7-19-04 Jackpot, Idaho to Boise, Idaho
Julie were my neighbors in the 93 Motel. They were from Sheridan, Montana, where they owned a
700-acre ranch. Their Harley was a 1983
Classic; their father had been a Harley dealer.
They offered assistance if I needed help during my transit through Montana. They told me that anyone in Sheridan would
know how to get me in touch with them.
They are great people.
I took the
93 to the turn off on the 30. The 30 looked
like a typical Michigan two-lane road: farms, flat, four-corner intersections, and small
Near Hagerman, the land changed
within a few miles to lava flows, fossils, and hot springs.
land changed back. I stopped at a park, and again, like Michigan: wooded, watered,
and with an old-style hand pump. There was a semi parked next to me. The
driver told me that the 30 should hit the 84 shortly.
We had both chosen the 30 as a more scenic, less-traveled route.
From a rest
stop few miles out of Boise, Idaho, I called Tim at Happy Trails. I wanted to buy a set of their nerf bars,
both for the protection the bars offered and for the attached highway pegs serving as a chance to
relax on the bike. I also needed tires.
Trails site was located on a dead end road in an industrial park. I met Todd, who pulled the last pair of
nerfs they had available, in gray. My
preference would have been black, but I was happy to take what they had. Todd also sold me two Avon Gripsters.
Jason installed the bars, but not before coming to get me.
He was laughing: “You’re from
California, aren’t you”? I acknowledged such,
and asked him how he knew. “Your bike is
locked. No one from here ever locks his
bike, only Californians. Can you show
me how to unlock it?”
familiar with San Diego, and had driven down in the past to attend events at
the El Cajon Speedway. He had an
amiable personality, and suffered my questions while he worked. In answer to one of my questions, he
recommended a scenic motorcycle road out of Boise and into the Sawtooth Mountains, and
gave me directions on how to find the road.
finished, I settled the bill with Susie.
She asked me where I was headed, and asked that I stop in to say “Hi” to her uncle, who runs a resort in the Sawtooths.
Trails couldn’t install the tires.
Instead, they sent me a short distance down the road to Boise Motorcycle
Boise Motorcycle Salvage was extremely busy.
They hoped I wasn’t under the impression that I could wait for the
tires. They asked if I could get a ride
home and leave the bike. I told them
I was from San Diego: it was a long ride home. We agreed to change
the tires at day’s end, just before the shop closed.
began busting down the old tires. He was
from Ramona, the second time I’ve run into a former resident of my small town.
helped. The work area was open to the
outside. They were sweating in the
heat. In the midst of all the activity, a
new automated tire mounting system arrived on the back of a truck, slated to
replace the old manual tire mounting equipment. As a result, they hurriedly finished up my bike to free the space occupied by the old equipment. It was early
I left Boise on the 55. It was a joy to ride
once it left the suburbs, traffic
lights, and shopping malls.
The 55 climbed the
side of a mountain in a series of sweepers, then dropped into the valley carved
by the Payette River.
At the town
of Horseshoe Curve, I stopped to eat at a Mexican restaurant. I quickly downed a glass of ice water to
re-hydrate, and asked for a second. By
the time I finished my lunch and left the restaurant, there was a thunderstorm
moving in. My first indication that the
storm was close was a sudden downburst of wind that caught me by surprise and
shoved me from the left of my lane almost onto the shoulder. As the storm approached, the downbursts
become more frequent and more violent. It was a constant fight to keep the bike in the lane.
The winds first
lifted waves of dirt and leaves across the road. As the winds increased, pine cones began to fly by. I watched, detached, as a thick tree bough pinwheeled across my path.
Coming out of the next curve, I came to an abrupt stop. A large
fallen tree blocked the road. As I pulled off to
side of road, other drivers parked and began attempting to disassemble the
tree. I had to hang on to the bike to
keep it upright in the wind. As a second storm arrived on the heels of the first, I decided to turn around. I left the mountains
and pulled into a car wash bay for shelter and to put on the rain gear. After waiting for a few minutes to let the
storm subside, I went back on the road and almost immediately ran into a
downpour. Water started pooling on the
road. The wind died, but I had to slow
down to compensate for the rain and new tires. Heavy drops of rain raised splashes on the road's surface, and I looked down to see the front wheel plowing
through the water. I worried about the new tires' ability to grip.
Finally, on the outskirts of
Boise, the rain lifted and the storms that had been nagging me all
afternoon fell away. I was awarded with a double rainbow, end to end. It was still hot and humid.
I took a short drive through tree-lined residential streets to
find the freeway. Boise is a small
town, and just before I stopped to ask for directions, I saw the freeway ahead in
Another short burst up the I-84, and I was booked at a hotel
for the night. The bike was mopped off
and dried. The air still felt
I finally had the time to do my laundry, as another thunderstorm rolled
in and the rain resumed with an impressive light show to the west.
In the laundry
room, I met Rick and Dan, Harley drivers.
They were initially annoyed that I wasn’t present as soon as the wash
cycle finished, but I told them the cycle had finished in the last five minutes
while I stepped away to call my parents. We
shared stories of the rain and opinions of bikes as our laundry cycled. We were all in the laundry room due to the
Dan had both been to
Julian, which is a mountain town near Ramona. Both lived in SoCal (San
Clemente). They were taking the indirect
route with their wife and girlfriend on a winding journey to Yellowstone,
passing through Wyoming, Oregon, and wherever the road took them.
Two storms rolled through in the night, both impressive in
their intensity. Flood
warnings were posted for the area I had tried to pass through earlier.
died this morning.