Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Potato Diaries Wrap-Up

It's taken me a few days to settle back into life and its routine back home, but I wanted to post a bit of a wrap up, or some thoughts about exploring and riding in and around the Boise area. Perhaps it's unnecessary, but I had some things that kept repeating in mind throughout the trip and some that occurred to me after returning home, and so, here we are with a bit of a final post in reference to the trip to Idaho.

•  Like many cities (both large and small), the available trail systems in Nampa and Boise had both highs and lows. There were some things I preferred about riding the Idaho systems and others that I think Colorado has done a better job creating and making user-friendly. Of course, from city to city in any state, this can vary so wildly.

•  We (just generally as humans) need to chill out a bit. During my 10 days in Idaho, I heard only two car horns directed at another person - and both were toward the end of the trip. In comparison, I hear horns blaring daily here at home. Maybe some deep breathing exercises are in order for some (most?) of us.
•  The Boise River Greenbelt/MUP is pretty incredible, especially given the relatively small size of the city. I think I could've spent days exploring and riding areas just off the greenway and still not have seen everything.

•  Not only is the river trail system really great, but there are so many other areas to explore by bicycle in the hills that back the city, as well as other paths around the area. There seems to be an opportunity for both city riders and off-road riders in this area.

•  I (and apparently some others) have lazy speech habits. Most of the people I encountered or heard say the city name pronounce it BOY-see, whereas I find myself saying BOY-zee (with a soft "z" sound). Some made a particular point to emphasize the "sss" sound, so I picked up on this very quickly and will try to be better with pronunciation in the future (though I've read since being home again that this is often the way locals tell the difference between "outsiders" and those who have lived there for some time).

•  For anyone who thinks the cost of education isn't increasing, when I was ready to enroll at Boise State University several years ago, the cost for a semester of undergrad would've been $982. It was one of the reasons I was looking at going to school in Boise. For the current school year, one semester of BSU tuition is $4,107. It's been about 23-24 years since I was looking to enroll there after finishing up my general ed requirements elsewhere, but that seems like a significant jump in cost (though admittedly, still quite lower than many other universities).

•  Since I'm experiencing 90's-versus-today thoughts, the city looks nothing like I remember it from my visit years ago. I remember the locals being very excited about the mall that had just been built during my visit then and having them insist upon us visiting it. The city felt quite small to me then, but it has definitely grown and expanded. Of course, the population has increased too. Though I think it remains a very easy-to-navigate city with a relatively low population.

•  There is good and not-so-good just about everywhere. It can become easy to romanticize a particular city, but I think many places are trying to balance out positives and negatives; and, what is a positive to one person may be the exact opposite to another.
•  When I visit other cities, I find myself wondering what it would be like to live there, so I tend to seek out the areas where I'd want to be if I did live in that particular city. I could see myself living in Boise, I think, but I suppose that is true of many other cities too. I personally liked the size of Boise - neither too large nor too small. It doesn't hurt that I'd have relatives living nearby either.

•  When I returned home to Colorado, the first thing I thought was, "Man, everything is so green here! Did that happen in the brief time I was gone?" There was a lot more dry/dead scenery during my Idaho visit than I expected, and I think it warped my senses just a bit to the point that anything green really stood out. Anything close to the river was green, but outside of the city, unless the area was being purposefully watered, there wasn't much green to see.

•  I am incredibly spoiled to have pretty decent roads to ride in Colorado, especially many with, at minimum, wider shoulders, if not bike lanes to utilize. I definitely take them for granted, and while there is still much room for improvement here, I am reminding myself now to be more grateful for my surroundings and the paths and roads I have to ride.

•  If you get a chance to ride in Boise, I'd recommend riding on Harrison Blvd (it's a tree-lined street with turn-of-the-century houses that stretches about 1/2 a mile long), Bogus Basin Rd (Harrison Blvd turns in to Bogus Basin on the north side of town. There is a bike lane for the first couple of miles, but then it gets a little tricky riding with the cars, but the views looking back down into Boise -- even if you only ride up a mile or so - are spectacular), and definitely take the time to check out the River Greenbelt.

Overall, I had a fantastic trip that afforded me an opportunity to explore the area with few interruptions, and both on foot and two-wheels. I'm sure I will be heading back at some point, and I look forward to discovering new treasures then. Until that time, I'm thankful for what is available to me locally and look forward to riding through some lovely (albeit warm) days here in Colorado.


  1. It seems like nearly every city, has a "river" trail, they just seem to be of varying quality (Longmont being of the "low" kind). Fascinating.

    1. I think what fascinated me so much with the Boise River trail is that there was so much available just off the path. If/When the Longmont trail gets completed again since the flooding, it's a decent pathway too - it just doesn't have quite the same interests and amenities available directly off the trail system.

    2. Yes, lots of river trails in different cities. I’m at a conference in Pittsburg now. The river trail here is terrific. Little Rock, Arkansas river trail is also great. The one in Memphis, on the other hand, is not well connected.

    3. It's interesting how some cities have made their river a central point and made it convenient for walkers, runners and cyclists to get places while others have not. It makes sense to me to do this because most of the big cities were built near rivers, so why not use what's already there and make it convenient for travel.

  2. It's a always nice to hear a fresh take on an area. Like you, whenever I visit a new place, I imagine myself living there and whether the region has the amenities that I consider as livable. High on my list has always been: can I get around safely by bike, is there a body of water nearby, walkable/bikeable to grocery stores, near community events, etc.

    1. I think it's fun (even if it's purely fantasy) to imagine myself living in a new-to-me city, Annie. I find I like to try to imagine what life would be like living there, so having the opportunity to do so for a small stretch of time was fun. I also very much like to have some kind of waterway nearby (I'm partial to the ocean, but rivers and lakes work too) and it definitely has to be a city that is ride-able.


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