One of the realities of biking like we do is that some days you have to put up with a little less beautiful ride to get to your next cool ride. Today was one of those days. It was a nice ride from Avery, but not quite as beautiful and amazing as the previous two days.
Our hotel room was so comfortable that we had a late start. It was hard to motivate ourselves to get out the door when the stuff indoors is so nice. It was between 10 and 11 when we started riding. We had eaten, but didn’t have as much variety as the previous day. The simple store in Avery had orange juice — so that and oatmeal made up our primary nutrition.
The road had few cars and the slope was gentle downhill, so we made good time to St. Maries. About an hour before St. Maries we stopped at a roadside restaurant and got french fries, diet cokes, and a salad. One rule of long distance biking: if you get tired and lack motivation, stop and eat. We felt so much better after that meal.
We rode through St. Maries hoping to find information about a possible shuttle along Highway 5 as everyone was telling us it was a dangerous section. Some bikers hire a shuttle to carry them over the busy, winding 16-mile section (with pretty much no shoulder), but we couldn’t find one. There was literally no other reasonable way to get where we needed to go. We stopped at a small convenience store on the outskirts of town, drank a lemonade and a smoothie, filled our water bottles with ice water, and took off.
The road did have a lot of logging trucks, but they tapered off around 4:00. There was generally no shoulder, but we were able to often go a little off-road when there was an approaching vehicle that was going to pass us at the same time one was coming from behind. As far as safety, it could have been a lot worse, but we were happy when it was over. We ended up at Heyburn State Park in a nice campsite. In fact, the camp host walked by and was amazed we were able to get this site last minute. They said this was the most popular site. It really is beautiful and quiet, surrounded by tall lodge pole pines, and the sunset was especially pretty behind the mountains near the lake. Our tent overlooks Lake Coeur d’Alene. The campground has free hot showers and drinking water, so we were able to clean up and eat. I wish there were food options nearby (craving fruit juice currently). Luckily we are carrying enough food that we won’t be hungry and we’ll find something to eat tomorrow as we ride.
It was a good day, albeit less spectacular than yesterday, covered 60 miles with only 1100 feet of vertical gain, and we are enjoying our adventure.
Here is a link to photos from the day.