Journal June 25-July 2--Idaho
June 25 Tremonton, UT to Burley, ID
Kim carried our luggage, the trailer, and Timmy to Snowville, while we battled a headwind all the way there. I mean a huge, 25mph, gusting to 40mph headwind that had us in our small chainring on the DOWNHILLS, and had us crying on the uphills. The desert was nice, though, and even though we had to ride on an interstate (there were no parallel highways in the area), the wide shoulder and gentle grades were appreciated. There were absolutely no trees to block the wind, and no houses or towns to stop at. We ate lunch in a culvert under the interstate to escape the sun and wind. On Rattlesnake pass a hawk perched on a high rock and watched us creep up the grade.
In Snowville there were no rooms at the motel, because high winds had stranded the truckers with oversized loads. We loaded the bike into Kim's truck and she drove us to Burley, ID, for a Mexican feast and a cheap motel.
June 26 Burley, ID to Twin Falls, ID
Route 30 was mostly flat, somewhat downhill into Twin Falls, and under cloudy skies and cool temperatures, a slight tailwind helped us ride the 41 miles in just a few hours. We camped at an old-fashioned campground that had a go-kart track, among other amusements, and that kept Henry and Ellie, and even Timmy, happy for the evening. OK, we'll admit it: Billy and Patti took a few turns, too.
June 27 Layover, Twin Falls
There was more to see here than we had time for. Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, and the incredible gorge that the Snake River makes as it winds through this area. The town was nice, and our campground hosts couldn't be friendlier. I spent a good part of the afternoon giving kids rides on the quad around the campground. The trailer sites were full of migrant ag workers and all of them had plenty of kids. Henry refined his driving skills on the go-kart tracks.
June 28 Twin Falls, ID to Buhl, ID
A fine visit to Dr. Stephen Williams for chiropractic adjustments started our day, and we got a late start toward Buhl, just 20 miles away, into a headwind. This really is the wind-in-the-face part of the trip. Before we reached Buhl, Mike Esparza flagged us down to tell us about a parallel road with less traffic, and decided to invite us to spend the night with his family. After a pasta feast, we all went to a junior rodeo event, where Ellie's friend, Amber, from the campground the night before, was competing. These four to twelve year olds rode sheep, steers, and bronks, competed in roping and riding events, and just impressed us over and over with their skill and guts. I stayed up late talking, and Ellie slept out on the trampoline with her new friends.
June 29 Buhl, ID, to Hagerman, ID
Beautiful country. Too bad the wind blows in our faces all day. The flat ride through rich, irrigated, agricultural land (sugar beets and onions, soybeans and corn, alfalfa and clover, and lots of potatoes) brought us to the edge of the Snake River Canyon, and we enjoyed a three mile descent into an area where springs burst out of the canyon wall by the thousands. The unexpected health food store in tiny Hagerman was a treat, with great proprietors. We ate cherries for dinner in a tiny old knotty pine cabin between the highway and the river.
June 30 Hagerman, ID to Mountain Home, ID
The climb out of this canyon was steep and long, but our early start gave us shade for most of it. Incredible beauty everywhere. The Oregon Trail, that so many pioneers used, is a big part of the area's history, and we can't help comparing their journey to ours. We travel as a family, like many of them did. Our pace is similar, the same terrain challenges us, we have the same needs for food and water, and we have an eye on the weather and the calendar at all times. We have renewed respect for those families who faced this land in its wild state and crossed these mountains and deserts without modern safety nets.
Ellie and Henry are really learning a lot on this trip, but not what I had imagined or expected. History, geography, the three RS, that's the obvious stuff, right? What I have seen them learning are confidence, perseverance, interpersonal skills, self-reliance, and teamwork.
In Mountain Home we were lucky to meet Rick Viola, a police officer whose mountain bike patrol duty gave us something in common. We met his family, and they took us under their wing, arranging a complimentary room at the Best Western Motel and breakfast at a nearby restaurant. He was on motorcycle patrol in the morning, a delight for Henry. What a guy. We promised to visit him some day.
We figure that Mountain Home is half-way on our trip, and July 1 is halfway between our start and our projected finish. We celebrated this event with three flat tires within five miles, all in the trailer tires. These curious thorns known as Goat Heads were the culprits, and Rick fixed us up with a product called Slime, which goes into the tubes and seals holes from the inside. Thanks again, Rick. And thanks to Denise at the Best Western, thanks to Hal for breakfast, thanks to Kelly for the newspaper article about our trip, and thanks to the Police Chef (I mean Chief) for the welcome. We enjoyed meeting you all.
July 1 Mountain Home, ID to Boisie, ID
What can I say about a full day on the interstate, through the desert, into a headwind, all uphill? We met some nice folks at the rest areas, and we were filmed and interviewed by the channel 7 NBC station, really nice guys. No shade, no shelter, big challenge, lots of fun. And I exaggerate: the last three miles were downhill into Boisie, where we learned to say "Boy-see." The folks at the downtown Mariott Inn were pleased to give us a complimentary room, and we were pleased to swim, hot tub, and sleep.
July 2 Boisie, ID to Caldwell, ID
We didnt leave Boisie until 4:30 pm. Dr. David Jackson and his associate Toby (and Davids daughter Morgan), gave us a wonderful exam and treatment. I spent a few hours at George's Bike Shop. The boys loved the quad and had a new chain on it like that. Patti shopped at the co-op and picked up some mail for us. Then a couple of hours with Brian and Joan from FOX TV news was great fun. Boisie's bike path led us out of town toward Caldwell, where we enjoyed another complimentary room at a Best Western Motel.