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Bikin' the Palouse and Beyond
September 30, 2007


We decided to take up a new hobby and got new bikes for Christmas last year. Because of the extremely cold winters, however, we didn't actually purchase them until March. We ended up with Trek 7200s, and really love them!

Our first day out with the new toys found us taking advantage of the local "rails to trails" path, the Bill Chipman Trail between Pullman and Moscow, Idaho. The nicely-paved trail is fairly flat, and is about eight miles from one end to the other. When we got to Idaho, we did some light shopping at the "hippy store" (also known as the Moscow Food Co-Op). Who knew that riding your bike to the store could be so much fun?

Over the course of spring and summer, cycling to the hippy store for groceries has become a regular event. We even purchased bike racks so that we don't have to carry a backpack in the blazing heat. In addition to racks for the bikes, we got a rack for the car so that we could take them with us for rides in Cle Elum and to other trails in the area. The rack really came in handy when we decided to take a trip to Wallace, Idaho, to ride part the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in May. 

Our goal is to (over time) ride the entire length of the John Wayne and Iron Horse trails – from the Idaho border to North Bend on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass (Washington state). (The trail's name changes at the Columbia River.) We decided to start working
on the goal in July. We drove to Teoka, Wash., and rode out a few miles to the east toward Idaho. Once we made it to the border, we turned around to work on the rest of the trail. However, once we got to the west side of Teoka, we took the wrong spur of the trail system and missed the John Wayne trail. Which basically means we did the first five miles of our 300-mile trek. It was heart wrenching! But, lesson learned, and we'll head out again in the spring to try it all over again.

We've been taking occasional rides in the evenings, stopping along the way to see the grizzly bears at the WSU Bear Center for Research, Education, and Conservation. It's a nice little ride, and it's fun to see the wee cubs running in the field or playing in the large tub of water.

Biking is becoming a bit of a family hobby, with Frances' Dad working on a goal to ride 50 miles. Sadly, his goal to do that by the end of summer was pushed back after he took a spill while on a 30-mile ride, and broke his neck. But he's healing well, and plans to be back on the bike as soon as possible.

There are several rides we hope to take in the spring. We are hoping that Dad will be healed in time for a ride along the Yakima Canyon, or through the tunnels at Stampede – but we'll make sure he doesn't ride at break-neck speeds this time!

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