Wind in the Palouse

Day’s Verse:
The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command!”
Matthew 8:27 (context)

By interesting coincidence, I happen to be reading Cryptonomicon and have just reached the part where Randy visits home in the Whitman, Washington. Amusingly for me, Whitman is a mere 50 miles north of Pomeroy, and therefore practically next door when it comes to towns in Eastern Washington. Here is how Neal Stephenson describes the wind in the Palouse (from page 620, Perennial edition, 2000).

Not much was alive there, and so one’s observations were not forever being clouded by trees, flowers, fauna, and the ploddingly linear and rational endeavors of humans. The Cascades blocked any of those warm, moist, refreshing Pacific breezes, harvesting their moisture to carpet ski areas for dewy-skinned Seattleites, and diverting what remained north to Vancouver or south to Portland. Consequently the Palouse had to get its air shipped down in bulk from the Yukon and British Columbia. It flowed across those the blasted volcanic scab land of central Washington in (Randy supposed) a more or less continuous laminar sheet that , when it hit the rolling Palouse country, ramified into a vast system of floods, rivers and rivulets diverging around the bald swelling hills and recombining in the sere declivities. But it never recombined exactly the way it was before. The hills had thrown entropy into the system. Like a handful of nickles in a batch of bread dough this could be kneaded from place to place but never removed. The entropy manifested itself in swirls and violent gusts and ephemeral vortices.

I think that about covers it. Now, some pictures from the trip, as promised.

Taken on the drive down. I should’ve used my filter, but we were parked in the road and I was concerned about another car coming around the curve and rear-ending us.
Near Palouse Falls

In Dayton:
Dayton Hills

The B&B we stayed at:
Purple House: Exterior

Purple House: Interior 1
(another interior picture here)

This is Pomeroy, the four-way stop where they did a walking audit and then the next day we did lane positioning practice.
The Four-Way Stop

I put up a few more pictures not shown here. Check my flickr photostream.

Back from the Palouse & April 23 Ride Report

Day’s Verse:
Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last.
Luke 23:46ish

They call ’em the Palouse Hills, and rightly so, as far southeastern Washington does have its share of impressive hills. But I’d like to suggest another name: The Palouse Wind Tunnel. More on that later; I’m jumping ahead.

Instead of telling a long-winded tale, let me give you the highlights — but only if highlights also includes low points, because unfortunately, this trip to Pomeroy had very little to recommend it. Check beneath the fold for “highlights” of the trip, in no particular order.

On Friday evening, after driving back from Dayton, I mowed the lawn and then went to Good Friday dinner with our journey community from church. It was nice to spend the evening with friends rather than by myself.

And a quick ride report. Today I rode 75 miles, extending the 55-mile RTS #5 ride by riding to and from Marymoor, which was the official starting point. The front riders took it easy today so I was able to keep up with them almost the entire way. The RTS rides are interesting in that there’s no regrouping, so if you fall behind at a stoplight or going up a hill, you either speed up to catch the group, or you stay behind alone forever. I hung on until maybe 10 miles from Marymoor, after which I slowly fell farther and farther behind. Even so, I averaged 17.4 mph to that point, and averaged 17.0 mph total, with an average heart rate of 148 (that means I was working pretty hard overall). Dad and I took a slightly hillier way back, avoiding the Sammamish River Trail, which slowed my average a bit. Why? Because today was the most gorgeous day we’ve had since last August, sunny and highs in the 60s, and everybody else went for a bike ride or a walk on the trail. I finished the ride in shorts and short sleeves. As a result, it also appears that I’ve managed to get my first sunburn of the year, including starting an excellent fingerless bicycle glove tan that I sport every summer.

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