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Ride into the sun, the back way

January 17, 2009

Someone forgot to take these signs down (Orin O'Neill photos)

I forget where I saw it, but it jumped off the page in any case: GOLDEN GARDENS DRIVE REOPENS.

The back way to Golden Gardens Park had been closed since December, 2007 due to a mudslide. It’s been a very popular segment of group scooter rides, because of its twistiness and views of Puget Sound through the trees.

This is big news! I need to check it out. I need to go for a ride, too.

It’s been foggy and near freezing all week, and while there were promises of sunshine later in the day, the pattern continued. Thermal underwear and the GTS’ windscreen and legshield equaled surprising comfort in the morning. And wouldn’t you know, the sun actually did come out.

Since it was on my way, I decided to swing by the Pike Place Market and say hi to our friend Chuck. “Serving up fresh prints at the Pike Place Market since 1978,” he says. I had never seen his stall at the Market, and thanks to Facebook I knew he’d be working there today.

Chuck Pefley

I only stayed a short time, not wanting to keep Chuck from the business of making money. The crawl out of Pike Place was slow enough (and the temperature warm enough) for the radiator cooling fans to come on. It’s always good to know they work.

There was leftover sand on the margins of 15th, but I have to give credit where it’s due—the city cleaned up California Avenue last night, just when they said they would.

Taking 32nd Avenue NW to 85th, the barricades were indeed gone. As you could see, the signs above were still posted. Drivers on the road weren’t paying attention, anyway. I continued down the hill, and what should appear around the hairpin than this:

The new pavement

There wasn’t a safe place to stop and take a picture, but trust me, if you look down the hill you can see a whole bunch of broken trees. There was a poor soul driving either a Subaru or a Honda (depends on who you ask) who was right in the middle of the part of the roadway that slid down the hill.

It would’ve been nice if the time and resources were available to replace the rest of the pavement, which is still heaved, potholed and broken. But there wasn’t, so you still need to be careful on the rest of the street. At least now there’s more than one way to reach the sunsets, which seems to be the number one reason people go to Golden Gardens.

The GTS was really, really dirty. Not just from all the sand in West Seattle, but also from a failed attempt to ride to Forks earlier in the week (I’ll try it again when there’s more daylight and less fog. Wanna come? Lemme know…). Brown Bear Car Wash in Fremont was on the way home. They dispense gold dollar coins from their change machines. Reason enough to stop, right?

Of course, lots and lots of other folks had the same idea.

Brown Bear Car Wash

The guy ahead of me kept running to the coin box to feed it more quarters. Well, his VW Touareg (“the Volkswagen that costs $55,000”) does have about 10 times the GTS’ surface area.

The GTS needs to go on the concrete next to the Foaming Brush. I tried to get the girl in the Toyota Matrix to drive into the stall with me, so I could hand off any extra time to her (and maybe clear the logjam in the driveway), but she wasn’t interested. And the meter hit “:00” just as I got the last of the suds off the GTS.

West Seattle in the distance

Air is the best medium for drying your vehicle off, so I wiped the seat off with a towel and headed for home. Westlake to Broad Street seemed easiest. The light turned red at 2nd Avenue, West Seattle off in the hazy distance. Favicon

One Comment
  1. January 17, 2009 11:41 pm

    Orin, thanks for your visit and links. Glad to hear the road at Golden Gardens is open again. Enjoy the sunshine.


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