Sunday, June 3, 2018

Potato Diaries, Day Three: On a Mission to Rivendell

As I wrap up day three of wandering in Idaho (if you have interest, day 1's entry is here and day 2's post is here), I'm starting to feel a little more relaxed. Things that were unnerving initially (such as the lack of space to ride next to cars), are less so now. Which isn't to say that the roadways aren't severely lacking, but I think - as with most things in life - we adapt to our surroundings and figure out ways to make it work.

We've done a great deal of walking since arriving (we being myself and the three dogs), and it's taken a toll on my hips, so I knew that today would need to be more activity on wheels than on foot. The dogs were grateful for a break too, though we did take a short walk this morning, just so they didn't feel completely neglected.

As mentioned yesterday, I picked up a map of the Nampa trail/path system and decided that today would be a good day to try to piece together what I could to get to a destination on the other side of the city. The pathway, that I mentioned in an earlier post, runs through my folks neighborhood and has a forking off point about a mile up the path. As it turns out, this direction is well suited to actually connecting to places people want to go.

The bike map leaves something to be desired though. Perhaps my expectations are a little off, but I find that when using a bike map, I want it to be easy to read quickly so that I don't have to spend much time staring at it while riding (or stopped on the side of a road/path somewhere). There seems to be a lot of future MUP information on the map, which at quick glances can be confusing. Though the legend does indicate the differences between currently available paths and planned paths, it's something that takes some time to decipher.

Personally, I think future plans should be left off of maps like these as it can be confusing to users. Perhaps a website notation for people to be able to see where the paths will go in the future would be better, but placing them on the map just causes users to think the path is already there -- especially when, like me, one doesn't bother to look at the legend for differences in path lines.

Anyway, I had a specific destination in mind when leaving on bike this morning. I had noticed a road that was called "Rivendell Court" on an online map and the wheels in my tiny brain started to turn. I couldn't help but find it interesting that I happen to be riding my Rivendell bicycle on this trip, so wouldn't it be fun to get a picture of the Rivendell bicycle on Rivendell Ct? It's the little things that both motivate and amuse me, I suppose.

Since the road is on the opposite side of the city, it seemed a good opportunity to attempt to piece together information from the bike map with roads that would get me to Rivendell.
There is green to be found, despite what I'd initially thought. There are still a lot of dry, tan colors to be seen too, but it seems the green and brown seem to stick to their individual areas.
The pathway is actually quite pleasant, on the whole. It winds around both farm areas and more planned (both newer and older) housing. It's interesting that this city can feel both rural and urban in a span of just a couple of miles, sometimes with the two literally abutting each other. For example, my parents purchased their home in a newer subdivision (less than 10 years old), but as I sit typing, I can see a huge farm and hear donkeys braying and cows mooing right across the street.
There were a ton of cats crawling all around this barn. I'm not sure if they call it home or if they were looking for food in the form of rodents and other critters.
The MUP, at least in sections, is in great shape but is also in need of some massive repairs in others. Like the roadways, it seems to be kind of hit or miss in regard to whether the path section is well maintained or not.

I had kind of an "aha!" moment today when a section of the trail dumped me out about a block from the nearest grocery store. It's great to explore a city by bicycle because I think things like this come together quicker in my mind and connecting roadways seems to become more obvious when riding. I have a pretty decent natural sense of direction, but not knowing a city's particulars, it can still be confusing in the early stages of getting to know it.
It got up to 92F degrees today, so the trees were especially welcomed!
There were breaks in the path that were a little confusing, but nothing that couldn't be figured out fairly easily - at least to the extent that I rode the path today.  When I arrived at a familiar road, I decided it was time to take city streets from that point and try to maneuver my way to Rivendell.
This is the widest shoulder I've come across thus far. The fact that there's any kind of shoulder is a novelty, but to have so much room was exquisite (plus, there was hardly any traffic)! I elected to ride on the cement portion though to give my hands a break from the chipseal for a short amount of time.
As mentioned prior, there are a ton of chipsealed roads here. This surface definitely doesn't do my already troubled hands any favors, and much of the time it feels like riding on miniature cobblestones. I can still feel my teeth chattering now hours after the ride. I was pleasantly surprised though to actually find a road that (although still chipseal) had a wide shoulder to ride in for some distance.

A couple of miles up this road, I happened upon a loose Golden Doodle. He was a massive dog that was galloping across the street. Back and forth he ran, as if he was chasing an invisible friend. As I got closer, there didn't seem to be anyone around who was responsible for this curly haired woofer, but there were several cars speeding up and down the street. Having concern for his safety, I turned around and tried to settle him on one side of the road.

Just as I was stopping, a vehicle pulled up beside and asked if the dog was okay. The people in the car said they would call the number on his tag as I had just spotted a very small, perhaps no more than 6-8 pound, dog on the opposite side of the street. The Doodle's "invisible" friend, I was guessing at this point.

"I assume they belong to the same person," I stated, half as a question, and went to corral the little dog.

When the owner arrived, he didn't seem at all concerned that his two dogs were out roaming the streets alone. I'm never quite sure what to make of these situations. If it was my dog out roaming, I'd hope that someone would call so that I could pick them up, but I think I'd have a bit more concern than this owner did. Oh well. At least they were back where they belong.

I continued on my mission, pedaling up some somewhat steep hills (though nothing in comparison to home in Colorado) and eventually arrived to Rivendell.

"It's real!" I exclaimed aloud, half surprised that Google maps wasn't trying to send me off on a wild goose chase.
It really does exist!!!
I pulled out the phone and snapped a photo of the Rivendell Sam Hillborne on Rivendell Court. The day's work was complete. The ride home was pleasant, though I will say the wind is nearly as bad here as it is at home, so the push against it was a bit of a struggle. Still the time in the saddle was enjoyable and I was happy to have made the short journey to find Rivendell. I had initially planned a longer route, but due to the hip situation and my forgetting to pack some food, the ride was cut shorter than planned.

When I arrived back at the house, I noticed something in the distance of the Rivendell photo that I hadn't seen while standing at the actual location. When viewing the left side of the photo, about half way up, just above the power lines, it looked to me as though there was a giant potato flying through the air.
I don't have my usual software to use here in Idaho, but I'm convinced this is a P-UFO or Potato UFO.
Okay, I know, I've got potatoes on the mind at the moment (speaking of, I haven't eaten a single potato since I've been here... I'll have to get to that soon!), but when I tried to crop it a bit and look at it closer, it does almost look like a potato UFO - but then again, my imagination tends to run away with me more often than not.

Tomorrow, the plan is to head into Boise to check some things out, assuming that my hips are doing better than they are today. I think it'll be fun to see the city again too. I spent a few days in Boise about 23 years ago -- the city is nothing like I remember it from that time. Sam and I also visited very briefly on our family trip here in April, but we didn't have bikes and didn't get to spend more than a few hours looking around, so I'm excited to have a little more time to investigate areas we didn't get to see.

**Day 4 can be found here.


  1. I hate coming across dogs on the loose. I’m always so scared for them. If I’m not in a position to see them safely home, I end up worried about them all day, wondering if they are safe. Just recently I was riding to work and got chased by a loose border collie, so I acted like a sheep and turned around to run the other way. Sure enough, she chased me the opposite direction right back into the arms of her person!

    Oh, and I agree, bike maps should not show plans for future development. It is confusing and misleading.

    1. That is a great idea, Kendra. I don't like seeing loose dogs either. I just want to make sure they get back where they belong.

      Today I found out that not only is the bike map misleading, but also the signage at the trail heads shows future development. It's super confusing!

    2. Have you searched google maps yet to see if there's a hubba-hubba street out there ?

    3. Ha! There probably is somewhere. That would be a fun photo to get too. :)


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