Off into the sunset I rode…on to Idaho


I will keep this short because I have much ground to cover today. I stayed and played polo in Spokane yesterday, planning to head out in the late afternoon–but fun and friends are hard to part with, so I didn’t end up rolling out until about 6:30. I said goodbye to the newest members of my polo family and headed towards downtown Spokane and on to Riverfront Park to catch the trailed for the Centennial trail. There is a myriad of criss crossing paths and bridges in and around the park, so I had to ask at several points which one was still the centennial. The trail was mainly embedded in parks and followed the river nearly all the way; a few stretches were on the roadside, separated from traffic by just a strip of white paint. At some point I unknowingly veered off the trail, at a point where it broke apart inside a park…and I ended up back on the road thinking that was where it went. I faced a number of formidable hills (and I’ll ride clipless for life because of them) over the 25ish mile stretch into Idaho. I was confused about the distance to Couer d’Alene, the first major city in Idaho, and was advised it was 35 miles from Spokane, but shortly before crossing the state line I learned it is another 24 from there. Having polo’ed myself silly for the last 3 days, my energy levels were waning. I stopped about 10 miles in to adjust my load and redistribute the weight, twice more for being pretty close to lost, and once for dinner at about 9-when the last of the day’s light was making its exit. I pedalled through the last stretch as quick as I could, following the river, hearing only the rush of the water and the whirr of my cassette. At about 10:45 I crossed state line and no more than 20 feet later my front light gave out. Now I was on the North Idaho section of the trail, and it has veered away from the river to run alongside highway 90. At least it wasn’t as dark as some of the other stretches. To my left lay a wide open expanse of field, dotted with trees and billboard towers. I went off the trail about a mile into the state and rolled out my tarp and sleeping bag about 200 feet from the trail, 300 from the highway underneath a billboard for a nearby hotel. I leaned my bike against the wide pole, took in the semi-mystical surroundins, still and quiet under a moonless sky, and bid the world goodnight. I woke up at daybreak around 4, sat up to take in the purpley bluish announcement of the new day, edged with Orange and dotted with slippery, stretched out clouds, and went back to sleep until 6:30. I’ve had a couple PB&Js and improved my load distribution again, now I’m off to pedal into the day. I am 235 miles from my next destination, Glacier Park in northern Montana. Hopefully the enormous mosquitos won’t eat me alive before then.


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