When last you heard from us, Dan was detailing our first Idaho experiences. He was writing just after lunch, and I wish I could say that our day got better from there. It didn’t. It seemed that the more I wanted to impress Dan and Aaron with my great state, the worse our day became. The temperature climbed into the mid nineties, the shoulders on roads disappeared and road surfaces once smooth became warped and cracked, and redneck pickup drivers flipped us off. Shout outs from random Subaru drivers were no longer lifting our spirits.
As we pulled into a truck stop at the intersection of Idaho 52 and Idaho 55 near the town of Horseshoe Bend, 73 miles into the day, we were demoralized and ready to call it a day. One problem though, there was no camping in town. We could camp up by the Mill Pond, suggested one of the attendants, but it was right off the highway, and, frankly, pretty gross. Our only other options were to continue up to Banks, 14 miles up the road, where there was a campsite on our map, or head 11 miles back the way we came to an RV park. Doubling back was out of the question, so Banks it was.
How’d they know Aaron had a thirst?
No sooner did we turn onto highway 55 than my full failure as a route planner slapped me in the face. Here are 4 facts I failed to consider when planning our route through Idaho that would have allowed us to avoid the most terrifying ride of our lives:
- Highway 55 is the major route from Boise to McCall and points north.
- There is only one north-south route up the west side of the state; 55 is one of the spurs in the south that meet as they continue north.
- We were riding this stretch at 5:30 on Friday afternoon of the first nice weekend of the summer.
- Idahoans love their RVs, ATVs and boats.
But I didn’t, so instead we sprinted up a road filled bumper to bumper with trailers and wide loads flying at 70mph with little to no shoulder and barriers at most curves. The only slightly enjoyable moment? At mile 12 a truck honked at us and Dan and I witnessed Aaron’s rage. Oh, and when we got to Banks, the campground on the map didn’t exist. Awesome.
Aaron is not pleased.
Thankfully we were able to weasel our way into a spot to camp on the Bear Valley River Company’s lawn (where we met Chad the EXTREME river guide, who was duly impressed with our harrowing tale of 55) and melt away the day’s tension with delicious beer, pie, and tots (we are in Idaho) on a porch overlooking the South Fork of the Payette.