Idaho made us like bike touring again. From the moment we topped Lolo Pass, we were surrounded by beautiful dense forests and small, almost hidden waterfalls. On our second day in Idaho we stopped for a quick break at a trailhead just off the highway. Two older hippies came trotting out of the forest and exclaimed, “If you have the time, it’s well worth it,” while pointing behind them.
What was behind them was heaven on earth -- natural hot springs. The hippies convinced us to hike back to them, with our bikes, down dirt trails and through huge towering cedars. We pushed our bikes 1.5 miles into the forest and saw the steam rising into the air. We left our bikes and climbed down a cliff to the stream, where the steam seemed to be originating. Beside that stream was the most amazing hot spring jetting out of the side of the cliff, into a small rock pool. Melissa and I peeled off our clothes and stayed there for two hours.
On one of our last days in Idaho we met Archie at a mom-and-pop diner. Although he’s retired, and actually graduated high school in 1939 (you do the math), he’s the bus boy, because he’s “got nothing else to do.” Back in the day, Archie was sued for 15 million dollars. At the time, he was living in Seattle, working in advertising. The suit came from one single line of copy he wrote -- “Idaho potatoes taste better when grown in Washington.” Now he writes poetry, and today he wrote a bike trip motto for Melissa and me . . . “One part stupidity, one part intelligence and one part determination.” I think it sums it up nicely.
Idaho has been a literal “Tour of Churches”. Almost every night we knocked on a church door and were welcomed with open-arms. It’s comforting sleeping in a church. It’s relaxing talking with the pastors. One night we even had these really comfortable purple velvet benches to sleep on. That night, as we were falling to sleep Melissa said, “I’m going to sleep so good in my manger tonight.”