My journey has almost taken me to one of this fine country’s Pacific coastal states. I’m 18 miles from Spokane, Washington, but I must say that Idaho has certainly delivered with scenery, hospitality, and comfort.
Wallace, Idaho was my next stop. As I rode into Wallace I felt déjà vu like I’ve seen this place before. I soon discovered why I felt this way. I made my way to the Wallace RV Park and found a brochure proclaiming Wallace as the #1 Hollywood movie site in Idaho not only for Lana Turner being born there, but also by having had films like “Tornado”, “Heaven’s Gate”, and “Dante’s Peak” filmed there. Having seen “Dante’s Peak” many times I realized that’s why the town looked so familiar. It’s funny how our minds can file such an image away for years and retrieve it so quickly. I did some shopping at the Silver Pine Mercantile, a delightful shop that had a vast array of unique items for sale. I found myself tempted, but managed to only window shop during my stay in Wallace.
Kellogg, Idaho was my next stop. As you enter this town you see a sign that reads “This is the town founded by a jackass and inhabited by his descendants.” I, of course, needed to find out why such a sign would be posted. I found a local diner and soon found myself in an energetic conversation with the locals about Noah Kellogg, a prospector who founded this fine city. Legend has it that his donkey wandered off in 1885. When Kellogg found the donkey he was grazing in an outcropping of galena, a natural mineral form of lead sulfide. This outcropping became the site for the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mines. There were many colorful tales to be heard from some of this town’s elders. It never ceases to amaze me how friendly people can be if we just stop and allow them to be them.
A tour of Old Mission State Park capped off my trip through this region before arriving in the last town of Idaho on this route. The Sacred Heart Mission is the oldest building in Idaho and was built without using a single nail. This mission was started by Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet, Fr. Nicholas Point, and Br. Charles Duet at the request of the Coeur D’Alene Indians. My visit here was well worth the time.
As I peddled on towards Coeur d’Alene I enjoyed the feel of spring, the quiet of the forest, and the closeness I felt to God. The surrounding forest is rugged and dense. My mind thought about how settlers came through this area in covered wagons hoping to find a new life and the riches of finding gold. Riding along the edge of I-90 suited me fine because I can only imagine how many people lost their lives striving for a new life while trying to make it through this forest range.
Having been through many small towns while making my way through Idaho, it was nice to know that Coeur d’Alene would have the much needed bike specialists to do some maintenance work on my bike and for me to spend some days snooping around and learning more about the history of this town, the Native Americans it was named after, and to see what a little publicity by Barbara Walters calling it “a little slice of Heaven” could do to help bolster the economy here. At least now the state of Idaho will mean more to me than just a potato state.
And on the real side of this trip it has once again taken me longer to go through the state of Idaho than I had hoped as I continue to deal with health issues. Not serious ones, but ones that require doctor appointments that seem to drain me of my energy. I have been told that I have the beginnings of one of the health issues that eventually took my father’s life. It was a true eye-opener making me realize that one shouldn’t wait to lose weight after the body has been stressed by the excess weight it has carried for so many years. This health news took me on a historical journey back in time to the days when my father was alive, healthy, and vibrant. I thought about things we did together as a family, vacations we went on, Sunday excursions, and sitting around the kitchen table on a blustery winter Saturday playing cards. This journey made me realize just how important and precious life is. It has impressed upon me the importance of making my virtual bike trip a priority in my life and that healthy eating is that much more important now.
Like those settlers who trekked through the Coeur d’Alene forest searching for a new life, I find myself realizing that for the past 2 years I have been creating the basis for a new and healthier life by continuing on this biking journey, virtual though it is. I hope, with this new information on my health, that I stay motivated to ride my bike every day even if it’s only a mile or two. Like a former co-worker told me when I complained about only having 15-20 minutes to work on a quilt, her comment to me was “You add up all those 15-20 minutes and pretty soon your quilt will be done.” If I add up each of those miles I do each day, I will eventually reach my goal and hopefully will find myself a whole lot thinner and healthier.
So take an historical journey in your own life and think about what it was like growing up, what things you enjoyed, what things you’d like to change, and where you see yourself in the future. You may find yourself saying “I don’t want to end up like Dad did” and then doing something to prevent the same mistakes he made. Eating healthier has become my new P L A N along with going the distance on this virtual trip of mine. May God bless you all.