Friday morning I wasn't sure if I was going anywhere, but then I told myself - I'm lucky enough to have the day off, I should take advantage of it. Like my Mom used to tell us when we were kids "Go ouside and do something, you'll feel better." So I saddled up the Pugsley Neck Romancer and headed out. I actually thought about bringing a Jetboil along and doing a little…gasp...coffeeneuring. With a little extra something from a flask. But all I have for coffee making on the trail is the Jetboil and a Starbucks Via packet, so that didn't seem worth the trouble.
By the time I left around 9:30, I didn't think I would make it to the South Hill in time - I was also feeling slow and didn't want to hold up the gang on the trail - so instead I headed to Joe Albi stadium and the trail that begins behind the Ball & Dodd Funeral Home. (I sometimes hold my breath as I pass by if I see smoke coming from the crematory. Heck it's only smoke but kinda creepy.) Which is where I remembered I have an extra tube, and a patch kit but gosh I don't think I packed a pump. Oh well, I threw caution to the wind and kept going.
The general plan was to take the Merkel Trail down the ridge, then to the Bowl and Pitcher, cross the river and go left/East on Trail 25 to Trail 100; cross TJ Meenach Drive to the forbidden trail that winds along the river passing below the MegaChurch/Housing Development and the Government Way Cemetery, then to Vinegar Flats. Maybe run into the riders starting from the South Hill. Follow along at the Garmin map here. Contrary to my nature, I pretty much stuck to the plan.
I got to the Bowl and Pitcher campground and saw a Ranger talking to a group of people and remembered reading something about a guided hike at Riverside in the paper. I head to the bridge and saw what looked liked a TV cameraman on the other end filming the river. When he saw me, he swung the camera off the railing down to the ground to catch me as I rode by. Now, you're supposed to walk your bike across the bridge, which I usually do. But the camera guy was ready, and probably wasn't hoping for a shot of me walking my bike, so I obliged and road across. After I rode by him, I realized he swung the camera around and was following me heading up the stairs, so I tried to step sprightly and make it look easy carrying a 30+ lb bike up the stairs. That's how I ended up on local news, a shining example of people opting out of Black Friday shopping madness.
On the other side:
At the end of Trail 100, I crossed TJ Meenach Dr and entered the Forbidden Trail. Passed that old bridge.
I kept seeing a couple mountain bike tire tracks. The South Hill gang might be coming from the other direction along this trail, but I figured it was too soon for these to be their tracks.
The trail climbs up to the cemetery, and then you ride along the edge for a bit. I couldn't quite remember how to get down to Latah Creek, but luckily the 2 mountain bike tracks showed me the way. Here's the spot:
I hung around the parking area by the Sandifur Bridge for a bit, drinking some water and eating a bit. Mmm, Trader Joe's Peanut Butter and Oat bars, my favorite. Then I rode southish along the east side of Latah Creek to the bridge at 11th Ave, then rode back on the other side of the creek. I considered riding further in the reverse direction of the other BF Ride, but figured this might be far enough.
Back at the parking area for the Sandifur Bridge, I considered heading back the way I came, but decided that's boring. So crossed the Spokane River on the bridge and took the Centennial Trail to Pettet Dr, down Pettit partway to that trail off to the right and and up to NW Blvd. I missed the trail that leads back down to Pettet/TJ Meenach Dr, so I rode down TJ Meenach on the sidewalk against traffic. Found the trail and rode/walked up it to where it connects with the trail, and then went back down.
These are all boring little details, but what I wanted to do was find a way from the dirt trails above Pettet, cross TJ Meenach Dr, then connect to the trails above Downriver Dr., riding as much dirt as I could on the way home. So I took the road under the bridge and then after the intersection, hopped onto a trail heading up the hill. I've only ridden these trails a few times, and ran into what looked like an old railroad bed - maybe part of the same line as the trail above Pettet.
I tried taking a trail down, but it petered out and I headed back up. Looked like it was heading to another fairway anyway. I finally came to a dead end into another fairway and couldn't go any further without riding on the course. I'm not sure if the below pic is the deadend now, or if at this spot I rode a bit more on a trail just off the course. Probably not a good place to ride during golfing season!
I spent a bit of time on the trails farting around and exploring. Eventually, I backtracked, went past the course's water reclamation area (at the end of the driving range I think), and found a trail up to Ridgeview Dr. And then home a mile or two on the street.
Now I'm hoping we get more snow this winter, and see how theses trails are in deeper snow.