Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hoquiam, Washington to Centralia, Washington Sept 25

53.7 miles in 4:36.......I started out this morning with, get this..... Sunshine! It was 53 degrees, but the sun was shining. It felt good, and was good for the soul, but it lasted less than a half an hour before the heavy gray clouds took over. I rode US 101 for about six miles through Hoquiam, and the neighboring city of Aberdeen. Just outside of town, US101 headed south, but I stayed on US12 to head a little inland. The town of Centralia has a lab associated with the hospital that did the surgeries on my kidneys, and I need to do follow up urine and blood tests. This is my last chance to find out a few things, so it's worth going out of my way a little to get these results. Also, going over to the I-5 corridor, gives us access to Mt Rainier National Park and Mt St Helens Monument, which we wanted to check out, at least a little.
US12 toward Olympia was like a freeway. The whole trip was flat for the most part, which helped some with tired legs, and the shoulders were dirty with potential tire flatteners, but it was a decent ride. Traffic was pretty heavy, and my biggest complaint is the narrow bridges, even on main roads. The shoulder totally disappears with traffic going 65 mph, and  I had to find a gap and pedal my butt off across every one of them. The clouds stayed, and the temps dropped as I rode, from briefly touching 60 down to about 53 by the time I was done. Once I turned southwest on US12, and got off the main road to Olympia, traffic calmed, but there were always logging trucks, mulch trucks, lumber trucks, plywood trucks, and any other kind of truck related to the forest industry around here. I found a few back roads that I needed to take to stay off of I-5, and ended up my trip in time to do a little Jeep ride with Pam to Mt Rainier National Park. It was about an hour away, and we got there to find fog, light rain, and cooler temps in the mountains. The road was lined with absolutely huge pines on both sides of the road,  which made the area much darker than it should have been. As we traveled through the park, we began rapid ascent, as the road turned very curved, and contained many switchbacks. By 3500 ft, we were in a pretty serious fog that blocked most of the view. We were following a glacier fed stream, which was really big, but had very little water in it, just huge river rocks and logs left from spring run offs. By the time we got to the visitors center at 5500 ft, we were in a cloud, and couldn't see a thing. I took some great pictures though! There were a few other people around, but we pretty much had the park to ourselves. We are currently forecasted to have this areas coldest snap of the year, so people are staying away from the park. Snow-mix was forecast for 5000 ft and up in elevation, and it felt like it. I don't know how many days of the year you can actually see Mt Rainier, but my guess is that there are not many clear days this time of year.

View from a bridge in Aberdeen

One of the many types of drawbridges in Aberdeen

Sidewalk that Mike had to ride on!  Sign said all pedestrians and bicyclists MUST ride on sidewalk!

There is a serious battle going on up here on the Olympic Peninsula with the term "Wild Olympics" being used.  The government wants to expand the wilderness and national park area.  One side says yes, and the other side says no because there will be a loss in lumber jobs.

Cool drawbridge in background.  In foreground is huge tree carving.

Close up of tree carving.

Marijuana store!  Remember this is Washington!

"Battle signs"!

Entrance to Mt. Rainer

Sightseeing "car"  
River bed filled with river rock - but it's rolling in the spring

Fog is rolling in

Pam admiring the view!  HA HA!

Up at the top visitors center.  Pam's pointing at Mt. Rainier - can you see it?  She can't either!

Visitor's center

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