Disaster on the Trail

Trestle on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Last year our anniversary trip had all the makings of a disaster. I had carefully planned, or thought I had, a two day bike ride from North Bend to Seattle. In the weeks prior Laurie and I even took a few long bike rides. She didn’t know at the time that those were really training rides for our anniversary trip.

The morning of the event my parents picked us up at our house and we loaded our bikes in the back of their truck. The four of us met my aunt and uncle at a truck stop cafe in North Bend. Over breakfast I laid out the route for our 60 plus mile ride. My retired truck driver uncle asked, “Are you crazy?” To him bicycles are things to keep out of the front grill of the Peterbilt.

The route for our trip was along mostly well known, gently sloping, bike trails. The exception was the Tolt Pipeline Trail connecting the Snoqualmie Valley and Sammamish River trails.

Now on Google Maps, the Tolt Pipeline trail looked to me like it rose steeply from the Snoqualmie Valley to a high point of 500 feet. But from that elevation it would descend to the Sammamish River Trail where we would cruise easily to our hotel room in Redmond Town Center for an overnight stay. I swear, that’s what I thought.

After saying goodbye to our breakfast companions we started a pleasant ride through farmland, across picturesque rail trestles, and past small towns. Then we arrived at the connection to the Tolt Pipeline Trail. The gravel trail did rise steeply, about 500 feet from the valley floor. We pushed our bikes up most of it. But when we reached the peak we could see that rather than the downhill that I had expected we were faced with a series of hills that resembled a killer roller coaster. We had struggled through only a few humps when my bike broke. Something in the back hub failed so that peddling was very difficult, especially in the loose gravel of the trail. I couldn’t even coast on the downhills, but had to pedal to keep the chain from tangling. Two good things about the situation: One, it was MY bike that broke. Two, Laurie can be very patient.

Day 2 on the Sammamish River Trail

We struggled through the last of the hills and nursed my gimpy two wheeled steed into Redmond Town Center by mid-afternoon. The REI bike repair shop was sympathetic to my plight and fixed my bike that evening.

The following day involved much less drama. We peddled around the north end of Lake Washington where our biggest hazard was a little drizzle and the surly driver on the Metro bus we caught to the train station.

Thanks to patience on my wife’s part and some help from REI, what could have been a disastrous trip turned out to still be a lot of fun.

This year Laurie is in charge of our anniversary trip. I only know that we leave Friday morning and that we’ll be gone three days. If we run into any problems I plan to be patient, extremely patient.


About Dennis

Author of The Last Apostle. Teller of Almost True Stories of Life and former Air Force officer. Write for the love of the story. Sometimes speak for food.
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3 Responses to Disaster on the Trail

  1. amyletinsky says:

    Hope you’ll share what she plans for you two! You guys always do such fun getaways!

  2. Pingback: Everyday is Valentine’s Day? | Dennis Brooke

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