Say WHAT? - A Snake, A Heart, And An Earring - CycleBlaze

August 29, 2021

Say WHAT?

Instead of Another One of My Excessively Wordy Introductions, Here Is A Quick Description Of My Upcoming Bike Tour

  • It's a modest 10-14 day tour.  If I'm lucky, it could extend to three weeks.
  • It's an oblong loop tour that includes four of the most revered cities in all of cycle-dom.  (Spokane, Lewiston, Coeur d' Alene and Sand Point, obviously.)
  • It's a "religious" pilgrimage of questionable piety and sincerity.  All references to holiness, godliness and reverence should be considered in the context of the rather secular religion I invented eight years ago--The Church of the Great Outdoors.
  • It's an agricultural tour, desert tour, mountain tour, National Forest tour, and urban tour all wrapped up into one 450-mile package.
  • It's a lo-tech tour and a paper map tour.
  • It's a camping tour and it's a motel tour.  I like a healthy mix of sleeping in a tent and sleeping indoors.  Both have their pluses and minuses.  A little hardy adventure and a little cushy comfort can be equally good for the soul.  And the tent is ESPECIALLY good for the soul when all the indoor accommodations have a sign out front that reads, "NO VACANCY."
  • It's not the tour I've been looking forward to for nearly two years, but it'll have to do for now.  You can see the latest developments on my oft-postponed Tex-New Mex Tour here:  https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/ersatzcowboy/facing-reality-four-months-after-the-fourteen-months-later-post/ 
  • It's a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants tour.  The idea was conceived a week ago when I wedged open a small window of free time within this summer full of weddings and family obligations, but I didn't come up with a route until yesterday.  Ready or not,  I hope to leave one week from today.
  • I fear it might be my only tour this year.

This is the route I came up with. I just noticed how it's shaped like a seahorse on this map. Of course, the shape could easily change on nothing more than a whim. It should be interesting to see what my final route resembles.
Heart 0 Comment 2
marilyn swettI looked at your proposed route today and see that you will be riding the road between Saint Maries and and the trailhead at Heyburn State Park. Be very careful of this highway -it is very narrow and winding with lots of logging trucks. No shoulder and drivers will not be able to see you as they come around the corners.
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2 months ago
Gregory GarceauThanks Marilyn. A guy at last night's campground, who lives in Couer d'Alene told me about some other bad spots on my route too. I've decided to make a few changes.
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2 months ago

The Holy Quadrinity of cycling cities stands out on the map.  Between them are the wheat farms of the Palouse, the canyon of the Snake River, the mountains and forests of the Idaho panhandle, and two beautiful lakes named "Heart of an Awl" and "Hangs From Ears."

I cannot even believe the Adventure Cycling Association hasn't already mapped out this route.  They could have called it "The Holy Land of Bike Touring" route.  I guess I beat them to the punch.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 10
Comment on this entry Comment 14
Emily SharpThis sounds like a great tour with a variety of great landscapes. So glad you can squeeze in some sort of tour, even if it's not your first choice. I will think good thoughts for you in relation to temperature, smoke, wind, covid, etc. Touring cyclists are some of the most adaptable, flexible people I know, but I think we've all been pushed to the end of our flexibility in the past 18 months. So I hope this is a great success and you have a marvelous time! Does the Feeshko get some extended time to hang out with family? I'm sure that would be nice after all the enforced hermitdom lately. All the best!!
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonGreat to hear that you’re able to squeeze this in, Greg. It should be a beautiful time to visit the Palouse and cruise along Lake Coeur d’Alene. You might look again for alternatives to 395 biking south of Spokane though. The smaller paved secondary roads are beautiful and much quieter.
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3 months ago
marilyn swettHey Greg - this sounds like a great route. We're actually going to be camping at Heyburn SP near Plummer, ID Sept 6-13 and then continuing south to Lewiston, Hell's Gate Canyon SP for a few more days. It would be cool to see you on the road!
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3 months ago
Suzanne GibsonHoly smoke, sounds like a great tour. Hopefully without smoke or other factors unfavorable to cycling. I'm looking forward to your journal. Happy cycling!
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3 months ago
Keith KleinAlors mon p’tit voyageur,
Or as one might say in Minnesotan, “ well then, aren’t we the traveler! “ . Sounds like you could get in touch with your French ( and I’m assuming Canadian) roots. Actually the names the French fur traders gave to the tribes in that region are interesting, as is the history of their interactions on the whole. The Cœur d’Alene were apparently pretty sharp traders, as I understand it. Which reminds me, you probably aren’t the first to think of that region as the holy land.
Do they grow wine grapes in Idaho? I’m aware that there are some decent wines from Washington, but I have no info on Idaho. I’m charging you with on the spot research to answer this burning question.
Bon voyage et gardes nous au courant. (Safe travels and keep in touch).
Cheers,
Keith
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Emily SharpThank you, Emily. So far, the weather and the smoke situations are looking pretty good here in Spokane. That can change in a hurry, though. And yes, The Feeshko will be spending the entire time with her family. That's the main reason we're out here. I'd already be on the road if not for her niece's wedding on Sept. 4.
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Scott AndersonThanks Scott. I hear you regarding Hwy. 395, but I'm probably going to ride it anyway because, not only does it have great Palouse scenery, but it's also the most direct route to where I really want to go -- the Snake River Canyon. Plus, I did get to experience the Palouse more extensively on my tour two years ago.
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo marilyn swettHi Marilyn,
Wow, I was looking at both of those State Parks as camping opportunities for my tour. I probably will have left Hell's Gate before you get there, and I likely won't make it up to Heyburn before you leave that park. But if we keep track of each other, maybe we can meet somewhere in between.
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Suzanne GibsonThanks for the note Suzanne. I'm obviously excited to get this tour underway and I'm praying to the god of the Church of the Great Outdoors to keep all the holy smoke away from Idaho.
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Keith KleinHello Keith. You can rest assured that if Idaho has a winery, I will find one of its products. Then, of course, I will write one of my world famous bike touring wine reviews. If Idaho has no wine, I'll have to review an eastern Washington wine. Stay tuned.
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3 months ago
Henry DaltonTo Gregory GarceauHere's a route from Spokane to the Snake River using mostly very quiet farm roads (I mapped it out after I saw your proposed route but before I saw that you're heart's set on US395). I haven't ridden all the roads on this route, but I rode a good chunk of it this spring, and the roads were lovely and very quiet. From Pullman to the Snake River at Wawawai, I would definitely take Wawawai-Pullman Road as I've shown; excellent Palouse riding, and I think a little shorter than US395 to Wawawai Road as you've planned.
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Henry DaltonThank you for pointing that out, Henry. I did actually intend to take the Wawawai-Pullman Road as you suggested. I guess when I was creating the map I let the automated route-making function get carried away. Now that I've read your first-hand description of the road, I'm looking forward to riding it even more than I was before.
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3 months ago
Rachael AndersonI’m so happy you are hitting the road! I look forward to reading your posts! I’ll put in a good word with the God of the great outdoors!
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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Rachael AndersonThanks Rocky. I know you have a direct hotline to the gods, so I appreciate your support.
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3 months ago