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Comin’ for to carry me home

July 29, 2007
The PX at McDonald's

This was breakfast at Mickey D's on Samish Way in Bellingham (Orin O'Neill photo)

It was early, the sunshine of Friday giving way to possible drizzle today, at least north of Everett. I’d decided to make an early rally of it, and head for home on my own.

Going south on Chuckanut Drive, the view’s even better, and you don’t have to worry about a protruding rock catching your helmet if you lean too far. And at this hour, traffic is really light.

I’m past the hill and in the valley, enjoying the view and smelling the manure, because this is dairy farm country. Then I see an overpass, and fast-moving traffic underneath. Oh. That’s I-5. I missed the turnoff to Edison. Oh, right… that busy intersection was SR 20. Edison is quite a ways north of there.

So I’m in Burlington. Okay, no biggie, I can continue south. I’ll end up in Mt. Vernon at some point, I’ll just have to look at the strip malls and big-box stores.

I’m in Mt. Vernon, making my second loop of downtown. I know I don’t want to go across the bridge, so this time I’ll follow the main drag, because in towns Mt. Vernon’s size, those main drags used to be main highways.

There’s a fork in the road, but I spot a sign that says “Conway” and points right. In Conway I’ll be able to pick up Pioneer Highway and approximate part of the route up.

The road runs parallel to I-5. If I had Safety Ed’s GT, I’d be sorely tempted to hit the SuperSlab and see just how bad the aero wakes from the semis are, but it’s nice to toodle along and watch the traffic go by.

In Conway, following a pit stop and a bottle of Dasani, I’m southbound on Pioneer Highway. It’s still cloudy, but the fields of (I’m guessing) alfalfa are sooo green. The traffic has picked up, too. Convenient 4-way stops mean I don’t hold anybody up for long, but at first they don’t seem to understand I’m trying to help when I pull to the side at the stop sign and wave them through.

I’m loving the view, but then I spot a sign that says 530 East. Huh? Another sign says Arlington’s three miles away. Crap. I needed to turn on Marine Drive.

In Arlington, I can sweep onto SR 9. Unfortunately, SR 9 has a 55-mph speed limit, which means people actually drive 70 or so. Again, if I were on a GT, no biggie, but on a bike that goes how fast? kinda nerve-racking.

Marysville isn’t too far, and I stumble on a nice little turnout in a section that’s under construction, enabling me to let several more than the statutory requirement of five vehicles pass.

Southbound on 9, you’ll see a sign that points to Marysville, but it’s not SR 528, which is further south. But it’ll do. Just go down the hill, past the football field where today there’s a classic car show (a badly-customized ’72 AMC Javelin is now a classic, huh?) to whatever the north-south main drag is. Go south, and you’ll hit 528, and from there it’s only a few blocks to SR 529, which will cross the slough and get you onto Broadway in Everett. Yes, it’s interesting how just about any town with more than a couple thousand inhabitants has a street called Broadway, isn’t it?

It being well before lunchtime, I decide to keep going on Broadway, instead of crossing downtown Everett to Rucker, which becomes Evergreen Way and, eventually, SR 99. Do make sure you bear right going up the hill south of the baseball park, or you’ll find yourself on I-5.

Past the cemetery, past the tacky new townhouses and the shabby old single-family places, you go left. You can either head for Everett Mall, or off into the wilds of Snohomish County. I’ll take the mall.

I’m glad I did. There’s an ocean of smooth new pavement. Favicon


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