The planning was done…the ride was on. Oh dear I hadn’t given it much thought and for sure there wasn’t enough time left to get in really good shape. Well bonus…turns out you don’t have to be in good condition for this one. Paved flat railway beds with the smallest of grades means this is a bike ride that almost anyone can do.
Our plan (with friends Linda and Ron)…. Ride The trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s in Idaho.
Native American statue at the trail head
The first day we drove to Plumber, unpacked the bikes and started off on a 20 mile ride to Harrison on Coeur d’Alene Lake.
The trail follows the old union pacific railway and spans almost the whole panhandle of Idaho.
From the get go I was in heaven. No hills, just superb scenery and great camaraderie. Riding through the chain lakes region on our way to Harrison we passed through a pristine eco system ranging from narrow mountain valleys to low marshlands. There are trail heads bathrooms etc making it all rather civilized.
Rode into Harrison, the largest town on Coeur D’Alene Lake. Boasting a whopping 267 population the place is quirky and fun. The upcoming events to see consisted of the “Pig in the Park festival”, “June Bug Craft Fair” and the ever-famous “Haul Ass to Harrison Show and Shine”…
The Lakeview Lodge, our home for the evening was on the water and just steps from all the action. Speaking of action, One-shot Charlie’s was definitely calling to us. We had a powerful thirst after all that riding.
The distant aroma of coffee and something baking got us up and attem the next morning. It was 25 miles until our lunch break. (The men were tough taskmasters!) Just as we were about to start off the rain began but undaunted I procured a lovely off blue transparent garbage bag to use as a raincoat. (Very stylish) The motto from my Girl Guide days of “Be Prepared” had been long forgotten. Twit twit tawoo…or was that brownies? Whatever.
We rode and rode and rode (sun was out again) along the lake and through marshes and I was off in my own little world when out of the blue… Rocky and Bullwinkle appeared just off the trail. Is anyone old enough to remember them? What I mean is 2 moose…or is that mooses?
Finally we get to our lunch spot. The infamous SNAKE PIT. Talk about local color. Back in the day 1897ish it was in its heyday as a railroad hotel layover. On the façade at the front there were horns with the skull of a bull with two red bulbs for eyes. Guess what happened when the eyes lit up? Yup, you guessed it! One kind of creepy thing is… back then the privy was outside and because it was in low marshland, water snakes were a common sight when using the loo. Yuck.
We rode and rode and rode some more and finally we get to the silver capital of the world…
The mines around Wallace turned out 1 BILLION oz of silver in the past century and expect 1 billion more in the next. Wow! This town is filled with historic buildings and memorabilia stores and even has a plaque proclaiming it to be the center of the universe. They challenge you to prove it isn’t …..
Anyway Lana Turner lived there and they filmed Dante’s Peak (Pierce Brosnan) and they have a bordello that was open from 1895 to 1988. Now there is a business with longevity!
In 1910 the area had the largest fire in American history or maybe the largest fire ever. It raged across 3 million acres in just 2 days!
A stop along the way
Route of the Hiawatha’s – our final day of riding.
This day was a 15-mile rail trail, which is described as one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. Winding along the Bitterroot Mountains (don’t you just love that name?) it has 10 tunnels and seven trestles. At one point you ride through an almost 2 mile long pitch-dark tunnel and all you have is a small headlamp and it feels like sensory deprivation. It’s kind of different (ok scaryish) but a satisfying accomplishment at the end.
Outside of the first tunnel
In the tunnel
View of the trestles
I was sorry when it ended as I was just getting in the groove. Maybe next year I will do something just as fun and even a few days longer. Oh do I hear Europe calling?
Thank you, Traveling Pat.
Hope you have a wonderful Friday & a fantastic weekend, friends! ?