July 17 & 18, 2010 - The Group Health Seattle to Portland bike ride. 204 glorious miles between Seattle and Portland on roads that were both scenic and not so scenic. Well okay - maybe some of the miles were not so glorious. They were for the most part the back highways and biways that typically only locals frequent.
The ride is split, for those who chose to take their time, into two days - 99.2 miles the first day and 104.8 the second day. It is possible to complete the ride in one day - but I can only see one benefit from that - being done. I am not sure I could have gone more than the 99 miles that first day. Heck, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it another mile after the first 99. The official half-way stopping point was in the town of Centralia, WA and more specifically - Centralia College. We opted for the tent accommodations (= free) and a shower ($5). I slept like a baby.
Backing up a bit - the weather for the first day was overcast and cool (54 degrees, if I remember correctly). It wasn't until 1 p.m. in the afternoon were we able to strip down from our windbreaker layer and enjoy some sun rays. The route takes us through the back roads of Seattle along the shore of Lake Washington near Seward Park into Renton (distribution center area) and further into Auburn. I have to say that after the initial 20 miles, I kind of forgot about the scenery and became more focused on the people and the biking.
Michelle, Shawn & Greg gearing up to go!
Michelle striking a pose at the first free food rest stop sponsored by REI. This was the first stop of many that we were able to practice patience. The lines for the restrooms were LONG!
Lunch! We found a spot away from the crowds. Looking back on it it seems like we were the only ones around. Hah!
Michelle & Shawn gearing up. We practiced the two/three bike kick stand quite a bit.
Michelle & Shelly
Don't forget your sunscreen! It finally warmed up enough to take off out jackets.
Shawn, Shelly & Greg
One of my favorite spots on the ride - a twelve mile (ish) bike trail that got us out of the traffic and we were able to enjoy the comfort of being on our bikes. Aahhhhh.
Michelle & Shawn
NW Adventure Chics!
Greg says 'Let's Go!'
What do you mean you are out of all you can eat spaghetti? Bummer.
Saddle up! Day two.Just another line for the restroom.This is where I was saying "if I don't go any farther, I would have still accomplished something...120 miles is the farthest I have rode in two days" - and it kept going up one mile at a time.
The front and back of a three seater bike.
Yo Shawn. Leave the yoga moves to Michelle.
Hands down the best part of the ride. This bridge is located in Kelso, WA and spans the Cowlitz River. When I came to work for General Construction Co. in 1999, I was assigned to this project. I helped see this bridge get built. I won't bore you with the details - but I can say that it was a sight for a sore butt!
The line-up of bikers waiting to be escorted across the Lewis & Clark Bridge that spans the Columbia River and separates Washington State with the State of Oregon.