August 11, 2008

"Route of the Hiawatha"

A few weekends ago, we went for a family bike ride on the "Route of the Hiawatha." It's a 'rails to trails' ride in northern Idaho along the Montana border, just over Lookout Pass off of I-90. We've ridden it before, the first summer we lived here in Spokane. That time we towed the girls in our Burley and did about half the trail down and then back up. Not surprisingly, the girls don't remember a bit of it--they were 18 months and 3 1/2 then.

This time we did the main 15 mile section in a downhill direction that is serviced by shuttle busses which bring riders back up to the top (I didn't ride the shuttle bus--is it a railbed after all, only a 1-1.5% grade). This time the girls each proudly rode their own bikes and Sal did trailer duty (which means asking lots of questions and shining flashlights in the tunnels).

Once a scenic train ride, it is now a great leisurely downhill bike cruise through old train tunnels and trusses (restored and safe). The ride starts with a long, 1.8 mile tunnel that is dark and cool. Going from afternoon sunshine to pitch black of the tunnel is a little disorienting. Luckily, I recently got a new powerful LED mountain biking light that I use for commuting at night, which amply lit up the dark so the girls didn't hesitate to enter the tunnel. However, we didn't bring jackets, and after pedaling for twenty minutes in the dark, we were all a little numb and chilly.

We hauled a nice picnic in the trailer and stopped along the way to eat. Temps in the mid 80s were ideal and we only stopped for photos, a potty break, and a few times when the girls hands started hurting. Near the end the kids were getting a little weary, but didn't complain. I was more than pleased with how well they did.

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.


The first tunnel.


The crew.


Veep and Sal. My full suspension bike won't hook up to the trailer--bummer.


Lunchtime. Sal is liking PB&J these days, especially on his face.


Schmoopie digs turkey sandwiches.


Family photo op.


Schmoopie on the biggest truss.


Don't look down.


North Idaho is greener than Southern Idaho.


Boofis is intense about her biking.


Sal isn't.




Man down.


More scenery.


The end.



  1. Hey! Purely by accident I found your wife's blog which links to your blog. Forgive me, but I thought I'd say hi rather than ignore that I found you guys. I ran into Cary a few years back at Velour in Provo where he was playing and he said you were becoming a radiologist. Congratulations- you did become. I think the last time I bumped into you, you were newly wed and I was leaving on a mission. It is surprising to bump into you on the web after more than a decade. You have a great family. Take Care.