Monday, July 9, 2012

Somewhere, Over the Prairie....

(A little late report of a bike ride from last week, but then I just started working on a post about my 2.5 days on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail from a couple weeks ago.)

My wife made a hair appt for the morning of July 4th, and decided to ride her bike there. Her hair stylist is up on the 5 Mile Prairie, which is on a bluff about 400 feet above the surrounding North Spokane area where we live.  After thinking about it, I said I'd ride along and do some exploring while she was getting her hair colored, cut, styled and whatnot.

Shortly after we left home we were traveling up Dell Drive to connect to 5 Mile Rd and Debbie was reconsidering her decision to ride there. Dell Drive is fairly steep, maybe steeper than 5 Mile Rd. But we kept going, and arrived in time for the appointment and I went exploring.

Two phone pics overlooking North Spokane:

The area is a mixture of newer housing developments:
just a wall around a vacant lot, blocking the view 
and areas that retain an older, rural character:

I forgot to eat anything before we left so I was getting a little hungry, and also thirsty for a cuppa joe, but there are no stores, restaurants or coffee shops up there.  Not even a drive-thru espresso stand!  I don't know what the deal is, but it might be due to the zoning for the area.  Maybe the residents don't want any businesses up there, wanting to preserve what's left of the rural character of the area. Just guesses on my part, perhaps someone will fill me in.  I understand the appeal of living out in the country, but...not even a coffee shop or small restaurant nearby? I don't think I could survive!

After a while, I went north on Strong Rd to the other side of the prairie. The pavement ended at the edge of the bluff and I spied a shopping center down below.  It took me a while to get my bearings, but I finally figured out it must be the Indian Trail Shopping Center:
There's coffee down there!

Strong Rd continues as a twisty gravel road down the hill. I couldn't resist, and even knowing I'd have to ride back up somehow, I headed down. The road down turned out to be steep and extremely washboardy in spots.  I picked up speed, and at times I didn't know if I could hold onto the handlebars.  Of course, it didn't help that I was riding my 'cross/commuter bike - the one with some low-level cantilever brakes that don't stop very well even on dry flat pavement.

Strong Road connects to Indian Trail Road, at the entrance to the Pacific Park area and about a half mile or more from the shopping center.  Alas, I didn't go get some coffee, as it was near time to meet back up with Debbie and our plan was to get breakfast afterwards. I turned around and headed back up the hill - gotta build those leg muscles for cyclocross season!

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