Blue skies!

Nothin’ but blue skies do I see. I had a scare last night. I couldn’t find the card case that contains pretty much everything important except my passport and vaccine card. I tried to convince myself that I could look tomorrow (today, or yesterday to you) and nothing bad would happen overnight. I could tell no one had used the credit card. Sleep was difficult and one of my dreams included finding it. As I packed up in the morning I found it under my sleeping pad. Glad it didn’t disturb my sleep;)

The wind whipped the tents all night, which also didn’t help sleeping. At dawn it was calm and dry so packing up was a breeze.

I took an unplanned detour at mile 3 for some bonus miles so ended up with 109 miles today. Another 100 plus on the agenda tomorrow.

Today had a 7.3 mile climb early, then we settled into a high and dry plateau at 2500 feet. The sky was blue, the traffic was light, the shoulder was wide, well-paved, and clean and my smile was as wide as that shoulder.

On the climb, I slowly worked my way through other riders and found myself alone. In the distance behind me I saw a man in black and he was getting closer. “Inconceivable!”, I cried. A bit later I looked again and he was getting closer still. “Inconceivable! I said again. As he came up on my shoulder and I said it again, I answered “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” He slowed to chat for a few minutes, then disappeared up the road.

At mile 25 we stopped at an espresso stand in the middle of nowhere – an international crew including a Bosnian, two Australians, and two Americans. There would be a picture if I had Wi-fi. At mile 40 I stopped to aid another rider whose rear derailleur wasn’t working. There was nothing I could do to help so I rode on – he had a friend with him and was calling the mechanic. Seconds later, I could no longer shift into my two smallest cogs, which continued for the next 70 miles. At mile 45 I was greeted by a brisk tailwind and flew effortlessly at 25 mph for 10 miles. The wind varied between tail and crosswind for the rest of the day.

At mile 82, the cue sheet said “Begin 10 mile climb”. I was going to post a photo of that, thinking that was all you needed to know about today. Without Wi-fi access, there will be no photos or links today. You’ll have to sing “Blue Skies” yourself and rely on your memory for the scene from “Princess Bride”.

The ride ended with a screaming downhill to the Grand Coulee Dam. I stopped for ice cream – 2 scoops because I needed the calories and to celebrate the solstice. (Death by Chocolate and Espresso Explosion.) Tomorrow we will have to climb that hill. The first 3 miles (at a 10% grade) will come before breakfast; then another 101 miles to Spokane. See the 2018 Spokane post.

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.