Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Ride Worthy Of A Drive

In general, I'm not a big fan of driving someplace to take a ride - it just feels all wrong to me. I like to ride to the ride and it's one of the reasons I live where I do. But there are exceptions, and last Saturday was one of those. I met up with riding buds Mike, Dale, Stu and Brian at the former Tidyman's (now the Trading Post, I think) on Hwy 195 at the Spokane-Cheney Road. From there, we consolidated bikes and gear into two vehicles and headed down to Pullman, where we started and ended this SRV classic spring ride.

This is the right time of year for this ride because Lewiston/Clarkston can be 10 degrees warmer than Spokane on certain days. Compared to 35, 45 can feel like you've died and gone to Acapulco.

From Pullman, the ride starts with about 15 miles of rollers. Then you begin a fast and fun descent of 2000 feet over 5 or so miles to the Snake River. The next 30 miles take you along the scenic river gorge. And then the highlight: The 7-mile, 2000-foot climb up the old Lewiston Grade. This is one of the coolest, most picturesque roads you will find for hundreds of miles around Spokane. When I was a kid, we drove this hill every time we went to see my grandma and the ride up or down in the back of our Dodge station wagon was bigger than Christmas. Epic shit. There are very few guardrails, and as if our kid imaginations weren't bad enough all on their own, my dad would pretend he was losing control of the car on the way down and we'd piss our little pants. You can have 'over the river and through the woods'. I'll take the Lewiston Hill any day of the week.

It used to be the only way up or down the hill. Then they built a "better", faster road down the hill. The old one is well maintained, but there's hardly any traffic. Beautiful. (Click the pics to go big.)

L. As in Lewis-town.

I'd like to ride down it sometime. I think I definitely will. There's some righteous banking on some of those hairpins.

If you like to get out of town on your bike and haven't ridden the Old Lewiston Grade yet, you should put it on your list. I'm not trying to tell you what to do - it's your life. But if someday you're lying on your death bed thinking about all the cool things you should have done when you had the chance and the Lewiston Hill comes to mind, don't blame me for not telling you. I'm just saying.

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