Saturday, August 8, 2020

Rails to Trails......

7:18 am - Saturday - August 8th - Coeur d'Alene, ID - 57° F, 69% humidity, wind - CALM.....heavy cloud cover today with a forecast high of 79° F.  On this day in 2013 we were in Glacier National Park at MacDonald Falls.......↴


The Jello jiggled Friday, but in a very good way.  We had planned to haul anchor Friday morning for points west, but early on Thursday we decided to stay in Couer d'Alene two more nights so on Friday we could drive the 67 miles to the Trail of the Hiawatha and ride the 15+ mile section of this 'Rails to Trails' bike path we have heard so much about over the years.  The trail runs along an old railroad right of way through the Bitterroot Mountains through 10 tunnels (the longest being 1.6 miles) and 7 sky high train trestles.  It is mostly downhill, and at the end you can, if you choose not to ride the trail out and back, take a shuttle back to your beginning point......well, almost the beginning point......


......we left home around 10 am to make the hour plus drive to Lookout Pass Ski Area (located right at the Idaho/Montana state line) where we purchased our trail and shuttle passes, and then 7 more miles east on I-90 to the trail head in Montana.  The beginning of the ride begins with the St. Paul Pass Tunnel, the longest of the 10 tunnels through which we would ride Friday......

 St. Paul Pass Tunnel.....1.6 miles in length

.....you must ride through this tunnel at the beginning and the very end of the ride.....the shuttle returns you to the tunnel, which separates you from your car.  It is cold, and very wet inside that tunnel, and as you will see at the end of the blog makes a mess of everything.....

 We have successfully navigated the St. Paul Pass Tunnel without too much 
damage done, and  are back in the sun light

 Not too dirty yet




.....since the ride is mostly down hill with a pretty steady grade of 2-3% you spend a great deal of time coasting, and/or standing on your pedals coasting.  There are many, many places to stop and enjoy the view, such as this long trestle (one of 7)......



.....most of the tunnels are not very long, but there were a couple more besides the St. Paul Pass Tunnel that were several hundred yards long.  You can see another train trestle in the distance......


 TLE enjoying the view on one of the 7 trestles

.....about 5 miles before the end of the trail we came upon a family of 7 that had a problem with the rear wheel of their son's bike.....he had been 'bunny hopping' and "taco'd" the wheel.  I carry a spoke wrench with me, so I stopped to render some assistance.  We managed to get the wheel straight enough that they could finish the ride......


......they tell you at the ticket office that if you decide to take the shuttle it will be about an hour wait, but that is way too conservative an estimate.  On this day it was closer to 1 hour 45 minutes....the line was quite long......


....we spent a lot of time talking and laughing with the folks you see behind me, which passed the time quite nicely.....


 You can't even see the back of the line from our position here

....we were finally in the shuttle bus heading back to the St. Paul Pass Tunnel a little after 3 pm.  We were dropped off around 3:45 pm, rode back through the 1.6 mile tunnel, which seemed even colder and wetter this time around, and back at the car around 4:10 pm.....about as filthy as I have ever gotten mountain bike riding.  Here are some pictures of the bikes and TLE.....



 This is what happens when you don't have fenders and ride through mud!

....there will be a lot of cleaning of equipment and clothing Saturday!  By the time we had stowed our Camelbaks, and the bikes it was closing in on 5 pm, and the beginning of our hour plus drive home.  After stopping off at a local food truck court (just a block away from the Elks) called Prairie Pavilion Street-Eats.......


....there are about 10 trailers parked here next to a drive through coffee shack......I got a three taco combo plate form Las Brasas Mexican, and TLE some Chicken Curry from The Curry Shack, which we took home to consume....OMG what a great way to end a great day spent outdoors!

We have decided to spend an  additional night at the Elks Lodge as it will take the better part of Saturday to clean the bikes, and put away stuff in the trailer, and we did not feel like doing that Friday evening.  That is the beauty of the nomadic lifestyle.....our plans are written in Jello, and we have no specific deadlines to meet.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a awesome day it looked like you had even though you got a bit dirty.....all part of the experience. Looks like it is a popular activity with everyone and so awesome you stopped to help out your fellow man.....but knowing you guys I'm not surprised..... your good people 😁😁❤️❤️

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