’m prone to hyperbole and capitalizing Stuff That Doesn’t Require Capitalization Just For Humorous Effect, you can see we are about to be viciously (or viscously) attacked by a crazed Northwest Banana Slug.

Running over any of these wee nasties would be a real treat, eh? Slugs are so prevalent here, that I actually have several “slug stories.” I shall share one, and hold others back for another time. My aunt, whose last name was Nation, used to claim that she was going to make her mint at last by canning slugs and selling them under the label: “Nation’s Tinned Fancies.” Fancy what? Just never-you-mind.

The Viva and I finished out our beautiful ride, and then prepped for the ride home. Of course, we had to put on the BikeCap saddle cover to prevent any bugs (or slugs!) from spoiling the Brooks. Here it is in close-up:

And the full-body shot:

Finito! I deposited The Viva back at the house, and headed off to the game. Here’s a parting “shot.”

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Love to ride my bikes!
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4 Responses to May 21, 2011 Ride: Even Trails Have Road Hazards…

  1. Amesja says:

    I see you have mastered photographing the pale-colored Viva so it doesn’t look washed-out or over-exposed any more. That sure didn’t take long! Some Great photos in this post today. It was a treat.

  2. rideblog says:

    Thanks! I think I still have a couple washed-out shots in there. It’s inevitable with a cream bike. I really appreciate that root-beer brown now. Also, I find the Viva shows dirt, like a white carpet :).

  3. Auchen says:

    Whoa.

    Those giant slimy things would scare the dickens out of even my toughest, most hard-core road bike.

    And as for me, I think I’d rather be shot at than to encounter one of those creepy crawlers in the street!

    [img]http://rideblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/05212011ride003.jpg?w=640&h=853[/img]

  4. rideblog says:

    Auchen, they are generally non-agressive, though the banana slug made a clear bee-line for my wheel.

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