We arrived safe and sound in our new location — Boise, Idaho. Located in the southwest corner of the state, Boise is situated in the Mountain Time Zone and enjoys all four seasons without overdoing any of them — temperate.
We did our homework before choosing our new location, checking the crime rate, income tax, property tax, local/state government, history, cultural offerings, and outdoor adventures.
We leased our 100+ year old home — sight unseen — and landed right side up! We plan to take our time finding a home to purchase; thoroughly researching where we do/don’t want to live in the Boise area. In the photograph below, our little cottage is on the left of the two-dormer home.
In the short time we’ve been here, we’re already head-over-heels in love with the bicycle and dog intensive historic district where we currently reside. A stone’s throw from an off-leash dog park, yoga studio, library, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Boise State University — places that are important to us.
Within two days our house became a home. I define the difference as follows:
House — a structure.
Home — a safe place with emotional attachment; it has less to do with the physical structure, and everything to do with positive, loving energy.
Many of you know that Len and I are avid bicyclists. One of our favorite bicycle paths in Crystal Lake, Illinois had a heavily trafficked roadway to cross. A clear case of “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.”
Over time and tragedy, the city decided to build a bicycle bridge that takes peddlers above the traffic. They found that the safest distance between two points—at least in this case—is a curved line: up and over!
There are times when taking risks is not a good idea. There are, however, times when a little risk-taking is healthy.
Our friend and avid cyclist, Nan, told us about another gorgeous bike trail that she and her husband, Dave, found. The trailhead is in a tiny little town in northern Illinois called Hebron.
On Monday we, too, rode the trail and discovered that it was flanked on one side by breathtakingly beautiful wetlands. And just out of view for a good camera shot without a zoom lens, but well within earshot, there were hundreds of Great Blue Heron and wild turkey. They were singing. We couldn’t tell if it was a combined effort of both types of birds, or if it was one, or the other. Regardless, it was startlingly magnificent to be serenaded in the crisp morning air.
A little further down the trail, we came to the sporadic placement of several manmade nesting boxes. We’re not sure what type of waterfowl they’re for, but we’re fairly confident they’re not meant for the Great Blue Heron or the wild turkey as neither of them could possibly fit into the small circular entrances.
On the return ride, we were gifted to see the same birds, but this time there wasn’t a sound—not a single peep. It was hauntingly quiet. Either they were all asleep, or choir practice was over! Regardless, it was again done in unison.
We hadn’t known until Monday morning that Great Blue Heron hang out with wild turkey. If it’s true that “birds of a feather flock together,” what type of “birds” do you hang out with?
While riding our bikes through the Heartland, we see lots (and lots!) of silos. For you city slickers who may not know what a silo is, they’re ginormous storage structures for silages and high-moisture grains used for livestock feeds.
[Discussion while bicycling]
“Len, you know that today, right now—this moment—is our life, right?”
“You know how those farmers are storing food for their livestock for the winter months?”
“Are you drinking it all in—tucking these memories into your heart like a treasure for this winter when it’s 40-degrees below and we can’t get outside?”
“Well, why not?”
“Because you’re taking dozens of photographs and will show them to me over and over again. I won’t possibly be able to forget!”
“Laurie, if you stop pedaling one more time we’re gonna have a domestic.”
As we came around a bend in the road we averted our eyes because right there on the side of the bike path was a farmland hussy—a topless silo! Listen with your heart,
The day started out like any other non-law-breaking day. We woke up and were going to take a nice 20-mile bike ride. However, when we got to Elgin, we got to thinking, “We’re not going to have that many more nice biking days this season, let’s ride just a little further.”
Riding along, minding our own business, thinking we’ll do a 30 mile ride instead, we came across a barricade on the bike path.
We came across a barricade in the path
WHY? we wondered. We looked around and not seeing anyone, asked ourselves, “What’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like they’re going to confiscate our bikes and throw us in jail, right? Let’s just go take a quick peek and see WHY the path is closed.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way …
Where there's a will, there's a way
We find that they’re replacing the bicycle path — it doesn’t exist — so we’re walking our bikes next to the tracks. We can see another barricade a half mile, or so, ahead that’s stopping bicyclists from coming through the other way.
We’ll just sniggle around that barricade when we get there and keep going.
Walking our bikes next to the tracks
We can see that they’re building a new bike path and a bridge. We stop to admire the work. This is going to be fantastic when it’s finished!
They're building a new bike path and bridge
All of a sudden we hear something in the distance. It’s getting louder and has kind of a rumbling feel to it.
We turn to each other wide-eyed and say, “Oh crap! What’s that noise?” as we realize it sounds like a train!
Scrambling as fast as we can, we make it down into a work area with our bikes and turn to see a trolley ambling along, passengerless, the conductors smiled and waved as they passed.
Oh Crap! What's that Noise?
When we reached the “Stop, or I’ll gnaw my arm off now” point, we realize we’ve gone a little over 26 miles. Not too shabby.
Then in dawns on us, we’ve got to ride that same distance all the way back!
We’re so hot (90-degrees) we can hardly stand it. The little “rest area” we stop in has a water spigot. I turn it on, take my helmet off, and stick my head and shoulders gratefully under the cold running water. (yes, my eyes are still black and blue from the “gargling incident”) …
Laurie after sticking her head under cold running water
Len turns to me with a great big grin and says, “I think maybe we shouldn’t have left The Shire, Pippin.”
Len says to me, "I think maybe we shouldn't have left the shire, Pippin."
By the time we got back to Crystal Lake from Geneva, Illinois, we’d ridden 53.36 miles. Our legs are still wobbling!
Well, pretend for a moment that I’m Suzanne Pleshette and Len is Ian McShane. We strapped our bicycles on the back of our car and left Crystal Lake, Illinois at 5am and headed for historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
On the way, Len was almost hit by a fawn. No, Len didn’t almost hit a fawn; a fawn almost hit Len. The itty-bitty fellow flew out of the bushes on the left side of the trail and came to a dead stop next to Len, eyeing him up-and-down. Then took off at top speed into the bushes on the other side of the trail. We could see his mama grazing about a quarter mile away.
Our first big stop was at Sauk Harbor in Port Washington — this was the 10 mile mark on the ride — where we got caught in a pretty good rain shower. In the photographs, you’ll see the gazebo that we stayed under until things cleared off a bit (the photo was taken on sunny the return journey).
Then we continued on to Belgium. This was the 20 mile mark. However, we did and extra two miles riding around looking for lunch. The search was well worth it. We found Crissy’s Now and Then Pub. The food was beyond delicious!
By the time we finished lunch, the clouds had cleared off and the return journey was hot and beautiful. The lushness of the surrounding farm land was not lost on us. Every now and then we’d be enveloped by a wave of sweet clover scent.
We arrived back in Cedarburg exhausted, having riden a round trip of 41.45 miles. My legs were wobbling so much that I had to hug a tree to remain standing and get some stability back. In so doing, I got sap on my shirt. When we got home I Googled how to get tree sap out of clothes. Peanut butter — it worked like a charm!
According to Len’s bike computer our actual riding time was 4 hours and 36 minutes. We averaged 9 miles per hour, with 18.32 miles per hour being our fastest speed.
I hope you enjoyed the journey — we had fun doing the pedaling for you.