Wandering Through Farm Land on a Sunday

Blackfoot and Rockford, Idaho bicycle rideJust about every Sunday morning, my friend Travis and I go on a long-ass bike ride.  However, last Sunday the 27th of July, he wasn’t feeling well, so I went off by myself.  And here is how it went.

After learning that Travis wasn’t going anywhere that morning, I thought that I would try the ride around American Falls Reservoir I’d been planning.  Or at least I’d scope out the territory a little.  So, I headed for Fort Hall to find Ferry Butte Road which is the southern most bridge across the Snake River on the north end of the reservoir.  As you can see on the map, I kind of wandered around before finding it.  But, hey, it’s fun to wander and just see what there is to see!  There aren’t very many landmarks out there, except for the one hill that looks like a lump in the vast Snake River Plain: Ferry Butte.  It was how I knew I was in the general correct area, but I was on the wrong side of the butte.  Doh!  There was a bit of straw on the side of the road that I ran my bicycle through merrily, and shortly thereafter I got my first goathead thorn deflation.  Actually, thorns were stuck in both of my tires and so I had to repair both tubes.  This wasn’t supposed to happen since my tires were supposedly made with Kevlar.  Obviously the Kevlar wasn’t thick enough.  After making repairs and chatting with a local farmer who came to my aid, I carried on.  Note to self: stay out of the debris on the side of the road!

At the Ferry Butte crossing, there’s a parking lot and restroom where people park and can enjoy the scenery or go boating on the river.  After taking a look around (and finding that my camera batteries were dead), I continued west and then turned left on Hilltop road towards Rockford.

Hilltop road seems to go on forever, but it is very smooth and I had a south wind pushing me to an easy 25 mph.  The houses along this road look very pretty and picturesque and they got even prettier when I turned right onto Thomas road.  Lovely landscaping and giant homes; it made me want to move to Blackfoot… almost ;-)  After cycling over the bridge and going through a bit of Blackfoot, I was on Highway 91 going back to Pocatello.  And then I felt the familiar wobble in my rear tire.  Gah!  Another flat.  Sigh.  This time I angrily pulled my patch-polka-dotted tube out, stuffed it into my trunk rack and replaced it with a brand new tube.  I was growing tired of flats on this journey.

I cycled on toward Pocatello at a slow pace of 15 mph, pushing against the south wind.  I got into the drops and spun at a low gear, then shifted into my highest gear, stood up and do a slow cadence to rest my weary quads and my sore hiney; lather, rinse, repeat.  Soon I was in more familiar territory on the northern end of Hiline Road.  I saw a hill ahead so I shifted up, stood up, and began climbing the small hill.  My balance began getting wobbly and I thought to myself, “gah, I must be bonking or something” and then it dawned upon me that my front tire was going soft.  Yes, another frickin’ goathead thorn.  I swore to myself as I performed the repair that I didn’t care what it cost, I was going to buy the most expensive nuclear-bomb-proof tires on the market.  I mean, really, I had taken great care to stay away from road-side debris for the last 40 freakin’ miles and I was still getting flats.  As a matter of fact, the only place around Pocatello that I seem to get flat is in the Fort Hall Reservation area.  Hmph.

By this time, I was hot and pissed.  The temperature outside had risen to about 95 degrees and I just wanted to go home and drink a gallon or two of cold beer.  Luckily I made it home without anymore flats.  I drank a few refreshing beers, took a shower, and then drank some more.  Ah, there’s nothing like soothing sore muscules with a hot shower of lots of Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Mmm, life is good.

P.S.  My trip meter on my bicycle computer said 68 miles at the end of the trip.  Also, for reference, the wussy tires of which I speak in this article are Hutchinson Quartz Kevlar tires (700×23) that I bought from nashbar.com on sale for like $9.99 a peice.  Yeah, for that price, no wonder they didn’t perform the best agains the evil thorns.  In the past, I’ve purchased Specialized Armadillo tires from a local bike shop for about $35 a peice and I never got a single flat in those tires for thousands of miles of riding.

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