Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheshiahud Loop

The boundaries of my new microcosm have been mainly determined by the lack of time during daylight, not by the lack of transportation means. I would happily pedal for 50 miles if there was time. The days are short and frankly, there have been more important things to take care of than going for long explorations.
However if you looked at Lake Union on the map, you would find that its shores host a nice concentration of interesting places. Sure, it is partly by design, since the lake shores are an attractive place for residents, businesses and tourists. The Cheshiahud trail loop has been designed to give walkers and bicyclists access to some of the area attractions. Stealing one afternoon of the 4-day weekend allowed me to ride this loop and stop at a few interesting places. So what follows below is probably an n-th online description of the same sights. I still had fun and enjoyed the weather, fresh air and the ride.
Let’s go for a photo tour:
My (and seems tons of others’) favorite place so far: Ballard ship locks. The lake water gets churned under the steel gates, it smells and feels powerful. Walking your bike over the locks is actually OK, let’s you enjoy the views.

The Burke-Gilman trail on the other (north) side goes both left and right. Let’s depart from the map recommended loop and go left – west then north. The trail ends at the Golden Gardens beach, but just before that, next to a marina is a tribute to the many Pacific Northwest immigrants from Norway and Scandinavia: a 30 ft tall statue of Leifur Ericson.

 If your ancestors came from that corner of the world and you pay 125 bucks, you can have your name added to stone pillars surrounding the Norse explorer. But as a Scandinavian, I’m sure you’d rather have one of these boats.

 Turning around and going back towards Ballard means you will have to leave the trail for a few blocks of busy streets but just before you do, say hello to this stylish Salish fisherman.

Leaving the trail for Ballard streets, I thought it would be a good idea to check one of the bike shops in the area. The Dutch Bike Co. is a great place, that kind of shop I would want to have myself one day. City bikes (Linus mostly, some Civia) that look more like an art than transportation, combined with good coffee. I got my squealing front rotor fixed here for $5.

Reconnecting with the trail again at the end of NW 45th street and continuing clockwise around Lake Union takes you to Fremont. Besides Google buildings on the canal shore, there are a few interesting artifacts to look for a few blocks away. This is supposed to be a Cold War era missile but to me it looked like a cheap imitation (we Czechs know the SS-20s).

 But this guy was genuine:

 As much as we hated the presence of V.I. Lenin on every town square when I grew up in Czechoslovakia, seeing the old Vladimir Iliych here made me feel almost homely. The Slovakian city of Poprad had expelled him, but here he has found a new home. Good for him.

 Besides harmless Lenin, there is the Troll, he looks dangerous, squeezing a VW beetle, but the kids did not care.

The next stop was the Gas Works Park, with nice views of downtown. I have been here once before and taken lots of pictures so this time I just rode through.

The east, south and west Lake Union shores are interesting in many ways as well, but here my patience for stopping and taking pictures expired, it was getting late and cold and I still had lots of editing to do at home. I may cover these areas in more detail some other time.

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