I woke up a bit late, around 9am – I blame the comfortable bed and the warmth provided by the fireplace that was on all night. Bar none, the best sleep I have gotten in the last few days. I jump into the shower and get dressed before heading out to the main lobby area. A continental breakfast, which included waffles, is waiting for me. I sit down with a waffle and a cup of hot coffee by the window and take in the beautiful winter scenery – what a great way to start the day.
Belinda walks in and asks me how I slept. She also informs me that on the way to take their kids to school this morning, her husband saw three cars in the ditch on a ten mile stretch of road, at around 8am in the morning. In short, it would be best for me to wait until the sun has had the chance to melt away the ice on the roads. Not a problem, I think to myself, since I only have about a one hundred mile day in front of me I can wait a few hours to make sure that it’s safe to go through the canyon.
I finish breakfast and head to my room to pack up. As I am loading my bike, Belinda and her husband drive up to me in their truck and tell me that they are going out to town to run some errands. I thank them one last time for their hospitality and we say our goodbyes.
It’s now eleven in the morning and with everything loaded onto the bike and with the snow has visibly started melting away; I am finally ready to head out. I mount the bike and carefully proceed onto highway 55, paying particular attention to the traction levels as my tires come up to temperature.
About five miles down HWY55 I spot a familiar truck heading in the opposite direction – it’s Belinda and her Husband on their way back from town. We wave to one another one last time, as we briefly eye contact.
As I head down the two-lane, twisty canyon highway, I can’t help but to be in awe of the beauty of Idaho on that particular morning – the turns following the contours of the river, the sun and the mountain ridges reflecting off the water and the clouds of steam coming off the hot springs. By this time the temperature has risen well into the high 40s and I was more at ease about ice on the roads, but still very cautious in the shades, where the temperature difference could preserve the ice that formed overnight. Since I had a relatively short distance to ride to Idaho and the whole day to do it, I took plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures of and take in the beauty of my surroundings.
I arrived in Boise, Idaho and was greeted by my good friend Kamilla. I also made a new friend, Polina. The two roommates are currently working to complete their MBA at Boise State University. This was by far the warmest and well planned welcome along my journey – they even made a welcome poster that read “We welcome the hero of long distance motorcycle riding!” (that ‘s my poor attempt to translate it from Russian) I also have to make a special note about the absolutely delicious Borsht and Stew that the girls cooked up – there is nothing better than a bowl of comfort food after a cold day of riding in the mountains.
After I finished telling them the stories of the last few days, we headed out to check out downtown Boise and get some of the famous Idaho potatoes. Unfortunately, the place that has the best potatoes was no longer serving food at this late hour, so we had to settle for some appetizers, sans potatoes, at another local restaurant; I guess I will just have to add Boise to the long list of must-come-back-to places, to try some of those potatoes the locals keep raving about.