Day 7: Kellogg to Wallace, Idaho: There's gold in these hills! - Grampies Go Panhandling - CycleBlaze

July 11, 2013

Day 7: Kellogg to Wallace, Idaho: There's gold in these hills!

The rail line that is responsible for the trail we are following existed because this valley of the Coeur dAlene River is rich in minerals.The whole area is covered in mining claims, but it seems only a few mines are still in operation. One particular one has an interesting story. Over a hundred years ago just a few miners followed a seam of gold and silver bearing quartzite into a mountainside. They worked it for three years, penetrating 550 feet. Finally they gave up the operation, blasting the entrance and leaving all their equipment inside. It stayed that way for 100 years. Then, in the 1990's a former miner bought the site, which had an RV park. Looking for water for the park, he noticed a flow coming from the mountain. This led to the rediscovery of the mine, which has been operated as a tourist demonstration since.

The mine is directly adjacent to what is now the trail, and we were sure to check it out. The tour is short but very interesting. for thhe kids the best parts were meeting the former miner/guide, getting set up with lights and hard hats, and seeing the rainbow trout that live in the cold water within the mine. For the adults there was the explanatiion of the various minerals lodged in or dripping  from the walls.

There was also the chance to be shown how to pan for gold, in tubs with sediments that have been seeded with gold dust. Actually, its hard for a little one to do this, but there are also coloured quartz pebbles in there, and they avidly filtered out one treasure bag each of these

We left the mine and easily pedalled the remaining distance to Wallace. The path leads you through neighbourhoods of quite dilapidated houses and mobile homes, indicating that the valley has seen better times, or maybe the miners always lived in dilapidated houses?

We cycled slowly, not only because of the hot day and slight uphill grade, but because this is the second to last day of our cycling adventure. Despit the rigours of the ride we do not like to see it end.  Dragging our pedals or not, we soon rolled back in to Wallace. The trail takes you directly to the RV park by the former train station, and the kids recognized their homme of a wekk previous. Not only did they recognize it, but Avi still knew the code for the washroom door (pssst, it's 1542). Warning, he also knows the ladies' (1524!))

Daddy joined us here, and will ride the last segment - up to Mullan - with us tomorrow. Right now we are sitting in the City Limits Pub and Grill, which adjoins the RV park. Not much to look at from outside, this place has shockingly good food.

It is freshly prepared from fresh real ingredients, and in our opinion the home cooked quality can not be beat, even at home.

A bonus for us at this campground came as we walked to the restaurant past the other sites. Our practiced eye spotted two Long Haul Truckers atop a vehicle. I was just sizing them up when the owners came up to us. "Hey, it's the Grampies!".  Veterans of many tours, but not bloggers, they had been following us and others on CGOAB for some time. We just love it when this happens! 

The first order of business is to go find that playground from yesterday
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It's way more fun when you have your sister!
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The gold mine
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Getting set up with hard hats and lights
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These guys did not say much!
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Little miners
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The rainbow trout like the cold water in the mine
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The guide points out gold in the walls
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The kids are shown an original candle holder
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What it's like to work by candle light alone
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Minerals oozing ffromm the walls
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Panning for gold
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They are quite good at it
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Writing in the guest book
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Avi adds his signature
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Avi and Violet were here!
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Billboard as we enter Wallace
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Wallace - we made it!
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At the cammpsite they reserved our spot with this (the pilon, not the little girl!)
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Daddy joined us for the ride up to Mullan
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Spinach strawberry salad and summer vegetable pasta. A great restaurant in Wallace (and reasonable too)
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Today's ride: 20 km (12 miles)
Total: 154 km (96 miles)

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