The Harrison & Medimont loops - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

May 21, 2020

The Harrison & Medimont loops

Yesterday

Yesterday was rained out.  Wet and windy most of the day, it was one we were content to sit out, reading books and catching up on sleep a bit.  Not much to pass on here, other than a book report: They Came Like Swallows, by William Maxwell.  If you’re not familiar with Maxwell, he was an American writer primarily from the mid-20th century.  He was the fiction editor for the New Yorker for 40 years.  His best known work, So Long, See You Tomorrow, won the National Book Award.

Thirty or forty years ago I was quite taken by his novels, but had more or less forgotten about him until coming across a reference to They Came like Swallows in an article about writing influenced by the Spanish Flu.  Maxwell barely survived the Spanish Flu in his childhood when it ravaged his family, and his childhood experience is the central theme of the novel.  I’d read the the book before, but it was certainly a much different experience reading it in these times.

The Harrison Loop

It’s expected to stay dry today, but cold and windy.  It doesn’t make much sense to invest too much in a ride that we might wish to shorten anyway, so we pick an option that starts from home.  We have two choices I’ve mapped out, other than of course just hopping on the CDA Trail again: a 32 mile ride that includes a loop away from the lake south of Harrison; and a longer extension of this ride, that continues further east to Medimont.

Rachael has really been struggling with allergy symptoms lately, and windy days really exacerbate them and bring her difficulty with breathing.  She likes the idea of a ride that she can start from home and just double back if she’s suffering too much; and in any case, she’s sure she doesn’t want to spring for a 47 mile ride today in any case.  I’m not sure I do either, so we start out together on the shorter of the two rides, not certain how the day will end up.

The ride starts on the CDA, as we cross the bridge and ride the 8 miles north to Harrison.  This is the third time we’ve ridden this stretch, so we don’t have anything new to say about it - except that there’s a strong crosswind as we bike across the bridge this morning, strong enough so that the bridge sings to us as we cycle along.  

I love the Chatcolet Lake Bridge. One of the most enjoyable bridge crossings I know of.
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Does anyone know the history of this bridge? The span was built in 1921, I think as part of the rail line from Silver Valley. I think the trains would have problems with that stair-stepped ramp though. Maybe the truss originally sat at water level at the level of the darker lowest tier of the ramps? Maybe part or the renovation elevated the span and built the ramps.
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Jacquie GaudetIt sure looks like that to me, so I looked for some evidence. Here's a link to a photo from 1991 and you are right. https://www.flickr.com/photos/foamerbill/23058156629

On the other hand, it's not a Pratt truss (with all diagonal members slanting down towards the centre) but it is a through truss.
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1 month ago

At Harrison, we completely double back south on quiet O’Gara Road.  Looking at the map, you have to really zoom in to see that we aren’t completely backtracking here.  For about four miles O‘Gara Road parallels the bike path, barely fifty feet away and thirty feet above it.  Finally it breaks away from the trail and lake and follows a small unnamed creek uphill for a few miles before topping out on a slender plateau between Chatcolet Lake and the Coeur d’Alene Valley.

We take stock at the top, and then separate.  As planned, Rachael turns left and drops back down to Harrison along Route 97.  When she reaches Harrison she turns east on the CDA and following it for five miles before turning back toward home.  Most of today’s video is from her ride down 97, which I won’t see otherwise myself because I’m off for the longer ride, east to Medimont.

Southbound on O’Gara Road. The bike trail is just to the right, and just below us.
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On O’Gara Road. It’s not warm, but it’s turning into a pretty fair day. It’s windy, but the trees give us shelter as we bike into it.
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For the next three miles we’ll follow this small unnamed creek uphill to the top of the plateau.
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Nearing the summit. I’d meant to take Rachael’s photo when we separated and she turned back north on 97, but it slipped my mind until she was around the bend.
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Video sound track: The Craftsman, by Eric Tingstad

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The Medimont Loop

From the junction, I turn south on 97 and then shortly after leave it to follow Route 3 northeast to Medimont.  It’s just as well Rachael didn’t come with me on this route, because I don’t think she’d have cared for it much.  Route 3 is a narrow 2 lane road and a bit busy - it’s a through road that continues on to Rose Lake and then I-90.  It’s not too bad today, when traffic volumes are so low anyway; but I don’t know that I’d ride it again.  And I definitely wouldn’t ride it going the other direction.  Going my way, it’s mostly a fast downhill drop to the river.  Fine, as long as I’m paying attention.

Seven miles later and I’m back on the CDA Trail again, at the trailhead just west of Medimont.  Before I get there though I find an attractive spot by the lake to stop, enjoy the views, and enjoy the leftover pizza from yesterday’s lunch in Saint Maries.  Did I forget to mention that we drove in to Saint Maries for lunch yesterday, as a way to break up the rained out day?  

Bottle tree with flag sculpture. Bottle trees must be a thing here. There was another one a few hundred yards down the road from here.
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Looking east across the plateau. I think I’m learning to recognize white pines by their profile: ramrod straight, with a rounded crown that gives the tree a cylindrical look.
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Dropping down Route 3 to the Coeur d’Alene River.
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If they’re proud enough of this contraption to label and display it, the least I can do is take a photo.
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Susan CarpenterReminds me of the Beaverslide hay stackers that were invented/used in the Big Hole Valley in Montana.
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2 months ago
Pick up sticks.
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Nice silo, and a Palouse-like look. Not the Palouse though. Today’s geography loessen: the Palouse region is roughly bounded on the south by the Snake and Bitterroot Rivers; on the west by Ritzville and the Scablands; on the north by the Spokane Valley; and on the East by the Idaho border.
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Jen Grumby'Ritzville and the Scablands' .. great title for a novel or a short story.

With that leg wound you have, you could be the protagonist!

Despite injury and misfortune, a cyclist and his partner find great wealth in a country paralyzed by a tiny little microorganism.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyCould be. To me though it sounds more like an alt-rock group.
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2 months ago
Several things I like about this old combine(?). In particular, its green blends In nicely with the pseudo-Palouse background; and it looks like a rusty old brontosaurus.
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And, it makes a nice framing object for the silo.
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Looking north across Cave Lake.
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A pleasant spot for lunch, looking across Medicine Lake. The spit cutting across it is Rainy Hill Road, which does sound attractive. It’s a shame I don’t have a bit more time in my day to explore it.
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Andrea BrownYou are looking almost directly at my brother's place here.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownLiving on Rainy Hill? Yes, I can see why that would be appealing - to a duck. Presumably your brother isn’t a bicyclist.
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2 months ago

The ride home from here is a three-peat, most recently on my birthday ride.  It’s nice to not hear any thunder rumbling above me, but today I’ve got a pretty fair headwind pushing back at me most of the way home.  Rounding the bend south of Harrison, the skies suddenly turn quite dark ahead; and for a mile or two it looks like I’m going to get doused again, thunder or no.  There is a light sprinkle, but it doesn’t last long though; and  for the last two miles I’m thankfully back in the sun once more.  Crossing the bridge again the wind is still fierce, and the bridge sings.  I don’t have much of an ear, so I don’t know what the pitch is.  I’m tempted to stop and take a video so you can hear for yourself but I’m more tempted to get home and breakout an IPA.

It’s looking a bit gloomy across Cave Lake.
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Not the best shot of an eastern kingbird, but it’s another species I haven’t seen for years now.
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Each time I come by, the pelicans are a bit closer in to my side of the lake.
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While I’m watching, the pelicans break off in groups of five or ten, soar overhead awhile, and then arch above the trail before settling somewhere behind the trees on the other side.
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Some variety of lupine.
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A rusty old tug, Harrison.
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This is close to the shot I wanted to take on my birthday ride if it hadn’t been so wet. The bridge is in there somewhere, buried in the gloom. Doesn’t look good, but only for the next mile or so.
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Mallard and mocha. This is at the outlet of the stream we biked along on O’Gara Road. The pond here is all muddy from the runoff.
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Ride stats today: Scott: 47 miles, 2,000’; Rachael: 42 miles, 1,800’

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