Time to highlight some of the coffeeneuring activity from the other Washington. Becky and Laura, two trail runners and cyclists out of the Seattle area, worked as a team to successfully meet the Coffeeneuring Challenge last year.
Cats, llamas, looky-loo loops, and yes, coffee too. They gave each of their rides titles, like chapters in a book. Lovely!
OUR FIRST COFFEENUERING CHALLENGE
By Becky & Laura
~ RIDE #1 / Castle Perk and the Super Sunny Ride ~
WHERE: Auburn to Pacific to Sumner, WA
DRINKS: Blended Peppermint Mocha (x2)
MILEAGE: 25 miles
ADDRESS: 1008 Zehnder Street, Sumner WA
On a spectacular fall day we headed out for our first ride of our first Coffeeneuring Challenge. The temperature was perfect and the sky was crystal clear – a rare and wonderful thing in Western Washington. We both did long runs the day before so we opted for a flat, low key ride. We left from Auburn and headed south on the Interurban Trail.
We meandered through a residential area in Pacific and then found our way to a relatively new paved bike trail that ran along the White River. We explored the trail from end to end, it was short but scenic, and then decided it was time for our coffee break.
We stopped at Castle Perk, a kitschy little drive-up coffee stand in Sumner. hough surrounded by a moat of pavement, Castle Perk had a bistro table and two chairs that were perfectly placed for us to bask in the sun and enjoy our Blended Peppermint Mochas – so delicious!
Feeling rejuvenated, we explored a bit more of Sumner and found another new bike path. This path allows bikers to avoid that perilous bridge over Hwy 410 and comes out where the White River joins the Puyallup River.
From there we could have hooked up with either the Puyallup River Trail or the Foothills Trail but we decided it was time to declare our first Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride a success and head back to our vehicles. A wonderful start to a new adventure!
~ RIDE #2 / Kelly Latte’s and the Filtered Sunshine Ride ~
WHERE: Auburn to Black Diamond, WA
DRINKS: Nonfat, Extra Hot Mocha and Chai (today called for hot beverages!)
MILEAGE: 30 miles
ADDRESS: 33428 192nd Ave. SE, Auburn, WA
Cool, cloudy with a little sunshine peeking through, a great day for riding! The previous day we experienced a tough 13.1 mile trail run at St. Edwards State Park so this was another low key ride with no expectations for speed. (You think we’d learn!)
We started our ride with a nice wooded climb to the Auburn-Black Diamond road, past Lake Sawyer and meandered through Black Diamond on roads with nice wide shoulders for bikers. We found some new “Open Space Areas” where you can mountain bike, horseback ride, hike or take a leisurely walk in the woods. There were nice parking areas and a great map with a maze of trails that goes for miles.
On the way back we stopped at Kelly Latte’s, a beautiful drive through coffee shop – which is huge, by the way – with amazing landscaping, a water feature, stone island table and chairs, bike rack and lots of goodies to choose from. They even make their own donuts – YUM! This was an excellent place to change the rear flat tire that was acquired right before pulling in.
~ RIDE #3 / Jackie’s Java and the Rustic Ride ~
WHERE: Sahara Creek Campground to Elbe, WA
DRINKS: Nonfat Vanilla Chai (x2)
MILEAGE: 11 miles
ADDRESS: 54124 Mtn Hi-way, Elbe, WA
We spent a partly rainy, partly cloudy, partly sunny weekend camping at the Sahara Creek Campground located just east of Elbe, WA. Being expert planners, we made sure to bring along our bikes and gear so that we could do our third Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride. However, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go for an adventurous trail run the day before so we were content with another easy going ride.
We left the guys in charge of the campsites and the dogs and headed out for a quick trip to Elbe. The road had nice, wide shoulders and the traffic was relatively light. We stopped at Jackie’s Java where we each had a nonfat Vanilla Chai.
While at Jackie’s Java we admired the quaint, white church and enjoyed watching the old steam engine pull into the nearby train depot for the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. We finished our drinks and then had a pleasant ride to the campground where we were welcomed back by happy guys and even happier dogs!
~ Ride #4 / The Short, Sweet and Rainy Ride ~
WHERE: Puyallup, WA
DRINKS: Hot Chocolate with Peppermint (the “Sweet”) (x2) at Watson’s Nursery and Greenhouse
MILEAGE: 7 miles (the “Short”)
ADDRESS: 6211 Pioneer Way East, Puyallup, WA
We started in cool/brisk partial sun but quickly found ourselves in chilly rain (the “Rainy”). We rode a nice, easy 7 mile loop with a convenient stop in the middle at Watson’s Nursery and Greenhouse – a great place to take shelter!
Inside the nursery is a quaint eatery called Anton’s which serves many delicious looking goodies including homemade soup, warm slices of pie and cookies. It was the perfect place to warm up after browsing through the over 80,000 square foot building and grounds and delighting in the seasonal gifts and flowers that are just a few of the unique offerings.
Hot chocolate and a warm slice of apple pie hit the spot while we waited out the downpour overhead. Back on the bikes we cruised on to our cars and made it in before the rain began again. Whew!
While browsing the Nursery we met their resident kitty. He was curled up taking a serious catnap, which we didn’t dare disturb, so we found this picture of him on their website to share with our fellow Coffeeneurs.
~ Ride #5 / The Funky Town Ride to the Way Station Café ~
WHERE: Woodinville to Fremont, WA
DRINKS: Hot Apple Cider (x2)
MILEAGE: 40 miles
ADDRESS: 4001 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA
We started Ride #5 around 9:45 am at the Wilmot Gateley Park in Woodinville, WA. It was about 53 degrees, with overcast skies and rain predicted for the afternoon. We headed northwest on the Sammamish River Trail and then took the Lake Washington Loop on the Burke Gilman Trail.
The trails provided a nice variety of scenery, including wooded areas, business districts, residential areas and water views. We also saw an interesting looking bird that one wise-guy suggested might be a “Snipe” – no, we didn’t fall for that one.
We continued on past the University of Washington to the funky neighborhood of Fremont where we stopped for lunch at the Way Station Café – a great little place with trendy warehouse décor and brightly colored, humorous art. After enjoying delicious toasted sandwiches and hot apple cider, we hopped on our bikes and tried to make it back before the rain.
We didn’t quite make it, but being good Washingtonians we were prepared for this contingency and finished our ride, none the worse for the rain. All in all, it was another great ride!
~ Ride #6 / Alpacas and Bikes and Bears, Oh My! ~
WHERE: Millersylvania State Park (near Maytown, WA) to Tenino, WA
DRINKS: Pumpkin Latte & Peppermint Breve
MILEAGE: 20.25 miles
ADDRESS: 748 6th Ave W, Tenino, WA
Fall was definitely in the air on this ride. In fact, I think we rode a little faster due to the CHILL in the air! We started at Millersylvania State Park, cycling in the fir tree shadows of rural Olympia.
One of the joys of riding in rural areas is that you just never know what you might find. On this trip we found a very unique farm – Alpacas of America, which is home to a herd of approximately 1,600 alpacas.
We ended up in Tenino, Washington, at a little drive-through coffee stand called Black Bear Espresso. We decided to get in the Holiday Spirit and tried the Pumpkin Latte and Candy Cane Breve – Definitely some of the best drinks we’ve had in our “Coffee Venture.”
~ Ride #7 / The Twisty, Turny, Looky-Loo Ride~
WHERE: Fort Steilacoom Park and the historic district of Steilacoom, WA
DRINKS: Mocha Breve and Cappuccino
MILEAGE: 26 miles
ADDRESS: 1617 Lafayette Str, Steilacoom, WA
For our final ride of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, we decided on a destination coffee shop, the Bair Bistro. Originally built in 1895, the Bair Drug & Hardware also became home to the post office and a soda fountain.
Today, the Bair Bistro is a wonderful little restaurant that maintains its historic charm by displaying items from the building’s previous occupants, including many original fixtures, the old postal boxes and the 1908 Bastian Blessing Soda Fountain that is still in use.
As for the ride, we followed a route in a book that was created by someone with a very good sense of humor. In 26 miles we made 34 turns. Many of the turns just led us into, and then right back out of, neighborhoods or other scenic areas so we eventually named those turns the “Looky-Loo Loops.”
It was quite cold, 27 degrees at the 9:30 a.m. start, but it was clear and calm so lots of layers and a brisk pace kept us plenty warm. We were a bit sad to see our first Coffeeneuring Challenge come to a close but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.