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September 8, 2009

Seattle–I-5 Colonnade (Ride 28) and the trip back

Filed under: BC 2009, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 4:43 pm

The ghost town of Shaniko, alongside US-97 in Oregon

The ghost town of Shaniko, alongside US-97 in Oregon

During an impromptu visit last winter, Quiver and I walked through Seattle’s I-5 Colonnade Mountain Biking Skills Park.  The I-5 Colonnade recaptures the space underneath the I-5 viaduct in downtown Seattle for a collection of skinnies, drops, jumps, ladders, and rock drops of all sizes and shapes.  Basically everything is here that you might find on a trail in BC except for the mileage and the vegetation.  We had no bikes at the time, but we wanted to give it a try.

On this trip our route south from Bellingham took us through Seattle on the segment of I-5 that crosses over the Bike Park.  We had to give the Colonnade a shot.

Knobs riding under the freeway at the I-5 Colonnade in Seattle

Knobs riding under the freeway at the I-5 Colonnade in Seattle

That is if we could find parking for the trailers in downtown Seattle.  Knobs exited and managed to find a spot without much effort.  I exited, went the other direction, and took the trailer down the narrowest, steepest, cobbled streets in Seattle and drove about 8 miles in a grid pattern before I found a place I could park.  I knew that Seattle had some super steep and narrow streets, but who would have guessed that Seattle has cobblestones?  I eventually found a forty-foot long parking spot.  The signs limited me to two hours and the spot was on a steep section of road.  But at least it I could leave the trailer there.

After parking and getting Nick set in the tilted trailer, I quickly got dressed, peeled my bike off the roof, and headed over to the Bike Park to meet Knobs.  We played around the Colonnade a bit, riding skinnies, trying some of the drops and ladders.  Knobs heart wasn’t into this one.  He started channeling Ross and finding the experience to be too unnatural for his liking.  I found more to interest me at the Bike Park, though a quick stop on the way south was not a good way to visit this one.  This is a place for long sessions, working up to the big features, or for more frequent shorter visits.  It is also a place to go to before BC, not afterwards.


Stop action videos of Knobs riding the Bike Park:

http://picasaweb.google.com/AnotherHeader/Movies#5378149604167116930

http://picasaweb.google.com/AnotherHeader/Movies#5378149585113624178

The Skills Park is in a confined area

The Skills Park is in a confined area

There is one thing about the Colonnade that does not mimic the North Shore–the soil conditions.  The dirt, where you ride on it, is powdery dry.  The area under the freeway gets no rain.  It is dry year around.  There are hoses to water down the desiccated dirt, but they seem to be losing ground.

When we finished our short session, Knobs and I said a quick goodbye.  I don’t think either one of us had yet adjusted to leaving the pattern of life and riding we had in BC.

Knobs rides the Cyclone

Knobs rides the Cyclone

I returned to the Airstream and found that Nick had slid to the back end of the trailer and was stuck there.  He couldn’t get enough traction to move uphill to the front of the trailer where his pad was.  Nick wasn’t happy with his predicament.  But, like the dog always does, he would promptly forgot about the parking arrangements in exchange for a walk around the neighborhood.

Knobs headed directly south.  I headed over to see my sister and mother in Central Washington and then picked up Quiver in Bend.  From Bend, we took some extra time on scenic US-97 and arrived back home two days later.  This nearly seven-week long trip had some great memories and some unbelievably good riding, but the best part came at the very end when Nick walked down the ramp out of the truck.  He made it back home.  But for Nick there was disappointment.  He thought we were heading back to Whistler.  There are bears in Whistler.

Windmills along US-97, just north of the Columbia River Gorge

Windmills along US-97, just north of the Columbia River Gorge

Pictures from the Colonnade:

http://picasaweb.google.com/AnotherHeader/I5ColonnadeForPicasa#

The best part of the trip:  Nick returns home but is dissapointed that we are not in Whistler

The best part of the trip: Nick returns home but is dissapointed that we are not in Whistler

Pictures from the trip back:

http://picasaweb.google.com/AnotherHeader/US97ForPicasa#

Account of our winter visit with more about the I-5 Colonnade:

http://picasaweb.google.com/AnotherHeader/I5Colonnade02#

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