Kanaskat-Palmer State Park

Back in March a group of local WTF riders (women-trans-femme) planned a trip to Kanaskat Palmer State Park. It looked fun but I couldn’t make it at the time. So without any route planning Jen and I decided to go!

Jen booked us a yurt #GLAMPING for two nights. I did minimal route planning, mostly focusing on how to get to Renton (original plan was to bus), with less focus on the Renton to Kanaskat route, since I saw few turns.

The way out seemed to take FOREVER. We left around 10, headed up through the arboretum and hopped on Lake Washington Blvd, then along the lake until we saw signs for the Mt. to Sound/I-90 Trail. UPUPUPUP through a magical forestland with beautiful lush waterfalls to get to the trail. Some of the grades/turns here were dicey and we had to walk bikes due to our wide turning radi.

We headed east over the lake to Mercer Island, breaking for lunch in the shade before following the hilly trail along the highway. Why do hills always come around a curve so you can’t see the top?

At the I-90/Mt. to Sound split we took Mt. to Sound to the Lake Washington Loop. Here we found a gravel trail parallel to Lake Washington Blvd. It’s not on google yet but I had heard from a friend that it was good! And it was! Be aware of narrow bridge crossings. We just fit walking our bikes (trailer included) but no one could’ve been coming head on. But then it just ended. So we turned around and headed up a block to the road. There’s a nice shoulder here but it looks like it would be narrow with weekend pedestrian traffic.

Google routed us through downtown Renton which was less than pleasant on a HOTHOTHOT day because the massively wide roads radiate heat right back at you and there’s no shade. If I rode it again I’d follow the map below to avoid that section. The trailhead is not well marked and the beginning is actually just roadway. Cars aren’t allowed to cross 3rd from Mill, but we did it and found the trail is a sharp left after the intersection. It looks like they may make a more direct connection to 3rd in the future.

Once on the trail we found it to be lovely! It was relatively shady until we ran up against 169. There it’s quite loud and sunny. And all just slightly uphill which makes you feel crazy – like you’re going way too slow on flat ground.

Where the trail turns to gravel we made our critical mistake. We should’ve take the right fork uphill (be aware steep and very loose gravel) to the Green River Trail, but the sign was behind a pole and the path looked too steep to conquer so we continued straight. Our mistake added about 7 miles, including a less than pleasant bit of highway riding. Had we not missed the turn we could’ve gotten all the way to Fred Meyer on the Green River Trail.

Once at Fred Meyer we walked around in a daze shopping. We had been on the road about 9 hours. Food acquired and lights mounted we forged ahead the last 8 miles. Traffic moves fast but the shoulders are wide and not too debris filled on the main road. Once you turn off onto Kanaskat-Retreat you lose much of the shoulder to collapsed gullies but most drivers passed in the oncoming lane (albeit at high speeds).

Arriving to camp in the pitch darkness was confusing as signage inside the park is lacking. We rode in circles, our sense of direction shot in the inky blackness. Eventually we found our way to the campground and got to our yurt around 10:15.

After a 12 hour day we unloaded and devoured a rotisserie chicken in the darkness on the floor. The next morning the camp host fixed our power issue so we drank coffee on the porch and meandered through the woods.

The Burley trailer had issues with one wheel coming loose and we decided that it just wasn’t safe to ride back with. Jen called for back up and her husband and kids made the drive out (about an hour and a half compared to our 12 hour debacle) to pick up the trailer and extra gear. They also brought a floor pump which was great because it turns out my rear tire was running at only 30 psi! Talk about living #thesupplelife!

The next morning we packed up and headed out around 8:15. Baby H rode in a box mounted Yepp Maxi seat and we constructed an impromptu sun shade with my new Therm-a-rest Z Lite. The ride back made me truly appreciate the grade we had been riding on Thursday. No wonder I felt like we had been doing so much work! We had been doing SO MUCH WORK!

Four our return we followed the western side of the Lake Washington Loop. I was worried about the Rainier portion – but it was okay. It was the Seward Park Ave S portion that was a miserable disaster. People driving large SUVs passing with only inches to spare at high speeds on a marked bike route. The road was narrow with large parked vehicles taking up much of the driving lane. We ended up on the sidewalk and then taking a hilly semi-detour to avoid as much of it as we could.

After a daisy chain break at Seward Park we headed out on Lake Washington Blvd. It’s a signed bike route and posted signs say BIKES HAVE RIGHT OF WAY and yet the speed limit is inexplicably 30 mph. Some people passed with enough clearance but they still drove far too fast for the curvy road conditions. Instead of the arboretum we followed the signed loop route back to the U District.

I don’t think I’d do this again – at least not with baby. Maybe with a group of adults assuming that we were all kid free and brought a back up tent just in case we had to make an unplanned stealth campsite. But it was fun! And it taught me things about myself, plus things to do differently next time. Like bring a paper map because google is not for bikes. And bring good lights. And learn to fix a flat. And water. All the water. And coordinate who is bringing a light stove and coffee supplies so you don’t end up with a heavy stove and two coffee set ups.

Here’s the route I’d recommend for the most pleasant journey: http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=597418

The best laid plans

Never work out.

With weather yesterday in the 70s and sunny I was dreaming of the beach! I was hoping to go to Olympic Sculpture Park and was able to rope in a friend to join!

Except that the baby didn’t want to go for a bike ride. He started out grumpy and his mood didn’t improve. I think it was a combination of sun, an overly floppy hastily attached sunshade, wind from not having the cover on, and DST waking us up later so we had less morning play to get our wiggles out.

Even though it was only in the 50s when we left home I didn’t want to bake the baby as the day heated up so we took off the cover for the bakfiets. I’d never ridden without the cover and it was so nice! It somehow felt easier to get places, although maybe it was just the nice weather.

A few months ago I ripped the sun shade from our stroller and it was under warranty so they sent us a new one. It has Velcro on the sides where it wraps around the stroller frame so we stuck the Velcro to the car seat. Then we tucked the back part of the sun shade down against the box to keep it from blowing away. I added a thin muslin blanket to provide additional coverage. But it was too loose! The shade ended up being too floppy and baby H was not a fan. But also he didn’t like the sun in his face. No winning kiddo.

So after many silly songs and no signs of cheering up we stopped for a quick on board nursing session. So much easier without the cover attached! While he nursed I watched some sparrows flit around in the trees and practiced my squats. I’m 100% people thought I was doing some sort of crazy dance but the baby was happy.

After about 10 minutes we were off again! But still unhappy. We made it about 5 more minutes of riding before a total meltdown. So out of the bike and onto the grass! At a very non scenic spot. But H was happy to throw his ball and wave his arms. Plus he discovered a new sound of the day: BEEP BEEP! Everyday he likes one new weird sound. But the next day that same sound is boring to him. Babies.

At this point I didn’t think we could make it to the park so texted my friend to see if they were down to meet up at the locks. They were! We hung out for about 20 minutes before starting out again. This time we were relatively happy (with a few roadside dandelion stops of course).

And I made it up Emerson! I had to walk up in the pouring rain 6 weeks ago so I was extremely proud! Go me! I decided to try out a new route to the locks. I rode up Gilman in the new protected lanes until the end then followed the signs for the locks. It took us down a relatively steep trail, across a narrow wooden bridge, and then down another steep but short street. And boom! Arrived! It was much nicer than riding on Market or even on 21st.

At the locks we picnicked for a bit and then Jen tested out my bakfiets with her nanny baby! He loved it! Or maybe just the new toys in the car seat. But then I remembered it’s a crazy expensive fine for riding in the locks so we put an end to that.

I’ve been biking around with a folding chair for 3 months and finally got to test it out while nursing! It worked great! Totally worth the extra 3 pounds or so.

I reversed our route for the way home, walking up the steep street. Of course as soon as we got to the bridge we had a massive diaper blow out! So out of the bike, onto the ground, changed him in a pile of pine needles. And then back on, and up the hill to Gilman.

He ended up sleeping the whole way home! It was fabulous! I stopped a few times to adjust the little blanket but he stayed asleep until I unlocked the door.

Overall a fun day!

Oh! Join me for full moon rides! Next one is 3/31. Ride from the Wall of Death at 9!

A Day at Discovery Park

Not too long ago I didn’t think it was possible to ride to Discovery Park. When I was 37 weeks pregnant I accepted the (self-imposed) challenge & rode over. And then down to the beach. And on the way back up (mostly walking) I thought to myself: if I can make it up this hill, I can totally give birth. I was pretty sure I’d give birth on that hill, I was having so many contractions!

On the way home I noticed new markings indicating a change in the bike lane. And while recovering from birthing H they did it! They made a protected bike lane from the end of the Ship Canal Trail to Magnolia Town Center (about 4 blocks away).

We had ridden over last month for a family picnic and hike and it was glorious (minus those last 4 blocks – WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME SEATTLE?!)!

So we were back! And I was determined to find a way up to the bluffs where there’s a big sandy patch perfect for exploring. We made it with only minimal breaking of the no riding on trails rules and I think I figured out how to go next time to avoid that issue. I’ll post the route once I confirm.

The day was clear and the Olympics were out! We spent about 40 minutes shoveling sand into our mouth before I packed us up and headed for the playground.

The playground squirrels are bold! One climbed into the bike trailer while we were on the swings.

The protected lanes worked well except when we had to turn from Gilman onto Emerson. I signaled our turn too adamantly & ended up biking into the soft bollard in the middle of the lane, where my toe got caught underneath it! I thought I was going to have to take off my shoe! After several awkward minutes of jiggling my foot I was free! And we made our way home without further incident.

Yay for safe infrastructure!

Pregnant Body; Pregnant Brain

My body is quite pregnant. But my brain is quite determined to forget that.

Like yesterday when I convinced myself that I could bike 4 miles in 25 minutes & would be FINE. This would be my non-pregnant biking speed. But my brain had committed my body & so here we were. Lost. Angry. In the pouring, windy rain, riding in circles around & around & around. Five minutes late became 35 minutes late & I devolved into a hopeless mess as I failed to find my location. I thought I was losing my mind.

In the end I found my destination (no thanks to googlemaps) by cutting through a hole in a fence. I was only 500 feet away from it the whole time, a classic can’t get there from here scenario. I biked through a panic attack, during which I beat myself up for being utterly lost & helpless, unable to complete the simple task of navigation. I resisted the urge to puke while choking back my tears.

My pregnant body decided hemorrhoids would be a nice gift to my un-listening brain. My round ligament protested my frantic pedaling & repeated carrying of my very heavy bike over very tall curbs.

Today my whole body hurts. Maybe my brain will start listening. But this is doubtful. My brain just reserved a camp site for bike camping over Memorial Day weekend. My body doesn’t know yet. I wonder what fun punishment she’ll spring upon me after that trip.

Errandonnee 2017

It’s that time of year again! Time for #errandonnee! If you’re not familiar with the social media phenomenon, it’s a friendly way to encourage people to ride around town & get stuff done. It’s hosted by Mary over at Chasing Mailboxes.

I’ve participated for the past 3 years but I’ve never actually completed a score card (much like #coffeeneuring). Mostly because I’m lazy and also because I’m not a fan of patches (GASP). I like stickers more. Less work. More sticky. But I love running errands on my bike so here’s my informal participation:

Tuesday

#1: Personal Care – lil nug wanted McDonald’s so lil nug got some McDonald’s. Unfortunately there’s no bike rack but I locked up to the fencing around the drive through. At only 1 block off the BGT I will totally be back as more cravings arise.


#2: Store – next I headed over to University Village to pick up some stuff for around the house. I found a sale on storage bins to help organize our cloffice (office/closet). I also found a cute air plant at Ravenna Gardens to put in a sculpture that I made. Next it was time to go to the Amazon bookstore (because they have the nicest bathrooms) to look around. I popped over to PaperSource to get some cards & envelopes and then got a GIANT ice cream cone at Molly Moons. It had been spitting out so I found some covered bike parking at QFC while I picked up some more strawberries. I also stopped by GAP & found a good deal on these super cute baby leggings (I have a problem, I know).


#3: Store – back to University Village! I only bought flat cards – not flat cards & envelopes at PaperSource & the sale was ending that day so I quickly headed back out on my bike to make the switch.


Wednesday

#4: Personal Business – I took Bikey over to G & O to talk about changing up the handlebar situation. We’re going to add a stem riser to make the bike even more upright and give a bit more clearance for the baby carrier.

Grass is just a toupee for mud puddles

#5: Personal Care – on the way home from G & O I had a nap attack. The kind where you feel like you MUST LAY DOWN & SLEEP or you will die. It was hard to make it home. Lil nug kicked me anytime we stopped for a red light or when he determined that I was pedaling too slowly. All I wanted was to sleep. But then we passed Xi’an Noodles & I had a sudden craving for their cumin beef “burger” & I knew that I had to stop & grab one to go. So I locked up to the patio rack of the place next door & managed to snooze a bit while waiting in line. Win!


I thought about riding to my midwife’s appointment later in the afternoon but decided that I was far too tired & we took the bus instead.

Fake Baby

What happens when you dress up a bag of citric acid and some clay in a onesie & bike around with it?


You get weird looks. Horrified looks. Stares. Maybe even some screams.

We received a hand-me-down carseat from a friend  & wanted to test out ways to fit it on the bike. It turns out that a standard car seat is the PERFECT size for the Yuba Bread Basket!


In order to test the steering & handling we decided to test it out with 10 lbs of weight. The basket is rated for 50 lbs & I frequently load it up with heavy cargo. Total weight of the carseat & fake baby: 20 lbs.

It worked! It doesn’t affect the steering, although it will mean slightly wider turns due to the handlebar clearance. If you have it set not quite so upright this probably won’t be an issue. It also doesn’t affect my vision! The basket makes it so I can’t see my front wheel anyways, so I didn’t find the height of the seat to be an issue.

Before adding real baby to the seat we’re planning to add in a layer of foam to the bottom of the basket. We also ordered a buckle strap to run under the seatbelt holder (if you weren’t using the base) for additional security.


But yay! Frame mounted baskets for the win!

Slow, slower, slowest

I went for a brunch jaunt up to Ballard with Madi yesterday for biscuits. We ate at Morsel & I thought they were totally worth the hype! Not necessarily worth the line that’s always outside of their U District location, but a weekday visit was well timed.


We met up at the Wall of Death on a beautiful sunny, albeit slightly chilly morning. We rode the BGT until the end & then took Shilshole for half a block to turn up 17th. They should really extend the trail the extra 200 yards to connect to 17th while we wait for them to finish planning the trail extension.

We found a boat outside Mighty’O! A brand new parklet with seating & plants that’s so new it hasn’t even been debuted yet! Obviously the perfect photo op.


My current pace is ~9 mph on flats. Anything much more than 10 I start to get heartburn. I ended up using the first level of my assist to keep up. It seems early to feel so slow, but I’m trying to listen to my body & do what it wants.

When we got to Morsel I thought I forgot my keys (except I really didn’t, thanks pregnancy brain!) so we ended up locking together. Thank goodness for Madi’s Abus folding bike lock because Bikey can be a pain to lock to since she’s so large & has the GIANT front basket. The outdoor seating was lovely, especially since it’s a pretty small place with only a few small tables.

Madi had a hair appointment so I headed back to campus for a meeting of my own. I had 30 minutes so took my sweet time. It wasn’t until I got to Stone Way & checked my phone that I realized I only had 5 minutes before my meeting! At that point I used the assist to help me speed things up & ended up being only 5 minutes late.

Later in the day I rode Creme to campus to meet up with Lynn & then headed to the dentist for some tooth pain. My ride home was slowwww and I walked half a block uphill but overall I’m happy that my body is still moving forward at a relatively steady pace.