Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 38--Chapter 4, the Shortest Chapter

We have arrived via pickup truck to the cabin. I probably won't do much posting for this week, unless there is something worthwhile for you all to read about (I know, I'm making the assumption that all my other posts are worthwhile to read). So, just because you may not see a post, don't worry, I'm probably not dead. Regular posts will resume in a weeks time. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Day 38--A For Real Rest Day!

We leave tomorrow for the cabin, so today has been a rest day. So much so, that every time I've sat down, I've ended up falling asleep! 
Okay, not really asleep here, but I'm sure that's what I've looked like. 

We did have to give the dog a bath because she smelled like skunk. Not that she had been sprayed, but she had probably nosed around in the bushes where the skunk had been. Problem was, Annette didn't have enough, or the right ingredients, for any of the methods of deskunking a dog. She had hydrogen peroxide, but not enough. She had vinegar, but not cider vinegar. So, we thought the hydrogen peroxide method might work because Pearl wasn't completely skunked. Well, it didn't. So, Nic went and got more peroxide, and Pearl is now getting her second deskunking. 

I have to say, it has been nice having a day of truly resting. Tomorrow we'll be off to Chapter 4--A Week at the Cabin. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 37--Chapter 3 Goes Out With a Stink

There's a song on my playlist called, "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road". I'll get to that...

I left the lap of luxury (aka Carla's) at about 8:30. I worked my way back to the Centennial Trail.
How nice to build a little tunnel under the railroad trestle!

I let Google do my route finding, and today was good. No dead ends. I even got to go on two additional trails besides the Centennial Trail. One that I've seen before, but never been on was called the Children in f the Sun Trail.
It's a trail amidst all these highway overpasses. 

The other was a short trail that was called something like FSRV Trail. I have no idea what the letters stood for.

Eventually, I knew where I was. I just had to go on Hwy 395 for about a mile or so before turning off to go the final couple of miles to Annette's. I arrived just before noon.
Last bit of gravel to finish Chapter 3.

I took a shower and did all my laundry. Later in the evening, we were coming back from Costco when we saw a skunk walking up the hillside as we were coming up the driveway. They've been having problems with skunks. We continued up to the house and got everything unloaded. Then, as we were sitting in the house (with the windows open), Annette asks if I smell skunk. Why yes, yes I did! Annette got the dog in the house (Pearl smelled faintly of skunk, but had clearly NOT been sprayed), and we closed the windows. Fortunately, in the room I'm sleeping in there was no skunk smell. We think it maybe just walked by the house where the windows were open. 

Of course, the lyrics to the Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road song came to mind. So, here they's by Jimmy C. Newman

Crossing the highway late last night
You shoulda looked left and you shoulda looked right
You didn't see the station wagon car
Skunk got squished and there you are

Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high heaven

Take a whiff on me that ain't no rose
Roll up your windows and hold your nose
You don't have look and you don't have to see
You can feel it in your olfactories 


Well you got your dead cat and you got your dead dog
On a moonlight night you got your dead toad frog
You got your dead rabbit and your dead raccoon
The blood and the guts are going to make you swoon


Whew! It's enough to make you sick!

Total miles today: 28
Average speed: 9.23

Day 36--Goodbye Idaho, Hello Washington, Hello Idaho Again

Last night it was too late for me to write this post, so I'm doing it this morning as I sit in the beautiful kitchen of my friend Carla's house. Yes, that's right, I slept in an actual bed, in a house last night!

After leaving Beauty Creek yesterday, I only had 2.5 miles until the junction with I-90. When I did this part before, I remembered getting on I-90 for a short bit then getting on the Centennial Trail. Well, both Google maps and my Garmin had me cross I-90, and go on Yellowstone Trail Rd. So, I did. Again with climbing! Of course Yellowstone goes up and over!
That's I-90 below as I am climbing up Yellowstone.

It thought it was okay. I had plenty of time as I didn't want to arrive at Carla's until 3:30, and it was only 36 miles. I got to the top of the first hill, and the road turned to gravel. That, too, was okay (although, I realized why the Tour d' Lac did not come this way). I came down, around the end of another lake (can't remember the name), and began climbing again. As I got part way up the next hill, I came to a road called Molsted Ln. This rang a bell, even though Garmin was saying to continue on Yellowstone. I pulled out my phone. Sure enough, Google had me turning on Molsted and going down to pick up the Centennial Trail. Yippee.....except there was that "Dead End" sign...nah, there must be a way through for bikes. Down the gravel road I went...straight to the dead end trail...nothing...*sigh*...once again Google fails me. I apologized to Garmin for shutting him down, and restarted him. 

I returned to Yelłowstone, and continued climbing. As I began to come down, I saw another road (you are questioning my sanity...right?) I looked on the Garmin. This road appeared to go down to the road that the Centennial Trail went alongside. There was no dead end sign. I went down. Sure enough, it came down to the trail. I said a little, "Ah ha, there you are Centennial Trail!" Of course, not 100 feet down the trail, Yellowstone Rd. also came down to the trail. Oh well...

Finally on the trail.

I rode into Couer d'Alene. I was hoping to go by a bakery or a Starbucks, but no. I continued through on the trail (I was too lazy to get off the trail and find one). The trail went by...I think...North Idaho College, then continued out of Couer d'Alene. I finally stopped and ate a Payday bar as I wasn't going by anyplace where I could buy something.

I rode through Post Falls, where the trail is on the roads, and one has to be careful to watch the signs (a guy at a park in CDA had warned me about this section). I didn't miss any, and was soon back on the bike path. 

The trail is not exactly flat. However, there are signs letting you know exactly what percentage grade is coming (only for downhill though).
An example.

I reached the State Line rock. Strangely, there was a helicopter hovering not far from the trail.
There was a line dangling below.
A State Line selfie.
A nice welcome.

I took the opportunity to check in with Google (I had forgiven his earlier transgression) to see where I would be getting off the Centennial Trail to go to Carla's. It was a good thing I did, because I switched to the Liberty Lake Trail not much further. 
I rode this trail to the next road.

Once I was on the road, I thought I would look for a Subway and have some lunch (and kill more time). Of course, I couldn't find one. But, I did find a lovely cafe called Twisp that had delicious crepes. I had a savory one called Tuscan that had chicken, pesto, tomato, artichoke, and balsamic. It was quite tasty. 

I consulted Google again to see that I had just 5 more miles to go. It was about 2:00. Still early, but one can only sit at a restaurant for so long. I continued on my way. What do you suppose I saw not a mile down the road? A Subway...oh well, my lunch was much better than Subway!

I made it to Carla's without any problems. Shortly after, she arrived home. We haven't seen each other for a long time, so we had some catching up to do. Then it was a great shower (you know...the best shower ever!!!) where I washed my hair for the first time in 10 days. 

We decided to go to dinner. But where? Carla said we could go to...Couer d'Alene! So, I went back to Idaho! We went to the CDA Resort (where I had ridden by that morning). We had superb dinners! Carla treated which was way too nice!

Back at the house we said our goodnights. Carla had to be up at the butt-crack of dawn for work. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of us. I guess I'll have to come back again...

Now, I'm off to Annette's in Colbert (28 miles according to...Google).

Total miles: 40.1
Average speed: 8.9

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 35--Reverse Karma Strikes Again!

This morning as I was getting ready to leave, I told Kathy I was done with the major climbs. Ha! I should not have said that! Because, you know what always happens...

I rode the trail down from the campground to return to the Trail of the Couer d'Alenes. It popped me out right at the bridge over the lake.
In the middle of the bridge.
Headed down the little rampy part.

I rode to Harrison on the trail. At Harrison, I wasn't sure if I had to get off the trail there, or if I could continue further. I went to the library (as I had no service on my phone) and used the wifi to Google the directions to Beauty Creek Campground (I could have just stayed on Hwy 97). Yippee! I could stay on the trail...well, for three more miles anyway. So, I returned to the trail. This was a part I had not been on before (the Tour d' Lac always exited at Harrison). Here's what I saw.
Lots of Lilly Pads (the photo doesn't really show the pretty pink flowers).

At East Blue Lake Rd, I got off the trail and went over this old wooden bridge.
I followed E. Blue Lake to E. Thompson Lake Rd. I thought it was just fabulous! Then the road turned to gravel. Of course, that was fine! No problem! Then I turned onto South Asbury Rd. Still gravel, the road began to climb...and climb...and climb some more. It was pretty loose gravel, so I stopped and let more air out of the tires. That was better. It was a really long climb! Okay, maybe it wasn't that long (2 or 3 miles), but, because I wasn't expecting it, it seemed really long.

I finally made to the top.
I thought I'd get to go down at least as much as I went up. Not exactly. The down was short lived, then it flattened out and was a bit rolly. Finally I started the long downhill. It brought me back to 97. Now I knew I had to ride on 97 for awhile. 

The next turn was onto E Burma Rd. I saw the road. I also saw the mountain. Hwy 97 continued around following the lake, nice and flat-like. I bet you can guess which way I went. Yep, I stayed on 97. I knew Burma would be the same as Asbury. It may have been shorter miles, but it took longer.

It was pretty warm, but cooler by the lake than the mountain route. I came upon a gas station that was more a shop and restaurant. I stopped and had a turkey and bacon club sandwich. It was delicious, but when I got back on the bike I felt like a slug. Turns out I was going uphill! At the top it was a 6% downgrade for 2 miles (basically, back to lake level). At the bottom was the turn for Beauty Creek. Staying on 97 seemed to add about 5 miles.

This is what Beauty Creek looks like.
No water, and dare I say, not that much of a beauty.

Total miles today 35.47
Afar age speed: 8.4

Day 34--Another Night Without a Shower...

...Or so I thought.

Remember how I said there was no water at the 4M park? Well, just two miles down the gravel road I came to a faucet that had a sign saying "Potable Water"! They need to update their sign at the entrance! I filled all my bottles.

The road through 4M park was quite winding. And, I was not at the top. I went up, then down, then up again. I thought I would never get out of there! Periodically, the views were pretty awesome.

At this point, I thought I was going all the way down for sure...nope.

Finally, just past milepost 13 (mile 7 for me), I came to King Valley Rd. from there it really was downhill the rest of the way. It was about 5 miles of great downhill. I came back to the pavement on De Smet Rd., which took me back to Hwy 95. I stopped in Tensed for a snack. From there it was still 13 miles to Plummer.

I had to go over a ridge, but I had a great tailwind, so it wasn't bad at all. When I arrived in Plummer, I stopped at a convenience store for some Gatorade. I asked the gal about the Trail of the Couer d'Alenes. She said it was just out of town and to the left. Left??? That's not where it was when I did the Tour d' Lac. I went the way I remembered, but it wasn't looking familiar. I asked another guy. I was told again that it was just out of town and to the left. Okay, maybe I wasn't remembering correctly. I went "just out of town and to the left". There was the trailhead.
I am absolutely positive this was not here in 2009. I think what they did is extend the trail to this area so they could build a nice trailhead. Anyway, I got on the trail. 
This part was not here in 2009. After the first bit, the trail began its 5 mile 3% downgrade. I coasted the entire way to the lake.
Going along Lake Couer d'Alene.

In my memory, I remembered there being the campground along the way. Well, I got almost to the bridge, and still didn't see a "campground". I stopped at the boat ramp and asked this gal where Heyburn State Park was. She said I was in it. Then she said the camping was "just up there". Great! I started to ride up the road, but all I saw were private cabins. I remembered passing the Day Use area when I was on the trail, so I went back there. Yep, that was just the Day Use area. I came out to the road because I figured there would be a sign. There wasn't, but when I continued on the road, I finally came to a sign for Chetcolet Campground. Ahhh...I've seen this before in Idaho State Parks. The whole park is Heyburn State Park, but there are differently named areas. Turns out there are 3 campgrounds here. Two are toward the south end of the lake. So, I finally made it to the campground. I found a spot where I could actually park MC, that also had a flat spot for my tent. This is the tent campground, but not all sites had good tent spots.

I didn't see any showers. I thought I'd go for a swim. I asked the people next to me if the trail went down to a swimming area. They said it did. I told them I hadn't had a shower for 3 days. They said they needed to go to the other campground to get ice, and there were showers there. They offered to give me a ride over there (it was quite a ways away). Woo hoo! A shower for Colleen!!! It was also where the park HQ was, so I was able to pay for my site too.

Afterward, we stopped at Plummer Marsh. We didn't see many birds. I think it was too windy.
The Marsh.

We came back and I set up the rest of my stuff. I went over to talk to Kathy, John, and Allie some more. We ended up playing cards. We played a couple of versions of Golf that I had never played. I'll try to remember them for the cabin.

I cooked my dinner and took it over to their table. It was nice to dine with some other people for a change.

So, that was my day. Pretty great, I think! Oh, and one more thing. Here's the toilet. Yeah you think Vault toilet, right?
Rustic, right?
Surprise! It's a flushie!!!

Total miles today: 43.3
Average speed: 9.24

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 33--A Great Trail, and More Gravel

To, as usual, finish off last night, the family with the 8 kids did come back. Actually, it was great! I met all the kids--Aterick--12, Natalia--10, Lilłian--8, Josiah--7, Tatiana--5, Oliver--4, Scarlett-–2, and Cortez--6 months. Four boys and four girls. I held Cortez for Kristin while they were setting up the trailer. What a cutie he was! Tatiana and Oliver talked my ear off. I pretty much got the low-down on everyone from Tatiana (they call her "Talkiana"). It was great fun! After they got everything set up, they went in search of pizza. When they came back, I was already in my tent. They were very quiet. I really couldn't believe all those kids could be so quiet. Unfortunately, I didn't get to say goodbye this morning as I left at 7:30, and they weren't out yet.

The first thing I had to do was climb the grade to Troy. It certainly wasn't the worst climb I've had to do. Since it's harvest, I decided to count the grain trucks. The full ones were coming toward me, and the empties were coming from behind. I counted 4 full and 3 empty. 
Wheat harvest

I came down the 9% grade into Troy. I pulled over at the park for a mid-morning snack. There I met Tom and Julia. They were out for a day ride from Moscow to Troy on this amazing trail called the Latah Trail. I'm so glad I met them because I would have had no clue this trail went all the way to Moscow (actually, it continues to Pullman--I did know about that one)! Tom also gave me his card. He runs the Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute in Moscow. He said I could camp there if I wanted. He is also a Moscow City Councilman. 
Latah Trail
Tom and Julia (they passed me, of course)

I rode the 11 mile trail into Moscow. Once there, I stopped at Safeway and got a few groceries. I got back on the trail for a bit more, then got off to get on Hwy 95 (again) to head north. Google Maps said I had another 36 miles to get to where I was going to camp. Ahhh...another big mile day...

Hwy 95 was pretty busy, but for the most part, the shoulder was good. There were some spots where the rumble strips went right down the middle of the shoulder leaving me about 5" on each side. Delightful! It was mostly like that when I was climbing up "Moscow Mtn". Fortunately, there was a secondary lane, so when the guardrail was too close to the shoulder, I rode on the other side of the rumble strips.

The road was primarily all in the sun. It was up, it was down--rolling through the wheat fields.
What I just climbed.

I was hot, and just about out of cooler water when I saw a sign for a rest stop 1 mile ahead. Hallelujah!!! I pulled in there and took a good break. I got a bottle of Dr. Pepper from the vending machine and also drank a full bottle of water, and had a snack. I checked Google Maps to see that I still had 11 miles to go to get to Mary Minerva McCroskey Memorial State Park (how's that for a lot of "M"s?). There was some info at the rest stop. Virgil McCroskey donated this large chunk of land to the State of Idaho. At first they didn't want it, but finally the legislature agreed to accept it on the condition McCroskey manage it for 15 more years (he was 71 at the time). This became Idaho's second oldest state park. It was named after Virgil's mother, Mary Minerva.

Anyway, so the rest stop said it was near there. As soon as I got to the top of the next climb, there was the sign for the park. I turned and was immediately climbing again, this time on gravel. After almost a mile, I came to another info sign about the park. This sign mentioned something none of the other signs had done. There is no water. I pondered it for a moment, before deciding I had enough water to get me through tonight and until I get to the next town tomorrow (3 1/2 bottles--a bit more than 72 ozs.). I continued on the gravel. It was another 5 miles to the first camping area. It climbed some more, then leveled off for a bit before climbing again. There were some good views.
Yep, back in the mountains.

I made it to the campsite. It has a vault toilet, a nice covered picnic shelter, and numerous picnic tables. True to its word, no water.
It would be perfect if there water...

There's no one here. A car went by shortly after I got here, but that's it. Tomorrow I will continue on the gravel for another 7 miles or so, then I'll return to 95 at Tensed.

Total miles today: 61.69
Average speed: 7.73