A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Sixty-six: Sunday 2 September 1990

Pocatello, ID to Caldwell, ID

I leave Pocatello, Idaho, heading into the Snake River Basin. There is a nice breeze from the south gentle and pleasant, nothing like all the warnings in the local papers. To the west of Pocatello is a large mountain. I ride for little more than an hour little more than half of that time spent on I-86 West in the shadow of that mountain, Kinport Peak.

I ride along in a lovely breeze contemplating how wrong the weather predictions seemed, how wrong the strength of the wind. I exit the shadow of mountain to the south. The wind hits me like a wall. I am almost blown off my bicycle. I lean into the wind thinking holy shit. I have to lean so hard to keep riding that I feel like I’m riding parallel to the road surface.

At this point, I’m thinking that there is no way I’m going to ride the planned 100+ miles. I’m wondering just how far I can ride under these conditions, thinking that it is going to take more that 3 or 4 days to cross the Snake River Valley.

As I think these thoughts, I notice a red SUV pass me and pull off the freeway on to the shoulder. As I ride slowly towards it, a man gets out of the driver’s side, walking to the rear of the vehicle. I wonder if he is going to offer me a ride. I hope so.

He does offer me a ride. He has bike racks on his roof. We stow my bike in the racks and my gear in the rear of his SUV. My ride is a young couple returning home from visiting the in-laws in eastern Idaho for the labor day weekend.

In about 3 hours, we cross Idaho in about 3 hours, chatting the whole way across. They drop me downtown Boise, Idaho. I repack my bike, continuing west on US 26 West until I reach Caldwell, Idaho about 30 more miles.

I don’t regret not riding across the basin. I am tremendously tired of riding. The United States is really damn big. I do reflect on how much you miss zooming through the landscape at 60+ miles per hour.