Tekoa - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

May 13, 2020

Tekoa

Yesterday’s

After we completed yesterday’s post, Rachael went back through her video footage (actually, footage must be an anachronism.  Byteage?) and decided we should take a better look at the delightful Chatcolet Lake Bridge. And, as long as we’re looking at yesterdays, it gives me an excuse to slip in this wonderful Stan Getz version of one of my favorite standards that Frank passed my way.

So, we’ve got a lot of video today - four of them!  But that’s OK.  You’re probably all sitting around indoors trying to figure out how to fill up your day anyway.

Video sound track: One More Bridge to Cross, by The Supremes & The Four Tops

Today’s

The day begins with the resolution of a minor difference of opinion Rocky and I have been tossing back and forth for the last month: should we finally remove our Obama/Biden bumper sticker?  Rachael makes a good case that it’s unnecessarily provocative in country like this, and fears harassment, flattened tires, or broken windows.  I counter this with a more idealistic wish to stand up for what I believe in and not be pushed around by the forces of darkness in this horrible time.  Resist!

Yesterday’s news about the insane harassment of people wearing masks was the final straw.  Rachael wins.  Off comes the Obama/Biden sticker, revealing the Obama sticker from his first campaign, before he’d selected his running mate.  Off comes the Obama sticker, revealing the John Kerry sticker from his failed 2004 run that I’d forgotten had been there.  That’s the bottom layer though, since we got Old Paint in 2001.

We briefly discuss whether to let John remain.  It’s so long ago that people have probably forgotten about him; and he’s arguably less controversial since he has a less threatening pigmentation.  But then, he goes too.  Definitely though we’ll be back soon though, with Biden/Harris or Biden/Klobuchar or Biden/Warren or Biden/Whitmer or even Biden/pet rock.  We don’t care who it is - we’re all in.

This shouldn’t be too provocative, should it? Out of an abundance of caution though, we remove it as well.
Heart 7 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanWow, John Kerry! Seems like ancient history.
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1 week ago

Fine, but can we finally get to the ride?

OK.  Today we’re biking southwest to Tekoa (T-koh), back in Washington and the Palouse.  We have a gallery of candidate rides to choose from, but given today’s west winds this looks best.  We’ll fight them on the way to Tekoa and get blown home.  Always better that way.

The ride begins with the seven mile stub of the CDA between here and Plummer.  After leaving the lakeside, it’s a steady 3% climb through pine forest all the way up to Plummer.  It’s an attractive, modestly dramatic ride that gradually climbs above Plummer Creek, passing beside basalt outcrops.  Very pleasant, until the creek rises to cross the trail and we cross a small marshy patch and spot a large brown animal casually splashing around pulling up plants.   Moose!  OMG!

On the CDA, on the gradual seven mile climb to Plummer. We’re just biking through the forest surrounded by tree blockers so we don’t really expect to see anything dramatic. Very quiet and pretty though.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Steve Miller/GrampiesWe did this section with two 6 year olds in weehoos. It was a hard slog even though the grade is so shallow. At one point we traded kids with stronger tougher grandson helping power Dodie and more delicate granddaughter riding with Steve. Good times!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThat’s pretty impressive! It’s not a bad climb, but I wouldn’t want to haul a kid and trailer up that.
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2 weeks ago
The CdA gradually rises above Plummer Creek as we pull away from the lake.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Oh, hello! What have we here? We’re not really in the Palouse over here, so I guess this is just a moose, not a moess.
Heart 5 Comment 6
Suzanne GibsonMoest be a mooes!
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2 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauThis is the worst pun yet. I can accept many pronunciations of LOESS (In Iowa we called our loess hills "less hills") but anything rhyming with MOOSE is totally unacceptable.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauWhy thank you very much! That might be the nicest thing you’ve said to me.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyFirst a Palouse Appaloosa
Then a CDA moose-a!
What will be next?
Idaho ibex?
Or a sighting of Señor Macho Bruce-a?
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI read this to Rachael and asked her to guess who the author was. She nailed it, first try! You have a unique style.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyI'm going for Most Ridiculous Limerick Award!
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1 week ago
Our moose is perhaps 100 yards off, and not too concerned by our presence. We watch for a few minutes and it looks up at us periodically before slipping back into the trees.
Heart 4 Comment 0

So that’s fabulous, of course.  Now I can get over my resentment at Rachael for seeing a moose on the bike path yesterday.

The trail ends in Plummer, and we turn south on US 95 for two or three miles, still climbing.  It’s just highway, not really interesting, but with a wide shoulder it’s a comfortable ride.  Ten miles into the ride we leave the highway for quiet Lowell Valley Road, and immediately start dropping.  Soon we’re back in the familiar Palouse landscape, gradually dropping for the next eleven miles until we arrive at Tekoa.  We’re biking into a fair headwind the whole way, but it’s well offset by the descent.

After ten miles we reach the high point of the day, leave US 95, and drop west toward Tekoa on Lovell Valley Road. Ahead is Tekoa Mountain, the highest point in the Palouse.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Ron SuchanekVideo soundtrack suggestion: One Tekoa Over the Line.
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6 days ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekOh, Sweet Jesus. That’s brilliant. We’ll have to go back.
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6 days ago
Dropping into Lovell Valley, we quickly loess the forest and are back in the prairie again.
Heart 3 Comment 3
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonYou’ve outdone yourself, Suzanne. I think Mr Garceau spoke too soon. THIS is surely the worst pun yet.
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonYou made my day!
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2 weeks ago
For the next ten miles we gradually descend along Little Hangman Creek, all the way to its end in Tekoa. If you’re puzzled by the name, ‘little’ apparently refers to the size of the Creek, not of the hangman. The Creek merges in with the larger Hangman Creek in Tekoa.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Tekoa Mountain (elev. 4,007) stands a few hundred feet higher than nearby Steptoe Butte.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyWhenever I see that middle shade of green, I imagine little leprechauns prancing about, doing cartwheels and other leprechaun-y things.
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2 weeks ago
In Lovell Valley.
Heart 2 Comment 0
For the last few miles we’ve seen this row of grain towers coming, thinking they were the outskirts of Tekoa. They’re not though - Tekoa is still two miles off. These are the towers of Stateline Processors, and they stand on just this side of the Idaho border. Why here? For lower business taxes or something like that, I assume.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Pretty funny. It looks like the state line splits the westernmost tower.
Heart 4 Comment 0

Tekoa is quite an attractive place, with a warm community feeling about it.  We stop long enough for a decent first look, a snack, and a stop in their surprisingly well stocked store to pick up some groceries to take home - a loaf of bread, coffee, artificial sweetener for Rachael’s coffee - and for immediate consumption, a small piece of carrot cake.

Tekoa began life as a railroad town, at the junction of three rail lines.  The town largely dried up with the coming of the roads of course, but it still supports a stable population, a respectable sized school, and even a regional performing arts center.  In the window of the Empire Theater a poster of Mildred Bailey, a renowned jazz singer from the 1930’s.  Known as the Queen of Swing, she performed alongside Paul Whiteman, the Dorsey Brothers and Benny Goodman, and was married to Red Norvo.  She was born here in Tekoa, and her mother was a member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe.  She must be one of the most noteworthy of our Native American artists.

I’m sure we’ll get another look at Tekoa before we leave here.  Like Colfax, it’s one of those towns with attractive rides radiating out in several directions.

OK. Now we’re in Tekoa. I like the soft green tint of this tower. Unusual.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Interesting. Stateline Processors have their headquarters here in Tekoa, but their storage facilities are just across the border in Idaho.
Heart 1 Comment 0
In Tekoa.
Heart 3 Comment 0
In Tekoa. I like this one for its realism. The three birds - a red tailed hawk, a magpie, and a nighthawk - are all native to here and well portrayed.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Tekoa. The Empire Theater operated as a movie house from 1940 to 1958. It was restored and reopened in 2000 and now functions as a regional arts center. In the window is a poster of Mildred Bailey.
Heart 4 Comment 0
In Tekoa.
Heart 1 Comment 0
In Tekoa. I don’t know why there’s a sign about the high school above the doorway, but I don’t think this elegant building is it.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Tekoa honors it’s graduating class by posting banners of its students on poles along Main Street. In a small town, everyone knows your name.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Tekoa. I wonder if that pane is ever broken and they have to repaint its replacement to complete the logo.
Heart 1 Comment 0

The ride back is a breeze, literally.  We’re blown back east across the apron of the prairie, climb back to US 95, and then coast all the way home.  The final seven miles gliding down CdA back to the lake are a particular delight - alone in the woods, effortlessly coasting along at 17 mph.  Join us in reliving it, through Rocky’s video.

Back in Idaho, leaving the prairie behind.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Climbing back toward US 95.
Heart 1 Comment 0
In Plummer, Coeur d’Alene Warriors and Veterans Memorial stands near the CDA trailhead. There are inscriptions for the tribal members who died in various American conflicts, including the Battle of Steptoe.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The Battle of Steptoe (also known as the Battle of Pine Creek, and the Steptoe Disaster) was one of the few Native American victories in the conflicts between them and the settlers. We’ll probably have more to say about it later when we pass the battlefield (now a historical state park) in Rosalia.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Remembering the Coeur d’Alene warriors who died at Steptoe.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Video sound track: Happy, by Brandi Carlile

Back at the cabin, we’re amused by this squirrel on the neighbor’s stairs. No idea what it’s struggling with - looks like a giant pink marshmallow.
Heart 1 Comment 3
Jen GrumbyNow there's an idea for a children's book .. about the day that Simon the Squirrel got a giant marshmallow stuck in his teeth. After hours of trial, Scott the Cyclist finally helped him dislodge it with his handy GBO.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyCould have done, but wasn’t sure of the risks involved. If you can get the plague from tigers, why not from squirrels. Oh, of course! I’ll bet that’s his mask.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyOh, now that's a catchy title .. Simon the Squirrel and his Marshmallow Mask!
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1 week ago

Ride stats today: 43 miles, 1,800’

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 6
Susan CarpenterI really enjoyed the jazz clips (and the videos, as usual). I'm a huge Stan Getz fan but I'd not heard his version of Yesterday - I even rechecked all my Getz CDs to make sure I hadn't overlooked it. And much thanks for the introduction to Mildred Bailey - great stuff!
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2 weeks ago
Kathleen JonesScott and Rocky, I'm really enjoying your posts, especially the photos and videos. They're great vicarious escapes during this time when a lot of us are stuck at home. Not enjoying dog bites and other travails but the Palouse especially has captured my imagination. Thanks.
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2 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauBiden-Klobuchar! Better yet, Klobuchar-Biden! Either way, keep those bumper stickers in defiance of the recent "Obama-gate" bullshit. (Sorry for that outburst)
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Susan CarpenterThanks, Susan. I’ve never heard this album either, maybe because it came so late in Getz’ career. It’s from Voyage, one of his last albums. It came out in 1986, long after I quit collecting albums.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen JonesThanks for the feedback, Kathleen. A part of me still feels torn about this, getting out when so many of us are confined now. I’m glad you’re finding enjoyment in them.
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2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanI agree with Kathleen, it's a great journal (except for the photos of squirrels) and good for anyone who is stuck at home, which is basically all the rest of us! You shouldn't feel guilty about being out there freely riding about just because the rest of us can't figure out how to do it.
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1 week ago