Just A Tent And Two Sleeping Bags
Article And Photos By: Heather Callen
Originally Published In The May 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Believe it or not we are only about to begin day four of the most epic honeymoon trip ever. I mean c’mon so far we’ve seen Devil’s Tower, prairie dogs out the wazoo, a couple hundred buffalo, boiling mud, water spewing hundreds of feet in the air, amazing roads to motorbike on and the best weather any rider could ask for. Most sane people would call it quits while they were ahead, but not us we had a plan..wait..no we didn’t…it didn’t matter what we did or how far we got as far as Chris and I were concerned. The only thing we had our sights set on was getting Chris to ride in his 49th state… Idaho..and man did we ever accomplish that!
We set out from Jackson Hole Wyoming by 10am on yet another beautiful day. Well, it started beautiful until we hit the border and saw the rain coming in. Thankfully we were well prepared thanks to the fine folks at Biker’s Choice. They outfitted us with full riding gear and we were anxious to try it out. However, the weather change was short lived- the rain lasted a whole ten minutes, and get this B Article & Photos By: Heather Callen it was the ONLY rain we ran into the entire trip! At first when I thought about riding through Idaho I wasn’t overly excite; I mean how great can potato fields be, right? Wrong! From when we first crossed into Idaho on Route 26, we ran alongside the Palisades Reservoir for miles taking in more beauty than we ever expected and counting no less than a dozen Osprey nests. Our first pit stop was at Rainey Creek World Famous Square Ice Cream in Swan Valley ID and despite the colder dreary weather we couldn’t pass up SQUARE ice cream. It was on the bucket list, at least it was when I added it really quick after seeing the sign. With bellies full of ice cream and clearing skies we headed into Twin Falls to one of the most legendary spots in our generations daredevil motorcycling history, Snake River Canyon, Twin Falls, ID…where in 1974 Evel Knievel jumped the Snake River Canyon? Yeah…we were there…holy shit!! For the rest of the afternoon we rode between rainstorms and chased rainbows for what seemed like forever, they were never ending and oh so beautiful.
Based on a recommendation from social media friends we decided that we wanted to ride Route 21 from Stanley through the Boise National Forest. Quick fun fact, did you know that Idaho is riddled with craters, lava formations and just about every type of landscape you can imagine…we didn’t, but we do now! We hit Sawtooth National Park just as the sun was setting and by the time we got to route 21 at Stanley it was dark and damn cold…36 degrees cold. When we reached Stanley we hit our first snag in the planless plan.. there were no campsites or rooms to be had. Thankfully a very kind innkeeper made a few phone calls and found a room available, the only room, but it was 48 miles away in Lohman. So on our trusty stead we hopped and road the dark, cold, wild life riddled gauntlet to a little cabin in the woods where we hunkered down for the night. We woke the next morning to find that there was a bitchin little restaurant attached to the office that served a killer breakfast. With our gear loaded and anticipating the hot springs that were just down the road (mile marker 77 to be exact) we hopped on the old Pearl rarin’ to go, but she wasn’t as ready as we were… no battery charge due to a loose terminal. This is where Chris discovered that in all the excitement leading up to this trip he forgot rule #1 in long distance travel… bring tools! After a bit of begging in the office, the terminal was tightened and we were off. We rode a whole 7 miles to our first stop of the day, Kirkham State Campground and our first ever natural hot springs. If you’ve yet to experience the wonders of a natural hot spring we highly suggest you put in on your list and make it a point to check it off, after all it’s only a ride away. We soaked for a while, and very reluctantly decided it was time to leave if we wanted to make any headway that day, damn we had good timing because just as we redressed a family complete with little kids rolled in.
We rode Rt. 21 through Boise National Forest through a mountain pass that gave us beautiful views from cliffs with no guard rails. From Boise we decided to hot foot it across Oregon via I-84, however when we made this call we didn’t realize it would be literally hot footing it. There were wild fires everywhere. You could see, smell and taste the smoke in the air. We rode most of the afternoon through smoke filled skies. In many areas you could see the earth still smoldering. We decided to push on to Ellensburg WA, it was the nearest KOA according to our map and it didn’t seem like it would be a rough road. I called ahead to make sure they had a site available and to my dismay when I informed the camp manager we were traveling by motorcycle she almost begged us to stay where we were. There were severe wind storms whipping through the mountain pass that we had to travel to make it to our destination, unfortunately for us we were really nowhere so staying put wasn’t an option. I can honestly say this stretch of road was the only time that I didn’t want to be on the bike. It was cold, it was dark and the winds were throwing us all over the place. Man, I couldn’t hunker down or hold onto Chris tight enough. I had never been so happy to see city lights in my life when Ellensburg finally came into view. We found the KOA, set up camp under the highway underpass on a gravel laden tent site and quickly laid our weary bones to rest in the worst KOA on earth.