Where Day 1 included lots of traffic, descents and ascents, Day 2 was a much steadier and more nature filled day of adventure. I started the day off at The Cycle Haus where I had some great coffee, met the owner, and checked out some cycling merchandise. They have an awesome carving of the entire Couer D’Alene trail in the coffee shop; I’d highly recommend checking this out if you are passing through!
After my morning coffee and breakfast, I ventured onto 40+ miles of steady trail for the day on my way to Pullen, Idaho. I saw a ton of wildlife (deer, coyotes, eagles, ducks) but no moose or bears, which i was pretty comfortable with. Again, the weather was gorgeous but very hot. The trail itself was incredible to ride on, and curved through forests, lakes, and mountains. I felt by far this was one of the most scenic routes I’ve ever cycled, and this stretch was fantastic to ride.
I took a break at the Snake Pit in Kingston, ID and had a nice lunch on the patio. I went for a full BBQ lunch and left nothing behind, including some more huckleberry ice cream for dessert. From here, the remaining portion of the day was uneventful. I stayed at an RV camp in Pullen where I was camped near a gazeebo, surrounded by RV’s. I met a nice couple who was taking their husky across country and entering her in dog shows.
While the Couer D’Alene trail was a fantastic ride, like all good things it must come to an end. I hit the trail up to Mullan Idaho, while passing through some great small towns like Kellogg, Silverton, and Osborn. I stopped in at a great cycling store, Excelsior Cycle & Sport Shop, and picked up some great socks and gloves, which I eventually forgot and left behind the following day. The route for the day continued with gorgeous scenery and started to get into mining country. Lots of equipment around and lots of union workers including protest signs and scab signs posted up around the towns.
Hitting the end of the Couer D’Alene trail, the next part of the route took me onto the North Pacific Trail…. Well, almost onto it. I missed a very tiny sign and went up the Idaho Centennial Trail by mistake for about 3 miles, uphill. Once I realized this I came back down and started back up the right trail. A driver passed by and heeding warnings of moose ahead, but to my delight I saw none.
As I continued up the North Pacific Trail, the dirt road conditions were favorable and allowed me to climb at a decent pace. The first half of the switchback wasn’t too bad, but the road conditions got worse over time. I passed into Montana, and eventually hit Lookout Pass, which was the top point and home to a local ski resort. The Park Rangers were just leaving but I was able to get in and refill my water before heading back down the mountain. The trail was rough, filled with tons of rocks and holes since winter had just ended, but it was manageable on 37cc tires. The descent lead for some epic views, but had to take it slow due to the numerous potholes and large rocks on the trail.
About halfway down, I hit a tunnel which I had seen photos of and read about. It was a bit terrifying to enter, and I was worried about any animals that could be hanging out in the actual tunnel. Fortunately, the worst part of the tunnel was the fact that it was a bit damp and muddy. The descent continued after this, which was a relief after hours of climbing up. I continued on the North Pacific trail, and hit Saltese MT where I decided to book a motel room. There was a campground about another 15-20 miles up but I figured for $40 and a bar down the street, this wasn’t a bad deal. At the manigold store, where I was staying, there were two children screaming to try and sell goods, which I don’t think helped there cause very much. I met a couple from Cedar City, Utah and went down to the one bar, “Montana Bar” down the street. After a couple shots, a pizza, and a bird flying into the bar, I decided to call it a night.