Day 35, Tour 10 Meridian, ID to Vale, OR

Leaving the Boise area early in the morning

I had good visit with Dwight, his wife, and his daughter. Dwight and I talked recumbents - and he gave me a couple of good ideas for my new recumbent, touring, and computer stuff. Last night I stayed up to after 10:30 talking with all of them. This morning, I got up at 6 in order to get my bags repacked and to have breakfast with Dwight. Then we left his house, Dwight on his commuter recumbent and me on my touring bike, at about 7:30. We rode together for a mile or two and then I continued on towards Vale while Dwight headed for work. My route was US 44 to US 20, the same route, after I got to 44, that I used to get to Vale the last time I visited Dwight a decade ago.

44 is fairly busy road at 8 AM, but it has good, if rough - Idaho seems to use shoulder roughness rather than rumble strips and I whole heartedly approve, shoulders and I rode it for more than an hour till it goes up a hill and over I-84 and ends. Then I rode south to US 20 and rode to Notus where I stopped at The Garage Cafe fro a second breaakfast of pancakes and coffee.I'd covered about 23 miles before I stopped because riding conditions were ideal - cool with no wind and a wide, clean, and smooth shoulder - and I was pushing to get as many miles in as possible before the wind picked up. As it turned out, it didn't really pick up until I was near Vale.

On US 20
Flatland riding with clean smooth pavement on a wide shoulder and no wind
Nice but a little boring

Half a dozen miles later, and ten miles before entering Oregon, The pavement deteriorated a bit , but riding was still quite good. Then it got a bit hilly after US 20 turned north. I could see the mountains ahead, but I knew US 20 turned west long before it would have reached them. Interestingly, US 20 was now paralleling the Snake River and heading towards Payette. This seems to imply that the Payette River, which I followed from Banner Summit to Horseshoe Bend, feeds into the Snake which I followed from Jackson to Idaho Falls. I need to look at some maps, but I don't have a net comnnection in Vale.

Not quite as nice a shoulder before Parma

Heading north towards Payette

Crossing the Snake for the last time on this tour

Entering Oregon, the 13th state of this 14 state tour

When US 20 turned west and crossed the Snake River, I left Idaho. Idaho has been, except for the bits from Renie to Arco, quite nice riding. People here have been friendly and helpful and the scenery in the mountains, helped by what was, before I got here ;-}, a very wet summer, was great. I've ridden across Idaho several time, and this route, other than the horrible wind day, is definitely the best I've ridden. I've talked to people, including Dwight who knows that area very well, about that bad wind and it seems like the winds I encountered, while not a fluke, were much higher than usual.

Oregon is culturally very different from Idaho and this is quite noticeable when you cross the Snake River. Idaho, the southern part at least, is really a very conservative place. Dwight, who comes from a Mormon family, told ne that the percentage of people who are Mormon is higher in Idaho than in Utah! Of course, as a bicyclist, I must comment that the roads in Idaho, even with their rough shoulder, are quite good for bicycling. In that respect, at least on US 20, Oregon loses out to Idaho.

US 20 in Oregon
12 miles with no painted llines and no passing
The darker, smoother area is the shoulder

Beautiful farms and field in Oregon
Note the irrigattion channel and ditch in the lower middle of the image
each field gets water that flows, in small ditches, from a concrete channel on one side to a ditch on the other

Entering Vale
Note the road has painted lines and the smooth shoulder area is wider

Vale, a pretty town with a lot of history
My immediate history is that I had a large pineapple shake and a chili dog at that DQ ;-}

When I got to Vale, it was hot and getting windy. I made good time - averaging 12.5 mph - but I'd pushed too hard in the early part of the day and my legs were tired. It is a long way - 60+ miles - to the next place with services so I stopped here to prepare for riding across the Oregon desert. Vale is, except for the lack of net access, a good place for that.

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