Moose Turd Pie

Riding into Spokane, I’m thinking of one of Spokane’s best (well, two, actually). U. Utah Phillips, “The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest” (1935-2008) spent time here and used to tell stories of Spokane, including the free speech movement of 1909-10 here.

Phillips also had a special relationship with trains, lamenting their disappearance from the landscape with the song, “Daddy, What’s a Train?” He also sang cowboy songs. My friend Cripps had a U. Utah Phillips songbook and I recall sitting around the kitchen table late one night, Cripps playing his autoharp as we sang together “The Goodnight-Loving Trail“. I’m not sure why writing this blog keeps bringing me back to friends who have died, but Cripps has been gone since about 1980.

I really brought up The Golden Voice for his story of working as a Gandy Dancer on the railroad, and how they decided who had to cook each night:

RubyThe other Spokane friend has 4 legs. Cathy, who raises and trains horses (and trains kids and dogs) in Wisconsin, keeps talking about going back to Spokane. Here is her horse, Scarlet Spokana, AKA Ruby.


But enough about Spokane to come, what about the ride that I just finished?

I haven’t ridden a century in 25 years (BC, for the parents among you). Today came with an early climb of >7 miles. The accompanying picture is about ⅔ of the way up. Sorry, Tim, no smile again. Luckily it was about 7:30 AM for that picture, or I’d have looked much worse. The thermometer on my bike read 90 at mile 90. I can’t vouch for the accuracy.7a19d431-8eeb-45de-adeb-646f6088bbc7.jpeg

Like my 12 year old self (see the post “My Origin Story” – I’m too lazy to add the link today), I had some great ideas on the road, none of which I remember. I wrote a hilarious post that no one will read.

This ride had a couple of big climbs and descents, and mile after mile of high plains desolation, beautiful in its own way. Sometimes the road seemed to go on forever. We ended with a long descent to Grand Coulee Dam. To get to Spokane we have to climb back out.

FA8F4E33-6F01-4917-843B-49E406D28D38I won’t show you odometer shots every day; that would be boring – but today calls for it.

Somehow, I see yesterday’s red caboose photo didn’t make the final edit. I’m sitting outside today, away from all other devices, and it seems to be working better. Even the PS apologizing for the technical problems failed to make it to the version (I assume) you see. It was in my last editor’s view but gone when I looked at the post this morning.

So I’ll try to attach that photo again, with another plug for the world’s greatest day care center. You can read all about it in “The Goodbye Window” by Harriet Brown.

Tomorrow, into Idaho for the solstice.

Stevens Pass – over the Cascades

An even earlier start today. Up at 5:15 to pack up soaking wet tents. Breakfast at the same restaurant where we had dinner last night.

We left town and immediately headed towards Stevens Pass. At 5 miles I said to myself, “mountain? That ain’t no mountain!“ At 10 miles I said to myself,

“now that’s a mountain!”At 15 miles I passed an overheated car drawing water from a waterfall to cool it down.That made me feel better. I realized that I’m stronger than a PT Cruiser.

At the summit I was happy to start heading down, even though it was going to be chilly.

Like yesterday, most of the most picturesque spots were in places where there was no way I would get off my bike or even reach for a camera. Most of those pictures will have to stay in my head.

There were a few opportunities to pull off for some sightseeing. I walked over Deception Falls on a vertigo-inducing steel mesh bridge.

  1. I stopped at an interpretive center where there was an old red caboose on display. I took a picture in honor of the world’s greatest Daycare center.

At the end of the descent there was a rest area offering free coffee, ostensibly to keep drivers from falling asleep. Falling asleep wasn’t the issue, but the caffeine was just the fuel I needed to make it to the lunch stop.

After lunch we rode through Leavenworth (not the penitentiary, but a German tourist town.) There was an accordion player in the town square. I stopped to listen to a waltz and a polka. A few miles out of town I got another rest break when I got a flat tire.

After fixing the flat I followed one of our mechanics (who also gets to ride) up Deadman Hill, said to be a favorite of local cyclists. Each evening we get a detailed briefing of the next day’s ride. Our guide neglected to mention that it is actually two hills. He grinned slyly when I pointed that out at the end of the day.

After ~70 miles yesterday and ~80 miles today, we up the ante to >100 miles tomorrow.