Hank – We left Jan and Chip’s house a little before 9:00 am. We wanted to get an early start because today’s destination, Mountain Home, will be almost a 60-mile ride. We really enjoyed our visit with Jan, Chip, and their daughter, Anna. They are a lot of fun. And we appreciated everything they did for us.
We had light rain when we left the house. The rain got heavier and heavier so we stopped under an awning at an office by the airport to check the weather radar. The way I saw it, we would just catch the edge of the storm passing by once we started heading south on Pleasant Valley Road, which was our route. After that we would be playing Frogger with storms once we turned east in about 18-20 miles. When we mapped out our route Google maps gave us three options. The first was the freeway. Then two other routes, one north and and one south of the freeway. Nobody recommends riding on the freeway, except Google in this case, so we chose the southern route since, at 57 miles and 1200 of climbing, it had less elevation gain than the north-side route. So on to Pleasant Valley Road we went.
The rain stopped after a couple of miles. We engaged the granny gear and spun our way up the one long climb for the day. Later on we passed several state prison facilities. Then fate threw a wrench in our plans. One issue with Google maps is that it doesn’t tell you the road surface. Pleasant Valley Road became unpleasant as it switched from pavement to dirt. There were lots of pickup trucks hauling ATVs on the road so we flagged a couple down. Everyone said we had dirt road along with plenty of washboard all the way to Mountain Home. Washboards for 40 miles would be torture. So we turned back and diverted to I-84 on Kuna Road.
Kathy and I crawled along a constant incline and into headwinds on that road. It seemed to take forever to cover the nine miles to the freeway. Once we arrived we found we had traveled 30 miles just to get 14 miles from Boise. After fighting those headwinds for so long Kathy was ready for a break. We had six miles to cover to reach food and rest and fortunately the freeway went pretty quick. We had a wide shoulder and a crosswind coming from our left and slightly from behind so it helped push us. We stopped at the Boise Stage Stop and had lunch. We checked the map and recalculated our travel for the day. We didn’t have much choice outside of staying on the freeway to travel the remaining 24 miles to Mountain Home. The dark clouds ahead of us told us we were going to get drenched again so we opted for a motel night and made reservations.
A slight downhill and now winds coming from the right rear gave us a huge boost and we sped along at 16-18 mph for the first five miles. I think what we did was race to catch the storm before it got away. We got soaked for 15 miles. The storm finally passed and the winds changed back to coming from the left and behind us. The road dried out and we continued dodging steel-belted radial carcasses that constantly littered the shoulder of the road. We were almost completely dry by the time we hit the motel in Mountain Home. Dinner included two large cans of Mike’s Harder Lemonade because we deserved it. One note about the weight of my bike: The decrease in weight made the bike much easier to handle. Riding it is much more comfortable now.
Kathy – We are thankful for all Jan, Chip and Anna did for us during our stay. They opened their home to us and made our stay very enjoyable. Anna was nice enough to go though my pannier bags to help me shed a bit more weight. Our last shipment of things home helped to reduce my total weight down to 75 or so pounds. Much easier today during our ride. Thank you Anna!
We did notice as we were leaving this morning that someone may have taken my bike pump. I know it was on my bike when we arrived in Boise. We rode and parked our bikes in the downtown area often over the past few days and not sure if someone decided they needed it more than me. It was a great pump the Annika LeVoie (bike touring guru and totally awesome gal) recommended. Hank has a very small pump that will work in a pinch but we will stop by a bike shop tomorrow to pick up a new pump.
Our ride today was fairly enjoyable regardless of the weather. I do not mind the rain as long as it is not too cold. Today the rain actually felt good as it cooled us during the ride. The only part I did not like of today’s ride was the nine miles getting to the freeway. It was way too windy, the headwinds were too strong, and the increase in elevation made difficult despite our efforts. I was happy to reach the freeway and take off. Total of 63 miles done today with 2,500 feet of elevation.
When we stopped for a snack on the side of Pleasant Valley Road near an intersection (before we headed towards the freeway) I noticed a memorial for an 18 year old girl named Wronda. For some reason it really struck me. She was obviously loved dearly by the look of all the plastic flowers and small trinkets around it. I have one packet of flowers for each state which is part of my, “Make America More Beautiful” campaign. I decided to take one of my daisy flower packets and spread them near Wronda’s memorial. I think the real flowers will only add to the beauty of this shrine for someone that passed away much too soon, but was loved very much. As the annual flowers bloom, I hope her family/friends appreciate this small act of kindness from a stranger.
Overall, today was a good day. I enjoyed 90% of the ride (minus the headwind part) and really enjoyed the time with Hank. Looking forward to our travels tomorrow.
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