When I texted Tommy tonight about today’s bike ride, he said he had read in an Outdoors magazine that Idaho and Utah were the top two favorite states for outdoor enthusiasts. Of course I would agree about Utah, and after today I can certainly see why Idaho is tops, though I am speaking only about the northern section of Idaho right now. (And I believe Oregon places a close third, as the area we were in yesterday was so picturesque.) I have always wanted to visit the Couer d’Alene area in the panhandle, so when Martha and Anne McCallum first mentioned rails to trails in this area, I was ready and eager to go. It’s almost hard to believe that this trip is actually taking place, because I have anticipated it for so long.After sleeping in until 8 a.m. due to arriving at 12:30 a.m. last night at the motel, we had our motel breakfast while Ed and Martha went to pick up the rental truck that Martha had reserved. They picked us up at 9:30, and we were on our way from Spokane to Harrison, Idaho. Even though we were traveling along Interstate 90, the scenery was still beautiful. Large mountains loomed in the distance most of the way, and for much of that part of the drive we had large lakes on the south side. Then when we turned down the scenic highway that follows the shore line of Couer d’Alene (pronounced “dilane” with a “short I” sound), the views were even better. It’s a huge glacial created lake that extends for miles and has smooth, high mountains surrounding it. We arrived in Harrison, bought sandwiches for our picnic lunch (and I bought a disposable camera so that I could take some pictures, though the ones posted here on the blog are all from Martha’s camera), and rented our bikes.
Then we took off for one of the greatest rides we have done. It was like we were in heaven: the blue lake and mountains were on each side of us for the first 7.5 miles, we rode across a bridge for several hundred yards, and then went slightly up hill (4 percent grade incline) for another 7.5 miles through a thickly forested area and had a fair sized gorge on our left, which had been carved from Plummer Creek. This whole path is paved, so the ride wasn’t too bad, just steady slowly uphill. Ron and I and Martha did this part of the trip; Ed wanted to forego the climb and headed back to Harrison at his leisurely pace, taking pictures at his whim. At Plummer, it was almost like a large plateau on top of the mountain, with some trees but a lot of grain fields on our right side. There was a neat metal statue of an Indian warrior on his horse, which was dedicated to the sacrifices of the Couer d’Alene tribe and to the Indians from that tribe who fought in the world wars. So after a short break, the three of us headed back down the mountain, going between 13 and 20 miles an hour—Ron and I stayed below 15, but Martha still has her daredevil spirit in her and said she approached 20 miles an hour an times. I guess our age difference is showing.
We met Ed when we turned our bikes in, rewarded ourselves with a large Moose Tracks ice cream cone and headed for Kellog, Idaho, where we are spending the night. Settled into our condo for three nights (that will be nice to be in one place, as it was getting difficult to picture how to find the nighttime bathroom and the hallway exits in so many different motels). The hour drive from Harrison to Kellog was another scenic drive, with more lake area and mountain views. Our dinner was at the Moose Creek Grill; I had a salmon salad which was delicious, but I continue to gain weight when we ordered a “brownie sandwich with ice cream” for dessert. Then we shopped for breakfast and lunch items to use here at the condo for three days.
Now we’re set for two more great days along the Couer d’Alene Trail and the Trail of the Hiawatha. I’m really looking forward to them and am so glad that Ron and Ed are joining us on these trails so that they can experience the beauty and joy of seeing nature so close up and getting exercise at the same time.