Thistleblooms Rambles

thistlebloom

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There have been a few things happening around here that are worth recording.
Most recently, after having a pretty much fire free summer, several local fires have cropped up. There are a couple to the west, (@drstratton , you probably heard about the fire in Stone Ridge) and one closer to us to the east. Our friends live near that one and were told to prepare to evacuate. They have horses so they got everything loaded and ready to pull out when the evac order was suspended because the fire shifted direction.
At the same time we had a horrendous wind storm on Monday. 60mph gusts and a steady 30-40mph wind. The power went out in the morning and wasn't restored until 11. The fridge coming on woke me. It wasn't too bad, we had been told to expect up to 3 days of no power, so that was actually a blessing that it was so short. God bless the linemen and all the people working in that wind to get the power back on. :love

I worked yesterday [Tuesday actually] and had a huge mess at two properties from the wind.
While I was working at the smaller property, the lawn company at the other place got all the hardscaping and lawns cleaned up, so when I got there I just had to do the beds. That was a nice surprise. The lawn company has four bodies, so it goes much faster for them.

In the entertainment department, last week we (dh, kid#2 and me) did a touristy thing which is out of character for this family. Kid#2 suggested it, and since he is even more of a stick in the mud homebody than dh and I, we figured we better jump at the opportunity before he changed his mind.

There is an old retired rail line that has had 15 miles of it converted to a bike trail (not the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes if you're familiar with this area, although that is another good one, and one dh and I have ridden). It's called the Trail of the Hiawatha and has an interesting history. It was a passenger rail line that was started in 1901 from Milwaukee to the west coast, (Seattle maybe?) You can see my mind is a sieve because I did read about it before we went.
Anyway, the railroad was retired in 1980, and since then they have converted 15 miles to bike trail. You ride through 10 tunnels, the longest is 1.7 miles, and you cross 7 trestles.
It's on the MT /ID border. If you start at the top you're in MT, at some point in the first 1.7 mile tunnel you cross into ID. It's black as pitch in the tunnels, so a headlamp and flashlights are required, there is no other light source. The tunnels all curved also, even the shortish ones, so you can't see the exit until you have gone in a ways.

(Resuming this on Thursday...) So the bike ride seemed like a fun adventure and I packed a lunch and snacks. We drove nearly 90 minutes to the trail head and began. The lunch and most of the snacks remained in the truck. For some reason the emoji's are not working, so insert an eyeroll here.

Now, we had no real clear idea how we were going to finish, should we go to the bottom and ride back up? Definite no on that from Kid#2. There is a shuttle service back to the trailhead but at almost $20 per person we are much too cheap to go for that. So we thought maybe we'd go halfway and turn around to go back. This was semi reasonable as we were told most of the tunnels and trestles are in the upper section anyway. After starting out and believing, as we had read, that it is a mere 2% grade, we were astonished that a 2% grade sure looked a lot steeper than the 2%'s we were familiar with, and Kid#2 stated that he wasn't going to ride back up at all from anywhere and maybe he would just hitchhike home, leaving his dad and I to fend for ourselves. Haha. We had a stiff headwind, so no coasting happened. We felt a bit cheated.

Yes, we really need to learn to discuss things and be decisive. I get sucked into dh's ambiguity and indecisiveness sometimes, but that's not fair and a poor excuse I guess.

So, moving along, halfway down dh suggests that either he or I ride the shuttle back up and bring the truck down to the bottom of the trail. That would still leave us with a 21 mile drive out on gravel forest roads, but seemed like a decent plan. Kid#2 was relieved that he wouldn't have to fight off any ax murderers that might pick him up hitch hiking. The trestles were amazing and very high too.


I volunteered to ride the school bus shuttle.
I left my bike with dh at the end of the trail and boarded the bus, waving goodbye to my family. What I didn't know was that the bus doesn't take you to the parking lot on the MT side of the long, dark, pitch black, long, wet, dark and very long tunnel. No. It drops you off on the ID side. But I still had my flashlights so started hoofing it at the fastest pace I could manage, being a gimp. It's actually not as creepy as I had thought to walk alone in the pitch black for almost 2 miles, water running in foot deep gutters on either side and dripping from the huge cavernous ceiling. The tunnels are really pretty amazing structures. I had a lot of time to enjoy this one. I got passed by occasional groups of smarty pants bikers who had brought their bikes back with them on the shuttle to ride back to the parking lot. I think there were some holes in my research of this particular outing.

I successfully resisted the urge to yell WOOah-WOOOO! chugga chugga chugga! as I went. Kid#2 had discouraged this on the way down in tunnel number 4. But I did sing as there was no one to ask me not to.
Finally emerged into the glorious sunshine and jumped in the truck, made my way down on an obscure feeling forest road whose number sign I couldn't find until doubting myself and almost turning around I saw it and turns out I was going the right way.
It's a windy narrow road and 15mph is about top speed, except for a few straightaways where I hit 25 briefly.
As I got near the bottom parking lot I spot Kid#2 pushing his bike down the road. "You gave up on me?" I hollered. Yeah. he said. Dh looked glum. We loaded the bikes and headed out on the forest road that spits you out 21 miles later in a residential neighborhood in a historic Idaho silver mining town.
I guess my dear husband didn't expect it to be a two hour trip for me to get back with the truck. None of us had expected that I would be hiking part of that, and there is no cell service out there, so no way to contact each other.
His imagination is a little too vivid and he was wondering if I had run off a cliff, got lost or the truck had broke down. When he gets anxious he is not fun to be with, depressing in fact, so I was sympathizing with our poor kid.
For my part, I was not dilly dallying, but I certainly was enjoying the scenery, the beautiful weather, and listening to my music as I drove. I knew I'd get there just fine and we'd enjoy the drive home and pick up dinner on the way back.
As a side note, my sis always says dh better die before me because he won't be able to live without me.
Well, dh lightened up as it sunk in that none of his awful wonderings had happened and Kid#2 and I were joking and laughing, and we did enjoy the trip home and dinner.
After some discussion we decided it was a fun day, so much fun in fact, that it's not going to have a sequel. It wouldn't be right to have that much fun twice in a lifetime. Haha.

I would have included pictures in my novel, but that function isn't working either.
 
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drstratton

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There have been a few things happening around here that are worth recording.
Most recently, after having a pretty much fire free summer, several local fires have cropped up. There are a couple to the west, (@drstratton , you probably heard about the fire in Stone Ridge) and one closer to us to the east. Our friends live near that one and were told to prepare to evacuate. They have horses so they got everything loaded and ready to pull out when the evac order was suspended because the fire shifted direction.
At the same time we had a horrendous wind storm on Monday. 60mph gusts and a steady 30-40mph wind. The power went out in the morning and wasn't restored until 11. The fridge coming on woke me. It wasn't too bad, we had been told to expect up to 3 days of no power, so that was actually a blessing that it was so short. God bless the linemen and all the people working in that wind to get the power back on. :love

I worked yesterday [Tuesday actually] and had a huge mess at two properties from the wind.
While I was working at the smaller property, the lawn company at the other place got all the hardscaping and lawns cleaned up, so when I got there I just had to do the beds. That was a nice surprise. The lawn company has four bodies, so it goes much faster for them.

In the entertainment department, last week we (dh, kid#2 and me) did a touristy thing which is out of character for this family. Kid#2 suggested it, and since he is even more of a stick in the mud homebody than dh and I, we figured we better jump at the opportunity before he changed his mind.

There is an old retired rail line that has had 15 miles of it converted to a bike trail (not the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes if you're familiar with this area, although that is another good one, and one dh and I have ridden). It's called the Trail of the Hiawatha and has an interesting history. It was a passenger rail line that was started in 1901 from Milwaukee to the west coast, (Seattle maybe?) You can see my mind is a sieve because I did read about it before we went.
Anyway, the railroad was retired in 1980, and since then they have converted 15 miles to bike trail. You ride through 10 tunnels, the longest is 1.7 miles, and cross 7 trestles.
It's on the MT /ID border. If you start at the top you're in MT, at some point in the first 1.7 mile tunnel you cross into ID. It's black as pitch in the tunnels, so a headlamp and flashlights are required, there is no other light source. The tunnels all curved also, even the shortish ones, so you can't see the exit until you have gone in a ways.

(Resuming this on Thursday...) So the bike ride seemed like a fun adventure and I packed a lunch and snacks. We drove nearly 90 minutes to the trail head and began. The lunch and most of the snacks remained in the truck. For some reason the emoji's are not working, so insert an eyeroll here.

Now, we had no real clear idea how we were going to finish, should we go to the bottom and ride back up? Definite no on that from Kid#2. There is a shuttle service back to the trailhead but at almost $20 per person we are much to cheap to go for that. So we thought maybe we'd go halfway and turn around to go back. This was semi reasonable as we were told most of the tunnels and trestles are in the upper section anyway. After starting out and believing, as we had read, that it is a mere 2% grade, we were astonished that a 2% grade sure looked a lot steeper than the 2%'s we were familiar with, and Kid#2 stated that he wasn't going to ride back up at all from anywhere and maybe he would just hitchhike home, leaving his dad and I to fend for ourselves. Haha. We had a stiff headwind, so no coasting happened. We felt a bit cheated.

Yes, we really need to learn to discuss things and be decisive. I get sucked into dh's ambiguity and indecisiveness sometimes, but that's not fair and a poor excuse I guess.

So, moving along, halfway down dh suggests that either he or I ride the shuttle back up and bring the truck down to the bottom of the trail. That would still leave us with a 21 mile drive out on gravel forest roads, but seemed like a decent plan. Kid#2 was relieved that he wouldn't have to fight off any ax murderers that might pick him up hitch hiking. The trestles were amazing and very high too.


I volunteered to ride the school bus shuttle.
I left my bike at the end of the trail and boarded the bus waving goodbye to my family. What I didn't know was that the bus doesn't take you to the parking lot on the MT side of the long, dark, pitch black, long, wet, dark and very long tunnel. No. It drops you off on the ID side. But I still had my flashlights so started hoofing it at the fastest pace I could manage, being a gimp. It's actually not as creepy as I had thought to walk alone in the pitch black for almost 2 miles, water running in foot deep gutters on either side and dripping from the huge cavernous ceiling. The tunnels are really pretty amazing structures. I had a lot of time to enjoy this one. I got passed by occasional groups of smarty pants bikers who had brought their bikes with them to ride back to the parking lot. I think there were some holes in my research of this particular outing.

I successfully resisted the urge to yell WOOah-WOOOO! chugga chugga chugga! as I went. Kid#2 had discouraged this on the way down in tunnel number 4. But I did sing as there was no one to ask me not to.
Finally emerged into the glorious sunshine and jumped in the truck, made my way down on an obscure feeling forest road whose number sign I couldn't find until doubting myself and almost turning around I saw it and I was going the right way.
It's a windy narrow road and 15mph is about top speed, except for a few straightaways where I hit 25 briefly.
As I got near the bottom parking lot I spot Kid#2 pushing his bike down the road. "You gave up on me?" I hollered. Yeah. he said. Dh looked glum. We loaded the bikes and headed out on the forest road that spits you out in a residential neighborhood in a historic Idaho silver mining town.
I guess my dear husband didn't expect it to be a two hour trip for me to get back with the truck. None of us had expected that I would be hiking part of that, and there is no cell service out there, so no way to contact each other.
His imagination is a little too vivid and he was wondering if I had run off a cliff, got lost or the truck had broke down. When he gets anxious he is not fun to be with, depressing in fact, so I was sympathizing with our poor kid.
For my part, I was not dilly dallying, but I certainly was enjoying the scenery, the beautiful weather, and listening to my music as I drove. I knew I'd get there just fine and we'd enjoy the drive home and pick up dinner on the way back.
As a side note, my sis always says he better die before me because he won't be able to live without me.
Well, dh lightened up as it sunk in that none of his awful wonderings had happened and Kid#2 and I were joking and laughing, and we did enjoy the trip home and dinner.
After some discussion we decided it was a fun day, so much fun in fact, that it's not going to have a sequel. It wouldn't be right to have that much fun twice in a lifetime. Haha.

I would have included pictures in my novel, but that function isn't working either.
Wow, you guys had quite the adventure! I'll have to tell my son in law about that trail, he would love it!

I did see that there are fires near Stoneridge and was hoping that you were far enough away to not be affected. I'm glad to hear that they got your power back on quickly & you all are safe. We were supposed to go to Stoneridge in August but they closed because of a Covid outbreak in their staff. I believe they have opened back up now! I'm on my way to take care of my grandson for a couple of days...had a break & time to check in & say hi!
 

thistlebloom

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That does sound like a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a LOT of fun! Haha, At least you can get your husband on a bike, feel grateful. I can't even get my husband on a horse, he supports my madness and will even feed them for me, but get on one? Never!

He rides every day. We are long time bicycle partners, but now he's pretty much on his own unless he can shame me into riding with him. I would rather be horseback.
(why don't my emojis work?) He won't ride a horse either, though a long time ago I bought him a mule that he rode bareback, haha. That little mule had his number, used to dump him then walk home in front of him, just fast enough to stay out of reach.
 

drstratton

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He rides every day. We are long time bicycle partners, but now he's pretty much on his own unless he can shame me into riding with him. I would rather be horseback.
(why don't my emojis work?) He won't ride a horse either, though a long time ago I bought him a mule that he rode bareback, haha. That little mule had his number, used to dump him then walk home in front of him, just fast enough to stay out of reach.
Rotten mule...lol! As to the emojis, have you tried restarting your device?
 

Bruce

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The tunnels all curved also, even the shortish ones, so you can't see the exit until you have gone in a ways.
But there IS light at the end of the tunnel?

Sounds like a fun AND frustrating adventure. Obviously the people who brought their bikes on the bus weren't new to the experience.

I look forward to the pictures once you can get them up.

That does sound like a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a LOT of fun! Haha, At least you can get your husband on a bike, feel grateful. I can't even get my husband on a horse, he supports my madness and will even feed them for me, but get on one? Never!
Maybe he figures he wouldn't be able to get off once he was on.
 
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