Walla Walla by Bicycle

golden_gate_park_bike_rentalWhile I love being outside in the spring and fall, I have a hard time with the summer heat.  I tend to stay indoors enjoying the air conditioning.  The one time of day I do venture outdoors is in the evening after dinner but before dusk.  It’s still warm but bearable and I can usually get at least one if not all of my family members to go for a bike ride with me.

One nice thing about Walla Walla is the variety of routes we can take as we explore.  Some are specifically for bicycles and others are just more enjoyable that way.  Every time we ride through a neighborhood, I realize how much I miss while I drive.  Here are some of the places we like to visit by bike:

  • Mountain View Cemetery.  The roads are paved (better than a lot of city streets) and the slight slope makes it easy to cruse up and down the blocks of gravestones.  We often stop and look for specific names or calculate the ages of the deceased.
  • Whitman College Campus. The grounds are beautiful in the summertime and many seniors pose for their portraits along the creek.
  • The Planet Walk Bike Trail.  The Trail runs from the front of the Veterans Hospital Campus to the Amphitheater at Fort Walla Walla.  It’s not shaded but in the cool of the evening is a nice ride with no cars.
  • Mill Creek Trail.  Also protected from cars, this trail runs from Lions Park on Wilbur Street all the way to Rooks Park.  It’s a slight incline going to Rooks so the best part is coasting down from there.
  • Highway 12 Bike Trail.  From Borleske Stadium, there is a steep hill along the golf course.  Once you climb that, it is smooth sailing all the way to the Vista Terrace Park.  Once again, there is a small incline so the ride back down to Borleske is a fast one.
  • Table Rock and Sydney Heights Neighborhoods.  Both developments are off of Cottonwood Drive as you head South of town.  The roads are smooth, wide, and relatively quiet.  When we see a house for sale, we make bets on the listing price.
  • Division Street Parks.  The streets around Menlo Park are smooth and shaded by large, old trees and one can follow Division Street passed Wildwood Park to Pioneer Park.  Division isn’t the best of roads in terms of traffic or condition, but the parks are fun pit stops for a family ride.
  • The Walla Walla Country Club Neighborhood.  Quiet and green, it’s fun to ride around the golf course at the Country Club.  The community on the backside is gated but the streets along the south side are also fun to explore by bike.
  • The Villages of Garrison Creek.  Across from Fort Walla Walla, this neighborhood boasts a nature trail along Garrison Creek for residents to use.  The houses in this development are well-maintained and close together.  It is fun to compare the different colors and sizes of homes in the community and their roads are smooth.  If you start at Fort Walla Walla, you can ride through the neighborhood to Lions Park on Larch Street on the other side.
  • Walla Walla University Campus.  While not as compact as Whitman College, the campus in College Place has multiple buildings to weave around and surrounding neighborhoods to explore.

Hot Weather Help for Your Flower Garden

summer gardenIf a sudden heat wave leaves you feeling weak and tired, think about how your poor flowers feel! They have to acclimate just like you do.  Here are some small steps you can take to help them flourish this summer.

  • Deadheading. Remove spent blooms to prevent plants from producing seeds.  This way they can put more energy into creating more blooms.
  • Watering. Most garden plants prefer an inch of water each week. It’s best to water deeply than frequently so that plants can develop stronger roots.  Water sitting on the leaves can lead to scorching or disease, so water thoroughly on the ground.  Soaker hoses work well.
  • Mulch. Spreading two inches of mulch shields the soil from the sun, preventing evaporation and keeping plants cooler.  You can use any kind of organic material, from wood chips to straw.
  • Weeding. Get those pesky sprouts while they are small and the soil is moist.  If you let them grow, they steal water and nutrients from your plants and produce seeds, leading to more weeds.  Check you garden in the cool of the morning or in evening, when the heat has dissipated.
  • Add new plants. Spring blooms like pansies and violets fade in the summer heat.  Replace them with heat loving flowers like salvia and zinnas.  You can also plant summer-blooming bulbs like dahlias or calla. Watch them rise as the temperatures continue to climb.