Willapa Hills Trail is the former Northern Pacific spur line from Chehalis Washington to South Bend Washington. The right-of-way has been acquired by Washington State Parks, and now serves as a biking and hiking trail.
Chehalis River along the Willapa Hills Trail east of Pe Ell
I’m happy to say that the photo above is not a stock photo, but my picture of yesterday morning! We are enjoying a Washington trip to see friends, family, and to enjoy the Willapa Hills Trail for the first time. It was my intent to ride the trail from Chehalis to Raymond (my hometown). A bit of 65-year-old realism caught up with me. That realism has been expressed in “pre-arthritic” knees! So it has become a ride from Chehalis to Pe Ell along the trail.
My daughter Erin came up from Portland to join me on the first leg of the ride. We rode from Logan Street in Centralia to Rainbow Falls State Park. I chose to ride from Centralia rather than starting in Chehalis at the trailhead, because Logan Street was the home place of my Grandpa and Grandma Henkel. Erin and I rode the paved streets of Centralia and Chehalis about 6 miles to the trailhead. Then we rode the trail from Chehalis to Rainbow Falls. The trail was a joy. To see this area, away from the traffic (modest though it may be on highway 6), and at a slow pace, is an experience I’ll always remember, and I’m so grateful that Erin chose to accompany me!
The required selfie as we started out on the trail
The trail from Chehalis to Rainbow Falls is about 15 miles, a distance I often cover at home on morning rides. But those rides are on paved trails and start at mile zero, not at mile six. The first five miles of the trail are paved, and the rest of the trail to Rainbow Falls is gravel. My sixty-five year old knees learned that its not the miles but the total pedal rotations that count to determine endurance. But we had a marvelous time!
Erin kickin’ it up on a railroad bridge east of Adna
After Erin returned to Portland, the next day I returned to the trail and rode to Pe Ell, where my wife, Terri, met me. The knees told me I’d rode enough. My mind tells me I had a wonderful time, despite riding half as far as I had intended. Perhaps next spring there will be another adventure.
I would like to thank the good motorists of Roy, for a pleasant morning. I rode the Denver and Rio Grand rail trail from Clinton to West Haven through Roy at the morning rush. At each of the half-dozen road crossings in Roy, motorists readily stopped to allow me to cross safely! I appreciate your good driving manners and safety attitude.
Perhaps you could train the drivers on 300 N in Clearfield at the Burton Street crossing. They could use some of your good nature.
Week 2 passed without a ride — the weekend was filled with Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Week 3 nearly passed without a ride, but I got home from Oregon in time for a ride. Today I rode 13 miles at a good pace. I could feel the old body starting to work again.
I declared I’ll ride 100 miles on my 60th birthday. I’ve got just 217 days to prepare!
Yesterday I rode 30 miles – a bit much – on the Denver & Rio Grande Rail Trail. The ride was from Clinton to Farmington and back. I rode more than I should have, because I was curious whether the trail had finally been extend to connect with the Legacy Parkway Trail. Indeed it has! I’m very fortunate to have such a trail just a half mile from the house. That makes about 30 miles of connected trail (and 60 miles round trip). I should get to the sixty mile ride before the snow flies!
1) I’ve come to the certain knowledge that in just a few weeks I’ll reach the age of 59.5! No big deal except that it is an age canonized in IRS regs — somehow related to IRA and 401k distributions. I don’t need to get into that because my accounts amounted to little a few months ago and even less today!
2) Perhaps more auspicious is the signal event of 60.0 in a few short months.
3) A number of years ago, I read a health article which suggested that the decade of the 50’s was the last chance for people to “get in shape!” At least statistically, folks who are not in shape on their 60th birthday, are more prone to health declines in their 60’s and 70’s. I took that to heart. I took off 60 pounds. I rode the bike. Even rode 100 miles in the Salt Lake Century. That year, I rode the bike more than 3000 miles. But I haven’t been so kind to my body these past 3 years. 30 pounds are back and I’ve ridden less than 300 miles all year.
I proclaim that on April 1, 2012 — the 60th anniversary of my birth — I will ride the bicycle 100 miles.
Just kidding! The weather’s been poor, and I’m out of shape. But today was the Salt Lake Century ride. I chose to honor the event by getting on the bike and riding. 32 miles was plenty for the out-of-shape old guy.
I decided that for 2010, the nearby Antelope Island ride was too good to ignore. I bought an annual state park pass and an Antelope Island causeway pass so that I could do the ride as often as I please without being peeved about the $3 fee. Since I paid $85 on the deal, I guess I’ll need to ride 85/3 = 29 times. at 32 miles per trip thats 29*32 = 928 miles. That will help the old guy to feel younger.
100’s of gulls
15 bison — who were about as energetic as a rock (thank you bison)
12 Canadian geese
It was a beautiful afternoon. Is it the last spurt of Summer? At 85 degrees, I think maybe so. I don’t ride out to Antelope Island often, just because it burns me that the State Park wants $3 for a bicycle and rider. Oh well, I still wanted to go. This is today’s ride, and a shot on the island taken with my phone.
The numbers from the ride:
29 miles round trip
1 horsefly bite. Those creatures are vicious! While riding at 15 mph, they’d pace me looking for an opportunity.
9 antelope! Grazing at the north end of the island
Last week I rode my first 20 mile ride of the season. Foolishly, this week I asked my friend Troy if he’d like to go on 20 mile ride with me. I’m beat. Not quite the athlete stud I’d like to be! A couple of problems here.
Troy is an athlete stud, even if this was his first ride of the season
I foolishly suggested that we start at his house (250 ft higher than the low point on the route)
I let Troy determine the route, which turned out to be 27 miles, not 20 miles.
Troy set a leisurely pace (for him!), and I foolishly kept up with him for the first 13 miles
I’m carrying an extra 20 pounds THAT NEED TO GO AWAY!
When I got up yesterday, I decided to encourage spring a bit by shaving off my beard. It worked! Yesterday afternoon the sun came out and snow began to melt. It was in the mid-40’s when I got home at 4. I installed the mesh seat that Terri repaired in November. I pumped the tires up to 90 PSI and I got on my bike and went for a ride! I rode like the wind. Well, not quite. The bike wanted to go fast, but my body didn’t. 2.5 miles, and I was well … I was pooped. 3 months of no riding just is not a good training program. But I sure felt alive afterward! Clean air and ice-free roads are coming soon. Let’s ride!