Still thinking about those rides, but I did go on a birthday ride. Like usual I didn't plan anything and I overdid it.
I woke up the Saturday (July 6th) before the big day feeling good and said shoot a mile! I better take advantage of this. Debbie suggested heading out from home to the Fish Lake/Columbia Plateau Trails to the Martin Road Trailhead. The more I thought about it the more it made sense. I could just head out 27 plus miles, keep going or turn around and I'd get'r done. No driving involved. With a bike camping trip coming up, I needed to get out and see if I could do 50-80 miles a day. Plus, I haven't ridden the section between Amber Lake and Martin Road, so I could knock that off if I felt like it.
Looking very serious as the occasion warranted:
I left the house around 8 and rode out to the Spokane Trailhead of the Fish Lake Trail, took it out to Fish Lake Trailhead (including probably the tempting forbidden section), then Cheney Trailhead, continued on the unpaved Columbia Plateau Trail through the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge, and stopped at the Amber Lake trailhead. At this point I was comfortably past 27 miles so I knew I could turn around and make my goal. But I hadn't ridden the section between Amber Lake and Martin Road before. So, onward. Turns out from my home to Martin Road trailhead is just shy of 40 miles. Like usual I was running low on water and rations.
By now, I was getting tired of riding the Vaya on the rocky Plateau trail. Thirsty and hungry, I'd even gotten a little delirious and started thinking what I need is another bike, like a Fargo, or custom version, to handle rockier trails. Let's see, how am I going to finance this? Sell the mountain bike and misc. household goods? Wait, don't I have a fatbike?
Back to reality, I debated how to ride back and thought it'd be nice to ride on pavement at least part of the way back. I wasn't really looking forward to riding back through the refuge again, either, as it's not really that interesting of a ride. To me, at least. It's just so straight, like the railroad it used to be.
I was tempted to ride to Klink's Resort on Williams Lake and meet my wife there for lunch and get a ride home, but professional honor prevented me from doing that. I thought of taking paved roads back to Cheney and then hit the FLT again, but wasn't sure if that would actually take longer than plowing through the CPT. So I stuck with what I knew and returned the way I came.
I ended up riding close to 80 miles. Not sure exactly as I forgot to turn the Garmin back on after a couple stops. I did find out I think I'm ready for a little bikepacking trip. We're riding from Spokane to Heyburn State Park, then on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene's, up to Lookout Pass on the Nor-Pac Trail, to the Hiawatha Trail and then back on some dirt/Forest roads which might actually be part of the Milwaukee Corridor. I'll find out and report back.