Coeur d’Alene to Spokane

Saturday was our earliest start yet. Maybe it was because we felt a little crowded at the full campground, or maybe it was because we were looking forward to the Airbnb. In any case, we were packed and riding just after 8 AM. We started on roads with little traffic and eventually found ourselves at the beginning of a short trail to get us under I-90. The trail didn’t look like it was used often, and we might not have taken it had we not just seen two gravel bikers push up it. The steep section was short, so instead of unloading our bike to make it lighter, we attempted to push up it. We failed a couple times but eventually made it. It was a bit stressful, but in the end we succeeded and made it under the freeway and to the Centennial Trail, a 63-mile bike trail connecting the east side of Coeur d’Alene to the west side of Spokane. It started by following the north side of Lake Coeur d’Alene and then followed the Spokane River the rest of the way to Spokane.

Saturday’s route

The Centennial Trail was mostly scenic and a good paved trail with several short sections on roads. Much of the trail in the Coeur d’Alene section was through pretty, well-kept neighborhoods, beachfront properties, nice parks, and two small college campuses. As we got into Washington, the landscape changed but was pretty in its own right. Even though we were on a trail it was good to have our route displayed on the bike computer as we rode west. We may have otherwise struggled to follow some of the on-road sections.

The temperature was good, cooler than the rest of the week, but we fought wind most of the way. There is something about a headwind that is draining, more than a hill requiring the same effort. Maybe it is the noise: with no wind or a slight tail wind we can easily talk to each other. Super windy rides are a little less peaceful. The day’s winds were nowhere close to Iceland’s, however.

We finally found a convenience store with a dill pickle. First one of the trip. There is something strangely refreshing about a dill pickle when you’ve been sweating in the sun all day. It is probably the salt.

We climbed about 500 feet from the trail to our Airbnb, stopping about 3 miles before we arrived to get groceries for dinner. We always look forward to the opportunities we have to shift back towards diets that include fresh produce and unprocessed food. We ate at the grocery store, because that is how we roll, and then proceeded to suffer up the final long steep grade to our accomodations. 

Our Airbnb for our rest day is perfect — so perfect we decided to add a second rest day. As we looked at our route options between now and Wednesday we realized we really have 2 days of riding to spread over 3 days, and we like having a vacation from our vacation. Taking an extra rest day mid-week would have had us resting in Wallace which would have been a nice way to split the week, but the Airbnb we are in is so ideal, we decided to extend our stay here to include Monday.

While riding over the last few days it has progressively become more difficult to shift gears on our bike. When we arrived at the Airbnb one of the host met us and asked if we needed anything for our bike. Our bike is very unique and it was unlikely the local bike shop would have the part we needed, but he called them, they had the part, and he drove down and picked it up for us. Then he helped in the garage for about an hour as we installed the part. The fix isn’t perfect because we need two more parts which are only available in a few places in the United States, but the situation is so much better than it was. Without his help we might have been riding with a single gear for the rest of our ride. We are so grateful for him. What are the chances we’d end up at a home that had just what we needed and a kind person willing to help?

After fixing our bike and showering, our next order of business was to wash our dirty laundry (yay!) and make an online grocery delivery order. As we will be here two full days we were able to order a good variety of food. We are far enough from a store that having it delivered makes sense.

We are looking forward to resting, relaxing, eating, and having a Sabbath day together.

Our ride was 55 miles (but it felt like far more due to the wind) and 2600 vertical feet. Our week total was 360 miles, 12,000 vertical feet, across 34 hours of riding.

Here is a link to some of our photos from the day.

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