DISPATCH FROM SPOKANE #2: Yesterday’s Ride Written Today

September 10, 7:50 p.m. (Pacific Time)

I just got back from an 11-hour day of driving. I had to bring my son back to Seattle, then we made a quick trip to Tacoma to pick up a sound mixing board that had been repaired there. (Yes, besides being a bicycle messenger, my son is a guitarist and sound engineer.) Along the way back to Seattle, we encountered a major traffic jam on Interstate 5 North which was caused by an auto accident. When we passed the accident site, all we saw were five fire trucks and the burned-out shell of an SUV. After delivering Aaron to his home, I drove all the way back to Spokane by myself.

I had camping gear with me and I had planned to shorten the trip by camping in the beautiful Coulee Country of central Washington. I had my bike too. Unfortunately it was too darn smoky.

Don’t worry about my cycling streak though; I managed a half-hour ride in the semi-darkness of Spokane. However, this post is all about YESTERDAY’S bike ride, so let’s go back in time . . .

. . .

September 9, 9:30 a.m.:

I remembered riding around the Gonzaga University campus a few years ago and really enjoying it. Excluding some places like the hypocrite Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University, college campuses and their surroundings are generally pretty hip and fun and architecturally interesting.

Gonzaga U., home of the Zags, is where I headed this morning. I love to say that name, GONZAGA. When I got there, I just wanted to shout out at the top of my lungs “GONZAGA!!!!!!!”

The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong had to pose next to Gonzaga’s most famous alumni — Bing Crosby. Good job, Bing, for wearing a face covering.

Gonzaga might be run by the Jesuits, but that doesn’t mean the students can’t be socially conscious. I saw several Minneapolis names among the signs at this shrine. George Floyd made the front row. (I’m willing to bet you can’t find a similar memorial at Liberty University.)

Looking up at the spires of the on-campus Church of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

The front of the church had a few arches, but the side had bigger and better ones.

An arched hallway.

Moving on from the Gonzaga University campus, I checked out some of the sights along the Spokane River. Here are a couple pictures from that part of my ride.

The Spokane River falls.

I don’t know, “Arc” sort of looks like “Arch.”

The entrance to that thingamagig from the 1964 World’s Fair sort of looks like an arch.

I only took a picture of this arched window because I’M in it.

Same Day, 11:45 a.m.

The REI employee who brought a new pair of trail running shoes out to the designated pick-up area seemed a little surprised to find a guy on a bike waiting there. That guy was me. I had ordered them before I started today’s ride, and when I saw they had curbside pick-up, I thought “why not?”

After she ID’d me, I asked her to take the shoes out of the box and put them in my pannier. She was more than happy to do so and when REI sends me that inevitable customer survey, I will be sure to tell them about the fine service I received at the Spokane store.

I am very hard on my shoes. I wear the same pair every day and the heels wear out in about five months. I am here to tell you that Keen’s proprietary treads last no longer than Vibram’s.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

10 response to "DISPATCH FROM SPOKANE #2: Yesterday’s Ride Written Today"

  1. By: Laura Posted: September 10, 2020

    I’ve heard of Gonzaga (they must have been playing ball while I overheard a game), but I didn’t know anything about it. So now I do! Interesting that Mr. Bing Bong got to see and be photographed with Mr. Bing.

    • By: gregblood Posted: September 10, 2020

      Yes, Gonzaga is a perennial NCAA basketball powerhouse. I don’t know if they even have any other sports.

      And I cannot believe I didn’t make some kind of connection between Bing and Bing Bong until you mentioned it. Very observant, Laura.

  2. By: jpescatore Posted: September 11, 2020

    Nitpicky comment: as a kid growing up in Long Island, NY my mother dragged us to the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens at least a dozen times. I was 7 years old and remember seeing a car-boat and “The Man From Glad” flying around in a jet backpack and thinking “Wow, by the time I get to do drive, there won’t be any normal cars anymore!”

    I think the Spokane Worlds fair was in 74 – did the Man from Glad show up with his rocket backpack?

    • By: gregblood Posted: September 11, 2020

      Thank you, Joe. I don’t consider it nitpicky when somebody corrects a boneheaded error. Unfortunately, in this case, the bonehead was me. Usually I double check dates and facts before I post them, but this time I was so sure it was 1964 that I didn’t even think twice. But yes, it was actually 1974. And no, I didn’t see the Man from Glad and his special backpack.

  3. By: BobinVT Posted: September 11, 2020

    I agree, college campuses and the surrounding towns are usually fun places to wander and explore. Glad to hear you were able to keep the streak alive despite the long driving day.

    • By: gregblood Posted: September 11, 2020

      It was a pretty lame ride but, for the purposes of The Streak, I’m counting it. I’m also counting the short ride I did in Dickinson, North Dakota on the way out here.

      • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: September 11, 2020

        Greg was streaking at Gonzaga?? 🙂

  4. By: NancyG Posted: September 12, 2020

    Mr. Bing Bong meets Bing. Way cool. And — streaking through a college campus — how rogue.
    I have enjoyed riding through Gonzaga, and around Spokane Riverfront Park. I have not been there in quite a while, and will now put it on my list of (relatively) close to home rides to explore again.
    Love all those arches you found ;’-).

  5. By: The Navigator Posted: September 12, 2020

    Ha! I’ve noted the same Keen vs Vibram. But oh my goodness, do I love Keen shoes. I’m not too much of a ‘brand’ person… but I am pretty devoted to Keens. The pair I bought in 2013 are the best shoes ever – mine are completely worn out in many ways, but I still wear them and can’t throw them away (subsequent pairs have been great, but not in quite the same ‘heaven’ category). My 2013 pair has probably done about 20,000 miles on the bike and have little indents in the soles from the pedals now such that when slide my foot on the flat pedals, it’s almost like being ‘clipped in’!

    • By: gregblood Posted: September 13, 2020

      I’ve tried almost all of the outdoor shoe brands and I can’t say I have a favorite. If I was forced to pick one, I might say Vasque, but the last time I had that brand was back when Vibram soles seemed to be much more durable than they are now. The shoe in the picture was my first pair of Keens. I liked them just fine, but, like you, The Feeshko absolutely loves her Keens and, like you, she never gets rid of them. I think she now has five pairs of their shoes and sandals of varying ages. Oh, and I love the image in my head of your 2013 Keen soles “clipping” into your flat pedal. Well, enough shoe talk for now.

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