Day 6: Spokane, Washington to Wallace, Idaho – 6th August
So the COA Team were up early today as a long day of 130kms cycling lay ahead. We began by taking the busy I-90 out of Spokane which was treacherous in parts. It was then that Will suggested we jump on a parallel road to the I-90 which “looks like it runs all the way to Wallace”. Needless to say after a few minutes of following this parallel road, we were off course by a few miles and sought out the I-90 again. By the time we rejoined the Interstate, the rush-hour traffic had thinned a lot and we had no problems getting up a great pace to arrive at the Washington/Idaho State Line after about 90 minutes. Some passing bikers were kind enough to shoot a picture for us. We kept up this blistering pace to arrive into the town of Couer D’Alene for our mid-morning snack. We had covered over 50 kilometres in a couple of hours so our sambos and Powerade were well deserved.
Just after Couer D’Alene, there was a long uphill drag for about ten kilometres before we reached the shady cover of the Couer D’Alene National Forest. On the other side of the climb, Will punctured on the downhill. Mark was scene walking away with a chisel in hand but the two incidents remain unconnected.
After a brief re-stock from the support team, we pushed on through small towns like Cataldo, Kingston, Pinhurst, Smelterville, Osburn and Kellogg – where Rob and Donal enjoyed a cable car ride to the top of the ski hill. There is no snow up there at this time of year though. Actually we keep seeing road signs like “Bridge liable to ice” and “Beware slippery when cold” – you can only laugh when we roll by in 90F heat!
We eventually made it to the small town of Wallace by 330pm – a distance of 138kms covered. We had secured accommodation in the Stardust Motel thanks to the generosity of the owner Rick Shaffer, but there was a mix up in the jerseys when we arrived which meant we had no such reservation. Luckily Rick is the owner of the best two hotels in Wallace so he kindly offered us accommodation in the Wallace Inn instead. We immediately enjoyed a dip in the swimming pool and headed for dinner O’Rourkes – the hotel’s restaurant.
Wallace is a quaint little town nestled just off the Interstate with less than a thousand people living there. The town is known as the Silver Capital of the World due to its mining exploits, and everything about the town shouts 19th Century. There’s no Starbucks, no 7-11s, and it has a real hometown feel to the place. Unfortunately for 5 twentysomethings on a Friday night, this meant there was not a lot to do about town at night. But we were glad to hit the beds early and get prepped for another long ride tomorrow.