Thursday, June 26, 2014

100 Mile Walk: Day Five

[This post is part of a series detailing Cale and my plans for each leg of  our 100 mile walk to Great Wolf. Our goal is to establish a safe route that follows sidewalks and trails as much as possible, and provides good places to stop, refuel, and refresh along the way. We actively solicit your suggestions if you know the area we will be walking through.]

Start: Holiday Inn Express
End: Hampton Inn & Suites DuPont
Total distance: 9.5 miles or 12.4 miles, depending

Today is intentionally a short as the crow flies because I expect it to be filled with obstacles. We have to get from one side of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord to the other, and the base is closed. Unfortunately, the base is also huge, so it is not feasible to go around it. The Visitor Center, where we would need to go to get a permit for access, is only accessible by car from I-5. I am hoping to figure out a way to get permission to walk through the base without having to go there, but am not sure how to go about doing this. If you have ideas, please share!

The route itself will be straight forward enough, assuming we can actually get onto the base:

If we can't find a way through, I-5 passes through the base. Worst case, we will take a cab from one hotel to the other. But it would be very sad to not be able to do the whole walk on foot!

Breakfast: Complementary hotel breakfast
Lunch: Pack and eat en route
Possible stopping point: Lakewold Gardens
Dinner: Subway

Update: Looks like we will not be able to get access to the base, but can walk along the Dupont-Steilacoom Road. The Google Maps car was able to drive it just fine, so I can see what the path looks like. The road seems busy, there are no sidewalks, and it takes us a number of miles out of our way, but at least it is a way for us to make it to the other side of the base on foot. Cale and I will need to pack a lot of food and walk carefully. The only mystery that remains is whether we will be able to take Northgate Road SW to East Drive, or if we have to go several additional miles out of our way.

The Initial Steps

Start: Holiday Inn Express
End: Pacific Pizza Co
Distance: 3.2 miles
Time: 1:30 (9:30am to 11:00am)

The initial steps are common to all routes:
  • Pacific Highway for a mile
  • Right on Gravelly Lake Drive SW
  • Left onto Veterans Drive SW
We'll start with breakfast at the hotel. There's a 76 station along the Pacific Highway where we should fill up on snacks and water, since we won't have anywhere to stop the whole day. Gravelly Lake Road takes us by Lakewold Gardens, which will be a nice place to stop if we want a break. If we stay on Veterans Drive when it goes left, it will take us to the Pacific Pizza Co, where we can stop to have lunch. Opens at 11am.

From the pizza restaurant, there are two different ways we could proceed across the base: The short and easy option that may be closed, and the long option that definitely will work. There's nowhere to stop regardless of route until we get to our hotel, so we will need to pack plenty of snacks and water.

The Short Option

Start: Pacific Pizza Co
End: Dupont-Steilacoom Road and East Drive
Distance: 2.6 miles
Time: 1 hour (12:00pm to 1:00pm)

If we can, we will take Vernon Avenue north for a half block and turn left on Kenwood Drive SW. We'll follow Kenwood to Nottingham Road SW and turn right. We'll then turn left onto Northgate Road, which becomes Huggins Meyer Road, follow the road for a mile and a half, and turn right onto East Drive. East Drive will hit Dupont-Steilacoom Road in less than half a mile.

The Long Option

Start: Pacific Pizza Co
End: Dupont-Steilacoom Road and East Drive
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 2 hours (12:00pm to 2:00pm)

If we get turned away from Northgage, we will backtrack to Edgewood Avenue SW, turn left, and walk up to Washington Boulevard SW. At the T intersection, turn left. The road will curve to the right and become Military Road. We'll take Miliary Road for a mile and a half. At Farrel Street there are a number of small turns to get to Union Avenue, which becomes Dupont-Steilacoom Road:
  • Left onto Farrel Street
  • Right onto Stevens Street
  • Left onto Beech Avenue
  • Right onto Chambers Street
  • Left onto Sequalish Street
  • Left onto Union Street

The Last Leg

Start: Dupont-Steilacoom Road and East Drive
Distance: 3.7 miles
Time: 2 hours

Once we make it onto Dupont-Steilacoom Road, we just follow the road until we get to our hotel.

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