Thermometer-on-the-back-fence reading: 40 degrees. Like summer in Tuscany. Saturday afternoons are Boy-free, and The Beloved has The Girls off at various enriching organized childhood activities, so I was free to take off and explore.
The day before, I’d done a quick ride on the Sports down the Interurban Trail again, but it wasn’t at all worth documenting (even if I’d actually remembered my camera). Moody sky, threatening rain, and about 15 miles, half of it in a headwind so strong I felt like a cartoon character running on ice: lots of pedaling, little progress. I felt I had DONE the Interurban and was ready for something new. How about the northern portion? Venturing further into the snowy wastes, toward the Great White North (Seattle)? Why not?
This time I figured out that there’s more reliable parking than the Doubletree/Comfort Inn/Day’s Inn/Motel 6 parking lot, a spot where I was under a vague threat of eviction. The Tukwila Park-and-Ride, where one can park, and ride. So the Raleigh and I began there, cycling under the train line and north on the Interurban to where we discovered it intersects with the Green River Trail. Surely a trail that winds its way along a river would be more scenic and fascinating than one that ran alongside a railroad line, right? Oh, the rhetorical questions abound!
Note the absolute lack of anything appealing in this photo, beyond the immediate confines of the Raleigh. The river is the color of swamp, the grasses are dead, and the housing and wires beyond speak to urban decay, not riparian bounty. Besides the fact that it makes an intriguing squiggle on the map, the Green River Trail north of I-405 is not exactly pretty. But at least it wasn’t straight!
First stop, the bathroom. I’m not sure why it is, but it does not seem to matter if I use the restroom before I begin riding. My bladder promptly assumes that no bathroom will ever appear again, and goes into spasms of fear. Find relief! it shrieks. Find it now! Enter your friendly neighborhood park. Fortunately, the Raleigh fit right inside the restroom, since I’d forgotten to bring a lock. The Raleigh and I always wash our hands, because the Raleigh is intensely concerned about Swine Flu.
Note the sexy new “hand-sewn” leather grips.
Anyway, the squiggly line on the map led us through a section of town lined with roadside casinos and then… it disappeared. Here the Green River Trail cleverly disguises itself as either a sidewalk, or a parking lot, depending on which direction you choose. The Raleigh was very confused, and looked to me for guidance. We tried both.
I highly recommend the parking lot, as it does eventually lead back to the trail, but not until one has wound along next to the river some more. Which beats more casinos and the 7-11, but not by much.
We discovered a lovely railroad bridge over the Green River.
That may be a heron out there, or perhaps just an exceptionally tall, mutated crow. At any rate, it’s all very picturesque, until one looks at the other bank.
Let’s just hope no one ever accidentally sets the river bank on fire, as it will no doubt smolder for weeks.
We moved on, intrigued by the utter lack of anything intriguing. How can a river-side trail be so ugly? Riding along the river conjures up images of the Seine and Paris in springtime. Not freeway on one side, truck depot on the other.
For a brief moment, through the dead branches, I could see Seattle, like a shining beacon of hope (but I couldn’t see it well enough to take a good photo of it, apparently. Perhaps it was a mirage). Then, seconds later, we reached the end of the trail. No really.
Dejected, the Sports and I turned around and headed home. If one ignores the squiggly line, we went about 10 miles. Considering how long it took, and how tired I was (after doing 22 miles on the Sports last weekend without breaking a sweat), I think it must have been considerably longer once one has accounted for the squiggles. We tried a half-hearted stab at two miles on the Interurban again, but our hearts weren’t in it. My goal for next weekend, should the weather oblige and NOT dump 6-12 inches of snow on Puget Sound this Thursday, as some sources ghoulishly suggest it might, is to find an interesting trail. Perhaps the Lake Washington Trail. The name is promising. Of course, one would think the Green River Trail would be prettier, as well. We’ll see…