Day 17: Libby to Happy's Inn to Logan State Park Campground - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

June 17, 2021

Day 17: Libby to Happy's Inn to Logan State Park Campground

Off the Northern Tier, briefly

“This is so nice not to have to listen to traffic,” Rachel says as we are riding the Fisher Creek Road. “This is what cycle touring is all about, hearing the birds and river.” Patrick agrees that the road is a good choice….at least for now.

We are still adjusting to a new time zone. In the campground, Robert has already quietly packed up when it’s light and we wake up, 0-bladder-thirty. It…is…cold….40 degrees, when we set off about 7am. In the center of Libby we leave US2 and turn onto 37 north, there is a shoulder but rumble strips between the white line and the edge of the pavement, so we ride in the road. The road continues to follow the Kootenai River upstream for another 14 miles until we reach the junction to Fisher Creek, just in time for second breakfast. But there’s nothing here, so we make nutella and peanut butter sandwiches, and dig into the pound of the donut holes we are carrying. We have these because Ross at dinner last night mentioned that Rosauers have the best donut holes, and that was all that was needed for Rachel to start craving them. Turns out, Patrick does too because on many of our breaks today it was Patrick who wanted to pull them out to eat.

Fisher Creek road is paved and though we need to gain elevation it is at a nice grade and through forests, riding upstream and following the railroad. We reach the junction where USFS 36 continues to follow the railroad and the suggested road by Cyndie in Sandpoint. We had also received a message from a Warmshowers host in Whitefish that this USFS road was a nice road and paved as well and would take us closer to Whitefish. We decide to stay with the original plan of turning south to meet back up with US2, bypassing Whitefish, and coming into Kalispell on a bike path. There is an elevation gain from 2164 to 3593 feet over 21.6 miles.

The road junctions again, we take McKillop Creek Road 8miles to US2. The first 5 miles are like a pass but it does not have a name. So we named it “Surprise Pass”. After 5.5 miles the road returns to a nice grade and a bit of a downhill. Turning left on US2 now with a nice wide shoulder, we are 2 miles to Happy’s Inn and stop for a refill of water, pick up beer for when we reach the campground and enjoy ice cream before setting off again. Our original destination of McGregor Lake Campground is another 13 miles east, and Patrick noticed that about halfway there is Logan State Park that offers showers. We check-in with a volunteer and initially are directed to camp at the day-use area for a reduced rate. Later the volunteer discovers that she can only do this if the campground is full, so now we are back to a full-priced site at $28, plus $3 each for the showers. It is nice to share the site with another cyclist, doing this alone would get expensive. Robert moves one of the bear proof garbage cans to our site, it’s clean and we place our panniers with the food inside.

Tomorrow when we reach Kalispell we’ll decide whether to continue onto Columbia Falls. We are getting close to Glacier National Park, and the information we have for now, the Going to the Sun road is still closed.

Leaving Libby
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Second breakfast at the junction to Fisher Creek Road
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Andrea BrownThis was a great choice of route. I'm sorry nobody advised you about the alternate route on the other side of the Kootenai from Highway 37 which is much quieter.
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3 months ago
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Turnoff to McKillop Creek Rd to get us back to US2
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Andrea Brown*McKillop* Creek Road, in case anybody else would like to follow this route.
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3 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Andrea BrownThanks, I'll also need to correct the spelling :)

We thought about turning off Fisher Creek to USFS 36 to Whitefish...will have to one day come back and see what that road is like
Racpat
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3 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Rachel and Patrick HugensI don't know that road but it looks intriguing!
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3 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Andrea BrownAnd I had looked at staying on the south side of the river Champion Rd??
Patrick wanted to stay on 37 in case there was a shop, even though nothing showed up on google maps.
R
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3 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Rachel and Patrick HugensBoth sides are beautiful, the Champion Haul Road is far quieter. You passed right by my mom's house on 37!
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3 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Andrea BrownWarmshowers host in Sandpoint recommended USFS 36 and then a WS host in Whitefish said it was a good road, that it follows the RR and one section where the train would go through a tunnel, would be a climb over.
This route from Libby, Fisher Creek and USFS 36 looks like a good alternative to NT to Eureka. It's the distance that could be a problem, but free camping in Forest Service land would be a nice way to break it up.
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3 months ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Andrea BrownHow cool is that
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3 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Rachel and Patrick HugensYes, it's really out there (we called that area Wolf Prairie) and you'd have to bring a couple of days' worth of food but there is plenty of water that you can purify for drinking and of course it's quite easy to wild camp in the National Forest. I think it's better than following the monotonous route along Lake Koocanusa to Eureka but definitely very isolated. I hear a lot of complaints about 93 south to Whitefish, which you would have joined up with in Trego, so I think maybe you made the best choice. Plus you got to stop at Happy's Inn, always a cultural experience.
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3 months ago
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Andrea BrownOfficially homesick.
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3 months ago
Lunch break, Robert is ahead of us
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Just down the road, around the corner, Robert had stopped for a lunch break
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The 5.5miles that was more like a pass....
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Happy's Inn
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Enjoying Ice cream at Happy's Inn
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Enjoying the lake view at Logan State Park...until we were told we had to move to a camp site
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Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 646 miles (1,040 km)

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