With the first really sunny week hitting us here in Rainitopia, I decided to head out on a good, long ride. This has been a very wet winter, in a drizzly sort of way. We had no snow, or much flooding, just day after day of blah. I didn’t even feel it necessary to sacrifice a weatherman to Frosticus this year… the gods didn’t need to be appeased; they were clearly just stupid-bored.
When one has a long, sunny ride to anticipate, an interesting trail is in order. So I headed back to the Foothills Trail, starting this time in Orting rather than Puyallup. My goal was about twenty miles, and that was what I ended up riding. The truth is, two hours on The Raleigh or The Gazelle, pedaling steadily, feels like I’m doing more work than any ride on the old Panasonic (Bicycle of the Gods) did. I may not be racing along the path at twenty-five miles an hour, but I’m out there, and I’m working reasonably hard.
Mount Rainier was lurking, glowering testily over the trail. I kept picturing the old mountain crabbily grousing about the development around it, thinking seriously about the possibility of lahars or even just a few threatening puffs of ash…
This was an early-morning ride, for me anyway, starting at 9:30. The sunlight was strong, but low in the sky, making for dramatic shadows and a glittering river.
This side path would be quite rideable, if The Raleigh had nobbly tires. Unfortunately, it does not, and even a bit of gravel is treacherous. I suspect this is just my impression, not necessarily the truth, but I’ve slipped and slid often enough in the past to be wary. It certainly was pretty!
I spent most of this ride day-dreaming and telling myself stories in my head, which is something I’ve done for most of my life. I had always assumed everyone did this, but once I started teaching, I realized that few of my students narrated their lives. This makes me curious about the brains of others: what do other people think about while riding? How do they pass the time when they’re stuck somewhere with only their brains for company? I’ve asked other people, but I still don’t know exactly.
It reminds me of a moment in Northern Exposure, when Joel Fleishman asks his secretary, the stoic Marilyn, what she daydreams about while she’s sitting at the front desk. I’m paraphrasing, as I couldn’t find a clip of this:
Marilyn: You don’t want to know.
Joel: Yes, I do!
Joel: Colors? That’s it? What about colors?
Marilyn: Just… colors.
I remember laughing so hard at Joel’s confusion. I’d feel the same way!
Speaking of colors…
How about these?
One of the best things about the Foothills Trail is how rural it is, once one gets past Orting. I love the farms and green fields.
I turned around shortly after South Prairie, which is a cute little town. I considered going further, but my butt was in serious protest mode. The Raleigh’s Brooks is still not perfect. Or my butt isn’t… take your pick. Either way, after an hour in the saddle, I realized another hour was going to be enough.
This milepost has nothing to do with anything, as I was riding from the other end of the trail and I had started ten miles in, but I liked how efficiently mileposty it was. It reminded me of this:
The spirit stone from the path in Spirited Away.
I really am lucky to live somewhere that cares about creating paths like these. I’m often grateful for the quality of life here in Rainytown, Rainland. We have a certain… liberal bent, combined with a healthy respect for individual rights, that I like. Stuff like this trail is just the icing on the cake, really.
The Raleigh takes a break to learn about Riparian areas.
And of course, it’s always a fun ride when there’s an emu.
He looks so fussy, like the world has just perennially pissed him off. No Rainitopia for him! Maybe he’s related to the mountain.