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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Misrouting Coeur d'Alene, ID, Thursday, 25 August 2011 5:17am

I wanted to do a bicycle ride on a Rails-to-Trails path (The Hiawatha Trail) that includes a bunch of really long rail tunnels. However, the tour company that does the trip out of Coeur d'Alene didn't have enough people to run one. They mentioned that I could just go to Lookout Pass and rent a bicycle and do it without a guide.

So I rode out to Lookout Pass (which is in Montana, it turns out, though almost all of the trail is in Idaho), and discovered a snag. The place where you rent the bikes is miles away from the trailhead. Their rental policy assumes that you have a car to load the bike into to get to the actual trail. It's possible to ride the bicycle to the trailhead, but it involves 12 uphill miles, and with the time that would take, the rental place would almost certainly be closed by the time I was done with the ride. Oh well.

On the way back, I decided to take a scenic alternate route. Because I'd been packing light, in anticipation of a bicycle ride, I didn't have my map with me. Luckily, there was a posted sign with a map. Unluckily, it didn't have distances marked. It turned out to be several hours of riding, mostly along the edge of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Nice views, but I would have liked to know what I was getting into before I set out.

In the late afternoon, I headed over to the North Idaho State Fair. The highlights for the day were "Mutton Bustin'" and Motocross.

Mutton Bustin' is a sport that I hadn't heard of before. It's kind of like bull-riding in a rodeo, except instead of a bull they use a sheep, and instead of a cowboy, they use a child (minimum age 3, maximum age 6). The goal is to hold on to the sheep as it runs and bucks for 6 seconds. I think the longest any of the kids I saw managed was 5.15 seconds. Those sheep can really move!

Watching motocross (dirtbikes on a course with jumps and mud) was fun, but in almost every case first place was locked up in the first turn. There was one women's race where the leader crashed in the last lap and didn't win, but usually the rider who got the holeshot never looked back. One racer (#222) won every pro race. Second place was a bit more interesting, though.

227mi in 11:57

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