Today we walked around Boise, spent a moment at the city's Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, and contemplated our national crisis. (And blogged…)
When early French explorers finally reached the fertile, tree-crowded valley where we rested today, they burst into cheers: Woods! Woods! In French: Les bois! Today: Boise.
We understand their enthusiasm — it's been a long while since we've seen a proper forest. Or walked around in a properly (or at least mostly) liberal city.
Today we awoke to the smells of frittata and bacon (thank you, Rachel) and soon dived into our main rest day activity: attempting to keep up with this record of our travels. And not just to keep up with it, but to put as much thought and care into it as we'd like. Sometimes we don't have quite enough brain power left to pump out more than, "We rode this many miles, we saw these things, we ate these foods" — but, truly, we spend so much of every day reflecting. Sometimes alone, silently; sometimes aloud, to each other. We spend a lot of time talking and thinking about this land we're riding through, the people, the massive wounds and griefs and gaps of imagination and empathy, the unkillable hopes. We want to write about those things, too — when we can find the words.
For a while, Beau wrote and Sara took the time to clean our bikes. A long overdue freshening up. They were covered with mud from the Idaho highways, and Beau's even had some chocolate milk droplets still caked on from way back in Kansas. Now they're all wiped down and have newly lubed up chains. They seem happy. Or, at least, we are. Then, we went out walking. We wanted to see a little of downtown Boise, and Rachel mentioned to us that when she and Patrick take a rest day, they make a rule to stay off the bikes. Wise. Instead of riding, we took the twenty minute walk down the hill, along the canal (empty now), towards the city center. We found a bike and outdoor gear resale shop with a sense of humor...
...And explored Freak Alley, a fun collection of public murals...
...And found a spot to sit outside with a beer while continuing to work on the blog. There, despite Boise's blue-ness compared to the state in which it resides, we encountered a horrible "Trump Train" — a cavalcade of cars (let's be real, mostly trucks) flying Trump flags and barreling down the street perpendicular to us while blasting their horns. This was right after the news had come out of Texas about a similar parade of vehicular terrorists trying to run the Biden campaign bus off the rode. We thought back to a sticker for the fascist-in-chief that we'd seen in Kansas: "Trump 2020: Fuck Your Feelings." What a concise statement of how little this vile phenomenon—this obsessive alignment, for some people—actually has to do with consciously believing in a certain set of principals, and how much it has to do with rage, schadenfreude, and fear. It doesn't have to do with your life getting any better (on some deep, unspoken level, you've actually despaired of that) — it has to do with the cruel consolation prize of seeing the people you consider your enemies suffer.
We head towards the Ann Frank Human Rights Memorial, which Rachel and Patrick have recommended we see. The afternoon sun is low and warm, and the words on the curving walls and standing stones hold us in reverie.
Today is Sunday, and the election is Tuesday. It's hard not to walk this semi-progressive town in this deep-red place and not feel the weight of our moment. It's hard to read so many quotes from great, hopeful, hard-fighting souls, engraved in stone, and then to think about how little these words are heeded by the powers that carved them. But the words have their own power. The ideas—and the hopes and the fight—endure. Manuscripts don't burn. We walk home. We write some more. Sara spends some real quality time with Yedi, who has decided to get cozy in the clean laundry on our bed (yesssssssss).
(Seriously this cat thooooooough.) We eat tacos with Rachel and Patrick and get to hear some more fantastic stories and share some of our communal anxieties and hopes for the coming days. We start the mental preparations for getting back on the road. Tomorrow, we head towards Weiser (pronounced like the band) and one day closer to the election. It will be our final day in Idaho. A new month is here, a new state awaits — a new country isn't in the cards, no matter what happens. We've all got to keep working on this one... And while repairing things is harder than breaking them, and healing is harder than hurting, we're riding on with a belief in the hard, good roads. Thank you, and godspeed, fellow Travelers.
Day 72: Boise to Boise, ID, 0 bicycle miles, maybe 4-5 walking miles, blog times, cat times, thoughtful times, anxious+grateful+hopeful times.