It was hard to do, but today we left our beloved Boise. We decided to leave early in the morning to get most of our miles ridden before noon, as the forecast was calling for triple digits.
Instead of following the prescribed route from the Adventure Cycling maps, our warmshowers hosts Dan and Kristi suggested we take the Greenbelt out of town. So we rolled along the Boise River, continuing to admire the natural setting nestled in a state capital.
The trail led us well out of town, past a new development of trophy homes. Even our beloved Boise is not immune to the puzzling need for unused bedrooms and oversized HVAC units.
Once the trail ended, we were forced to climb over a pass along state route 21. In many places the shoulder was nonexistent so we had to take up precious lane space as vehicles passed going highway speeds. You’d think this would be unnerving, and it was at first, but we quickly realized that drivers were giving us a very wide berth, perhaps as much as two berths, or maybe as much as a league or even a fathom. Whatever the sailing unit of measure one prefers, the idea is that Idaho drivers have so far been very polite.
After we descended the other side of the pass, we eventually turned off SR21 and on to Middle Fork Road. Along the paved portion of this road, a cyclist named Jay caught up to us. At 67 years old, Jay was also planning to ride the entire Idaho Hot Springs Loop. We chatted and rode together for maybe ten miles before it was clear that his pace was faster, so he left us as we made a stop to filter more water.
By around noon, we were getting weary of the washboard and the exposed Middle Fork Road, so we took shelter under some Ponderosas to eat lunch and get out of the sun. Once lunch was dispatched, we decided to press on, hoping to find a nice place with lots of trees and access to the river. We found such a place at Warm Springs campground, where we took a dip in the river to cool off and then attempted to take a siesta out of the sun.
We decided to stick around at Warm Springs until after dinner, as it was far too hot to be anywhere outside of the shade. At around 6pm, we left Warm Springs, setting our sights 20 miles up the road for Neinmeyer campground. About halfway there we came upon a bar, where we downed a pair of sodas. Oh, the joy of a cold, sugary beverage after 50 miles of hot weather cycling.
We arrived at the dilapidated Neinmeyer around 9pm. There was still plenty of light out to wash our bike clothes, pitch our tent, and hang our food before we called it a night.
- Miles ridden: 58.3
- Climb of the day: Highland Valley Summit (Hwy 21); paved; moderate effort; no shoulder on some sections; advise riding this as early in the morning as possible to avoid traffic; summit has a decent convenience store with restrooms.
- Notes: The ride around the Arrowrock Reservoir is exposed and heavily washboarded. To avoid traffic, subsequent dust, and extreme heat, I’d recommend an early morning start. Willow Creek Campground has a water pump and good river access for taking a break. Neinmeyer Campground is in poor condition, but there wasn’t much traffic, so it made for a peaceful night’s sleep.