Today started out.... perfectly. We asked a local where to go for coffee in Mullan, and were pointed in the direction of The Bitter Root.
The coffee house has only been open a few months, but the service was fantastic, the coffee was good, and their cinnamon rolls were HUGE! Plus, they had free Wi-fi. We sat in there for a few hours, enjoying the quiet and the luxury of the internet.
We weren't in a rush. We knew that today was going to be cake. Riding (slightly) downhill. On a paved trail. We've braved through so many other, more difficult trails. This would be no problem. But after our ride yesterday, we needed to make sure to start off with some bikey stretching.
There were a few challenges during our 58 mile ride today.
- Sometimes on the path, there are small sticks and leaves. And even pinecones. We had to watch out for those.
- The kamikazi grasshoppers were back with a vengence. Spattering through the spokes, into our faces, smacking our legs as they jumped at us. We would recommend you wear sunglasses.
- Sometimes we did have to pedal. Even though it's mostly downhill, there are some flatter spots. And leading up to a gorgeous footbridge there's usually a little incline.
- There was plenty of wildlife. We didn't run across any Idaho Bears. We did, however, run across plenty of Idaho Gators in the swamp-land. But we rang our bells and called "hey, gator!" and they didn't bother us.
- More concerning than the gators, though, were the Pturd-dactiles. They were all over the swamp-land! When they take off, they hypnotize you with their beauty. And then they crop-dust their generous amounts of poo. We saw plenty of evidence that the trail was a regular target, but luckily we were able to avoid getting poo-ed on. We didn't get a picture of one because we were cowering in fear, but here's an artist's rendering. The ones we saw were... bluish greyish.
- We weren't able to avoid the bees, though. About 10 miles into our ride, a bee flew into my hair and couldn't get out. I screamed and totally freaked out, but managed to stop without crashing my bike. The boys caught up with me as I was ruffling my hair wildly and twitching. I had to explain that I wasn't going crazy.
Shortly after that, it happened again. Except the bee flew in my ear, got stuck, and stung me. Ugh. Kyle pulled out the first aid and we decided I should keep my hair UP. At about mile 45, Eric got stung on his chin when a bee got caught in his chinstrap. He managed to be a lot more calm about it than I was when I got stung. Whatever.
- Boredom was a big challenge during our ride today. The boys would get bored of going downhill in a straight line, and would make up their own wavy lines. Or would race. Eric would go fast, then slow. It would have been quite ironic if we didn't crash on any of the other majorly difficult trails, but instead crashed on the tamest one.
- It was a hot day, and while we were pretty certain we would have access to water along the trail, that wasn't the case. Most of the water is undrinkable - even when filtered. And while they have built bathrooms along the trail, they are pit toilets and there's no water. Praise God for the Park Ranger that we came across at around mile 40! He had a giant.... thing... of water in the back of his little truck, and we gratefully filled up our water bottles and had enough to make it the rest of the way.
- Ben and Kyle discovered that they both had sweat spots on their butts towards the end of the ride. This developed into a competition of who could get a picture of the other person's butt. They walked backwards, they did track-stands, pretty much anything to keep their butts away from each other. But Kyle won. We came across a bald eagle's nest, and Ben stopped to take pictures. While Ben took pictures of the bald eagle...
Kyle took pictures of Ben's butt.
We did hit the milestone of 200 cumulative miles today. We had to have a little celebration.
So you can see that the Trail of Coeur D'Alenes has its own treachery. But we felt pretty accomplished as we rolled into Harrison and found our adorable hotel, the Lakeview Lodge. It's been undergoing renovations, but the inside of our room is beautiful and the outside front is looking nice. The back is still not done but there's a deck with a perfect view of the lake. After we all cleaned up, we had ice cream, then ate dinner at an established bar/grill called One Shot Charlie's. The sunset from the view of our deck was amazing!