Bikes, Beers, and a Baby!
Martina, from Swift Industries, and I organized a group overnight to Tolt MacDonald Park & Campground on a weekend in late June. The forecast was not looking like the weather was going to cooperate, but we decided “the trip must go on!” -- and gladly many of our new friends agreed.
We started our morning off by meeting in front of Husky Stadium in Seattle, with eleven folks plus one (almost) one-year-old.
The start at Husky Stadium.
Some of the faces were those of good friends; the others are now new friends. We headed north along the Burke-Gilman Trail at a friendly, chatting pace. A couple of hours later we were leaving Bothell Landing and the Burke for the Sammamish River Trail, headed toward Marymoor Park.
As we approached Marymoor the clouds began to look quite foreboding. Luckily, I had strategically scheduled our lunch stop at Redhook Brewery -- just in time for us to find outdoor seating in a thunderstorm. The staff brought us umbrellas, because this wasn’t our typical Pacific Northwest rain. It was really coming down. Most of our party ran for the cover of the entryway after a few minutes. Several of us, plus the baby, perservered and managed to refill our empty pitchers with rain water.
A Pacific Northwest rain "shower."
After eating, we cycled on into Marymoor Park in Redmond. Heading into a light rain we left the bike and pedestrian path behind and got onto Redmond-Fall City Road, a medium-trafficked road that is very scenic as it heads into the fertile Snoqualmie Valley. It gets a little narrow in spots but is otherwise great for cycling. We were not on it for long before we found ourselves climbing for a mile up Tolt Hill Road. As we topped out on Tolt Hill the sunshine showed us the way into Tolt-MacDonald Park.
The rest of the evening was sunny and relaxing, and quiet -- I guess the rainy forecast kept many people from coming out to camp. Tolt-MacDonald Park is located right at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers and, according to the King County website, was used as a permanent wintering village for members of the Snoqualmie Tribe.
The Snoqualmie River and town of Carnation.
The next day, our morning started with a little bit of rain, but fortunately most of us were still in our tents. We had a late roll-out from Tolt and headed south on Snoqualmie River Road. Quiet and scenic! It’s the only route by which to leave if you're heading south. Eventually, we met back up with Remond-Fall City Road, following it to Fall City. There we turned onto Preston-Fall City Road, and quickly found another bike/pedestrian path going into Preston.
Not my first choice, but all we had left (beverage-wise, at least).
Leaving Preston, we found a nice, newly paved road heading toward Issaquah (there's also a new bike/walking path, which is totally rideable if you're comfortable on packed gravel). This road (or pathway) takes you to a highway-side parking lot and an old dirt railroad grade that leads right into Issaquah. It is not a bad ride; although there may be some puddles, it generally doesn’t get muddy.
It wouldn't be complete without some dirt or gravel.
From Issaquah there are several ways back toward Seattle, but I won’t bore you with the details of suburban riding. Basically, we wiggled our way through Issaquah to Newport Way, which parallels I-90 but is far enough away and low enough in traffic to make it my preferred route to get onto the I-90 trail. The I-90 trail took us to our point of divergence, where we went our respective ways. And so it was: Swift Industries’ and Emerald City Bicycle Studio’s first group bike overnight. Stay tuned for more!
Tip for this adventure: Redhook Brewery is on the way out and the Issaquah Brew Pub is on the way back. The Road House restaurant in Fall City has great local food and a good tap list. Tolt-MacDonald Park has access to some excellent mountain biking.
Favorite local bike shop: Montlake Bicycle Shop in Seattle.