Day 24 Mile 10 Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes to Wallace, Idaho - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

May 24, 2011

Day 24 Mile 10 Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes to Wallace, Idaho

At 5:00 a.m. we both lay in the tent listening to the pattern of raindrops falling on the nylon fly. We were trying to decipher in this pattern whether this was just an early morning shower that the day was not interested in pursuing longterm, or whether we were socked in for the duration.

It's not that we don't have rain gear. Heaven knows we have given that a workout. It's that there is no way to pack up the tent without first taking off the fly. With the fly off, the inside floor would be soaked quickly in any sort of a semi-serious rain.

We decided to bite the bullet and pack up. Precise, quick steps are needed to do this wile minimizing the water that will get into the tent. So we efficiently buzzed around the tent, pulling fibreglass rods, unhooking stuff, and folding. At least, I thought it was pretty efficient. At least until Dodie accused me of "flapping about like an old woman". Heck, you can never please the Russian (extraction) judge!

We were looking forward to finding breakfast at Harrison, about 10 km down the trail. Keeping with what was becoming an unfortunate given on the trail, there was no indication of where to leave the trail for services at Harrison. And when we did push the bikes up a steep gravelly drive to the town, we found that, at 8:30, no one was open. We also had a look at the available camping spots, and found almost all to be under an inch or two of water. So much for Harrison, and with a package of cheese and crackers from our pack, we headed into the chain of lakes section of the trail.

Rainy dawn at Mile 10 of the trail.
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Camping at Harrison could be a bit damp! Other sites were a bit better, though.
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A trailhead and the trail.
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High water in the chain of lakes area.
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The trail is above water, but at least one trailhead was submerged.
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The Coeur d'Alene River.
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The trail follows the Coeur d'Alene river, which is on one side, and passes by up to nine small lakes on the other. However, high water has made the whole scene a water world. This, of course, was enhanced by the all day rain that was also part of the package.

High water makes news.
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Great place for geese and babies.
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Rain or not, this trail is so gorgeous that already our day was made. Looking ahead on the map to the sections that pass by communities well known to us: Cataldo, Smelterville, Kellogg, Wallace, and Mullan, we could hardly believe how great this was.

Displays like this enliven the trail.
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The trail and one of many bridges.
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With the unfortunate lack of breakfast at Harrison, we soon began to grumble about not enough strength to carry on. It looked like Smelterville, quite far down the trail would be our first chance to find something that was not crackers and cheese. Just for fun, but without any confidence, I put the question to the GPS. "How about the Mission Inn, in Cataldo" it replied. As veterans of passing Cataldo 100 times on the Interstate, we were sure that there was no restaurant there. But soon enough, the Garmin said "it's 100m away, on the left". And yes, there it was! Plus, they had homemade barley soup, which is jet fuel when put into Dodie!

Yes, the Mission Inn exists!
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The rain tapered off, and we cruised happily through the more settled portion of the trail, around the communities mentioned above. The nearby I-90 was a great reminder that we were NOT on it.

After doing 100 km yesterday, at over 90 km and arriving at Wallace it was time to quit. The rain was spitting up again, but we already knew the Wallace Inn was our goal. Did not even really need a rain excuse to check in. Our plan is to walk around the truly historic town tomorrow, and then jump to Mullan - where we can stay with Nancy Johansen, the weaver we met on the trail yesterday. From there we will make the leap (crawl) over the Lookout Pass. If all goes as planned, we will be in Montana by Thursday!

The trail passes through towns, including ones with a bike shop.
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A unique trailside garden.
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A large billboard promotes a limited form of bicycle touring.
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Today's ride: 93 km (58 miles)
Total: 1,476 km (917 miles)

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