Our Stay With Leslie And Bob

Hank – Jim gave us a ride to New Meadows and we said our goodbyes. We had about five miles of incline to get through before we hit the West Pine Recreation Trail, which would eventually lead us to the Weiser River Trail. But the trail was too gravelly for Kathy and we could see at least one sharp climb so we opted back onto highway 95. A few miles later we stopped for a bite at the Pine Ridge Restaurant. There were quite few people there but hardly any staff. We were sitting in the cafe when a woman and two men came in all dusty after returning from an ATV ride. The woman asked us if we’d been helped yet. We hadn’t. Turns out she and one of the guys are part of the family that owns the place so she brought us menus and hot tea.

I had emailed Warmshowers hosts Bob and Leslie McMichals in Cambridge, ID and asked if they could put us up for the night. Leslie responded they could and we were happy to have a place to stay for the night and to be meeting some cool people.

When we left I asked Kathy to give the Weiser River Trail a try and she agreed. We got on and I thought it was great. But then I’m used to off-road riding. Kathy, not so much. She was gripping the handlebars tightly because she was worried about all the loose stuff on the trail. Consequently, she was not enjoying the trail.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a way to get off the trail for about 12 miles. So in Fruitvale, ID, we took a break, had a come-to-Jesus-talk, ate a snack, and then got back on the road. We were way behind schedule because we were going much slower on the trail than we would have been on the road. When we got to Council, ID I let Leslie, our Warmshowers host for the night, know we were running behind and may need to cancel.

Leslie wasn’t going to have that. She told us to stay in Council and she’d come and get us. Thirty minutes later she pulls up in a pickup. We introduced ourselves, thanked her very much, and loaded the bikes and bags into the back. She drove us south to Cambridge, ID. I rode in the back seat with Angus and Peat, Bob and Leslie’s Brittany hunting dogs and our adopted dogs of the day. Angus is the seasoned veteran and he’s the mellow ranger. Peat is a skilled hunter who bears constant watching when he’s not hunting because he’s full of mischief.

We met Bob when we got to the house. Bob and Leslie are laid back, easy going, and pleasant people to talk to. Bob teaches English at the local high school. Leslie is retired and she’s on the board of the Friends of the Weiser River Trail. She asked about our experience with the trail. She would love to get the trail paved, especially the northern part because it’s rougher and takes more to maintain, but there’s no money and not enough board members think paving the trail is a good idea. She has her work cut out for her. Leslie also asked about out high and low points of the trip so far and today’s chronology came out.

Peat lived up to his reputation as soon as we were shown to our room. He ran in, jumped onto the bed, and grabbed one of Kathy’s shirts so quickly you’d think he’d planned to operation. I snagged him and got the shirt back before he could run off with it. Leslie warned me about keeping the door closed. Now I knew why. Peat is quick.

After a delicious dinner, Bob and Leslie pulled out a basket of clothes pins. They’ve been Warmshowers hosts for a long time. They’re close to the Weiser River Trail and the Adventure Cycling Association;’s TransAmerica Route so they get quite a few hosting requests. They have each guest sign a clothes pin, which they can also decorate any way they want. That is a very cool idea. Kathy and I added ours to the pile.

Kathy – Today was not one of my best days. I was anticipating one thing and got another. I thought we had only a slight climb out of New Meadows, Idaho this morning which unfortunately turned out to be five miles of climbing. I was hungry and tired from the climbing but went ahead and got on the trail to ride as Hank has been so excited about it. I was not impressed from the get-go. Even though the trail was a slight downhill, I was pedaling constantly and only going 7 mph with my 85 pound bike. I have done very little trail riding and was definitely out of my comfort zone. I attempted to try the trail out a second time because I knew Hank really wanted to ride it. Well, it was not a good experience. I was sliding around in all the rocky areas, dodging pine cones and debris, along with sticks, tree branches, and so much uneven terrain. Please know it was a beautiful trail, trail riding just isn’t for me. If they ever pave that trail I will be one of the first once to ride it.

We were on the trail about two hours before I was done. Hank and I had a husband/wife talk about both of our needs and how we can ensure this trip is enjoyable for the both of us. We had some snacks and decided it was best to get off the trail and continue on the road. By this time we had 4 hours of riding in and still another 25 miles to go (approximately 2 -2.5 more hours of riding). We pressed on with a good headwind that kept our pace slow. In Council we decided maybe we should stop for the day after 31 miles. Then Hank said Leslie our Warm Showers host would be willing to come pick us up. I could not believe a stranger would be willing to drive 30 minutes away to pick us up, bring us back to her house, and prepare a wonderful meal for us. But it happened, Leslie and Bob are such great people. We really enjoyed our evening with them. The pleasant evening totally made up for the tough ride today.

With today being Mother’s Day, I got to talk with Geoff, Josh and Steph. I love them all, and miss them much. It warmed my heart just to hear their voices. Geoff was even kind enough to do a Strava run today in a heart shape and it include “Mom.” He said the last ‘m’ is lower case because he was tired of running. The emotions on this journey change often and at the end of the day I see so much good and blessings in my life. I’m thankful tonight, and hopeful tomorrow will be a better ride day.

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  1. Well, you two are just amazing. Yes, an article for the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. But I also see the beginnings of a book. Let’s think about a title. And let’s explore whether others have covered the same subject.
    Janet thinks you have already qualified to become marriage communication counselors. You’ve got another career ahead of you!


    1. If anyone is qualified as a communication counselor, it would be Kathy. She’s the expert. I’m the novice learning all the lessons.


    2. Thank you Uncle Mike, but I think we may need just a tad bit more time before we would qualify for the marriage communication counselors. 🙂


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