Day 21: Kalispell to Thompson Falls
The most interesting day of the trip so far! After enjoying a hot shower at McGregor Lakes RV ( which is ranked number one for having the nicest shower house so far) I took off down highway 2 for about eight miles. Cody decided to stay at the turnoff to take some photos of the eclipse. I switched bikes to ride 50 miles of gravel road down to Thompson Falls. The ride was incredibly scenic. I saw only five or so cars over the course of 3 hours and had very little cell service.
Towards the middle of my ride, just after the peak of the eclipse, I came around a corner and crossing the road about 50 feet in front of me was a grizzly bear. I put on my brakes and the grizzly stopped and turned to stare at me. I realized that I’d left my bear spray in my bike bag and the only thing I had on me was a water bottle. We stared at each other for about 30 seconds before he took off into the woods. I backtracked a bit to try and gather myself and decide what to do next. I could sit there and wait for Cody, or I could try and ride down the road right past where the bear had gone into the woods. After a couple minutes, I decided to ride on and tried to make noise by riding slowly and whistling. I rode slowly about 100 yards past where he went in and then pedalled as hard as I could for a mile. I was glad for the experience, but realized I needed to be more diligent with protection.
We didn’t have a place scheduled in Thompson Falls so we decided to camp in on US Forest Land. We found a really neat spot on the river and enjoyed swimming and the quiet isolation of the location. Find campgrounds near Thompson Falls.
Thompson Falls, Montana, is a cool small town located on the along the Clark Fork River. Surrounded by national forest, this is the great area for outdoor recreation. The landscape is filled with old growth forests, waterfalls, wildflowers, mountain lakes, and a variety of wildlife. Mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, and winter sports are all popular activities here. We ate at Big Eddy’s Deck Bar and enjoyed a really good panini on the deck overlooking the water. For breakfast we ate at Minnie’s which had massive portions, the omelettes fill up the entire plate. I definitely would have liked to have spent more time in Thompson Falls.
Day 22: Thompson Falls to Kingston
Montana is in the books! I climbed up the Thompson pass to the Idaho border. At the state line there is a gorgeous view point into Idaho. It’s also a nice downhill for about 10 miles, which I was glad for after the 2,500-foot elevation gain to the top.
I was riding along Prichard Creek which flows into the Coeur d’Alene River and has the clearest water I’ve ever seen in a river. I came to a spot with a big 20 foot rock ledge and an azure blue pool. It seemed not jumping in would be a crime, so I jumped in and enjoyed a refreshing swim. I watched a fly fisherman reel in an 18″ cutthroat. It’s definitely the most beautiful river I’ve ever been on.
We stayed at Country Lane Resort in Kingston, Idaho, which is right on the river. The owner (Tracy) went above and beyond to ensure our stay was the fantastic. The best way to describe the property is it’s setup to entertain. We received a personal tour from Tracy via her “Uber,” a golf cart she cruises the park in. They have a grandstand on the water for live music shows, a tiki bar, and a bar and restaurant across the road. And to top it all off, one of their long term tenants actually took an old satellite dish and converted it into the “redneck hot tub club.”
We lucked out and got a beautiful site right on the river with steps going down to a crystal clear swimming hole. After setting up camp, we went back over to the restaurant where Tracy had paid her weekend Chef (Frank) to drive an hour up and cook us a steak dinner. The ribeye steak was perfectly cooked and was a huge cut of meat. After dinner we hung out with the local crowd of 15 or so. Tracy introduced us to a special drink concoction made from fresh picked huckleberries mixed with a vanilla cream rum. Wow! For breakfast I tried their bloody Mary (don’t miss this) and I had a breakfast burrito that makes a Chipotle burrito look like an appetizer. Click here to learn more about Country Lane Resort or explore campgrounds near Kingston, Idaho.
Popular family activities in this area include fishing, biking, river floating, paddling, hunting, and just enjoying the beautiful river.
Day 23: Kingston to Coeur d’Alene
The ride started out uneventful with a nice paved road and light traffic along the river. Suddenly, I heard a crashing sound in the brush along the road and two animals came flying into the road just in front of me. I quickly realized it was a cow moose and her calf and I immediately turned around and pedaled about 70 yards or so back. She hung out in the road for a good 5 minutes staring me down. Finally a pickup came by and scared them back into the woods.
The ride was nice, I was on the Coeur d’Alene trail system. They have built hundreds of miles of trails around the lake. We spent some time in Coeur d’Alene, what a fun town! They had live bands in the park by the lake and the downtown was busy. There are lots of great food options, and you can’t beat the views of the lake and mountains. Find camping near Coeur d’Alene.
The city of Coeur d’Alene is surrounded by 55 beautiful lakes, making it a great destination for water activities. The Tubbs Hill Nature Trails, North Idaho Centennial Trail, and Coeur d’Alene Trail System are popular for biking, hiking, and spectacular views. If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy the wilderness, head to the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.
Day 24: Coeur d’Alene to Harvard
We continued south to Harvard, Idaho, to a park called Pines RV Park. Dennis and Robin are the new owners who took over the property just over a year ago. The property was in shambles when they bought it, and they’ve spent a year cleaning things up. They’ve done a wonderful job! Their goal has been to build a family friendly park, and they’ve done just that. The property offers a community pavilion, badminton court, volleyball court, a field golf course, an event center, playground area, small store, bathrooms, and showers. If you’re lucky enough to stay on Thursday night (which we did), Robin cooks a potluck style meal for all the campers. It’s a great way to get to know others in the park! Discover campgrounds near Harvard, Idaho.
There is lots to do around Harvard, Idaho, with hundreds of miles of ATV/snowmobile trails and a 40 mile loop of single track for mountain biking, cross country skiing, or hiking. They have great hunting and fishing in the area, and there is a herd of elk that will periodically come through.
I got the chance to sit down with Robin and show her the Camp Native system. She said, “You know, you guys coming here has made a big difference, this system seems to meet all my needs. I would have been skeptical if you called but having time with you to demo it has helped me realize that I could manage my entire property with Camp Native.”
We are excited to add this wonderful property to Camp Native!
Day 25: Harvard to Moscow
I had a shorter 30 mile ride over Moscow Mountain to get to Moscow, Idaho. I was on gravel roads most of the day and saw some great looking singletrack on Moscow Mountain.
Moscow is home to the University of Idaho and is less than 10 miles from Pullman, Washington, which is home to Washington State University. It definitely has a young, hip vibe to it. We enjoyed the college town happy hour specials at Tap and Slice, you get a free slice of pizza with every beer you buy! Moscow also has a movement away from tipping in restaurants. Several bars and restaurants have gone to a no tip standard which makes the food a bit more expensive but it all evens out when you consider the tip. It’s kind of an odd experience for Americans, you feel like you’re shorting the wait staff.
There isn’t much for campgrounds in Moscow, but they do have an RV park called Rambler RV Park. It has hookups but no bathrooms or showers so it works well for an RV but not so much if you’re tent camping. For outdoor recreation, head to Moscow Mountain for some amazing hiking and mountain biking. In town, the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the Moscow Farmers Market, Spring Valley Reservoir, and a handful of museums are popular with locals and visitors.