Spokane connection

Shortly day 3 in Spokane will go to bed. I am experiencing my past as I go to familiar places and people, driving old roads, finding places from memory. Think about when you returned to a place where you spent years then left under good vibes. I lived here for 18 years.

So, yesterday’s plan was for a ride in MT Spokane State Park seeking the elusive huckleberries and a few items from my list, then head over to my former neighbors for greetings and sleep.

I picked up a new batch of 500 business cards from the printer who remembered me on site. Didn’t catch him. My first batch lasted a year, the 2nd one lasted 2 years.

Next stop was the DOL to renew my driver’s license. A driver is only able to renew on line once in 10 years and I used that up last time. Today was brick and mortar and butt on a seat waiting my turn. Sometimes my internet response was as slow as I was processed. I now have a new picture.

Up to the park. Day pass $10 or $40 the season. I checked out the off the shoulder parking a ways downhill from park entrance. I talked myself into driving into the park and paying the $10 to park where I used to park for free. I rode up the pavement until the trail all but kissed the highway then dropped down onto trail 110 for a long uphill haul. I rode over 3 h2o  diversion projects I helped on 4 years ago. 2 were working like champs, something happened to 1 spring fed stream. I found berries b4 the last left hand switchback. I was holding out for the patch I like up @ the junction w/ Kit Carson rd. I share this location now because I saw people picking w/ me and heard several people mention it. I still picked there for 40 mins. Got enough for several batches of pancakes. I made a berry bag from a heavy duty rice bag and threaded some cord to make a loop to hang around my neck. Works pretty well leaving both hands to pick. I take my glasses and helmet off to hang the bag around my neck. I rode off and ran into another unpicked berry patch w/ dark purple ripe huckleberries. I stopped and made the transition from riding to picking. This happened several other times during the ride as I found patches I deemed worthy to stop and pick.

My riding was not fast, I kept at it. Dusty from lack of rain. Technically I rode way good. Again, the seat dropper, 25 psi tubeless tires, PUSH tuned suspension, and of course the Turner 5 Spot itself. I have put together a sweet ride from the great stuff. Long day. Nice not having time pressure, I enjoyed myself.

from summit of Beauty mtn looking NW

Interesting stuff on the ground. Pieces of bark show the galleries that the larva create. Each beetle has its own signature eating format. I do not know this beetle or plural.


Stopped @ Yokes grocery store for dinner fixings then drove behind the store to fix it and do internet stuff. My side door opened up to full view of MT Spokane.

OK I did have time pressure as Jennifer, my former neighbor goes to bed @ 8 PM to prepare for 4:00 AM wake up. I caught her & hubby Bill b4 she went to bed then watched the Mariners and sipped a beer. They lost, the bottle was empty, and eyelids grew heavy. I slept in their driveway.

Today I picked up my new warranty replacement shoes. Rain threatened. Some sprinkles fell. Drove to Bicycle Butler where I used to hang. Pleasant chat w/ owner Tim.

Decided to ride Riverside SP, second largest state park after MT Spokane. I could park outside the park to avoid the $10 admission. I rode here for years. I had a mental ride map: head north and ride Sharp Stick in the Eye then down rive and loop back to the van. Sharp Stick is the nastiest and longest, steepest vertical in the park. Lots of fractured basalt that moves w/ the correct amount of tire pressure. Be on or you are off. As I got closer to the van the skies started darkening. At the van a light sprinkle started. I put the cover over the bikes. Thunder clapped and rain fell, heavily. The rain is sure needed. The Spokane river @ 9 mile dam is way down thru flow management. I bought a 6 pack of beer for shower negotiation @ BB.

Over Spokane river looking @ basalt pillars left from "Great Flood"

Sweat washed off I headed to REI to buy a stronger anti-theft device for my bikes. While there I saw this tall guy who looked familiar. I said Hi then asked him if he was Cory Violette who played for the Zags several years ago. Yes he was. He just retired from 7 year basketball career in Europe. We chatted. He played in front of thousands, I am probably in thousands of bathrooms. I bought a killer Ulock.

Next was dinner @ The Elk in Browns Addition where a guy tried to steal my bike off my van as I slept. The Elk was a weekly favorite. Walked in to see Kyle who  used to work there. We were buds.

I stopped @ a Yokes on Argonne and bought a small container to Haagen Daaz butter pecan ice cream. Over the course of creating this I ate the entire thing. Urp.

Off to Bill’s for the night.


Kettle Crest, Jungle Hill, and Spokane

So many activities & socialization, then no internet access makes for catching up.

Last Fri I drove to Republic, WA on the east side of the Kettle Crest. Republic is a played out resource extraction community just south of our neighbors to the north, frostbacks they call them. I discovered that the bumpy roads dislodged the nut on the quick release that holds my front wheel on the bike rack. The wheel stayed w/ the van because of the cable lock. I toured NAPA where the car guy found appropriate hardware for a fix.

Randy,  the event organizer, established Curlew Lake SP as our camp spot. State parks now require a daily $10 fee. Camp was $22 per night. Nice swimming lake and 50 cent starts the shower. Paul Z and Teresa arrived and tent camped. Carl and Diane showed up in a small trailer. Randy & Lisa arrived Sat in their Eurovan Westy. What was once dirt bag camping sleeping on a picnic table has moved to comfort. The hard sided rigs isolates people that tent camping brought together.

Sat we drove up to Sherman Pass on US 20. Elevation is 5575′, I believe it is the highest all weather pass. Today’s ride started from the snow park @ the pass then headed N on the Kettle crest trail. No dirtbikes allowed. Trail was fun chunky that me and my bike sucked up. Randy and Lisa both ride Turner 5 Spots. They commented on how rough the trail was. Personal preferences.  Trail intersected w/ Jungle Hill trail that drops 2226′ in 3.96 miles that we shared w/ fresh cow reminders. Dusty except for the green splatters. Randy fell and injured his right hand, his fly casting hand. Then we did a 180 and pedaled 4 miles and 1,800′ back to the snowpark. Brutal to finish a ride on an uphill. Hot dripping sweat day.

Beer recovery drink then drove back down to XG. Dropped 3,000′ and the temp raised 15 degrees. I walked over to the swimming beach and slowly adjusted to the h20. I swam a bit. My right healing broken collar bone limited my crawl stroke. I sunned myself dry on the shore. I jumped up to observe an erratically flying airplane. The jump up turned on an excruciating series of cramps in my left quad. Try as I might I couldn’t stretch out the cramps. I literally floundered on the beach for maybe 10 mins in pain. Finally the muscles relaxed. I looked around to see if anybody saw my plight. A guy was maybe 30′ away and never offered help. Oh well. Back @ my van I ate some more electrolytes and a big dollop of Grey Poupon mustard that seemed to quell the cramps.

Back @ camp Randy was rigging the 12 volt blender to make ice cream head ache chopped ice margaritas. When everybody else drinks the same you only know if you had too much was by the headache in the AM. I had a teenie ache.

Sleeping in a campground is not my choice. I like the quiet and primitive conditions of camping on a logging road.

Bob and Julie arrived as we went to bed.

Sunday’s ride was to be the killer. Randy’s injured hand relegated him to shuttle driver. This ride started up the Old Stage road that was WA’s first state highway built back in the horse day. 6.15 miles climbed 2364′ took me 1 1/2 hours. The road still has a road bed but is overgrown down to a single track. It intersected the Kettle Crest trail 5 miles north of Jungle Hill where we were yesterday. But first was the nasty hike a bike up Copper Butte, a 1 .25 mile, 1083′ climb that took 40 mins. Next was 5 miles of up and down, mostly down ride along the crest. Finally there were no  more hills to climb when we arrived @ Jungle Hill. This time down i chased several cows.

riding up Old Stage rd. forest fire damage and lodgepole regrowth
Kettle crest area looking west over big burn

Randy calculated our ride time to finish @ 4:00. We arrived right on time. Randy went to the Republic hospital for exam. XRays revealed a break in his hand and possible other issues that were to diagnosed once he returned to Spokane.

Lisa drove us back over the pass back to the XG to retrieve our rigs. I poached a swim @ shower b4 I drove into republic to check out a new brew pub and a pizza from nenxt door. Sunday, Republic honors the day as a rest day. No beer or pizza. Grocery store munchy food. I drove back over the pass and primitive camped just above the bottom of Jungle Hill. I was out by myself and slept so well.

Today started my Spokane adventure. It’s 100 miles from Sherman Pass to where I used to live. First stop was N Division bike for a scheduled rear hub service. I dropped my bike off and left after a short visit. I visited a Specialized shop to report my warranty issue w/ my shoes. I wore them the first time April 2, rode 87 rides for 1373 miles and they are falling apart. Another size 40 warranty replacement.

Next was my dentist appointment. I am taking care of my teeth. Lunch was a baglewich @ Ultimate Bagel down near Gonzaga. Then next door to Arnies for a chocolate malt. Satiated I headed east to Liberty Lake for my chiro appointment to deal w/ hip pain. I have now seen Dan every year back in Spokane. He previously was w/ a big clinic and was now on his own. Jeff, who is coowner of U District Physical Therapy. opened a new office in Liberty Lake. Jeff worked on my body for several years when i lived here. As I walked to the office I got to thinking that maybe Dan and Jeff were in the same clinic as Jeff introduced me to Dan’s treatment. And it was so. Great match w/ a skeletal and soft tissue care givers together. Great to see Jeff. I enjoyed my visit.

Temp was in upper 80s. I called Les and asked for space in his driveway for the night. Granted. We worked together when we were all Boeing. We have known each other since 1990.

You need to understand that I lived in Spokane for 18 years, many people I will visit with during my stay I have known for that long. This used to be my home.

Tomorrow I will ride MT Spokane seeking huckleberries that 2 separate sources said were plentiful. I learned that the winter lingered longer delaying the creation of the berries. At Sherman berries were plentiful but shriveled from lack of rain. I hope to find berries as it has been 2 years w/o Sunday scratch made huckleberry pancakes.

Off to bed. Les and wife Gloria leave b4 5:00AM.

My rebuilt Monarch shock is @ former neighbor Bill’s that I will pick up and install b4 my berry ride tomorrow.


East of the Columbia

The river that keeps the wet side slugs from spreading eastward. Also, dead dry but enough rain falls for dry land wheat farming. I am camped on a primitive non maintained road off US2. The road is more like a track between fields which have been plowed . The equipment churned up the dirt to talc. I stirred up quite a dust storm. I pulled off the “road” onto a harvested wheat field. Here’s to hopes that the farmer will be someplace else to allow me to drive the dust storm out to the hard road.

Spent last night @ Sand Hill where I previously stayed while riding Mission creek area. 15 degree temp difference from hot Cashmere to the camp spot. Wasn’t there long b4 2 guys pulled & camped over by the creek. It turned out to be the same 2 guys from Spokane that I met last time I was here. We chatted over a beer.

Warm night again. August 24, fall should be settling in. I have heard only about the heavy snowfall and late spring, some places the snow will not melt out b4 this year’s snow. Mad Lake basin above Fish Lake is still seasonally closed because of wetness.

I rode from Sand Creek TH up Red Hill and down to short section of Devil’s gulch then returning on Red Devil. I did this ride 2 weeks ago. Shorter ride but still 2,000′ some feet of climbing. All by myself. Temp in upper 70s. Dirt bikes have really tamed the trails removing any tech features replacing them with the whoops they create. It sucks.

Last night I dug out the Coleman hot h2o on demand device and ran a test of functions. It still pumps heated h2o from a bucket of cold creek h2o. I used it to shower after my ride.

Drove back to Das Rad. Patrick used compressed air to blow off my Ouray grips as I am giving the Ergon grips a go on these wide bars.

Filled the propane tank that was on last gasps as it took 5.4 gals, 5.8 is max. Don’t think the same attendant filled it full 2 weeks previously. Refrig temp varies from below 30 to above 40. Not impressed w/ even the added exhaust fan. Will do research on battery powered compressor frigs.

Spokane friends plan now is to meet tomorrow night @ Curlew Lake SP then drive back over Sherman Pass for our ride. Previously selected camp ground is inaccessible over a wash out.

This camp spot is just out in the middle. These rolling plains were populated by small farming communities back in the horse farming days when productivity was low, the same acreage was farmed by many families. The advent of the tractor and its continual development to today’s 4 wheel drive articulating 8 wheeled tractors improved productivity which drove many families off the land. Decreasing farmer population shriveled most towns and dried up a few. Wonder what it was like to grow up on a spread say 15 miles from school and miles away from your nearest neighbor. Have strong internet reception here.

Off to bed.