Today I rode a very relaxed ~60 miles northwest from Boise , ID to Ontario, OR. I was only on the interstate for 2 or 3 miles, and I made the remainder of the distance at a slow to moderate roads on relatively quiet local through roads. Farm fields of corn, wheat, and mint dominated the roadside scenery. There were a few bird notes from the ride. With the help of Susan (one of my host from the last two nights), I was able to find several wood ducks and common mergansers along the Boise greenway. Kestrels patrolled roadside fields while killdeers scurried about wherever there was bare, damp earth. Swainson’s and Red-tailed hawks were everywhere, and as the air warmed over the course of the morning and the afternoon, more of these birds left their roadside perches to ride the warm thermals in search of afternoon meals. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day on the road. My right knee was a bit sore by the time I crossed into Oregon, state #26, at the end of the ride. I will have to keep an eye on it in the next few days. Sine I have time in hand at the moment, making sure my body stays healthy take priority over making miles right now. The Ontario Best Western has a nice pool and hot tub which should aid in the knee care process this evening.
I wish I could have done more miles but there's nowhere to stay
for a long way after Ontario. I have a long day tomorrow anyway.
Weekend hosts Tom, Susan, Bear
I ate it all, all of it......
I had two very nice run ins with fellow cyclists today. The first of these occurred at a gas station. A young guy asked me where I was headed. I told him about my route to date, and explained that I would be heading towards Mt Rainier and Seattle via Yakima. It turn out that the guy, introducing himself of Pete, actually lives in Yakima. He is a Warmshowers host, and he on-the-spot offered me a place to stay in Yakima when I passed through in 4-5 days. I found out he was returning from a week of biking in Idaho where he rode nearly 500 miles during a supported tour. I convinced him to pose with his bike for a photo before we parted ways. I’m fairly certain I’ll see Pete again in a few days though.
Pete with bike
The second encounter was with Erin. She lives in Boise and bikes everywhere since she does not have a car. However, she has recently started riding further afield, and today she was out on a ~50-mile ride when she caught up with me from behind. We rode together and chatted for 15 minutes or so before she sped of leaving me in her dust. I was also able to get a photo of her on her metal stead before she disappeared. Both Erin and Pete were incredibly pleasant, a trait that seems inherent to the cyclists and birders I have met this year.
Erin whizzing away
I am sorry that there has not been much meditation in the blog in the last few days. I receive lots of email asking how I keep my mind occupied during long, bird-thin days. The truth of the matter is that I spend most of my time thinking about the world, what I think is wrong with it, and how, if I were ever put in an appropriate leadership position, I would go about fixing the multitude of very obvious problems facing ‘Murica and the rest of the world. Those who have I have met face to face this year know that besides birds, the other topic really gets me going is politics. Most of my solutions to problems involve changes in leadership at the local, state, and world levels to put more intelligent, more altruistic, and more rational thinkers in the lead. This invariably intersects with politics, and I have really tried to keep political discussions out of this blog this year. This has been INCREDIBLY hard for me. I have an opinion on everything, and the more nonsense I see going in this country and beyond, the more I want to use this blog to voice my opinion on these issues. I have refrained, sometimes with great difficulty, from doing just this. Maybe I should spend more time thinking about myself and less time thinking about the problems of the world. I just can’t help thinking that I could drive the train infinitely better than most of the out-of-touch, self-interested, campaign-donor-financed puppets driving it now. As the end of the year approaches, there will be much discussion of what will be next for me. For now, I'm just going to focus on tomorrow's ride to Baker City and maybe La Grande if I have enough energy. I'll return to "what's next" a bit later in the year though I am open to suggestions (and offers)!