Our tour starts with a short trip by van to the beginning of the Centennial Trail in Riverside Park, Spokane. Both of our tour guides are named Connor so we distinguish with their initial from their last names – Connor M (mature) and Connor Y (young). They both are very young, 24 and 22. The 12 people on the tour, including us, are over the age of 60, some 70 and maybe even an 80 year old. Everyone owns a Pedego electric bike except for Steve and our friends from Sarasota. 7 people are from California, 1 from Washington and us 4 from Florida.
Connor M gives us a safety talk, Connor Y assigns us our bikes for the week, and both help make the necessary adjustments to fit us. A little practice spin around the parking lot and we are off!
The trail is beautiful and mostly tree-lined until we come into the city of Spokane. A few short rides on the roads are necessary as are a few hills. Thank goodness for the electric bike boost! This initial stretch of the ride is around 12 miles.
The temperatures are creeping up. The stop for lunch at a restaurant in downtown is welcome just for the air-conditioning. Bikes have to be locked up before we enter. The guides have a good system until the lock doesn’t work properly when we are ready to leave. Lots of men fiddling with it until finally it is opened by fellow-traveler Michael and we are back on our way.
Back through the downtown portion of Riverside Park and we find the trail. More road riding to the next stop with refreshments and water provided by Connor Y. This part of the trail is somewhat tree lined as we follow the Spokane River, another 12 miles…Crossing a foot bridge, we see the locks attached to the bridge – Brooklyn bridge wanna-be?
The temperatures are climbing well in to the 90’s with humidity at 25% – a dry heat but still heat. No one seems to be stopping during their ride unless something interesting pops up. There are people swimming in the river and kayaking – even though we are told by Connor M that it is polluted due to mining further up the river.
The last section of this ride weaves toward the river and toward the interstate I-90, not a pretty portion of the ride. We meet up with the van at the promised total of 35 miles. This is where Steve reports his bike throttle has not been working. So basically, Steve rode 35 miles without the ability to throttle – just the pedal assist was working so he had to pedal the entire time. Way to go Steve!
Connor M encourages us to ride another 6 miles to cross the Washington to Idaho state line. Most are up for the challenge. Everyone stops at the border where there is a rock to mark the state line.
Back into the van and to the hotel in Coeur d’Alene to shower and have dinner at the Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery. Great first day!