We had another full day in Coeur d'Alene ahead of us, but the day after our long ride on the Centennial Trail in Idaho and Washington State (Part 1 and Part 2 of that ride), we knew we needed a shorter, more relaxing ride. Pedaling east to Lake Coeur d'Alene on the Centennial Trail's eastern terminus filled the bill perfectly as it would be under 30 miles round trip.
Unfortunately, we didn't have as pretty a day as the sunny day before; it was overcast and even a bit on the cool side with the occasional light sprinkle, but not bad enough to keep us indoors.
When we were driving into Coeur d'Alene from the east, I was amazed at the size of the lake, so I looked up some specs. The lake covers nearly 32,000 acres, is 27 miles long (though I found another source that said 23 miles), and ranges from one to three miles wide. It's also very deep: 197' at the deepest point. Wowza! Of course we only saw a small portion of this huge lake.
Here's a map showing the Centennial Trail (in red) running along the northern portion of the lake (full-size PDF file here). I-90 is shown in orange.
Starting out from our hotel and riding a couple of miles to access the trail near mile marker 13, we headed east and soon saw bustling downtown Coeur d'Alene up ahead. Since our hotel was a bit west of downtown, this was the first time we'd seen it. The pictures we took on this cloudy day just don't do it justice.
We had no idea that the city was gearing up for the annual Coeur d'Alene full Ironman over the coming weekend. Even though it was only Thursday, they were already getting the staging area in the park ready with tents and barriers. Some athletes had already arrived and were picking up their packets as well. We were really glad we weren't coming through here any later in the week as it would have been a zoo.
We got a little lost getting through downtown as the trail detours onto the road and the markings were not the best, as on the western part of the trail the day before. Finally we saw a marker and continued east out of town, enjoying more views of the lovely lake.
I-90 runs far above the lake on this impressive bridge, which we drove on on our way to Coeur d'Alene. You can see the trail in the lower left side of the photo.
We rode to mile marker 23 at Higgens Point, where there's a boat access. I guess this is the official end of the trail, but there is a short paved spur up a fairly steep hill to a beautiful picnic/park area up high, so we continued on the short distance to check it out and take a quick snack break. Somehow we didn't take photos of the pretty area up there; a shame.
Turning around and heading back, we saw more riders on both trail and road by this time. Some were recreational cyclists like us, but some were clearly Ironman competitors scouting out the bike route, part of which would run on lakeside road. Despite being along the lake, there are a couple of decent hills, so all of us got a workout!
Unfortunately, things took a bad turn when we returned through downtown. I dropped and killed my ancient but very dependable digital camera on a concrete sidewalk in the park, and then I took a fall on my bike after pushing a crosswalk button on a slanted sidewalk and losing my balance. Owie!
The camera was really a mercy killing, as my brother Adam so aptly put it. It had been having issues with blurriness in certain lighting conditions due to a scratched-up lens, so I had been needing to replace it anyway.
As for me, I banged up my ribs on the left side when I hit the pavement hard, scratched up my right calf on the chainring, and hurt the palm of my left hand. It took a couple of weeks to heal up, especially the ribcage pain, so I expect I bruised a couple of ribs pretty good.
We ended the day with a nice dinner at a good Italian place right across the street from our hotel called Tomato Street. My vegetable pasta entree was so huge I even had enough to put in the cooler for the next day! Barry's manicotti was a much more reasonable size, and he managed to finish it off.
We had a coupon for a free dessert from our hotel, so we chose to split the deliciously decadent Oreo Fried Ice Cream. Slurp!
Stay tuned -- our next stop is Washington State!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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