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Three States, Two Tanks, One Day
May 26, 2007


We decided to take a last-minute Memorial Day weekend trip. Just a day trip – nothing too serious. The plan was simple: head to Wallace, Idaho, and enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. We got up early and strapped the bikes to the car, filled the tank, and settled in for a nice drive.

We drove up highway 195 to Spokane and then popped over to I-90. We stopped at the visitors’ center at the Washington/Idaho border, and found loads of great information on the Inland Northwest, some of which came in handy for the day's trip, others that will come in handy for a future trip to some great destination.

The trip from Pullman to Wallace is a little shy of three hours, but we managed to drag it out a bit further by making a stop at the Cataldo Mission for a quick tour around. We took the time to see both the Mission and the mission house next door, and were both pleasantly impressed with the modesty of it all. We took some neat photographs, including one where the church appeared to have a giant halo directly above it.

Once we made it to Wallace, we parked the car and got on the bikes for a quick ride through town. We found a great little place for lunch and then headed back out on the bikes. Near the trail is the Wallace Depot Museum, and as a love for all things railroad runs deep in Frances' family, we just has to stop and take a look inside. While it may be a humble rail structure compared to Grand Central Station, it is certainly a beautiful piece of American history.

Finally, we made our way to the trail. And we were a little disappointed by it. Because many of the major roadways were built alongside existing railway lines, and many of those lines have become "rails-to-trails" projects, it means that great stretches of the trail were just a few yards from the busy I-90 corridor. That's great if there's no traffic, but on a holiday weekend, it was just too noisy to be enjoyable. But none the less, we got a nice little ride in.

Once we got back to the car, we realized that there was still plenty of time left in the day, though we were too worn out to do more riding. However, as we were oh-so-close to Montana, and that is the nearest state in which to buy the special ingredient for "Dad's Cough Syrup," we decided to continue east for a bit to the Silver Dollar, just inside the Montana border. After losing $2 in the slot machines, we got our spirits and headed back west. It wasn't much of a first visit to Montana for Paul, but it still counts and means that he only has 42 more states to go until he has the whole set!  

Of course, the gas light was on by then, so we stopped at the next exit to fill-'er-up again. We made a quick stop in Spokane for dinner and continued the journey home. It was certainly a whirlwind trip, but we enjoyed every minute of it. Thankfully, it's a three-day weekend, so we can recover from the excitement of the Wild West!

See more photos here

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