Day38: Boise ID to Vale OR: 70 miles with 400 feet of climbing
I spent the night with Dwight Tovey in Boise. Dwight and his son came down to Murphy ID to pick me up about 6 PM, and I stayed with Dwight and his family till about 10:15 AM when Dwight, who was on his way to a bicycle expo, rode with me part of the way out of Boise. It was fun to meet another fellow tourist and it is always nice to get to visit with good folks like Dwight and his family while on tour. Dwight had palnned to ride with me for several days, but became ill and was unable to do so. It would have been good riding with him, even if he, like almost every touring list member I've met on this tour, rides on of them funny 'bent bikes.
We rode mostly on a bike path along the Boise river and then a few blocks north and I headed west on ID 44. This is a fairly busy four lane road with a good shoulder that becomes a fairly busy two land road, but keeps the good shoulder. About 23 miles west of Boise, I saw another tourist coming the other way. I crossed the road to greet her and we visited for quite a while about routing. She had come from Portland and was planning to ride I-84 to Mountain Home before heading east on US 20. Dwight had specifically warned me about that section if I-84, so I gave her is name and number and suggested that, if stopped for the night in Bosie, she give him a call. I also suggested that she route south along the Snake River instead of through Boise, but she need to visit a bicycle shop and Boise was the logical place for that. This was young woman doing her first cross-country tour solo.
Riding was easy and fast due to flat roads (400 feet of climbing in 70 miles is very flat!) and tail winds during the early part of the ride. I stopped for lunch in Middleton, about 20 miles from my starting point. I averaged 14.5 mph while I was riding on 44. Of course that was helped, for few miles, when I was 'chased' by a combine. I managed to stay ahead of this monstrous vehicle which was took up the shoulder and all of one lane of the road until it finally turned off to do its harvesting thing! There is lots of harvesting going around here as I ride.
When 44 ended just after crossing I-84, I dropped down to US 20. The only problem with that was tha connecting road was being well watered by some farmer who, illegally, had his sprinklers poorly adjusted. He was watering both lanes of the road and there was no way to get through there without getting wet. Wet was OK, cooling even, but I had to stop to dry off my camera.
US 20 was just as flat as ID 44 and also had good shoulder, but by the time I was riding it, the wind had shifted to the south west and riding was slower. As the road gradually turned north, the wind was less of a problem. I stopped for a snack in Notus and got to read a 'free' newspaper to find out was going on in the world. Around Parma, the road quality deteriorated with very bumpy shoulders. Parma looks like a nice little farming town with a motel as well as places to eat.
Between Parma and the Oregon border, I noticed my front tire getting soft again! Four flat tires in Idaho! This time I removed the wheel and replaced the tube with a new one since I couldn't find a new puncture and there was a good chance all those bumps had cause one of the three patches on that tube to start leaking. Then I rode on to Oregon. Oregon! Wait a minute, that is the last state on this tour. It is too soon for me to run out of states!
Oregon as seen from Idaho
Crossing the Snake river into Nyssa OR
I stopped in Nyssa OR for a large A+W root beer float and to refill my water bottles. It is 22 miles from Nyssa to Vale; about ten miles north and then 12 miles west. By this time the wind was blowing moderately (10 mph?) from the west, and the area was flat and quite open so I was feeling the effect of the wind, especially on my way west.
Cairo Junction where 20 heads west
Those last 12 miles took about and hour and half of 8 to 10 mph cranking into the wind. Oh well, the temperature was around 100 F and the dry wind kept me cool! It also sucked the moisture out of my body and gave me a dry mouth very quickly. That is the problem out here: the effect of the heat isn't bad because the humidity is very low, but that means lots of water loss from your body, especially when riding into the wind.
I met my second tourist of the day in this stretch. He is a Canadian heading for Manitoba, starting from Portland. He had ridden via John Day so I got useful info from him on my route and he was headed for Mountain Home, so I suggested he route via ID 78 instead of going through Boise. He said he would. I gave him my Idaho map, which he was happy to have, and we continued on our respective way. I noted he had a barrel like container on his rear rack. We joked about it being for water, but I think it was for food. He was headed for bear country.
After I checked into my $20 (!) Motel room which is really pretty nice, had a good meal at a local restaurant, and got an Oregon map and some very good information on services between here and John Day - not many, but enough, and lots of climbing - I managed to 'kill' my computer by dropping it in my motel room whose floor is concrete covered with a thin carpet. I was able, after several cycles of taking things apart an reassembling them to get it to work again. I'm relieved, but mostly because I won't be carrying fifteen pounds of electronic dead weight over all those passed tomorrow! Now it will, hopefully, be useful weight. Touring does strange things to one's mind. . .