First impressions: Fantastic fall foliage, clean, bike-friendly city, easy to navigate, nice parks, incredible vistas, great centennial trail, rainy.
Arrived at the small airport at noon, rented a car, and headed directly to Spoke ‘N Sport. Pete set us up on a couple hybrids for our quick tour of Spokane. Just a half hour after landing, we’re pedaling through Riverfront Park, meandering by Gonzaga University where the fall’s display was in its full glory.
Despite the brisk, wet weather, there were many runners (one stud without a shirt), bikers, and skateboarders about. In addition to nature’s displays, the city also features many outdoor art sculptures.
A little history:
Built in 1911, the 896 foot Monroe Street Bridge spans the Spokane River, which flows at 7,946 cubic feet per second here. The Spokane River is a tributary of the Columbia River, approximately 111 miles long, in northern Idaho and eastern Washington. At one time, Spokane was internationally known for its fishing, including Chinook, steelhead and coho salmon and, above the falls, a huge population of cutthroat trout. Sadly, those days are long gone.The Little Falls Dam, built in 1911 had only had a rudimentary fish ladder and the Long Lake Dam built in 1915 didn’t have one at all. In 1939, the Grand Coulee Dam blocked the Columbia, which sealed the salmon off from the entire Spokane River and thus destroyed a dietary staple and way of life of the Spokane Indians and many other tribe’s.
We managed to get in some great views of Spokane Falls, Riverfront Park and cruise an upscale neighborhood on Summit Road before the rain became more insistent.
Very enjoyable afternoon spent in Spokane. Would like to return and explore some more and do the Centennial bike trail to Coeur d’alene and back.
Coeur d’alene was next on the agenda, but the overly-manicured waterfront park, upscale shops and restaurants didn’t appeal in the pouring rain. We kept driving and happened upon the charming gem of Sandpoint, Idaho, where we spent the night.