Morning in Boise started well with bright sunshine and mild temperatures and a bit of exercise dragging stuff back to the bikes. The Hotel, Best Western Airport, had a breakfast of sorts included, but for 3 of us we were feeling a little more carnivorous so we trekked next door to Denny’s (it was close, what can I say). Chris felt like eating a bit healthier.
Seeing the four of us at the pool the next day, he seems to be making the better choices. We then did what would be the first of an increasingly frequent chain adjusts on the DR. Truth be told, Chris did all the adjustments and we provided bike leverage services. Then we had a mercifully short blast down the ruler straight I84 to Mountain Home where we headed east toward Arco on hwy 20. The highway twists up gaining altitude quickly and was a change from the last two days. It wasn’t long before we started seeing Aspens.
The view from Castle Rock ID viewpoint
Courtesy of Paul (BMW). Shows that I was there and in a few pictures.
Unfortunately the highway hits a plateau and then becomes a droning rubber wasting straight line for a long time before getting interesting again after Picabo. Not long after that we hit that magic spot where we re-joined my original track at Craters of the Moon just west of Arco ID. We started seeing the surreal landscape quite suddenly and then for some time before actually getting to the park entrance.
Alien landscape at Craters of the Moon Park.
Courtesy of another tourist using my camera.
Breaking out the big lense for some better backgrounds.
More far out landscape.
The guys getting Ed-G-Kated
Tree -Bark- looking Lava formations
trying to get artsy and failing.
Shooting while riding, Paul running sweep.
The black, and rust colored lava field is very alien looking in an otherwise very green landscape. I (despite my research) had no idea that the road that loops through the park is seven miles long, so I wondered why they would charge $4 to get in. It was worth it, and we spent a few hours riding, hiking, and (me) shooting video as we drove around. We were warm in our gear but there was a welcome breeze blowing across the barren landscape. On the way out we stopped at the visitor center and the “do they have stickers” thing started. This would continue throughout the trip. As souvenirs go at least they don’t take up much space. We then carried on to Arco and stopped just long enough for a few (helmets still on) pictures of a spot I have seen in many a ride report, numbers rock and the Navy Memorial.
Numbers Rock in Arco.
We then were subjected to one of the seemingly longest straightest pieces of pavement I have been on heading into Blackfoot ID. We trolled up and down the main drag and pulled into a gas station just as the owner and local tow truck service guy wheeled in. He apparently was closed but told us were to find gas and food and how to avoid the interstate to Pocatello. The food was edible at the Mexican restaurant right next door, although Paul (BMW) the next day said “no more Mexican food” and I didn’t ask. His wife is an excellent cook so he may be a bit spoiled. In hindsight we should have jumped on the interstate, as winding through Pocatello was a waste of time. Eventually we ended back on I-15 (briefly) anyway down to hwy 30 heading east to Lava Hot Springs and Montpelier. I had initially planned to go east (on gravel) from the north end of Blackfoot to Henry then south to Soda Springs. The guy with the tow truck said they had had two inches of rain the day before and advised that my route (he knew the road) would be a greasy mud hole. We saw a few 4X4’s pass by that were brown and covered in mud coming from that direction and decided on the paved alternate route (O the shame of it all). As we sat in the Mexican joint I saw a couple of blue 990 Adventures blast past going north. They were sans luggage and looked like “R” models, and I figured they might be headed for my initial route (you go guys!).
Highway 30 towards Lava Hot Springs was very picturesque and we had had a long day again so I pulled over when I saw a decent looking campground just west of Lava Hot springs. We came to the consensus that we should push on just to the actual town and take our chances even though I had seen no campground listing for it. I am so glad we did, and when we pulled in at the north entrance to town (I missed the south one) I motioned a young couple over to me that were walking along in swimwear. They braved the grubby biker and came over. They were able to give me the location (and which was preferable) of a couple of campground just blocks from us, and right in town. We thanked them and trolled down the main drag of this quaint, cozy little town. Rafting stores, pubs, motels lined this tourist town but in a time machine kind of vibe. I loved it! Glancing down a laneway I spotted the campground down by the river (Stream) and we were set. It was kind of expensive but well worth it.
Team Effort in Lava Springs Campground.
The Hot springs in Lava Springs ID.
The river that rush through town.
We could set up and walk down to the hot springs, and we did. These are state run, and natural springs with 4 pools, all of decreasing temperature. We headed for the hottest (source pool). The pool was surrounded by natural stone walls and beautiful gardens and was our little sea of tranquility after another long day in the saddle. The bottom of the hot pool was covered in pea gravel and felt like a foot massage. The four of us were talking as we soaked, Paul (BMW) has a Polish accent and an American women with a southern drawl suddenly piped up,” Excuse me, but are ya’ll from Russia” I almost spit, but managed to just grin. Thankfully, the other three guys took this one, and explained (repeatedly) that we were Canadians. It took some time, but I think she was finally (sort of) understood. Paul’s accent really messed her up. It did however spark a number of conversations with other people soaking in the hot pool, and we met a couple of very cool, older guys, one who was from Texas (I can’t recall where the other was from). It was getting late so we showered up and (after getting stickers) strolled down the now dark main street back to camp. The neon and garden lights and Old style streetlights making for a peaceful stroll back to camp. We were itching to have a campfire (the caveman instincts coming out) and the wood that one of the guys bought was good and dry and I had it fired up in no time. Paul (KLR) insisted that I set up my fancy new camp chair so I did, and while reclining in it, dried (burnt) my feet by the fire, whilst sipping a mellow 18 year old Highland Park malt. This is the life. Good Times, with good friends. There was a main rail line across the highway that seemed to have a freight train on it every 5 minutes, and these guys must have had a lot of level crossings to deal with, by the sound of the air horns. Earplugs, and fatigue took care of that little issue, for me at least.
Day 3 stats taken the next morning.
The best is yet to come..