Some plumbing issues at the house sent me out on my bicycle to a hardware store in search of washers on Saturday. It was no longer a “plumbing emergency,” however, giving me a chance to explore a little bit on the way home.
I started by heading east on Highway 900, part of the old Sunset Highway, between Renton and Issaquah.
This is part of the first automobile highway over Snoqualmie Pass that was dedicated in 1915. It ran through North Bend and Issaquah and around Lake Washington to Seattle.
Although some of it is covered by Interstate 90, the road still survives in Forest Road 58/Denny Creek Road and Forest Road 58/Tinkham Road west of the pass. And the “Sunset” moniker survives in road names in Renton and Issaquah as well.
View Coalfield and “Gobbler’s Knob” in a larger map
The narrow road corridor widens at the intersection with 164th Avenue. This has the look of an old roadside community with a gas station, some older homes, and a restaurant — Jay Berry’s Cafe. I ventured around some side roads and soon found myself slogging up the steepest road in the area.
Passing a couple of stables and older homes, I paused at the top and started talking to a guy who had come out to get his mail.
He had lived here since the 1950s when he built the home he lives in. He said the community down below is named Coalfield. He said there wasn’t coal mining on this hill, but there was a mine on the opposite side of May Valley over on Cougar Mountain.
The hill we were on — 116th Street SE — didn’t have a name, he said, although the locals used to call it “Gobbler’s Knob.”
He explained that a neighbor used to keep turkeys, but they’d always escape. Before 116th was a through-road to Hazen High School, a tom turkey took the area as his territory and would stand his ground on the road to challenge cars. When a car stopped, he’s flap his wings against the side of the car. He’d also accost people on foot sometimes.
This is such a steep hill, it needs a name to remember it by. I think Gobbler’s Knob is as good as any.
So, I earned 15 miles on my errand to the hardware store on Saturday to pick up some washers and learned a little local lore along the way. A ride to the grocery store on Friday tacked another 4 miles on his month’s tally.
30 Days of Biking
Total days — 27/28
Total miles — 406