I’ve anticipated today’s bike ride on the Coeur d’Alene for several weeks. I awoke early and eager to get to Idaho.
I called Thrifty Car Rental for a pickup at the Travelodge, and they were very prompt. Ed and I rented a Ford F-150 truck so that we could easily haul four bikes for the remainder of our trip. We circled back to pick up Joyce and Ron at the hotel, and then headed toward the Coeur d’Alene.
After about 30 minutes on the interstate, we turned south on Hwy 27 and drove along the Coeur d’Alene Lake for about 30 miles down to Harrison. Although the road was twisty and treacherously close to the cliff overhanging the lake, the scenery was breathtaking! This must be why Cheryl’s husband loves Idaho:)Once we arrived in Harrison (population 247?), we stopped at the Trading Post to purchase sandwiches to eat on our bike ride. Then, we went next door to the Pedal Pushers bike shop to rent our bikes. Ed and Ron rode with us today, and we decided to let them set the pace. The trail ran adjacent to the edge of the lake for the first 7 1/2 miles. I cannot find the words to describe the scenery on this portion of the trail. Imagine the sun gleaming off the lake against a background of mountains on all sides! The Wildflowers were in full bloom, and we passed by several boggy areas covered with pink water lillies. Ed spotted a large crane strutting among the cattails to our left, but no moose:( At the lower end of the lake, the trail actually crossed the water on a narrow isthmus. Riding across this portion of the trail felt like we were gliding across the lake. We rode across a steel bridge and then down to Hayden State Park where we found a nice picnic table underneath a shade tree along the water – what a perfect spot for our lunch! After lunch, Ed decided to head back to Harrison while Joyce, Ron, and I rode 7 miles uphill (4% grade) to Plummer, the western terminus of the Coeur d’Alene Trail. We climbed 1500 feet from the lake through a magnificent evergreen forest to the wheat-covered meadows in Plummer. Although the trail was fairly steep, we knew the ride back down would be worth it. At the Plummer trailhead, there was a magnificent metal sculpture depicting an Indian riding horseback in full headdress. There was also a monument listing the names of those who had lost their lives serving in the U.S. Armed Services. This portion of the land still belongs to the Coeur d’Alene tribe. The 7 mile ride downhill to the lake took less than 30 minutes; my average speed was about 15 mph, but I reached speeds in excess of 18 mph. What a thrill to feel the breeze against my face, breathe in the scent of cedar trees, and see the colorful flowers lining both sides of the trail. We crossed back over the bridge and rode back to Harrison to meet Ed.
Joyce suggested that we reward ourselves by eating an ice cream cone at the local creamery before driving on to Kellogg. The drive to our condo took about an hour, but the scenery made the time fly by quickly. The vacation rental company in Kellogg decided to bump us up to the penthouse at Alpine Village, and we were pleasantly surprised by the size and amenities of our condo, especially at $175/night ($87.50 per couple).
We ate dinner at the Moose Creek Grill, which definitely lived up to its reviews. After dinner, we bought some groceries at Yoke’s Foods and drove back to the condo for the night.
As I fell asleep, I thought if I don’t make it to Heaven, I would definitely settle for Idaho:) My heart is full and I feel truly blessed for the opportunity to ride along the Coeur d’Alene.