Steve's trek across Idaho...

Trip Start Oct 01, 2010
Trip End Oct 01, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Sunday, October 16, 2011

(I'm sure Steve has a more inspirational story to tell but you are stuck with my version!)

Last minute I decided I'd ride a bike in order to meet up faster with Steve on his runs. We also got a trailing stroller so that Rusty could come along. Steve had to put the thing together the night before and I can just see what having kids is going to be like. Years of buying things and putting things together (money and time down the drain for a cutie-pa-tutie).

The morning of the run was not looking pretty. So much so that it started to hail! Why would you willingly go out in weather like that? This wasn't a race and no one was getting paid here. After some deliberation and my convincing, Steve decided to ride the bike to the first trailhead. He can peddle a lot faster then he can run and with not knowing the path in the back woods, horrible weather, potential beasts/crazy people, and having a bike, why not?

He got set up at Lookout Pass, one of only 3 ski resorts in between two states (MT & ID). I was going to wait 10 minutes just in case he couldn't find his way and needed to come back. We only had one phone and if it was going to work, I thought he should have it in case of an emergency. Paranoid, I waited 15 minutes and with no sign of Steve, drove to the first TH (Mullan). 

Steve was already there. He said it was pretty clear cut except for a four way intersection of sorts. He picked a direction and it happened to work out. Although he really wanted to run the entire state, he was glad that part was over with and now he could concentrate on the run.

At Mullan, we pulled out the trailer. I practiced pulling Rusty and he was not happy. He kept whimpering. (Baby!) (We ended up returning it.) 

We had to store everything in the RV. Putting the bike and trailer in and out of the RV was hard work. My arms and shoulders were sore for days.

The hail had stopped but it rained all day long. I wore a rain poncho but that'd be no fun to run in so Steve was soaked. Thankfully we had the RV so Steve could come back and change his clothes each time we met up. Big B looked more like a walk-in closet as we had spread all the clothes out on hangers, hoping they'd dry. 

Unfortunately the clothes were not drying and he went through half his closet (we have a limited amount in our wardrobe since we are living on the road) so last minute we found a laundromat that was open for another hour, in Kellogg. He was running out of things to wear and if the dirty stuff didn't dry, our RV was going to be super stinky! He got to bed early so he'd be charged for the next day. (After day one, I was beginning to think that maybe it'd be easier to just run with him. All the support efforts were wearing me out!)

That night we camped at the Smelterville Walmart. First day, 10 miles on bike and 20 of foot, and Steve had looked great! I was sure he'd be sore the next day after having not used his muscles for such a long period of time. 

The next morning, Steve's muscles were a bit tight but he set off with Rusty. I drove to the TH. This particular TH I was worried about when we scouted it out. The entrance was down a small hill, the lot was small and I couldn't see if any other vehicles were in the lot until after I was already committed into going down. (Remember we are 34' long and 9' wide.) Well sure enough, I pull into the tiny lot and see a SUV and a truck. I pulled in and I was amazed at how good my driving skills were. As I managed to reverse the RV and pull it next to some posts (so I could get out of the lot easier), I realized I was a bit too close to the posts. So as I'm totally praising myself for being this awesome driver, I start moving the RV about a foot or so. Then I heard this THUD. I look at the back up camera screen and realize I hit something. How bad could it be? I park, run to the back and see that the rear fiberglass panel got caught on one of the posts (driver's side) and ripped it in HALF! I was in total disbelief!! I suddenly got that scared feeling like I was in trouble (a very familiar feeling and more intense when you are an only child as I had no other siblings to blame the accident on!) so I try to push the thing back together to minimize the eye sore.

I waited patiently, biting my nails (which is not a normal habit of mine), for Steve. As he was on a short run, we agreed to just meet at the RV. I finally see him and run up to meet him. He's smiling and in his groove. I congratulate him and tell him, "I ran into something." He says, "Don't worry about it." Clearly he didn't understand the severity of my run in so I drag him over to see it. Then he says, "Well I guess the run is over now." My heart sank for him. I was thinking more like it's all over, the run and the USA road trip. UGH!!!

We called up the insurance company and sat around half the day hoping they'd send someone out. Wouldn't you know it, the sun came out (that's not a metaphor for this particular situation). As the day progressed, no call. Steve and I went back out to see if we could put it back together enough to drive. The real problem was not just that the 9' by 10' (or so) fiberglass panel was ripped in half (along with a large crack in the bumper) and we weren't sure that it would stay together, but that the gas tank fill area was dislodged. We got to work. Steve went under and pushed all the hoses back together and tightened the clamps. We taped up the fiberglass with some heavy duty tape, a whole lot of it! We took our chances that it was drivable.

Instead of waiting around, we decided to press on the next day with the run. The last TH I was suppose to meet him at was across a small bridge that had a height restriction. There was no way Big B could fit and I was also worried about her weight. So, I decided to drive another road we hadn't tried, in hopes it'd take me there and bypass the bridge. That road was kra-kra! Here I am on the side of a mountain, in a huge RV, that's kinda falling apart in the back, bumping along on an unpaved road. I was totally relying on the GPS to get me there. I had no way to turn around because it was only wide enough for Big B to be on let alone try to turn. It took about an hour to get to the TH but I made it. Luckily, it was one of Steve's longer runs and I still managed to get there, pull out the bike and meet up with him at the Springston TH. Since it was later in the day, we rushed back in the RV to avoid taking that dirt road back to civilization in the dark. Steve put in 30.4 miles that day and completed his longest single day run. So proud of him! 

We broke up the last part of the run so we could watch the Clemson game. (Hey, it's not every year we play this great!) Steve finished the Coeur d'Alene Trail so that was a good stopping point for the day. Finally, we were literally out of the woods! I had been riding my bike around with bear spray and clinking my bell, by shaking my wrist, every other second in case of wildlife. Steve had a bell clipped on and pepper spray in his pocket (wouldn't have done much to a bear or mountain lion but he could take down a couple lunatics) just in case. We never ran into anything too crazy but we did see some moose and deer. You could also hear gun fire from all the hunters, which along the trail had small no shooting signs...comforting. 

The Coeur d'Alene (CDA) Trail was an old train line that transported coal. There was contamination on the route so something needed to be done. They decided to pave it and then that allowed for people like us to make good use out of it. You do see signs to stay on the trail as the soil around the area is contaminated. So glad Steve found the trail because it was a perfect route through most of the state. 

I was usually able to meet Steve half way through his run so I got to see a good portion of the trail by bike. During the weekdays, we never saw another person on the trail but on the weekend, we'd come across bikers every now and then. We heard the Hiawatha Trail is even better for biking as it's got some cool tunnels. So one day we'll go back for that. Running/biking was definitely a better way to really take in northern Idaho than to quickly drive through. 

The last day of the run, Steve was in pain. The accumulation of the days had worn on him but he had another 10 miles to go. Steve and Rusty trudged along. I parked the RV by some crazy looking power station, hoping the cops wouldn't be called for fear of a terrorist threat. Unfortunately, that is a sign of the times we are living in, right? It's probably not common to see vehicles parked in the area, let alone Big B! Then I biked over to meet the boys and we finished together because that's how we do! I still think Steve's insane but he's my little weirdo!

To reward us, Steve got us a couples massage and a nice dinner at the CDA Casino and Resort. I know what you are thinking: Idaho, casino, spa? It actually turned out to be first class! I got the Circling Raven massage and Steve got the Ssakwaqn massage. We got to enjoy their jacuzzis, huge private vanity rooms (which they even said we could share, saucy...we didn't though because we were selfish in wanting the experience all to ourselves), edible delights (nuts and dried fruits) and delicious drinks (fruit infused water and gourmet Forte teas). It was so worth the days in the rain! We won money at the casino ta boot!!

Take life for all it's worth and you will be kindly rewarded!
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