Sunday, July 15, 2018

Cycling the Palouse

Well, a long time has passed since my last Cycling the Palouse entry.  The absence has not been due to lack of cycling.  Spring and early summer have offered many fine opportunities for outdoor cycling and the bike has seen much activity.

With the "official" beginning of the Pacific Northwest summer beginning on July 4, improved weather and rising temperatures go hand-in-hand with increased mileage on the bike.  This July is no exception.    
Path along the lake
Besides the daily post-work ride, one of the more scenic routes was undertaken last week.  That route is a 32 mile out and back along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes including the crossing of Lake Coeur d'Alene on a converted railway bridge.
Approaching marina with trestle bridge in distance
The route begins at the Plummer trail head with a seven mile 3% grade down to Lake Coeur d'Alene.  After reaching the marina and trestle bridge, the route continues for nine miles to reach the town of Harrison.  The scenic views of the lake are interrupted by several deep railroad cuts along the lake.  The old railroad cuts are scenic too!  After a stop and bit of refreshment, the route is retraced nine miles back to the Marina and then a seven mile climb out of the canyon and back to the trail head.  On a warm and sunny day, this is an exhilarating ride.  Since Nancy does not enjoy the seven mile, constantly grinding, 3% grade coming up out of the canyon, we stop at the marina.  Her bike is placed on the car rack as she prepares to drive to the trail head to pick me up after my climb out of the canyon.  My goal is to time-trial my way back up the seven miles to the trail head before Nancy reaches the same destination in the car.  This time, we both reached the trail head simultaneously.  She did stop to buy a cold drink for me on the way so I tip my cap to her, this time.    
Enjoy the scenery!
Up and over the trestle bridge


Railroad cut #1
Railroad cut #2
Houseboats at mooring
Railroad cut #3

Harrison Marina and turn-around point
Trestle bridge in the distance
Being a bike dedicated trail, one can relax while cycling without fear of interaction with a vehicle.  The same cannot be said for my regular routes out on the open roads.  Close Encounters with a vehicle are not uncommon.  Many of those encounters could be subject of a good rant but I suppose, no harm no foul, right?   Luckily many years have passed since my last physical brush with a motor vehicle.  Still, a cyclist must remain ever vigilant.   

24 comments:

  1. Great pics. I think I remember these rodas from your winter cycles.
    If you're looking for winter training, would recommend a smart turbo trainer and the 'zwift' package on pc. Really improves fitness.

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    1. This route is scenic, indeed! One of my favorites. Besides the seven mile ascent at the end, the trail hugs the lake so relatively flat terrain to Harrison, Idaho.

      As for turbo trainers, I got one last Christmas. Definitely not a smart one, though...

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  2. Great ride, Mason and I did it back on the 1st. We need to actually link up and do this ride some time. Maybe once we drop back down into the 80s? It is a little exposed right now.

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    1. Roundtrip from Plummer trailhead to Harrison is really an enjoyable 32 miles. We ought to coordinate our schedules so that we can get in at least one ride before the snow flies.

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  3. Great scenery and on a bike trail allows one to relax and enjoy.

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    1. Correct on both counts, Peter! Dogging traffic and making it home uninjured provide their own sense of challenge and enjoyment too.

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  4. Beautiful cycling country, I am back into it now and getting out while the weather in the uk stays good 😀

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    1. Beautiful country, for sure. I never tire of cycling the Palouse.

      Glad to see you back on the bike and racking up the miles. I saw one of your recent posts mentioning just such activity. Help keep us older fellas in shape.

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  5. Nice spot for cycling Jonathan. Give me mountain bike riding on single tracks over road riding with motor vehicles any day!

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    1. Cycling in traffic requires a certain amount of courage and a lot of defensive riding.

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  6. Enjoy your cycling as we enjoy your photos!

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  7. What a fantastic bike ride! I can see why you enjoyed yourselves! I bought one of those new e-bikes and while not a serious rider like yourself it does get me out and enjoying the countryside where I live and some exercise as well.

    Christopher

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    1. It was a very pleasant day out. Never tried an e bike but a kid in the neighborhood has one that had piqued my curiosity. Had a fellow pass me on an urban climb last week. His speed startled me! Glad to see you are enjoying your new bike, Christopher!

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  8. I was wondering when we'd see a cycling post. Now I can officially say we've entered a new season! I recall my drive through the region years ago--on I-90 from Couer d' Alene ID through Spokane--on the way to Western Washington. My impressions of the region are entirely bourne out by your ride reports: just stunning.

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    1. You have a good memory, Ed!

      I have been cycling plenty but don't often do a cycling post for fear of driving away any onlookers!

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  9. Lovely sights with wonderful weather, Jonathan. It's been pretty sunny here on the western side of the state too.

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    1. It is getting hot on this side of the state. Highs regularly low to mid 90's.

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